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About devinejohnny

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  • Birthday 12/21/1982


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    High School Teacher
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    Tacoma, WA
  1. Trip: In a day: Wine Spires, West, Silver Star, Kangaroo - Wine Spires, West Summit, Silver Star, Kangaroo Ri Date: 9/6/2008 Trip Report: If this is the first link up of its kind, we would like to call it the Triplett Traverse, to honor Ryan Triplett who likely met his untimely end while we were on the route. Abstract: 15 hour day from trailhead to camp with all four Wine Spires, Silver Star (with the West Summit and the two largest gendarmes along the way), and a long ridge run over to Kangaroo ridge where we crossed a saddle and dropped back to the hairpin. 2 hours to the base of Burgundy Spire and about an hour for each spire there after. 3:30 at the summit of Silver Star. Bypassed most of Snagtoothed ridge on the west side, then regained the ridge and ran it to a saddle in Kangaroo ridge, arriving at 8PM. Back to hairpin turn by 9PM. The most enjoyable part of this day was from Burgandy to Silver Star. The second half was good if you like endless scree and bad rock. Note: for simplicity, I assume that the ridge from Burgundy to Silver Star points from North to South. This is a little off, but allows for an easier descriptions. On Friday 9/5/08 after work Andy Davis, Heather, Sylvia, and I headed up to the Washington Pass area. The ladies had plans for South Early Winter and Liberty Bell, while Andy and I had our sights set on a big link up in the Wine Spires. We rolled into the hairpin turn around 10:30 and racked up over a few beers before getting some shut eye. Andy set three consecutive alarms on his watch: 4:00, 4:01, and 4:02. The trick worked and we awoke early on Saturday to crisp, clear skies. Heather, bless her soul, was nice enough to drive us down the road to the approach for Silver Star, and after a few wrong pull-offs, we were hiking briskly up the trail at 5AM. Headlamps turned off as the sky brightened. Two hours after leaving the trailhead we were on the crest of the ridge below Burgundy Spire. We slipped our climbing shoes on and soloed the first half of the spire until a sandy rightward-trending ramp ended below a wall of steeper rock. We pulled out our 70m 9.8mm rope and Andy led a rope-stretching pitch + about 50 feet of simul climbing. Andy brought me up to a large ledge, where we walked about a hundred feet around to the right. I lead a 50-60 meter pitch, starting up the right side of the face, crossing left past a two bolt anchor, and up through some slimy offwidth to the summit. We rapped south from the summit block into the notch between Burgundy and Chianti. Our 70m rope allowed us to make this in one rappel. Andy led directly up Chianti from the notch on loose rock, passing an old angle and ring piton along the way. This short pitch deposited us at the summit block in good time. The exposed bouldery moves to the summit and back were quite exciting. We also took a second to investigate the remains of a wedding ceremony (congratulations!). Heading across the summit towards Pernod we found some white webbing around a small boulder. I gave it a gentle tug and it ripped apart in my hands. Yikes! We left a green cordelette and were able to rap down to the next notch in one long rappel. Scouting Pernod from the summit of Chianti, it looked like we would need to cross some odd terrain to get through the notch, then follow a chimney to the summit. The notch ended up deeper than expected and I had to lead a terrifically dirty and loose pitch to regain level ground (perhaps .9+, though it was hard to tell with all the digging through lichen and crumbling of rock). As we moved over to the notch, the chimney appeared difficult to reach, and perhaps not the best option. Following intuition, Andy stepped up and around to the left, which was lower angle, but appeared to be blank from the summit of Chianti. Andy was rewarded with a bomber crack splitting the face. He followed this to a ledge in an east facing bowl. It appeared that some people had rapped south from here, but we were set on reaching the summit. Splitting the vertical face from the ledge was a super, though slightly dirty finger crack. Andy tackled this with gusto, sending it with no trouble. I followed up to Andy and we agreed that the finger crack felt like a .10+. I lead one short offwidth pitch to a saddle between the large summit blocks. After a moment of debate, we decided to aid up the two ancient bolts (the lower without a hanger) to reach the proper summit of Pernod. Standing on my tippy toes I was just able to sling a wire nut over the lower bolt, then clip in some slings. Andy headed up first, proudly mantling onto the summit. At the summit there is one knife blade in a crack near the lip with some webbing and a large rap ring. Andy tied through this and lowered back down, leaving a top rope for me to hand-over-hand my way up. After tagging the summit, we returned to the saddle and looked at our rappel situation. There were two weathered, 8mm twin lines already through the rap rings, apparently stuck and abandoned. We pulled them up and used part of one to reinforce the anchor. A single rappel on our 70m put us in the notch between Pernod and Chablis. We left one of the twin lines coiled at the base of the rap and took the remainder of the other to use at future rappel stations. Chablis took only a few minutes to solo from the notch, making up for time lost on Pernod. From the summit we began to down climb toward the southeast, switch-backing between ledge systems and occasionally pulling some airy 4th class moves. Between Chablis and the next large section of technical climbing, there is an area with a large, loose pile of rock. We didn’t feel compelled to summit this pile, so we passed it on the east side where the snowfield meets the rock. Once past this section, the rock steepens as it shoots up towards Silver Star. We scrambled up a very loose and scary gully until reaching a large sandy ledge where we could rope up. This face is where the Wine Spires terminate, so I suspect that it has been climbed before, but I wonder if anyone has done the route that Andy picked. He headed out right towards steeper terrain, pulling through a right trending offwidth to a large chimney (which we exited via cracks on the left wall). This pitch stretched our 70m, plus 30 feet or so of simul climbing. Andy belayed me up to a fantastic, level ledge on the ridge leading toward the summit of Silver Star (with 4 distinct gendarmes and the West Summit in between). We worked our way along the ridge, skipping the first gendarme, but hitting the other significant ones. Here the ridge begins to wrap around to the left (east), creating a bowl where the Silver Star glacier sits. Most features can be passed on this side of the ridge if difficulties become too great. After the gendarmes we soloed up the West Summit (scary rock) and down the other side into the deep notch between West Summit and Silver Star. There is no technical climbing to the summit of silver star from here, so we dropped our packs, took our climbing shoes off for the rest of the day, and hiked to the top, taking a brief moment to survey our resources, energy, and possible routes. Time: about 3PM. We descended back to the notch between Silver Star and West, then dropped to the south in a steep scree gulley. After a few hundred feet of elevation drop, we contoured to the right and popped through a saddle where Snagtooth Ridge meets Silver Star. This brought us back to the west side of things, in view of the highway. We decided to skip the technical sections of Snagtooth ridge by dropping west from our saddle until able to traverse south and regain a faint band of trees heading toward the ridge. We ended up having to cross about 7 rock ribs that descended from Snagtooth (similar to the west ridge of Stuart) before we reached the point where the ridge becomes an enjoyable hike. Once on the ridge we were able to light the back burners, gunning our way towards Kangaroo Ridge in the distance. From the summit of Silver Star, this ridge appears to make a lazy lighting bolt, heading to the right, then the left, then right again before terminating at a perpendicular angle with Kangaroo Ridge. The only thing that slowed us down along the way was our gawking at the unbelievable rock faces (hidden from the road) on the northeast side of Kangaroo Ridge. If you think Big Kangaroo doesn’t look like much from the hairpin turn, wait until you see it from the other side. Wow. Think untapped Early Winter Spires, east faces. After a finally, swimming scree climb, we reached the low point in Kangaroo ridge between Big Kangroo and Half Moon. Time: about 8PM. As we descended from here through hundreds and hundreds of feet of loose scree, it became clear why more don’t visit the back side of Kangaroo Ridge. We descended quickly down this slope and soon picked up the trail that heads down the valley to the hairpin. It grew dark and our headlamps returned once again. Somewhere in the last half mile we lost the trail and did some good old adrenaline fueled bush whacking. With Heather and Sylvia already back at the bivy (successful on the South Rib of South Early Winter), we heard our destination before we saw it; there laughs pulled us forward through the brush. We were greeted with warm congratulations and cold beer. God bless. Time: 9PM. Some beer, some water, and a split pot of pasta-tuna-cheddar-feta-olive surprise, and we hit the hay. Gear Notes: 9.8mm, 70m rope worked well for the raps from the spires. Set of nuts. Set of cams up to #4, doubles in select sizes. 12 light runners with biners.
  2. Trip: The Chief, Squamish. - Uncle Ben's (V 5.8 A2+) Date: 7/20/2008 Trip Report: Big walls marked the start and finish of a month and a half long climbing road trip with my friend Darin this summer. After starting in the Valley in June, we worked our way north and ended with a week in Squamish. We had looked forward to being back in an area where there was a “scene,” but were dismayed to find the chaos of the Mountain Festival in full swing. We spent an afternoon bouldering in the forest and got to have a session with Cedar Wright on Easy Chair. We decided to head for the high lonesome to avoid the crowds. We bived out at the Spit on Saturday night (the good, hidden pull off on the right side is now closed BTW), and began gearing up for Uncle Ben’s, something that I had had my sites on for quite a while. After running around town to pick up some requisite items, we bumped two loads of junk up to the top of Flake Ledge and fixed the first two pitches of Merci Me (heading left mid way up the second pitch, not towards the Grand), sans chalk and in street shoes. We bived on top the Flake that night (not that comfortable. Oh, and thanks to whoever shit right in the middle of the ledge like a wild animal). We met a couple of Quebec dudes who were rappelling down fixed lines from the third pitch. They said that they had attempted to do the wall in a day, but that was not going to happen. We shared a beer with them and swapped some funny stories. The fixed lines where not theirs, however. The owners of these lines returned the next morning and toped out that afternoon. From the top of Merci Me I aided a 10c pitch (I only had street shoes) that heads straight left. You get to sit on the tree for the belay. This is where we did our first haul from, bringing the bags up from Flake Ledge. The pig on Flake Ledge waiting to be dragged up the slab. Darin took the next pitch, a beautiful right ward slanting crack that ends with some airy moves out over a roof (we skipped the anchors under the roof). Above the roof there are three bolts, then some hooking/free climbing to the anchors. The rock blew on Darins first hook move and he whipped past the bolts and under the roof, in the full blast of two other parties awe. After the roof, I lead an invigorating pitch with lots of tiny hook moves in a row. This took us to our first bivy, just below the "classic bivy" that is written in the guide (didn't look to classic to me when we passed it the next day). We patched up some gear that got shredded on the slab haul and put on all our layers, as it was chilly. The next day we climbed to two pitches from the top. Chunky soup sponsorship? We watched a speeding motorcycle get pulled over the second night. We heckled the whole scene loudly. We woke to threatening weather both mornings, but our trusty radio, El Pepe put our fears to rest. It was pleasant climbing weather. A young Warren Harding? The final day we broke the first traversing pitch in half so that we could leave our gear at the rappel station in the middle. The last pitch was a grunt. Something larger that the #4's we had would have helped here. We enjoyed some lunch on the Dance Platform before our raps The raps took us 1.5 hours from top to bottom. We did 6 double rope raps in total. The third was a bit sketch and you might want to break it in two. I found my self 50m out on the rope with a huge load under me, my feet barely able to touch the wall, and my next rap anchors 30 feet to my right. It took a bit of timing with the wind and momentum to final stick them. Sketch. Gear Notes: Bring hooks. Double sky hooks and maybe double talons. There are a number of areas where you are 4-5 hook moves out. I found myself wishing I could use the hook I was currently sitting on for the next move. The black sickle has lots of fresh copper heads that should last for a number of years, but a couple of beaks, knife blades, and lost arrows should get you past any missing fixed gear. We only had to place one pin on the white sickle pitch where it looks like a knife blade used to be. Sorry, rock. Bigger gear than #4 for the last pitch; number 5 of 6. All the bolts are solid and most of the stations have chains. Approach Notes: Can all big walls have such a short approach? We hiked to the top of Flake Ledge and began with the firs two pitches of Merci Me.
  3. Trip: Washington Column, Yosemite Valley - Electric Ladyland (VI 5.10a A4) Date: 7/5/2008 Trip Report: Late this June I met up with an old high school buddy from Minnesota. Darin and I started climbing together, bouldering after school at the gym. How far we’ve come. Darin now lives the nomadic climbing dream in his van, sending hard routes all across the west, working a few days here and there as a freelance film artist when needed. As a high school teacher in Tacoma, I had three hard earned months of vacation to play with. Darin and I began dreaming months ago about meeting up in Yosemite and working our way up the coast to Squamish, and that is what we did, with stops in the Meadow, Tahoe, Humbolt, and a number of smaller crags and people along the way. This TR is about our first big send of the summer, Electric Ladyland, which ascends the ridiculously steep north face of Washington Column. It is located somewhere between the classic though relatively pedestrian Prow, and the impressive Astroman. The route that we took up the wall was not purely Electric Ladyland, but arguably more ascetic. Instead of starting directly up the grassy cracks and ledges that make the historic start, we did the first two pitches of the Prow, wandered right into a couple pitches Ten Days After, and finally meet up with Ladyland for pitches 6-14. We spent a night ferrying loads to the base, a night at the base of the route, and five nights on the wall. Electric Ladyland goes straight up the dirty looking stuff down low before hitting and following the overhung, right facing corner system. This is looking left at the start of The Prow, how we began. Our approach to the wall was this: bring lots of supplies, go have fun and hang out, do some climbing when we feel like it, but don’t try to kill ourselves. With all the media that speed ascents and fast alpine climbing gets today, I feel that climbers are loosing touch with the art of hanging out on a wall. I know lots of people who have failed to make it up a wall and I think it is primarily because they tried to emulate a style and speed beyond their ability. HAVE FUN! Take some beers, hang out, bring good food, laugh; that’s how you make it up a wall (in my humble opinion). PBRGD worth it's weight in gold (or it's weight in the bottom of your haulbag, which i think is actually more). Anyway, we geared up with our third wall member, Mark, in Bishop at his “compound.” Sorting gear. The cam rack. And then there were the nuts... and pins... and pulleys... and... We spent two days bumping loads of gear, food, water, and beer to the base of the climb. I have a friend who works for the Yosemite Institute, so we had a awesome place to stay in Foresta (how nice to not play hid-and-seek with the rangers for once). After we had all our stuff at the base, we climbed the first three pitches of our route and fixed lines back to the base. This was Darin’s first route in Yosemite, ever. He freed the first pitch at 5.10a. However, he did take a fall… on the first piece… of the first pitch… of his first route in Yosemite (bad omen?). Getting ready for the final pack at the base. The next six days were all pretty much the same. It was up with the sun, bust out 1-3 pitches, set the ledge up around 4 or 5, then hangout until dark. Every pitch was rightward traversing and 10-20 feet overhung. With a team of three, one of us would lead, then one person would start cleaning as soon as the line was fixed, leaving the third climber to first lower out the haulbag, then themselves for the infamous ‘space jug.’ In four days we didn’t see a ledge big enough to stand on. Before our fourth night, we gunned out 3 pitches because the topo labeled a feature “The Very Temporary Ledge.” We were disappointed. It should be named “The Very Temporary Half-Butt Stance.” This was one of our more interesting bivies. Our double portaledge barely had two points of contact, and Mark’s single ledge directly below us was completely free hanging. Our first day of full commitment. The ropes are pulled up at this point and would no longer reach the ground anyway. Only one way to go... First bivy (with a cool afternoon updraft) The second day on the wall was a one-pitcher. I started the third day with an A3 pitch. I tagged the camera out and took this shot. Here's looking down at Mark on the fourth night as he free hangs in his ledge below The Very Temporary Ledge. Here's a seven shot sequence looking up to down. This is my first A4 pitch, starting out the fifth day. Forty feet of shallow copperheads with beaks in between them. Yikes. We saw two parties climb Astroman, a couple parties head around the corner for the South Face, but no other wall climbers at all. There wasn’t much evidence of recent ascents on Ladyland, either. We encountered some faded anodized biners, lots of cobwebs and veggie, but there were some comforting ASCA bolts from a 1999 retrobolt. There was plenty of fixed gear, but not nearly as much as you find on the more common trade routes (according to Mark, who has been around). On our last day we had two pitches to take us from the Eagle's Nest to the top. We also had four litters of water between us. It was just enough to get us up, down, and back to the van before I collapsed (I actually bummed some water from some kaki short clad day hikers about a quarter mile from the van). Coming down the descent was pretty sketch with a huge haulbag. I spent more than a little time just wiggling down on the pack itself, like an upturned turtle. Gear Notes: We brought lots of stuff from small beaks to double #6 cams and we used it all. I would say bring lots in the small cam range; TCU's and such. The lower graded cracks will eat cam hooks. Beware the 5.8 flare. Approach Notes: Park at the Ahwahnee Lodge and use the bear boxes there. Hike the trail back towards the Column (goes under Serenity Crack). Look for an open area after about 15 min with a cairn on the left. There were some low hanging power lines when we were there. Follow this back into the woods and there will be a sign for climbers in about 6 different languages. Go up hill.
  4. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in Register

    They had a bunch of those painted on swimsuits in this tissue, I mean issue. Just save some energy for the descent, underworld.
  5. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in Register

    Climbed the west ridge of Stuart (CTC, 14 hrs, BTW) this past Tuesday. In the heavy Mazama summit register, in addition to the normal trash, we found a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Awesome or disrespectful?
  6. A trip told through my partner's self portraits

    see one of my recent reports for a tr on the winds.
  7. I took a climbing trip with my buddy this summer. We used my camera to document the trip. When I uploaded the pictures on my computer, I found that a number of photos look very similar, pictures I didn't recall ever taking. Here they are: City of Rocks, ID Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT Arches National Park, UT Wind River Range, WY Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range Pingora Peak summit, Cirque of the Towers
  8. The tracks that we followed across the steep snow looks like they were either chopped out, or kicked in when the snow was much softer. There were also holes where axes shafts had been sunk. The snow was much too hard for that when we crossed; we could use those shaft holes as hand holds. In an earlier TR the snow had melted all the way down to ice by late August. I'm sure it would go with an axe (I think it did for that party), but even on our trip I was grateful for a good pick and solid grip. You could also find a route up on the rock I imagine.
  9. Trip: Boston Basin - Torment to Forbidden Traverse, car-to-car. Date: 8/9/2007 Trip Report: I’ve always enjoyed climbing with Andy, so I was upset when I found out that he would be leading mountaineering trips in the Wind River Range all summer. I managed to pass my time with a few other trips, but when I heard that Andy was back, I knew it was on. Within a few days of being home, he gave me a call and threw out the idea of this trip. I agreed without hesitation. Clouds coming over the ridge, seen from the west ridge of Forbidden. Andy leading. VVzDmii6gKM Neither of us had been in the Boston Basin before, so we spent the next two days doing out homework. I bought some topos, read what the guidebooks had to say, and peaked (pun intended) at a few TR’s here on cc.com. Andy had to work until 10PM in Tacoma on Wednesday night, then go home and pack. Remarkably we were on the road by 10:45 and (more remarkably) Andy didn’t forget to pack anything. Traffic was light as we headed north, but they had already started the road construction on I-5, closing half of the northbound lanes through Seattle. We made it to Marblemount and headed off down the Cascade Creek Road. The guides that we had read (Cascade Select and Becky) said that the trailhead was 21.7 miles down the road. Not true, unless they start counting from a different point then the mileage signs along the road. From the river (where the green mileage signs begin) it is more like 3.2 or 3.5 miles. After driving by the little pullout twice in the dark we finally figured it out and parked. The time was 2:30AM. We set an alarm and crashed in the car for an hour, then snoozing for 15 minutes more, finally getting up at 3:45. Since we had literally just thrown all our gear in the car, it took us a few minutes to sort out a rack and pack up, hitting the trail at 4:30 AM. The trail was overgrown for the first third, but easy enough to follow in the dark with a dieing headlamp. Once the “spur road” ends the trail gets steep and I was grateful to not have any base camp gear on my back. As the sky started to lighten we could see that we were walking through a dense fog. It stayed like this until we broke from the trees and got our first view of Boston Basin (just the basin, not the peaks; they were in the clouds). We walked around the Basin and through the camping area where a large group was just starting to stir. One person was up brewing and said that they were going to do Sahale. We watched them top out along the ridge latter that day from our route. We had to follow our noses to get to the base of the route since there was still a thick fog. We traversed up and left from the camp, going a little to high and running into a rock spur. We went down and around this and found the waterfall mentioned in the guide and scrambled up this to the Taboo Glacier. As we reached the Glacier we broke above the clouds, getting out first view of Torment, bathed in sun against a clear blue sky. Behind us was a sea of white, pierced by rocky pinnacles. Finally getting above the clouds The snow on the glacier was still frozen so we cramponed up and headed for the snow patch just right of center on the SE face. We didn’t encounter any scary crevasses and the ‘schrund was not difficult to cross. In the moat we swapped our boots for rock shoes and started up the face. Time: 7:45 AM. We climbed the face just to the left of the snow patch The first section of climbing next to the patch looking back down at the Taboo looking over at the South Ridge of Torment We simulclimbed straight up with Andy in the lead. We dropped our packs at the point where you must down climb to from the summit to begin the traverse, then continued to the summit. We topped out at 8:45 and squeezed our names in to the mountaineers’ summit register, then headed back down to our packs with me in the lead this time. After a short bathroom break (#2) we were heading NE along the SE face towards the notch where the traverse begins, following an obvious grass ledge system. At the notch we booted and cramponed up, then rapped down to the snow on the north side of the ridge. We had to head left then down and right to avoid some crevasses. We tried to regain the rock as soon as we could, so we only descended a hundred feet or so on snow. Ditching the crampons but keeping the boots, I lead us up the north face of the ridge on looses blocks and sand, popping over the spur right on top of the bivy site mentioned in the guide. The first rap (I guess our only of the day) Down and around a cracks The bivy site mentioned in the guide looking over at the steep snow from the bivy site. You can see some faint melted out tracks that we followed. Crampons back on, we traversed left across the steep snow section. I was grateful that I had brought a tool versus an axe for this section and that my ‘poons had good front points. The snow had softened a bit by now, but not enough to kick steps. We traversed up and left, hitting the rock a hundred feet or so below the saddle. We had an ice screw, but I did not place it. The snow was too soft for that, but it was also too hard to place a picket (not that we had one anyway). No-fall terrain. Andy coming to the end of the steep snow section I saw this photo in a couple other TR's, so I figured I add one more On the rock again I took us up and over the spur (in boots, no ‘poons) to one last section of snow, which I avoided by climbing in the moat up to the ridge. I took us a bit further to the start of the “sidewalk” section, crossing the ridge once and bypassing a tower on the south side. I was out of gear so I brought Andy up to me and we had some lunch. The last little bit of snow (after crossing the rock spur after the steep snow) Looking along the ridge; no more snow! Boots off, rock shoes on. Still simulclimbing, Andy took the lead to the summit of Forbidden, topping out at 1:30. This section was great, no route finding difficulty, just go go go. drop off next to left foot.... drop off next to right foot... Andy leading up west ridge of Forbidden Looking at Andy on the east summit from the slightly lower west summit. We had decided on the drive out that if we made it to the summit of Forbidden in good time we would forgo the normal west ridge or NE face descents in favor of down climbing the east ridge (III, 5.8, 9 pitch). We had time and were feeling good so that’s what we did, clean with no raps. I took us down the first section, reverse leading the 5.8 section, bypassing the 5.7 gendarme on its north side, then belaying Andy to me above the 5.6 section since I was out of gear. We were now back in the clouds, which had been pushing up the valley all day. Andy finished off the down climb along fun knife-edges, exiting the ridge at the large gendarme at 3:30 PM. Lower on our down climb of Forbidden's east ridge (Andy is in there somewhere) We had the same difficulties route finding as we did in the morning since the clouds only let us see a couple hundred feet in any direction. Luckily we had scooped out the descent earlier in the day from the traverse, so we were able to pick the right gully on our first try. Go left. When we hit steep snow we put the cramps back on an got the tools out, then tried to stay on snow as long as possible. This route took us to the snow field right above the toilet in the camping area. There was a large group from Mountain Madness just setting up their tents. We headed down to the tents that we walked through in the morning, finding them back from their climb up Sahale. They kindly offered us some coffee, so we stopped and chatted with them for about a half hour. They were a group students from Prescott University in AZ, taking a “final” for one of their classes. It was a leadership practicum. Grateful for the coffee and conversation, we had a little extra spring in our step on the hike back down to the car, arriving right at 7PM. The drive back to Tacoma that night was the crux of the day, but we stopped for some Mexican food and coffee before getting on I-5. Gear Notes: One 8.2 mm, 60 m rope folded in half. 10 runners with wire gate biners. Set of nuts, selected large hex sizes, 6 selected cams. Hiking boots or light mountaineering boots, crampons with good front points, comfy rock shoes. One tool each. 1.5 litters of water each. Approach Notes: The trail head is not 21.7 miles from Marblemount; it's more like 23.5. It's the last pull off on the left before the camping loop. The trail to Boston Basin is a bit over grown for the first part and pretty steep. The stream crossings were okay, but the third was a little tricky. Taboo glacier is in fine shape, but bring crampons.
  10. Trip: Wind River Range, WY - Cirque of the Towers Date: 7/14/2007 Trip Report: Spent three nights near Hidden Creek Falls below Warrior Two in the Winds. Weather was perfect in the mornings (after climbing at City of Rocks, the Cotton Wood Canyons, and *gasp* Moab), but turned into hailing thunderstorms everyday between 3 and 5. This was my fourth time in the Winds, but my first for climbing. We kept our route choices pretty mellow to accommodate our short weather windows (leaving plenty to return for!). Drive to Big Sandy TH 8.7 mile hike in. First views of Warbonnet and the Cirque Pingora Peak, South Buttress. This is the route that everyone feels they must do while in the Cirques. We were the only ones on the route, but we ran into two other parties on our descent (down the route, in a snow storm). As seen from Hidden Creek As seen from the top of Shark's Nose. Jojo coming up the first pitch. The route starts with an interesting approach up switch-backing ledges. This takes you to the start of the technically climbing. We continued straight up the shoulder, but saw two parties off to the right on the original Pingora route (Diagonal Ledges, or something like that). With about 20 feet of simul climbing I lead us to the base of the k-cracks. Jojo took us to the top via the left hand-most crack just as lightning started to crash on peaks to the north. Despite our better judgment, we each ran to the 11,884 foot summit for a quick peak (pun intended) before hurriedly descending via two 60 meter raps and one short rap (in hail/snow). If you are trying to get back to the base of the route, make sure you rap in that direction; following the most webbing and obvious fall line will take you to the west side of the buttress (this entails an additional rap or two, but will take you all the way to the ground, eliminating the switch-backing ledges). By the time we reached the ground, it was blue skies again. Shark’s Nose, Overhang Tower. The weather had done the same thing for two days: not a single cloud in the sky until noon, then hail and lightning between 3 and 5. We were still craving summits, but weren’t willing to risk the bad weather, so we settled on an exciting 4 pitcher up the NW corner of Sharks Nose, with a 5.2 simul climb up the west face of overhang tower on our way back to camp. Indeed, the day was beautiful until 4PM when we returned to camp and were pounded by penny-sized hail. We left camp at 7:30 and climbed to Cirque Lake(?). We skirted it on the North side, climbing towards a notch between Wolf’s Head and Overhang Tower. From the notch we enjoyed a new view, then traversed along the west side of Overhang, following exciting ramps to the notch between it and Shark’s. The route follows obvious ramps and weaknesses, with plenty of variations (as Jojo took advantage of leading us out right for the final pitch, bumping the grade a bit). From east side of Cirque Lake. Shark's in the center, Overhang on the right. Ascend the talus on right side of pic, then around backside. Same view as above, but from peak of Pingora. The classic east ridge of Wolf's Head is on the right. Another shot of Wolf's Head east ridge from Pingora and one from Cirque Lake showing a party on the route. View from the west side of Overhang. Summit shots on Shark's. **camera battery dies at this point** The descent, as the guidebook says, is non-trivial. We made three 30 meter raps, always trending back towards the Shark/Overhang notch. The last of these had a rope eating crack, which required me to climb 30 back up for a rope-opsy. We then made a full 60 rap down a very low angle slab to the end of the first pitch, followed by some 3rd class back to the first belay, and one more 30 meter rap to the notch. The weather was still looking good at this point, so on our way back around Overhang Tower we ran up it’s mellow west side. This side is the antithesis of its namesake east face. 2-3 short raps and some down climbing had us on our way back to camp. Warbonnet We did not make our way to the top of this one, descending before reaching the Plume because of threatening clouds. Despite the allure of Black Elk, we knew that this was not a wise time to attempt this gem. We opted instead for one of the two 5.7 II routes that ascend the north face above the Plume. We planned on doing this climb, then hiking out to the trailhead, so we broke camp in the morning and descended from Jackass Pass to the west side of Arrowhead Lake via a climber’s path. We stashed out heavy pack near the southern outlet of the lake since this is where we planned to ascend rightward trending ramps to the Plume/Warbonnet notch. The plan was to descend the 2/3 class south side of the peak, coming down the final talus within close proximity of our packs. Do not underestimate the climb to the Plume/Warbonnet notch. It was much longer than it appeared from the deck and had plenty of airy moves. The weather this day was different from the rest, with large cumulus clouds already forming in the late morning. Knowing what this meant the three previous days, we turned around just before reaching the notch, retracing our path with a rap thrown in for good measure. Next time. Gear Notes: We used two 60 meter half ropes for everything; good for rope drag, weight, and rappels. Our rack consisted of 12 light runners, a set of nuts, and selected cams up to 3 inches supplemented with hexes. Approach Notes: We used the quickest trailhead: Big Sandy. We drove to it from the south, which entailed 40+ miles of awesome gravel road where we only saw a couple of other cars. We didn’t start to hike until 3:30, but made it the 8.7 miles to camp before sunset, slowed down by thunder and hail. At the southern end of Arrowhead Lake the trail splits. We followed the “real” trail up and to the right. This way is graded for backpackers, but requires you to descend and re-ascend in order to reach the meadow below Hidden Lake. On the other hand, the left fork takes you around the west side of Arrowhead, but requires some delicate boulder maneuvering (tricky with a basecamp on your back). This way will take you straight to where you want to go, but is steeper.
  11. [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 8/20/2016

    No problem; did you get all of them?
  12. Trip: Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge Date: 8/20/2016 Trip Report: Here is some photo beta for the complete north ridge of Stuart. I figured as long as I was on a posting spree, I would throw these pictures from last summer up. I'm not sure if the day is correct, and I know the year is wrong (the drop down menue goes from the present date forward, not backwards; odd). We hiked to Ingalls Lake in the afternoon and camped. Woke up at 4AM and went up the west ridge, then down, then up to Goat Pass, then back down to the toe of the North Ridge. We did some scouting and talked to a few parties coming off the route the day before and decided to just wear approach shoes (no crampons) and leave the ice axes in favor of a treking pole each. It was a good call for this late in the season; there was only a little snow, not very steep, and no ice. The pole was great for the descent down the Cascadian. We belayed the first two pitches, then simul climbed to the the gendarme where we ran into a couple of other parties doing the half ridge. We had to sit around for a long time as parties moved through this bottle neck. We belayed these two pitches, then simuled to the top. Topped out at 3PM and descended the Cascadian, my knees thankful for the trekking pole. We hiked back up to Ingalls Lake and broke our camp, starting back to the car at 6PM. We were back to the car by 9 and back in Tacoma hours later. I presented my master's thesis on teaching the next morning. Wake up call at trailhead View of Stuart from Ingalls Lake Shallow Water Bouldering at Ingalls Lake Nap Time at the lake Billy Goat Pass from the ridge Climbers approaching the ridge higher up The first few pitches from the bottom of the toe Some of the fourth class area Looking over at the glacier Looking down the ridge before the gendarme Looking across the glacier at other party Close up of other party Working towards the gendarme The first pitch on the gendarme Second pitch Summit shot Mazama box Smoke plume Balanced rock Down climb Looking back at the summit Looking back up early in the descent Great route, a must do. I can't wait to go back for a car to car. Gear Notes: Standard rack, single 60m folded over into double ropes, lots of runners for simul climbing. Approach Notes: The trail up the west ridge is a little faint in spots, but marked with cairns. There was no snow up to Billy Goat Pass. The Stuart Glacier was pretty icey, but since we were heading to the bottom of the ridge, we were able to travel mostly on low to mid angle talus and snow. No sweat for approach shoes and a trekking pole. The descent down the Cascadian was sandy and it took some concentration to get in the right gully.
  13. Trip: Needle, Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque, NM - Southwest Ridge Date: 4/4/2007 Trip Report: Meet up with an old housemate/climbing partner and fellow teacher in New Mexico. He was teaching on the Navajo Indian Reservation and out spring breaks happened to line up. I flew to Albuquerque and Bill picked me up in his pick up. We used the Whole Foods parking lot as our base of operations, camping in the bed of the truck. One of the better routes we got on was the classic Southwest Ridge of the Needle (p.s. the Needle looks more like a thumb and the Thumb looks more like a Needle, but I didn't do the naming). The history of the route is interesting. First ascents were made before 1944 via the east saddle and it is legend that Edward Abbey, the famous environmentalist author graced the summit in 1951. In terms of the southwest ridge, "n June of 1959, David and Reed set out for the southwest ridge of the Needle. They hiked up into the valley below the formation, and camped in order to make an early start the next day. The following morning the two made quick work of the difficult initial pitches, finished the route, and descended the east saddle. They still had plenty of time and energy to retrieve their camp and return to Albuquerque the same day. The Southwest Ridge is a landmark climb in the Sandias, and considering the relative ease in which the first ascent was achieved, is a real testament to the talent of these two climbers. ... This translated to the first routes in the Sandias at the 5.8 grade. To this day the Southwest Ridge of the Needle remains a serious endeavor for some Sandia climbers, and has been the site of manyepics, both major and minor." From Sandia Rock by Mick Schein The above guide book describes the route as a 15 p. 5.8 IV, but I've seen it elsewhere described as a 10 p. 5.8 III. If anything, I would have to agree with the latter. The approach is as bad as they say, the rock questionable, and the commitment moderate, but it can still be done car to car in a short day. The route is best approached from the top of the Sandia Crest. You can drive all the way up to a visitor center near a bunch of radio towers. You park here and hike along the crest for a few miles, then drop down gullies to the base of the route. Here is the top of the Needle from the crest. We camped up at the visitor center on the Sandia Crest the night before our climb. We endured sub zero temps and drunk yahoos, but felt rested when we woke up at 4 the next morning. The approach was mostly on untracked snow, so we had spent the previous afternoon scoping the route to the east saddle. We quickly retraced our prints then descended the steep, thorn choked south gully to the toe of the route. We were going off a sketched topo and short paragraph description, so it took us a few minutes to agree on what the start was. Not a lot of signs of traffic: no climber's paths, flagging tape, or cairns. Bill at the base of the route with the opposite side of the canyon behind him. We weren't really sure we were on the right route until three pitches up when we passed a fixed ring piton. This is us after the third pitch, which they call the crux. You leave a large ledge and climb a vertical right facing corner through poor protection and kitty liter rock. This is a ridge, so there are a number of "move the belay" spots. Action shot Looking down and up the route from half way. Some more shots from higher up. Summit shot Looking at the Shield from the summit of the Needle Walking back along the crest after the descent (no raps needed, just down climb the east saddle). Gear Notes: Standard rack, single 60m Approach Notes: I guess there is usually a game/climber trail when there is no snow that will take you from the crest down through the limestone bands. It's just a short hike along the ridge, so I would say scout it out before you do the climb. The final gully is an 800 foot elevation drop of pure, un-trailed brush. When the gully opens up, don't jump on the first ridge that sticks out, walk down the drainage some more until you get to the more subtle ridge on what feels like the front.
  14. Trip: Snow Creek Wall, Leavenworth - Outer Space Date: 6/3/2007 Trip Report: Well aware of the crowds that the nice weather would cause, we decided to head out to SCW, mainly because Jay had yet to get on the classic Outer Space. The route is just right of center on the left half of this wall. The white streak on the head wall is the classic two pitches of hand crack. We spent Saturday night at the bivouac site as were graced with the company of Fred Becky. He made a grand entrance when he and his partner got their Subaru stuck on a large rock. It looked like a Mentos commercial with every able hand helping to lift the car up and off the boulder. We ran in to Fred the next day on our way back from SCW as he and his partners were heading up, gear hanging off their packs. What a stud. Keep on trucking. I would much rather sacrifice some sleep than spend the day waiting for other parties to complete a climb, so we woke up at 4:30. This gave us a nice cushion on the route. By the time I brought Jay up to the first belay, there were three other parties gearing up at the base, 7 people in total. As I left Library Ledge to follow the last pitch, only one party had passed the crux pitch. I was thankful we were not at the back of that line up. The goats are as curious as every about your salty, sweat soaked gear. We were able to hang out packs in a bush right at the base, though I imagine the goats could have gotten at them if they really wanted to. We did the "normal" start (versus the more direct starts, like RPM, which I did my first time on the route and would recommend). I had a little trouble finding the first set of anchors. I climbed above them, then had to climb back down. In retrospect I would recommend just simulclimbing straight to the large ledge. Here I bring jay up to the first belay. Jay “leads” off to the big ledge, placing no pro. Jay on the big ledge, before the crux pitch. The pitch off the large ledge is great, protects really well, and usually has some bail gear if you're first up the route. Both times I've done the route, I've found a loose hex or nut just before starting into the traverse. This is above the crux pitch, before setting off into a sea of chicken heads to the pedistal. That pitch ends at the pedistal, where Jay belayed. I had the pleasure of leading the next pitch, by far one of my all time favorites. Does it get any better than this? Topped out in good time and jogged to the ridge crest. The descent was well marked with cairns and a foot path. Gear Notes: Standard rack with some extras in the #1-2 camelots for the crack pitches. Approach Notes: Clear sailing, couple of downed trees.
  15. Check my Yak TR now; much improved I would say.