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About Mark_L

  • Birthday 10/04/1959


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    Math and Chemistry Teacher
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    Seattle Washingon

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  1. Trip: Clemenceau Icefield - Various Climbs Date: 7/20/2014 Trip Report: On July 18, 4 Canadians and 3 Americans converged in Golden, BC on the residence of David P. Jones and Joie Seagram for the latest installment of "David P. Jones' Flying Circus". Our plan was to spend 2 weeks in the Clemenceau Icefield area where David was planning to do some research and take pictures for his upcoming guidebooks to the Canadian Rockies. After a 120 km drive along the shores of Kinbasket Lake, we arrived at our helicopter pickup site where we were met by Mark of Alpine Helicopters along with David's friend Colby and a client that he was guiding up Mt. Clemenceau. By coordinating with other parties, we were able to save a considerable amount of cost for what is usually a prohibitively expensive helicopter ride into this remote area. After 3 flights, the group was all assembled at basecamp on a shelf above the Cummins Glacier. Over the next 2 weeks, a number of summits were attained including Tusk Peak by the SW ridge, Shipton (peak 3030)by both the N Ridge and by the NE Face (FA by Robb Schnell and Mark Landreville), Mt. Clemenceau via the W Face/W Ridge, Irvine, Morrison, Sharp and the NE ridge of Mt. Shackleton. We were picked up and flown out on August 2, just as the weather was deteriorating again. SW ridge of Tusk Peak on the right skyline. [img:center]http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/500/Tusk01.jpg[/img] Approaching the couloir to the SW Ridge of Tusk Peak. Jim Ruch in the couloir. Carl Diedrich on the rock step on the SW Ridge of Tusk Peak. Jim high on Tusk Peak. Carl and Jim on the summit of Tusk Peak. The East Face of Mt. Clemenceau. Looking North from Tusk Peak. Duplicate Mountain in the foreground. A July storm made for a brief interruption in the climbing. Drying out and preparing to climb Mt. Clemenceau. Crossing the Clemenceu icefield toward the West Face of Mt. Clemenceau. Delightful Canadian Rockies scree. The West Face of Mt. Clemenceau from high camp. The route weaves around icefalls to reach the ridge on the left and then goes to the upper summit glacier. Team Canada at Clemenceau high camp. L-R, David Jones, Lyle Rotter, Gord Bose, Robb Schnell and Jeff Nazarchuck. Team Geologist Jeff, shows some prehistoric ripples in the ocean bottom. Getting a predawn start on the Tiger Glacier. Bypassing some seracs on the way up to the W. Ridge. Jim and Carl happy to be above the worst of the crevasses. Team Canada leading the way over the Bergschrund. The final summit ridge of Mt. Clemenceau. We climbed one at a time to the fragile summit cornice. Heading back down the summit ridge of Mt. Clemenceau. Happy to be back over the snowbridges by noon. Returning to base camp. Robb at the start of the NE face of Mt. Shipton. Crossing the bergschrund on the NE face of Mt. Shipton. Above the schrund on the white highway to the sky. Robb showing how they do it in Banff! Mark on the Summit of Shipton. Pic Tordu from the summit of Mt. Shipton. Gear Notes: Standard glacier/rock/ice gear. Knifeblade pitons essential for rappel anchors. Pick up the single malt scotch at the duty free before crossing the border. Approach Notes: If you don't coordinate your heli flights with other parties going to/coming from nearby locations, the cost is prohibitive. Otherwise the approach involves crossing water and horrendous BC bush.
  2. I did it about this time last year. It had a double, (soon to be triple) bergschrund. Getting into the couloir was pretty reasonable via the rock on the right, it was probably in the 5.6 - 5.7 range. A small rack was adequate. The upper part of the couloir was bare ice, with rockfall coming down once the sun hit. It would obviously be a good idea to get up the thing before the sun. In September, that's easily done. Keep in mind also that this is a considerably lower snow year than last year along with a sustained drought/heatwave since late May. Unfortunately, the couloir is well hidden and you can't really see its condition until you are right underneath it, unlike the regular North Face which currently looks pretty unappetizing. Hope that helps. Mark
  3. "But dude what about the Throne???!! The Throne did NOT look appealing from our side." The other side of the Throne has a good route, the East ridge I believe. The rock is quite enjoyable on it. (easy 5th class) Good work on Monarch. I've been up there several times but Monarch has eluded me so far. I'll bet Bill had lots of stories to entertain you all with.
  4. Cost varies depending on whether you can piggyback on someone else's flight in or out. We got flights in when ACC camps were flying out from somewhere and vice versa. It was about $350 per person. The helicopter is a big heli ski rig so it can carry 4 with gear comfortably, 5 if you go super light. If the West side road on the Columbia weren't washed out in 9 places, it would be about a 5 hour hike. If you were really feeling ambitious and had a watercraft, you could paddle/sail/motor across Kinbasket Lake to get to the trail.
  5. Trip: Selkirk Range - Adamant Range Traverse - Gothics Date: 7/25/2009 Trip Report: On July 25, Carl from Sandpoint ID,Kale from Bonner's Ferry ID and I flew from Kinbasket Lake up to the Moraine below Friendship col. Our plan was to do the fabled Adamant - Austerity Traverse. After setting up basecamp, we climbed to the Gothics Glacier via Friendship Col and hiked to the top of Sentinel Peak to have a look at what we were in for. It didn't look promising, as the glaciers were very broken up and snowbridges were going or gone. Here is a view of the Adamant group from the Granite Glacier. The sharp peak on the left end is the Stickle. Kale suggested that rather than just climb Mt. Adamant via the Granite Glacier, which appeared to be probably impassible, we should start at Pioneer Peak which anchors the East end of the Adamant Group and traverse the entire group, including the seldom climbed Stickle. (We later observed during the traverse that the N. ridge route was completely swept by a massive slab avalanche set off by an enormous serac fall.) In order to do this, we would have to rappel the 210 meter ice face below the summit of Pioneer Peak. Here is Kale rappelling the ice face. He did a brilliant job of engineering the rappels. The ice was well frozen and we used Abalokov anchors to get down it. After going over the bergschrund and pulling our ropes, we effectively cut off our retreat and were obligated to make it work. Our next problem was to get up the drippy ice covered with sugar snow and festooned with slots to get on to the rock on the Stickle. Here is Carl on mixed ground leading to the rock. The rock climbing was considerably more difficult than the 5.0 stated in the guidebook, (more like 5.7) but after a few routefinding false starts we made it to the summit. Here is Carl and I on the summit of the Stickle. Several extremely steep rappels off of the summit brought us in to the basin between the Stickle and a rocky crest that connected to the E. ridge of Adamant. We traversed a very steep knife edge snow ridge. This was one of the more elegant spots on the traverse. Kale is here in the lead. This is looking back at Carl. We thought that the rocky crest that we reached would be easier going, but the crest was gendarmed and we had to traverse the South side of it on very loose exposed rock and steep fluted snow. We reached a notch under the E. peak of Adamant as daylight was waning and decided that we weren't going to be spending the night on the summit of Adamant. There was a ledge under the notch that wasn't especially spacious, but did have a nice view of Mt. Sir Sanford. The following morning, we rappeled off of the ridge into the basin beneath the East and Main peaks of Adamant. We were able to get over the bergschrund via the only remaining snow bridge and summitted on Adamant by the upper North Ridge. We were now on known terrain, but we still had a ways to go. There were more overhanging rappells. (All of the rappells were that way.) The next summit was Turret. We napped for about an hour on the comfortable summit. After that it was on to Austerity. Austerity offered another comfortable summit for napping. It also had the most elaborate summit register. Its one of the milk runs for the guides. They'll have to work harder to get their clients up there this year with the condition of the Granite Glacier however. We did our first non-overhanging rappels down the West Ridge of Austerity. (Looks like an enjoyable climb.) and continued on to Ironman, which anchors the West end of the main Adamant peaks. An interesting mixed move from the snow finger brought us to the top of Ironman. We rappeled and downclimbed the ridge that descends Ironman and divides 2 branches of the Granite glacier. This culminated in a rappel down some steep ice and a glissade over the bergschrund to get to the lower part of the Granite Glacier below Unicorn Peak and the Horn. We found a comfortable camp in the scree between the upper margin of the glacier and the peaks of Unicorn and the Horn. The following day we did leisurely ascents of the Horn and Unicorn Peak. We still had to cross the apparently very crevassed Granite Glacier to get back to camp and we decided to get an early start the following morning due to the horrible snow conditions. We heard later on that it hit 103 in Seattle. The glacier crossing was much easier than we anticipated and we arrived back at basecamp by 8 AM. Still early enough for our first coffee in 4 days. Later that afternoon, Kale's friend from Fernie, Louisa dropped in to join us, having gotten in on a flight to an ACC camp. She entertained us with various off color jokes along with jokes about Canadians. (She hails from England) We spent the following week swimming in the nearby lake, resting and doing some fabulous rock climbs in the Gothics. Approaching Gibralter Peak. The Toadstool is the little bump to the right of Gibralter. Carl and I climbed the N. face of Gibralter which involved launching from the edge of a moat onto an incredible splitter crack. Kale and Louisa climbed the Toadstool and raved about the quality of the rock on it. After a couple of days of questionable weather, we all reunited on the Gothics Glacier for another day of spectacular climbing on the E. peak of the Gothics. Here is the ice ridge that leads to the rock. Louisa on the stellar rock on the upper part of E. Gothics Peak. We then concluded the day with a mass ascent of Pioneer Peak via the mixed upper East Ridge. Kale and Louisa remained up on the Gothics Glacier that evening and the next day traversed Pythias and the Houdini Needles to Mt. Quadrant. We got an early flight back to Kinbasket Lake on Saturday, August 8th Gear Notes: For the Adamants traverse: small mid 5th class rock rack. 2 ice screws ice hammer for leader. seconds followed with ice axe. flukes all around 2 60 m 8.1 mm ropes made for exciting overhanging rappels Gothics climbs: rock shoes make it fun Approach Notes: Alpine Helicopters of Golden BC. will shuttle you in from Kinbasket lake. Its a 15 minute flight.
  6. Forgot your crampons did you Bill? I know you better than that. Good way to save weight. I was not too far from you, climbing the East Peak of the Gothics on that day. Report forthcoming.
  7. Nice photo essay. Looks completely different from when I was up there several days earlier. I especially liked the picture of the old Forrest ice axe. Was Kip (the volunteer ranger) up there to make sure everybody was tucked in for the night?
  8. I've ascended and descended the gully left of the couloir years ago with a single 150 ft rope. It did take several rappels, but I recall that the anchors connected up. The climbing wasn't any harder than 4th class. It is definitely loose in places.
  9. It was good stepkicking at the bottom, dirty (but soft) ice in the middle (sometimes hollow too), and firm neve at the top. Surprisingly good considering the heatwave weather. The night was cool, probably because it was so clear.
  10. Trip: Mt. Buckner - N. Face Couloir Date: 8/5/2008 Trip Report: On August 5th, David Nicholson and I left our bivi at the base of Sahale Peak and climbed over Sahale on to the base of Boston Peak to the Boston Glacier. We had to do a little poking around to find the route as, much to David's dismay we didn't write down the route description from Nelson's book. We continued across the Boston Glacier eying the N. Face of Buckner and pondering whether we should go for the N. face proper or the N. Couloir. The N. Face didn't look all that inviting, but we couldn't tell if it was possible to get over the bergschrund in the couloir. We decided to look at the couloir first. As we got under it, we realized that there would be 2 bergschrunds to get over. It did appear that we could sneak by the first one on the rock just to the right. It was wet, steep, downslabby and loose, but somehow we made it go, thanks to Dave's bold leading. We bypassed the second schrund on the rock too and found that there was a third schrund forming. We were able to do an end run on this one and soon we were stepkicking up firm snow in the lower couloir. Eventually, the couloir narrowed down and the snow petered out, putting us on dirty water ice, that was hollow in places. We had also squandered our shade in dealing with the bergschrund problem. We belayed two pitches which involved crossing the debris chute which was starting to become active. David found a sheltered alcove which put us out of the line of fire after crossing the chute. After two rather scary pitches we were back on white ice and after crossing a rock band were able to unrope for the final step kick to the top. We summited at about 2:00, later than we anticipated, and after a little rest, lunch and sunscreen, descended the southwest face to Horseshoe Basin. The route back to Sahale Arm follows the basin around the corner from the ridge coming off of Sahale Peak. We exited the upper basin in a couloir on the left side (the one at the dividing line between sun and shade) to avoid the hanging snow slabs which while easier appeared much riskier. David hightailed it for the parking lot, while I chose to enjoy both strolling down Sahale Arm at sunset and not feeling like I was in imminent danger for the first time that day. Gear Notes: Small rock rack up to 3". Small TCUs are especially useful. Can protect the couloir on the rock. 4 screws. Flukes for the glacier. 2 ice tools. Crampons. 50 M rope. Approach Notes: Easy hike to bivi at the foot of the Sahale Glacier. The route from Horseshoe Basin conveniently exits right there too.
  11. Burglar, I think that plastic boots are probably overkill any time of the year except maybe winter. You are probably more likely to get your feet wet from the stream crossings than from the snow, although you are sure to have snow for the climb from Swift Creek to lake Ann. Usually by August, even in heavy snow years the snow up high, (like on the glacier) gets very hard packed. Crampons are pretty essential when its like this, but you won't be getting your feet wet. The climbing in the chimneys and on the summit pyramid is not difficult and boots work just fine although some people out there would probably do the whole climb in their low top approach shoes. Mark
  12. Yep, The bivy sites at Winnie's Slide were all clear. We just camped at Lake Ann though. It was cloudy most of the time so we didn't get many views anyway.
  13. Trip: Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys Date: 7/22/2008 Trip Report: On Thursday, July 17, my friend from Boulder, CO, Jim and I hiked from the Austin Pass picnic area up to Lake Ann with the intention of climbing Mt. Shuksan the next day. The trail was still mostly covered with snow and rather than try to follow it and have to cross Swift Creek twice, we stayed on the East side of the valley and eventually came to the only stretch of bare trail which we followed for about a mile before heading up to the Lake. We left camp at about 5:00 the next morning under mostly cloudy skies with hopes that it would clear up and we would get some views. Here is Jim at the beginning of the lower part of the route. The chimneys were mostly snow free except for one section just be fore the lower bivy sites. The rock is reasonably solid in the steep sections. Eventually we exited the chimneys to the edge of the White Salmon Glacier where we roped up and proceeded to climb to the top of Winnie's slide. Jim was curious about whether Winnie really did slide down this section. I couldn't answer that one. After crossing over to the Curtis Glacier and dealing with a couple of snow bridges we climbed up Hell's Highway. It was quite easy going with no visible crevasses near where we walked. Another hour of slogging took us to the base of the summit pyramid which was now out of the clouds, briefly. We ate lunch and then scrambled to the top via the central gully which was a poor choice with its loose, drippy rock. We were thinking that we would have been happier on one of the ridges. Eventually we topped out on the summit ridge and were greeted by a fairly recent fecal smear. Brilliant! After carefully downclimbing the loose wet summit rocks and backing down a hanging snow patch, we put on our glacier gear for the long, uneventful, though foggy slog back down. The slogging was broken up by some excellent glissades down Hell's Highway and Winnie's Slides. Both of these slopes were quite crevasse free and they were a nice change from all of the plunge stepping that we had been doing. Another couple of hours of downclimbing in the Fisher Chimneys brought us back to our camp at Lake Ann. While the climbing is all fairly straightforward, the length and the variety make this moderate climb an all day workout in the mountains. The next morning we hiked out and got in some more good glissades including this one right down to the parking lot. After changing and enjoying our post trip beers, we headed up the newly plowed road to Artist Point. There is an incredible amount of snow still up there and the highway department must have spent an awful lot of $ to get it open. There are still 30 foot vertical and overhanging snow walls at the parking lot with lots of tourists climbing all over them, seemingly unaware that if they slipped they would go splat on the asphalt 30 feet down. Gear Notes: rope, glacier gear, ice ax and crampons. We did the rock portions unroped but they are well equipped for rappels Approach Notes: Most of the trail is still snow covered. No snow free camping yet at the lake.
  14. Jarred's assessment is about right. I'm quite familiar with the route, I do it every year as a conditioner so I know exactly where the best route goes. Almost all of the 5th class moves are bouldering moves, not sustained, but some do have death fall potential. The places where a rope is typically used are getting above Long John Tower, (Its best to go up the headwall well to the climber's left of LJ all of the way to the ridge crest which puts you on the West Shoulder)and on the final summit pyramid from the West Ridge Notch. Nothing is more difficult than about 5.4 if you pick the right route. If it gets more difficult than that and you don't want to force it, just backtrack and find an easier way. (Doing this without a rope definitely has its advantages in terms of time.) As for descending from the false summit, DO NOT try to descend from the top of the false summit. Find the line of cairns from the summit that takes you over the ridge coming off of the false summit a couple of hundred feet below the top of the false summit. Right now this will put you right on the snowfield where it is an easy plunge step to the basin. Later in the year it is a bunch of very loose rock on slabs and is much more unpleasant.
  15. Yep, You go right past the bivy corral, up and then step back left. Then you can traverse back left to the boot crack.
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