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Blake last won the day on March 28 2020

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About Blake

  • Birthday 04/09/1986


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  1. A friend and I did an elaborate hike last sumer which included visiting those lakes (upper lake has good fly fishing, lower is a bleak little cirque) and we had brought a light rope and some climbing gear. The face has a pretty big geologic transition running diagonally through it. The rock above looked atrocious, and the face is basically a series of ribs and gullies, the later of which were frequently shedding rocks. I think the best hope for a decent climb would be to try one of the far right side ribs, skirting around in from the right. I'd expect vegetated choss.
  2. That's the same gear spot that Max , etc, are referencing. I rapped over the pitch maybe 4-5 years ago, and it didn't take a blue metolius. Now it does, which is no surprise. The whole route is a lot cleaner and kind of smoothed out. A variety of small gear will work and it really isn't finicky or runout. Linking P2 and P3 still makes you use the hanging belay. Try linking P1+2 and P3+4. No lame belay stances. You can make the route a little harder but less rope drag by substituting that crux FOD pitch for P3 and P4 on TRL. Really short people can make a higher traverse left to end P5, without needing to do the span.
  3. Descend from the Booker-Buckner col, or on snow close to it, to an elevation equivalent to the toe of the glacier and the toe of the SE ridge. Then you can start contouring under the more NE glacier portion and heading up to the pass.
  4. If anyone needs a new shirt or wants a bumper sticker, some Alaska friends of Ryan's are making and selling them with the money to benefit Ryan's 2yr old son. https://www.facebook.com/Aurora-Projekt-111493205530459/
  5. Ryan Johnson was a good man. I met and climbed with him many years ago in the Utah desert, then we carpooled back to the NW after a bunch of climbing, racing back home in time for Thanksgiving in Washington. I remember we picked up another carpooler in Boise who we had found on Craigslist to split gas money, and the guy turned out to be an "adult model" photographer, with a variety of wild and crazy stories, though it was a relief when we dropped him off somewhere in Oregon... I remember how excited he was about the mountains around the Juneau Icefield and the Stikine area. It was because of his infectious psyche that I ended up making two trips to that region, and during one summer trip to the Mendenhall Towers, the weather was good enough for Ryan and a local friend to hire a helicopter ad come up and climb a route and camp alongside my partner and I. I saw and chatted a little with Ryan in the past few years, but last spring he bought a copy of my guidebook. My wife was searching via instagram and came across one of Ryan's posts which he had labelled #CascadesRock.I'm glad he got a kick out of the mailbox that day. I hope his collection of climbing guidebooks will go on to inspire someone else to great heights. I know the town and climber/skier community in Juneau will help nurture Ryan's young son Milo. Ryan also used to post to Cascade Climbers under the name AKIceBum, but he stayed above the fray and didn't post a ton.
  6. No, it's not. Because unlike the continuously overhung Salathe headwall, there's a spacious no-hands ledge with an existing belay bolt and possible gear placement on it. Now there's just a modern bolt as well. Having free-climbing belays at no-hands stances or ledges has been the standard for a while now. Only belaying (on a free ascent) at spots where the original aid ascent set up its belays (regardless of if that spot is hanging, or right below the free crux, off to the side and out of view, etc) would be odd, since the point is sending a series of high-quality free pitches, not recreating the FA aid experience in less comfortable footwear.
  7. Trip: Liberty Bell - Liberty Crack Free Date: 6/28/2016 Trip Report: Donni Reddington - http://www.donnireddington.com/ Liberty Crack, on the East Face of Liberty Bell, is one of the most famous routes in the pacific northwest. It's an obvious natural line up a proud feature. While researching the history of the route for a guidebook ( Cascades Rock ) I learned that the route had never seen a true free/redpoint ascent, but had been climbed *free* two times in two different ways, both with the crux pitch climbed on pre-place crack protection. My interest was piqued and I set out to try and make a free ascent of the wall. With some trepidation about sprucing up (altering) an optional belay on a classic route, I installed a new belay bolt high on the stance above the Lithuanian Lip and finger crack, just below where the bolt ladder begins and trends left. This new bolt supplements an older belay bolt, and a blue alien can be placed here as well. This comprises a free climbing belay for the backwards "C" shaped pitch around the bolt ladder. Nathan Hadley photo The following slab pitch is in the .12b/c range, and has 4 protection bolts. It would be possible to clip the first 3 of these bolts and then climb straight up to the anchors atop P3 of Freedom or Death or even climb into Thin Red Line. There was already one single bolt on this bolt-ladd-avoidance pitch (maybe an abandoned attempt?), but it was actually just beyond reach in an amazingly useless spot. It was removed from the pitch. This pitch features some amazing subtle patina crimps and a crucial thumb-press divot that looks like a jam cookie embedded into the wall. Nathan Hadley photo After equipping the pitch for freeclimbing, I returned to Liberty Crack with my friend Nathan Hadley to attempt a free ascent, sharing leads up the wall. Despite being new to the area and multipitch routes, Nathan is an impressive granite climber who has already flashed .12a at Index and recently joined me for day in Leavenworth, warming up by onsighting Rainshadow (5.12), the hardest pitch at Castle Rock. He works at the Seattle Bouldering Project and can pull much harder moves than I can. Being fairly new to trad and crack climbing, he would routinely stop mid pitch to ask me which cams were bigger or smaller than other cams, then proceed to fire in the wrong size and send anyway. He proved to be a great partner. Nathan and I needed to let the wall go into the shade, and we had ended up climbing the wall on a very warm day. After an 11AM start, we hiked up, deciding that I'd initially try the even numbered pitches, and Nathan the odd ones. We began climbing around noon, and were soon trying the Lithuanian Lip and tips crack (P2). My first couple attempts were pathetic. I was reluctant to whip onto the upside-down piton at the lip of the roof, and I was having a hard time switching gears from delicate stemming to full-on power mode out the roof. We traded lead attempts, and my on 3rd go I pulled the roof and barely missed sticking the first good finger lock out on the face. With a blood-curdling scream and a little profanity, I flew through the air and was soon lowered to the belay, again trading rope ends with Nathan. Nathan tried again, but was again unable to complete the pitch. I think that this particular crux sequence is harder for lanky/taller folks. I racked up for my 4th go of the day (now probably about 3:30PM) with our small selection of gear (along with the 3 pins and a bolt, we were using one green alien in the roof, then one red c3, one green c3, and one small stopper). This time I was really really angry. I hadn't come this close on a pitch and then fallen off in a long time. My patience was worn thin and I was ready to be done. I managed to stick the kneebar and pull out and over the roof on try #4. With Nathan screaming me on, I linked a couple sections of .12- tips crack up to the belay. I hauled our gear and belayed Nathan, who was still just shy of making these moves free. I know he'll be able to get them after some skin recovery and another couple days on the pitch. He gamely said he wanted to continue up the wall swapping leads as we'd planned, and off he went on the slab. He had a couple slips on the 5.12 slab, which were likely due to simple fatigue, heat, or wanting to move very fast on my account. I came pinging off the wall after the jam-cookie thumbpress, but ticked a few more small holds, lowered down, and managed to send the pitch on the 2nd go. Now just the long 5.11c/d pitch remained, but it was around 5pm and some sprinkles of rain began. I hadn't taken off my shoes before I was racked up to lead. Just above the first fixed copperhead, I could feel myself sweating off the quartz edges and unable to clip a bolt while freeing. I aided up to hang a draw on the pitch's lone bolt, and lowered back down. Now armed with a little more courage but still sweating buckets and fairly exhausted, I started up the pitch. Despite some nervousness I managed to get past the 2 fixed heads and fire in a textbook #3 camalot. Thinking the pitch was over, I relaxed for a few bodylengths until things steepened again, and I found myself with a very real possibility of a big whipper onto a questionable brass wire, arms failing and sweat pouring into my eyes. I tried to get my breathing under control, placed a stopper (of course filling the best lock), and actually downclimbed and upclimbed about 4 times to try and get a decent shakeout. I could not get ANY power back and was feeling properly worried about blowing the whole ascent. In desperation I removed the stopper I'd been trusting for pro, which allowed me better purchase into the crack, and deadpointed with everything I could muster, barely sticking a finger lock near a half-driven angle piton. I again came within a hair of whipping off the pitch near the end, stabbing my cramping arms toward a finger lock while sketched out above a purple C3. The mix of too many layers of clothing, too tight of shoes for too long, and some late day adrenaline surges, had all turned this pitch into one of the hardest fought battles I'd done in a while. I belayed up Nathan while I caught my breath. It was almost 6pm and we'd have about 7 pitches and many rappels to manage with 3.5 hours of daylight and one headlamp. Luckily, the route massively kicks back after this point, and despite some rain drops here and there, we topped out at dusk and managed the dark descent ok. Drinking chocolate milk and sharing some Ramen back at the car around midnight, the moon illuminated the east face of Liberty Bell and I never thought that 25 cent noodles had tasted so good. Andy Porter Image A little history: Brooke Sandahl had sent the route with pre-placed protection on the crux crack pitch, and then freeclimbed where the bolt ladder ascends, backing up the original bolt hangers with a short bit of fixed line. Mikey Schaefer had sent the roof/crack pitch with protection in place, and then followed/TRed the erstwhile protectionless slab to the right of the bolt ladder. (this topo is wrong) Both then went on the complete the next long 5.11c/d pitch and the entirety of the route. My only minor improvement in style was to place the protection on the crux pitch. Though with such a short pitch and some pins and a bolt, there isn't much protection needed. 25 years ago, famous Oregon/California climber Brooke Sandahl and a couple friends set out to free the route. They used portaledges 150' up and spent a few days working the route. Brooke was generous enough to provide some photos and an account of their time on the route. Brooke: Yes, sent the roof with the gear left in place! I graded it 5.13a - and I tend to grade things for someone with no knowledge of the route (ie trying it onsight) who would go up there and figure out the sequences and place the gear on lead. I think if that was done - then 13a is fairly close! Generally I could care less about grades/numbers, I use them only to give people a general indication of around what difficulty they may find. I had done a number of 13a's onsight at that point...but wasn't even close to doing the roof (even) in a day, (took me three days of cleaning, placing the gear, rehearsing and then sending) - regardless its a really cool sequence of moves! Bolt Ladder: I followed the old devil horns (1/4" bolts), very closely & just under them on the original aid ladder. They were in very poor shape, some more than halfway pulled out & seriously bent over...so I didn't want to fall on them and pull them all the way out or slam in a bunch of new ones. To me, part of the allure of an alpine route is using the things you find along the way. Those original bolts had a lot of history and character...and they were part of that route, if one pulled while you were climbing...then you'd have to improvise ( way before cheater sticks were common place) to get past it to the next bolt or not. Didn't feel like it was my call to alter this for others. I also didn't think people would be lining up anytime soon too free the route either and my assumption was correct...as I think Mikey is the only one to even get tr linkage. The bolt ladder section is pretty freakin' hard...but totally my kind of climbing, bouldery, on really small crimps..and I did it my first try with the rope on (after totally dialing it the day before). Again, since I went through it first go I felt it to be around 12c. But, its pretty low percentage, easy climbing to fall off of & condition dependent...so may in fact be harder than the roof section itself?? To me personally the roof section felt a bit harder! Again, need more people doing it to really reach a concensus! I was really stoked to get through it first try...as I could see flailing on that thing pretty easily! Mikey Schaefer : I quickly free climbed up to the lip and promptly pulled on a few pieces up and over the lip again. I continued on to the bolt by the little stance and had Kate lower me from there. I made sure all of the gear was where I wanted as I went by. A pinkpoint attempt would have to do right now.Back at the lower belay I pulled the rope, gave myself a little inward motivational talk, laced my shoes a little tighter and started upwards. For some reason I had the heebee jeebess inside me, which is something I usually only get when I've been trying really hard to redpoint a pitch. At this point my attachment to sending this pitch wasn't that high so I was surprised to feel this way.As I reached the base of the roof a strong breeze kicked up cooling the stale morning heat. I stuck the entry sequence better than I had previously and was quickly and blindly pinky locking over the roof. A few primal screams, a heal hook and deadpoint to the good lock brought me over the roof. I shook out from the good lock in a state of amazement wondering how the hell I just pulled that off. Kate says I have a knack for pulling shit out of my ass, this may have been one of those times. I finished up the next short tricky sections with less thrutching than expected. I chilled out on the stance for a bit trying to decide what to do. I ended up yarding past the original bolts to get to the anchor on top of pitch 2. Kate quickly followed with some good french free technique.I had to figure out what to do about the steep slab section below. There was no way I was going to lead that thing and I really doubted that Brooke Sandahl (who did the FFA) had lead that pitch with the single bolt. [He had not] He must of done some sort of monkey trick to protect it. I had heard stories of him fixing a line from some anchor and using that for pro but I had always figured that was for the section past the Lithuanian Lip. I have no idea what he did but I don't know of many people that would lead that pitch in it's current state. If it were me doing the FFA I would of had a total of 4 bolts protecting the slab. I need to email Brooke and find out more details.I decided I would have to settle for the toprope for the time being if I could even pull that off. After an hour or so of toiling on the pitch yesterday I still had a couple moves I couldn't do and a move I only pulled off once. As I lowered down with my nose 6 inches away from the rock inspecting every fleck, chip or bump for potential I realized this was going to be really hard. I worked the upper moves on the pitch for almost an hour before I could figure out the 10 foot traverse back to the anchor. This was the move I couldn't do yesterday so I figured I had it in the bag after lapping the move 3 times in a row. After a short rest I lowered down to give the whole pitch a burn. To my dismay I fell off the lower portion of the slab over and over and over again. I had done this part somewhat casually yesterday but that was in the shade. It was now approaching noon and with high's in the 80's things weren't feeling very sticky. I can't even count how many times it took me to figure out the moves on the lower bit. Again after 3 straight laps I figured I had it wired. Up at the belay I rested for awhile pondering my chances of sending. I wouldn't of put 5 bucks on the table saying I'd send next go. But luckily i beat my own odds on my next attempt. It had all the makings of good redpoint (though i was only on TR) , blown sequences, deadpoints to crappy holds, fighting back the urge of the Elvis leg and just barely sketching it out to the belay. I was glad to have that one over. Even though it wasn't in the best style I'll take it for what its worth given the lack of info and time I could put into it. The pitch could really use some more bolts if anyone besides the likes of Tommy or Honnold are going to go up there and truly redpoint it.
  8. I've recently completed a new guidebook to the Cascades, designed to cover every worthwhile, good, and great multipitch climb in the range. I'm teaming up with the Washington Climbers Coalition and the AAC to throw a series of FREE VIDEO + GUIDEBOOK PREMIERE EVENTS with FREE BEER and with HUGE GEAR RAFFLES to benefit climbing access in the PNW. Tuesday 2/23 - Seattle - Dinner Party and slideshow hosted by climber-turned-Iron-Chef-turned-dirtbag-climber Maria Hines at her restaurant in Ballard. This is the only non-free event, but is an amazing deal and should be a really great party with many of the prominent PNW photographers and folks who have contributed to the guidebook. ( $40 for all courses and drinks! ) [img:center]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mEkd6kErjgs/Vl45Le26pNI/AAAAAAAAMC4/FWqNG_daGBA/s800/Dinner%2BFlyer%2Bfor%2BMH_JPG.jpg[/img] Wed 2/24 - Bellingham - Stuart Range climbing film premiere, guidebook slideshow, and huge raffle for the Washington Climbers Coalition. First 20 people get a free book! [img:center]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1B0kvssORJ4/VrKHFpenqiI/AAAAAAAANjc/RoC2EwGGiUw/s800/Bellingham%2BFlyer.png[/img] Thursday 2/25 - Seattle - Seattle Bouldering Project hosts a free basement party with beer, a taco truck on hand, gear and shoe demos, video premiere, guidebook slideshow, and AAC raffle. [img:center]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ug6Z1igyTgk/Vquwka-2wQI/AAAAAAAANa0/Bl548pok0RA/s800/NW%2BGUIDEBOOK%2BPOSTER%2B%25281%2529.jpg[/img] Wednesday 3/16 - Leavenworth - Leavenworth Mountain Association's Winter Party Leavenworth Mountain Association's winter party will be a free slideshow and guidebook release party + raffle to benefit the ongoing Icicle Canyon cleanup efforts and the costs of having summer outhouses throughout the canyon. Lasagna and Salad dinner w/$10 donation [img:center]http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/500/12658045_942611842440959_9150112550502678114_o.jpg[/img] Wednesday 3/23 - Seattle - Vertical World hosts a guidebook premiere, film screening, and party with free beer and a gear raffle to benefit the Washington Climbers Coalition. [img:center]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8Ron6GjqbIs/VquyJ5GDr5I/AAAAAAAANbA/2ZGDCmy_fdA/s800/12322547_10156297927525322_5158347116988759886_o.jpg[/img] Thurs 3/24 - Redmond/Bellevue - East side Vertical World hosts the Stuart Range film premiere, guidebook release party, and huge raffle. Monday 3/28 - Beaverton, OR - Stoneworks climbing gym will host the Portland area Stuart Range climbing film premiere, guidebook release party, raffle benefit for the American Alpine Club live your Dream Grant, and kegs will be on hand. Wed 3/30 - Portland Oregon - Base Camp Brewing Base Camp Brewing and the Portland Rock Gym will be pouring beer (food on site as well) and hosting a video premiere and climbing guidebook release party and slideshow, with a raffle to benefit Portland Mountain Rescue and the AAC Live your Dream Grant in the PNW. [img:center]http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/500/medium/12322762_540472712793985_3825113308782603593_o1.jpg[/img] Mon. 4/18 - Spokane - Hosted by Mountain Gear and the Spokane Mountaineers. Video premiere, guidebook slideshow, and gear raffle. Sat 5/14 - Mazama - Hosted by the Goat's Beard outdoor store and the Mazama Community Center. Join for BERR, PIZZA dinner, video premiere, and guidebook slideshow.
  9. Unless driving conditions are ideal I wouldn't suggest it. We went in to the Sorcerer last February in far snowier conditions and had no trouble in Subaru Outback. I'm 99% sure we drove the standard "North Ghost" approach, but then had to park a mile or two before where someone in a hi-clearance 4WD car could get to, but the subsequent walk was flat. We used hefty trash bags to keep our feet dry on a couple shallow stream wadings. Maybe the roads all degraded over the summer, but there are multiple approach roads for the area, so maybe the road the John and his friends drove was different than our road. (The Waiparous Option sounds more like 5.10 driving...) Great photos! The top pitch on the Sorcerer was wild.
  10. NEMO Moki 3 person expedition 4-season tent. Newly updated '15/'16 model. Totally new - includes all original packaging, vestivuble, repair kit, etc. Also includes a used extra vestibule, extra set of poles and an additional floor/footprint from a previous generation. The tent itself is $850 in stores. Warranteed for life by an American company. (NEMO is based in Nw Hampshire) $499 - Free delivery to the Seattle area or $29 shipping CONUS Thanks
  11. I think you forgot to mention willingness to TALK REAL LOUD ABOUT WEDDER ALL DA TIME
  12. I just hope it was someone with a classy first name. Something like Claunch, Ome, Wolf, Lage, or Helmy.
  13. I was recently talking with a friend about pitches that might not be sandbagged or even truly hard for the grade, but are particularly tough onsights, or good pitches to sandbag a visiting climber or win a bet when when you stick a 5.12 climber on a 5.11- and promise them free dinner if they send first go. Here were a few we thought of, but I'd love to know what other pitches come to mind: Eldo - Fire and Ice 5.11d - This one's bolted but still shuts down a ton of strong folks. Squamish - Daily Planet .12a (pretty much comes down to 1 inobvious boulder problem, but not another layback treadmill) Index - Newest Industry .11a - almost all bolted, not steep, and not pumpy. Still not easy. Vantage - Stemmin Ms - slick and weird Little Si - Propaganda - techery on a wall of power endurance
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