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jeffh

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About jeffh

  • Rank
    journeyman
  • Birthday 09/30/1968

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  • Occupation
    Sales
  • Location
    SW Washington
  1. Trip: North Cascades - Pickets Traverse-Little Beaver to Sourdough Trail Date: 7/18/2013 Trip Report: DonnV and I recently completed a North to South Pickets Traverse starting at Little Beaver and ending on the Sourdough Creek Trail. We had eight fantastic days of weather, seven outstanding bivy sites, tagged the summits of Whatcom and Swiss and only experienced “a few route finding” issues. I could have not asked for a better trip with a great friend. Donn and I try to make one big trip together each summer. Plans were made earlier in the year and we spent the first couple of weeks in July watching the weather and waiting for the first good window to head out. Fortunately, the forecast came together and we left Vancouver, Washington Wednesday, July 17th, secured permits and spent the night at the Newhalem Campground. An early morning boat taxi delivered us and our heavy packs to the Little Beaver trailhead in high spirits. 14 miles later we dropped our packs at Twin Rocks Camp and soon had our feet cooling in the river. That night, a local squirrel took pity on the size of my pack and after chewing a hole in the side, deposited a few ounces of my trail mix into Donn's boot. Needless to say, I wrote these off but my pack did feel a bit better. The next day we made our way up to Whatcom Pass and eventually up and over the North Ridge of Whatcom Peak. Donn had done this route a couple of times and I could tell by his whistling that he was having a blast. I myself spent a fair amount of it testing each handhold and trying to enjoy the views below. Things went well and soon we were both standing on the summit. After relaxing for a bit, we headed down to Perfect Pass reminding ourselves that the "hardest physical day" was behind us. Looking back, that might have been a stretch. My kind of weather forecast Approaching Whatcom Whatcom Traverse Donn on summit of Whatcom Perfect Pass Saturday morning we slept in but soon gathered our stuff and made our way up the Challenger Glacier to the West-Middle notch, made one rap and traversed over to Phantom arm. This was fairly easy travel although we could have stayed a bit higher and not lost so much elevation. Regardless, the views were great and we were in an area neither of us had ever been before. Considering how many trips Donn has made into the Pickets, this is saying a lot. Once on Phantom arm, we found a relatively flat spot to set up camp and soak up the scenery. It was about this time I realized my error in math and that I was carrying way too many bars. This subject is usually one that comes up a lot on our trips to help pass the time and I determined right then and there that I would not give Donn the satisfaction of seeing me carry a bunch of paydays all the way back to my car. Before arriving at camp the next day, I successfully ate 10 king sized bars. I was back on track. Challenger Glacier Middle-West Challenger Notch Phantom Arm Camp Sunday morning arrived late again for us (it was a nice theme for the entire trip), and we made our way over to Pickell Pass and then up to the summit of Swiss Peak. We found a perfect place to bivy not far from the top which was for me the best place we camped the whole trip. Luck would have it that the full moon was out and it put on a great show for the evening. Neither of us turned on a headlamp the whole trip due to the light it put off each evening. What an amazing place to spend the evening. Gully from Pickell Pass to Swiss Donn on summit of Swiss Swiss Summit Bivy Moon over Fury Southern Pickets Sunset from Swiss Monday morning came and although we had discussed the idea of climbing W Fury and traversing over to Picket Pass by the high route, I convinced Donn that the 7 hours Becky lists for this accomplishment would be more like 2 days for me, especially with a heavy pack. Besides, I told him there was a really nice waterfall we would be missing out on. I’m sure he saw though my bs but down we went into The Goodell Cirque. Snow made this relatively easy but when that ran out, the steep heather near the bottom reminded us that nothing ever seems simple in the Pickets. We ended up doing two short raps to clear a small cliff area and get over the moat. From there, it was typical loose rock with a short section of trees/brush until we could get to the snow-filled gully that would be the easiest way back up to Picket Pass. Fortunately, the gully still had enough snow to make it passable but just barely. Near the top, one section with especially narrow cliff walls had melted out except for a thin bridge with a big hole underneath it. It was here that I was really glad to have eaten as many bars the day before to lighten my pack. Donn cruised it as usual and stopped to take a picture of me. I carefully climbed over it and then just kept going for about 20 yards to get as far away from it as I could. (I do my best to keep him entertained on these extended trips). From here it was up to Picket Pass and then on to Frenzel Camp for the night. Donn was really looking forward to spending the night here as he had done once before a few years ago after spending 3 nights in a storm atop Fury. I must say, it is a very special place indeed. Snow Filled Gully on Way to Picket Pass The Bridge...picture doesn't really give it justice Frenzel Camp Air pillow in the Pickets-5 star living Tuesday was one of those days on this trip where I had mixed emotions. I was excited to cross the McMillian Cirque but I also knew we had to cross under the McMillian Glacier. I like to be in control of things but once you are under an icefall, you kinda leave that control up to luck. In any case, I could put that thinking off for the morning as Donn had explained the fortunes we had in that we would not have to descend from Picket Pass and instead we would traverse onto the Mustard Glacier and basically “run down” most of the descent. (He also reminded me that today was a negative elevation gain, so shit, that must make it pretty easy). In any case, there may have been a couple of slots on the Mustard that held us up from running right out of the gate but sure enough, there was plenty of time to enjoy the walk down the glacier. When we ran out of snow, we found the ledge that led to the gully that leads to the Degenhardt Glacier Lake. We dropped below the barricade and made our way up a stream bed that eliminated the need to deal with the brush. From here, we crossed a sketchy gully on wet rock, jumped the stream and moved as fast as possible to get beyond the ice fall. The mountain reminded us early that this is not really a place for people to hang out for any length of time but soon enough we were looking back on a path I was happy to be behind us. I made the mistake of saying it was “cruiser” from here on out as in a short distance, we ran into a section of broken slab that turned out to be the most challenging aspect of the day. A deep gorge prevented us from bypassing it below, we couldn’t find a path through the cracks above and we started to think that given the time of day, we may be setting up camp right there. Fortunately, Donn finally found a horn we could rap off and after displaying a textbook belly rap so I wouldn’t pull the sling off, we were in the slabs and onto friendly terrain. A middle finger later letting the Cirque know how I felt, we turned South and headed up to Stetattle Ridge and McMillian Camp. While kicking steps after a long day is never really any fun, I had a warm feeling in my heart knowing I was not camping back where we had just been. Mustard Glacier-Almost ready for the run down Gully Crossing Happy to be past the gully Happier to be past the glacier Broken Slabs Rap into Slabs Extremely Happy to be past the Slabs Wednesday morning we headed down Stetattle Ridge planning to get as far as we could so that our last day would be as close to burgers and fries as possible. This ridge is very scenic and a joy to travel. Things were “cruising” right along until we got to the spot to get around Elephant Butte and a couple of cliff bands you have to get through. Having printed off directions from Routes and Rocks, we followed them until we found a well traveled boot path that looked like the golden ticket. It ended up going down a steep tree/brush gulley that had enough vegetation abuse to convince us we were on the right path. After dropping a couple of hundred feet, it cliffed out and we realized it was a dead end. Guess we added to the illusion that it was the right path. We climbed back out and spend a fair amount of time looking for the right path. Eventually we realized it was much easier than we expected (or is described in the R&R) and we made our way to a final camp in the high country. Elephant Butte and Stetattle Ridge Donn on Stetattle Ridge Cliff bands that gave us issues below Elephant Butte Tree Gully - Don't Go Here Last Camp Stetattle Ridge/Sourdough Ridge Almost Home On our last day, with packs almost empty of bars, we made our way off Stetattle Ridge and eventually dropped down onto the Sourdough trail. While only 4 miles to the trailhead, it felt a lot longer on legs that had been worked hard for 8 days. Once out, we still needed to get a ride back to my car parked at the Ross Lake Trailhead Overlook. We had written a sign on the back of one of our maps stating “Ross Lake 6 Miles”. The plan was for me to walk to the highway and hitch a ride. Twenty seconds after dropping my pack and heading off, I held the paper up to a truck driving through the town of Diablo wishing for at most a ride to the highway. Not only did the driver (Aaron?) stop, he helped load both of our packs into his truck, offered us water and drove us all the way back to my car. It could not have worked any better. I can’t thank him enough! All in all a fantastic trip in an awesome place with a great friend. Gear Notes: ax, alum crampons, rope, couple pieces and slings, alpine rated blow up pillow Approach Notes: Boat taxi to Little Beaver
  2. [TR] A Redoubt Loop - 7/2/2011

    An awesome trip for sure! Access Creek last year, Lake Fork this year. Can't wait to see what you come up with for next year's "interesting" approach! Seriously, any suffering that took place was quickly forgotten as the camps, views, and the summit of Redoubt were worth every minute. Besides, coming down with all the extra bars was more painful (both physically and mentally) than any of the approach work we did. At least it wasn't dog pork in the pack... I'm pretty sure I might have won at least ONE of the rock throwing contests and I know for sure I whined as much, if not more than you Donn. The only reason you didn't hear it was that you were way out front most of the time. Thanks for a great trip and especially driving your van. If we had taken my car, it would still be up there!
  3. Thanks for a GREAT trip Donn! Not only were my expectations exceeded on this outing, they were blown away. What an amazing place to visit and I feel very fortunate to have gotten my first taste of it with an incredible climbing partner. Looking back, even the grunt up Access Creek wasn't that bad, but that might have more to do with the fact that for three years, I had been wanting to do this trip. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes the second time around. Also, thanks for taking the scenic descent off Fury so I would have a better idea of where to go in the future. I know you would have been able to enjoy your cigar hours earlier if we had taken the snow finger but hey, you can never really get enough of those Southern Picket views, right? Plus, think of all that extra side hilling we would have missed out on... A few thoughts: I wore tennis shoes on the 11 mile hike up and back on the Beaver Creek trail and loved every minute of it. Ipod, (is it the 11th essential?) No matter how cold the lake is, you gotta jump in. Completes the trip. Thanks for not telling me how cold it was after you jumped in first Donn.
  4. My bad. As the subject line says August 11th. Typing was not my strong point in skool.
  5. found someone, no longer looking
  6. Looking for one other 7-14 year old who wants to go in on the 2x2 pass for $222 at Mt Hood Meadows. Needs to be purchased by Nov 16th. PM me if interested. thanks
  7. mt adams condition

    Conditions for skiing the South Spur are in great shape as of today. Even the SW Chutes look good. Very little wind after sunrise. On way down, made it past the around the mountain trail junction before having to hike back to the car, although the skis took a few rock hits near the end. Nothing a file can't fix. Picture or two in gallery.
  8. FS: La Sportiva Trango EVO GTX

    boots are sold
  9. FS: La Sportiva Trango EVO GTX

    Mens's US 9 1/2
  10. Size 42 1/2 Almost brand new. Less than 20 trail miles put on them. Love the boots. Boots not showing the love back. Retail $275 Will sell for $150. Have pictures if interested. May be able to deliver if you live between Longview, WA and Roseburg Oregon.
  11. Fat Ski Purchase-What and Why?

    Actually, I buy my coffee from Costco in the 3lb can. Beemer? No, it might require putting on chains on the way to the mountain and I wouldn't want to worry about cleaning my climbing boots off before I get into it. My escapes are probably 8 years old which I like because I no longer worry if I hit a rock or two. If I do, I fix them myself. The term "all mountain" would indicate that I would like something that can do just that. Might not be the perfect ski for powder or steep ice, but can be used for both. I realize that I would probably be satisfied with just about anything as most modern equipment is pretty good. I am just seeking other peoples experiences before I go out and drop a few hundred dollars on some after the season promotion (notice it is sale time). Also, I was serious about seeing if anyone had a used pair they were looking to unload. Guess you missed the sarcasm in my original post. Cheers.
  12. Time to face the facts. Everybody needs at least three pairs of skis these days and I find myself lacking. Currently have K2 Escapes (181) for the resorts and K2 Shuksans (174) for the backcountry. I would like to find a pair of fat skis to complete the trifecta. Thinking about something in the 180-185 length range (I'm 5'8'') with a basic "all-mountain" capability. Bonus points if they perform better on the steeps/hardpack (yeah, I know, hard to find in Oregon but I sometimes find myself at a "real resort") So, if your currently skiing on some, what do you have and why do you like them? Have an extra pair you want to sell cheap......Cheers!
  13. Best solo route in Washington

    Thanks for the ideas everyone! Got an area picked out and will try to post some pics after the weekend. Cheers
  14. Looking for ideas for a strenuous 2 to 3 day solo trip in the North Cascades. Main goal is to spend some quality time outdoors with great views/camping spots. Ok with some class 4 stuff, but not looking to stress myself out too much. (Read:want to come home to child) Any ideas/thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers
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