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Everything posted by Crazy_Jeff

  1. Thanks guys. Sloth: Yeah, weird choices of things to bring. I figured crampons wouldn't be necessary because the snow should be soft up high. I didn't really think the summit would be so fully encased in ice like that. I brought the ice tool to help me dry tool my way up the top in case it looked feasible, and the rope was to belay myself down. That was its only purpose. I just didn't want to be denied the last bit because of a lack of gear. Some day I'm going to do this trip without skis. Maybe I'll leave the 7 pound camera behind next time too, but it's too scenic to resist...
  2. Trip: Mount Olympus - Blue Glacier Date: 2/17/2010 Trip Report: The last few months for me have been revolving around this trip. I really wanted to experience Olympus in the winter, all I needed was a weather window. I’ve been watching the forecasts regularly and finally, last week, the high pressure system I was waiting for was on its way. I’d thought that Olympus in the winter deserved four days. One day in, one out, and two to climb. The Olympics catch all the precipitation coming in off the Pacific, there should be enough snow to make the going slow. Finding a partner who could swing that much time with so little notice was the big challenge. Putting a call out on cc.com gave me a couple nibbles, but no luck. I was on my own. I spent pretty much all of Tuesday getting ready. I had to stop at REI for new gloves, among other things. Grocery shopping was also a must, as I attempted to find food with a maximized calorie to weight ratio. I decided that heavily buttered pastries were the ticket. I double and triple checked my list as I packed up. It was a little after 4pm as I ventured out to my long anticipated trip. I drove past the Hoh and into Forks for dinner and gas. When 9pm rolled around, I could be found in the back of the car curled up in a sleeping bag, reading Dracula and stuffing down a very tasty pizza. I figured this might be my last good night’s sleep for a while, enjoying the company of a real pillow, so I didn’t set an alarm. The following morning, Wednesday, I woke up at about 6:30, feeling refreshed and ready to go. I tossed things in my pack and made sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind. Just like my last trip to Olympus, I brought the scale with me. The pack and poles weighed in at 58.6 lbs. Darn it… I really thought I had cut down on weight since the last trip when it weighed in at 61 lbs. The ice axe and extra food must have made up for most of the difference. The first few miles of the Hoh were the most interesting. The two washouts were easy to get around. There were plenty of trees over the trail too, some trivial to get around, some less so. I stopped to take plenty of pictures, knowing that I probably wouldn’t be in the mood on the return trip. When I hit my first planned stop, the guard station at 9 miles, I felt like I was still full from the previous night’s sleeping bag smorgasbord, so I kept going. By the time I hit the bridge at 13 miles, it was noon and I thought it would be smart to fuel the tanks for the uphill battle. There’s a new emergency shelter at Elk Lake to replace the totally smashed one that we saw last year. The big surprise for this trip was the lack of snow. The first sighting of even a tiny bit of snow was just before the big open meadow with the stream crossing above Elk Lake. Maybe 3100’? When I got to the meadow, the trail was bare and showing. This was not the case last May. El Nino has really done a job on us this winter. By now it was obvious that I’d be able to make Glacier Meadows and this wouldn’t be a four day trip after all. My sole human contact for the day, a hiker who’d started out from the nine mile camp, had left tracks through the snowy sections of the trail. This prevented even me from getting lost as I made my way to his turnaround point, the first of the three avalanche chutes just before Glacier Meadows. Here I switched to randonee boots and kicked my way across the hard snow. The next gulley was similar. The third one, which was arguably the crux of the trip last May, as we scrambled across steep and loose gravel, was simplified with the installation of a big rope by the park service, which made a mess of my glove liners as I excavated it from the snow and mud. A few more minutes of marching through the woods and I was at camp. The shelters up there had been given a facelift sometime during the last year and they looked stylish and comfortable. Oddly, there was less snow in the meadows this year too. Now there was a stream showing right in front of the shelter, whereas last year the closest source of water was the larger creek behind the shelter. Being only 3:30, I contemplated what to do. I hadn’t anticipated being able to make camp so quickly, especially at my intentionally slower, several-day-long-trip pace. I filled up the water supply, spread out my gear, and lacking anything better, crawled in the bivy sack. I should have brought my book with me. The snow around camp was solid, but it’s February after all. No matter how sad the winter, it’s going to get softer and deeper up higher. The only question is how high? I set my alarm for 3:30, noting the similarity to the trip last May with Penoyar. Things were astonishingly similar… except I didn’t get lost on the approach this time. When the alarm went off, I surprised myself by bouncing out of bed. I felt really good. I have no idea how long I slept, but it must have been at least five hours. At exactly four o’clock I was on the move, marching uphill in the dark. I guessed my way along, but I remembered that it was best to stay in the gulley as long as possible. There was a good snowy slope coming down off the moraine and I started skinning across the Blue Glacier at 5. It felt very similar to scuba diving, being able to see about 30 feet in any direction, but only a dark void off beyond that. By turning off my headlamp, I could vaguely make out dark blobs that were the rocks formations protruding from the snow on snow dome. The only thing I could have asked for was a nice full moon. I should introduce the most defining aspect of the climb now. During the approach I saw some snow blowing off the peaks that are visible from the trail. I thought maybe the high pressure system hadn’t fully arrived and maybe things would be better on summit day. A light breeze had moved through Glacier Meadows intermittently during the evening, but nothing to think about at the time. Down low the air was calm. Back to our story… As I skinned along, I got some of my first tastes of gusts coming down the glacier. Thankfully I had on all my insulating and shell layers. And the new gloves were performing brilliantly. They’d better, considering how much they cost. At the edge of snow dome, the layers weren’t bonded in a way that was friendly to skins. Oh well, I though, booting is more direct anyways. I guessed the route in the darkness, knowing that there were numerous feasible options last May. Up and over several rolls, with each one the wind intensifying and the snow getting deeper. It was February after all! If only above 5500’! I had one interesting moment when one leg totally punched through to a hidden rock well. By the time I had enough light to determine my location, I found myself to be slogging along beneath the last big pitch that leads up to the top of the dome. By 7 o’clock I was post holing across the top, staring down the summit. I contemplated returning to my skins, but my stubbornness would have none of that. It won’t be too much longer, I’ll just tough it out. Bad idea. The snow, which was ankle to boot depth at the base of the dome, was now averaging mid-calf. Time moved slowly as I plodded across to the slope beneath the summit. This was one of the worst sections for dealing with the wind. It was whipping all sorts of snow crystals along, which meant the hood stays up or you get your face sand blasted. Thirty feet behind me there was no sign of my own 1-2’ deep tracks! Tired of the slog, I had delusions that things might solidify on the steeper aspect up ahead. No such luck, although as I started up the pitch, I was pretty sure it was too late to switch to skins now. No sense dwelling on that mistake. And complaining about conditions has never made the summit get any closer. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. When things got too deep, my preferred method was simply crawling on hands and knees. This kept me higher up on the surface. It wasn’t until after I crossed what I thought was around the bergschrund that I looked back and realized that it looked wider from above than from below and I’d crawled across it. Once I got up to the saddle between the west peak and the false summit, things had finally solidified on the final, heavily wind swept pitch. I crawled up to the highest bit of snow I could find and hunkered down behind a very small icy protrusion just after 8:30. I’d known for a while that the summit was a no-go. The entire thing was completely encased in nasty rime ice. I had one ice tool, two whippets and no poons. It might go with technical crampons and a second tool, but the ice was still lumpy and brittle. My GPS said I was at 7920’. I would have guessed that I was more than 45’ beneath the summit. I probably was. That thing isn’t very accurate. I tried to rearrange gear and get into skis, but huddling against a cliff on steep snow was not the place to do it. There was a fairly flat spot about 15 feet beneath me. I hopped down there, nearly having my skis blown out of my hand when I emerged from my tiny sanctuary. Crazy. Skiing down sure beat climbing up, although the snow conditions varied from turn to turn. I felt like a giant sail going across the top of snow dome. It pushed me along some of the flatter spots. Coming down the dome I had a few great turns in powder, but there were lots of sections of hard lumpy ice showing. Most of the trip was on uneven packed powder. I swept as high as I could around the glacier to minimize my climb back up on the moraine. The ski down from there wasn’t bad, and I took off my skis for good about 10 minutes from camp. The question before I left was if this was going to be a two or three day trip. Now the question was if I’d be able to make it out by dark, which I knew was going to be somewhere between 6 and 6:30. I packed up and moved out of camp just after 11. I thought I’d be able to pull it off as long as my body didn’t go into too much revolt on the hike out. I stopped at the meadow above Elk Lake to doff the boots in favor of running shoes and replace my socks with fresh ones. This allowed me to put in at the 9 mile guard station with a solid 3 mph pace. I allowed myself a 15 minute break for water and snacks. The final push out saw a slower pace, naturally. Honestly, it was so hellish when we hiked out the last trip, I was steeled for the worst. Maybe it was mental, but it wasn’t until the last 3 or 4 miles that the heavy pack and blisters on my feet even started to make the going unpleasant. I actually enjoyed most of the return trip, which is not at all the norm for Olympus. I saw two small groups and one herd of elk in the last five miles. If you crave solitude, this sure beats summer. Link to pics: http://www.jeffmanor.com/Nature/Mt-Olympus-February/ Gear Notes: Rope + Helmet + Ice Tool = training weight. Yes, my pack would have just been too light without them. Approach Notes: No snow at all till 3100'. Snow was solid up to 5000'. Less snow than last May. If you want to do something this El Nino year, move your plans up a few months. Plenty of downed trees and washouts to keep you on your toes.
  3. Alright, sissies... No replies yet? I'm disappointed! It looks like it would be smart to move the trip back one day based on the forecast. The 17th - 20th work for anyone??? Also, I finally got around to setting up voicemail. 206-931-9041. And if you're on the fence, consider this: Take the week off. All you'll do if you don't take the week off is earn more money so you can buy a fancy ipod full of inspirational songs. Well, this is more inspiration than any lame tunes. You all know it. So you'll retire one week later, but you might as well take the time off while you're younger and can still do something this epic. I'll also up the ante. Will completely fund the transportation costs, including meals to and from the trailhead!
  4. Finally, the weather window I've been waiting for. Unless the forecasters change their minds, mid-late next week looks like a brilliant time to assault that beast we call Olympus. I know it's been established that it's been done in the winter, but it's time to do it and document the trip well. I'm thinking Tuesday through Friday next week. One day in, two to get the job done, and one day out. There's a good chance it could happen in three days, but I don't think underestimating that thing is smart. PM me or reply here if interested. I'd hand out my phone number, but I haven't bothered setting up voicemail on it yet... I'm only lazy off the mountain... really...
  5. Thanks guys. RockIzGud: I don't think the crevasses are anything to be terrified of. When I did the route in April some years back, I remember punching into a hidden crevasse with the tail of one of my skis on the way down. There are some to consider after you leave the cleaver and head up to the top. On this trip I know I climbed over a few. You could pretty well avoid them by sweeping wider across the top of the Boulder. Anyways, they're not big gapers and with a little care and planning ahead you'd be fine. Sloth: Thanks for the tip! I might find it someday.
  6. Oh yeah... link to pics... http://www.jeffmanor.com/Nature/Mount-Baker-Boulder-Park/
  7. Trip: Mt. Baker - Boulder-Park Cleaver Date: 2/8/2010 Trip Report: It seems like the forecast all winter long has been “chance of rain.” I’ve been waiting for a promising dry day with an avalanche forecast I feel comfortable soloing in for weeks now. Well, finally a good one came around yesterday. I’ve been exploring the Olympics semi-thoroughly over the past couple years since I moved down to the Olympia area, but it seemed time to revisit Baker. I miss the North Cascades. I was emboldened by a TR on turns-all-year that said that you could drive to the trailhead on Glacier Creek Road. Obviously, Baker was in a fine mood to give up some goods. If I only knew what I was in for… Sunday was dominated by packing, replacing gear and repairing gear. 5pm saw my departure. After stopping in Mount Vernon for supplies, I found my way to Boulder Ridge. This is impressive as I didn’t bother bringing directions and hadn’t been there for maybe 6 years? The road was passable all the way to the last switchback. I car camped and redefined carb loading by scarfing down a pizza and several granola bars. That was sitting on top of several dozen cookies from earlier in the day. The fuel tanks were full... Probably too full. I think I was feeling cocky when I set the alarm for 4:15. I slept better than I normally do in a car and had a lazy start to the day where I double checked every last piece of equipment. A few minutes to five, I started the march. I had chosen tennis shoes, but should have gone straight for the randonee boots. I thought it would be patchier in the trees, but there was as much snow as bare trail for the first mile. We’re all legends in our own mind. My personal claim to fame is my ability to get lost under the most pedestrian of circumstances. Astonishingly, I managed to keep the trail for over an hour, even with all the snow trying to disguise the way. After that point, it was simply a matter of plodding uphill on continuous snow. I donned skis at the 3500’ saddle on the ridge. I’ve done this approach three times and don’t think I’ve ever followed the proper trail up to timberline, so I did what I always do and followed the ridge over a number of ups and downs. Life was simple above the trees. Just keep skinning uphill, no obstructions. I kept a nice steady 1200 ft/hr pace up the ridge. Most of the snow was somewhat loose, varying thickness on top of a harder base. When it was only a few inches thick, things tended to slide out from under me a little. Around 7500’ I gave up, since there’s a steep pitch there. I put the skis on my back and booted uphill. I lunched at the top of the cleaver just after noon. The snow up higher was similar conditions, so I figured I’d try to find a route with a thinner top layer so I could just keep walking. In retrospect, there was no easy answer. The next couple thousand feet were delectable torture. The mountain really didn’t want to give up the summit without a fight. The snow I climbed through was deep and steep, so when it eased up near the top of the boulder headwall, I tried skins again. That was the wrong answer. I hardly took a step without having the sluffy snow give way. Back to boots, which were still sinking in nice and deep. At one point on the headwall, I heard a rumble. Thinking it was a plane, I looked around and saw a small avalanche about a hundred feet behind me. I must have loosened something up when I was walking over it. It wasn’t a huge avalanche, but I was a little surprised. I didn’t hit the summit till a little after 3pm, which was not ideal. The last few thousand feet had half the rate of ascent of things down lower. I guess winter is winter, even if it’s been a relatively lame one. It took me a while to thaw out my fingers, a by now familiar exercise. I didn’t waste time trying to get the hell down and off that mountain. Skiing up high wasn’t superb, but it wasn’t bad, except on the more wind swept aspects. Down below about 5000, it was crap. Turning was hard, and I had to snowplow in sections. I tried to take an interpretive way out to avoid the ups and downs of the ridge, but I think I just cost myself time by trying to get clever. I even found my way into a nice big hidden hole near a big rock feature. The trek out was tedious and full of suffering, but we’ve all experienced that kind of pain before. The bright side was that it was quicker due to the lack of route finding. Just follow the bootpack! I got back to the car a little after 8pm. If I’d known it was going to take over 15 hours, I probably would have gotten up earlier. I barely made it back home without falling asleep at the wheel. Gear Notes: Crampons might have been a good idea, but I'm living proof they weren't necessary. Approach Notes: None.
  8. Found on the East Ridge (Route 4) yesterday. It was in good shape, so it can't have been there too long. PM me the color if you care. Honestly, it might not even be worth the gas money to pick it up...
  9. The forecast is changing, so this is looking like it'll be postponed. However, the northwest is a big place and it can't be raining everwhere. Anderson, Baker, Jefferson... something's gotta give. Applications still being accepted.
  10. I'm thinking of biking to Rainier, climbing it, maybe skiing down, and biking back home next week. Haven't figured the exact climbing route yet, but I'd prefer to do something a little off the beaten path. The trip starts near Littlerock, WA. I'll buy lots of beer for anyone crazy enough to join in.
  11. I was feeling pretty determined to take on the summit block, but I gotta say I wussed out when we got there. Tom thought it looked managable, but he works in the 5.10 range. I'm not much of a rock guy. I didn't think it would have been smart (for me) to search for good holds through the snow in a chimney with AT boots on. We didn't get any looks at the other sides of the thing.
  12. Okay, I'm upping the stakes. I'll buy food, pay for gas, carry a stove, whatever. I did Ellinor today and conditions in the Olympics are exceptional. Plus the weather is looking gooooood. Is there a reason nobody ever replies to these things? Is everyone in this forum just looking for a ride to Exit 38? I hope there's some hardcore folks out there. Two days! It's not like I'm asking for anyone to do this in one solid push. (That's next month.)
  13. You know I do. That's only like 1.5 mph! There are those in our esteemed fraternity that have done the whole round trip in a single day. Besides, those 18 miles are pretty flat. Looks like you could handle it! I'll carry rope!
  14. Olympus this weekend, if the forecast holds. Might drive in Fri night, not sure. Live near Olympia, happy to do the driving from there, supply beer, and carry most of the gear. Assuming a leisurely approach and camp on Sat, summit and exit on Sun. Might take skis. Any interest, 206-931-9041.
  15. I love the way you guys think. Actually I have a toss up going in my head right now as to the BP cleaver or glacier peak. There isn't a real risk of (hidden) crevasses above 7500' right now, is there? My impression is that stuff is still filled in pretty nicely.
  16. I really have to do something dumb this weekend. I'm hoping for a long approach, but it's not a necessity. I've got from Friday late afternoon through all of Monday free. I'm not set on any one thing, but I need to stay out at least Sat-Sun for a healthy overnighter. If this doesn't entice you, then at least have pity on me and give me a good idea for a long solo-able ski trip. However, to those of you who find this idea very tasty, I will offer a free ride, free gatorade, and free beer. Jeff
  17. <bump> Hey, come on, everybody. I know I'm suggesting a long trip, but it's not like I'm hard to keep up with.
  18. I need to hit Glacier Peak, it's been most of a year. I'm thinking about taking off on Thursday and spending a few days trying to get up on of her. I'd really like to climb the east side since mother nature seems to be encouraging that, what with the road conditions. I am somewhat open to route suggestions, though (scimitar??). And I usually pack skis, but it doesn't matter if you do or not. Come join in the fun.
  19. How late you have to work? I could delay the start time and we could hit something shorter like maybe the roosevelt glacier? I can't find anyone to go with so far, so it's looking like a solo trip up Easton or some god forsaken cow path right now.
  20. I have a real need to do an overnight ski tour trip tomorrow and Fri (Jul 1-2). I'd like to do something interesting that will take up two moderate days, like perhaps the Park Glacier on Baker. I'm open to suggestions for the route. I can do the driving, and I've got all the necessary stuff like rope, stove, beacon etc. I'm leaving town for two weeks on Sat. I haven't done much lately. Please help me out, for the love of God, I can't go that much longer without climbing. PM sometime today if you want in.
  21. Tiny pockets of windloaded freshiez. Most (~75%?) of the climb was over good solid snow that held tools/crampons really well, the rest was over solid ice... the lovely stuff that doesn't take tools too well. No avy debris or slides on the route.
  22. I had a hankering to do something stupid. I hadn't been on a crazy climb with successful results in several months, so something had to give, right? The only difficulty sitting in my apartment was to decide what route was worthy. I don't know why the north face was calling to me, but a photo on Sky's site from a trip to the Price was probably part of the reason. Like usual when I suggest a non-standard route, Sky was willing to join in on the fun. We made a really late start Monday evening from the White Salmon lodge and made an early start at punishing ourselves for such a silly idea by picking one of the worst possible ways down into the valley. There's supposed to be a road that makes the schwack shorter and easier to take, but we must have been on the wrong one. We got a short night's sleep. The north face looked dismal from our camp, but since the alternative was a nasty schwack back to the car, we knew we had to get a closer look. We got our reward for persistence from the base of the face when we saw that it actually didn't look so bad after all. There were plenty of cracks on the lower part. If anyone tries this in late season like this, go to the east side of the lower field to minimize the crevasse negotiations. Above the lower part there was some impressive waterfall ice (~300ft?) that would have been sweet, but we went for a couloir to the climbers right which provided its own entertainment value. The upper part of the face presented little problem, aside from the parts that were solid ice. We topped out mid afternoon since I had entered slug mode somewhere during the middle of the climb. There was a bootpack that we followed around, hoping that we could get down the white salmon glacier or fischer chimneys. Sadly, the upper curtis had a crevasse which ran the entire width of the glacier, so both of those options were cut off. We had to make our way up hell's highway to get out, it seemed. It only had one short section of overhang (~15ft?) that had to be climbed up, otherwise there were no obstacles. The sulphide was an easy descent. We tried calling Ben Manfredi for a ride around the mountain, he sent us his friend Justin since he had to work the following day. Sky ran ahead to catch him while I lagged along, throwing up frequently due to dehydration (all of our water froze), exhaustion, and over-exertion. Sky made good time out, while I didn't. I thought it would be more entertaining to schwack out, to complete the cycle. I went down shannon ridge in a drainage after losing the trail, catching the trail again literally one or two minutes from the trailhead (I didn't even see the register). Extra thanks to Justin for saving us from hitchhiking all day today. And to everyone who didn't decide to answer my call for climbing partners: you missed out.
  23. Looking for an unemployed hardman for an epic trip next week, probably Mon-Tues, willing to let it go into Wednesday if necessary. Thinking about doing something stupid, so I'll need someone else there to tell search and rescue which crevasse my dead body is in. Possible ideas are Glacier Peak from Chiwawa River trailhead (since whitechuck and suiattle roads are washed out), or maybe north face of Shuksan? Or something crazy on Baker, like Roosevelt or Park glaciers? Or even coleman headwall. The possibilities are endless. PM me and we can decide on the dumbest possible thing to do.
  24. You should come along next weekend, Josh. The weather rules. Yeah, I appreciate skiing more when you can actually see the shape of the slope in front of you... less falling. But skiing in zero visibility is better than not skiing... for me, at least.
  25. So are you always this rude? Did anyone imply that we were expecting to stay dry somehow? We knew what we were getting into, we saw the winter storm warning and it just made us that much more excited. And there is real snow out there, if you have it in you to get above 6000'. I'm planning to head out next weekend. You're welcome to come along... maybe getting out into real weather will give you some perspective.
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