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  1. Have anyone recently climbed Whitney or Hotlum-Bolam glaciers on Shasta? What are the current conditions? Any pictures? Thanks
  2. Trip: Mt Adams - Adams Glacier - Video Date: 7/23/2007 Trip Report: Here is a short video from my trip: V8FmBg8xDws The written report is: TR Southern WA Cascades - Mt Adams, Adams Glacier 7/23/2007
  3. Here is a short video (preview) from this trip. Hope you enjoy it and also may get some idea about the route. V8FmBg8xDws
  4. Among other things, we were talking about "climbing permits." You were supposed to climb up NR and ski down the glacier. Yes, the ski tracks conformed that you were "crazy". I don't ski, so to me it was a really brave, wild and very skilled undertaking. Congratulations. When I was hiking to my car, somewhere below the meadow, I met other people who did not believe me I was alone. They asked me where my partner was. Anyway, before I got stack by darkness I was amazed by the beautiful sunset and had to stopped and take a few pictures; I was in between cloud levels. It happened unexpectedly. ...I hallucinated latter though.
  5. There are no places in SCA to really prepare for the winter climbing on Rainier right now; simply it's a summer time. If you going with guides you are fine anyway; you don't have to do much thinking. However, keeping in physical and mental shape is important. For this you can do backpacking of some 14rs in the Sierra, especially in bad weather conditions. Find any remains of reasonably steep snow/ice fields/glaciers and practice crampons and ice-ax (ice-tools) skills (e.g. U and/or V notch). The best way, however, is to do winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) climbing in the Sierra, for example, Mt Whitney. The bad or at least diverged weather is almost guaranteed. The best way to prepare for mountaineering is mountaineering.
  6. Killen Meadow is the best place to camp (beautiful view, nice camp spots and running water), but mainly if you are a backpacker. The lake may be OK but it gives a very cold impression (I've never desired to camp there). This time I really intended to camp on the glacier but due to the unfavorable weather (I'd too much of it) I thought the meadow would've been a cozy place, and it was but then I jeopardized my climbing. Even though straightforward, crossing the glacier takes time you might spend for sleeping, for example. I would definitely recommend camping as close as possible to the route (but in the safe place). I woke up once at 1 am on Rainier around 13,500 feet and soon later got stuck by a crevasse (one of many in the labyrinth) waiting for day light to see which way to go. Honestly, if I've another chance I'd still try Adams Glacier rather than the face. To me the face is too long, too flat, too steep and too icy to solo it without much stress. The glacier, on the other hand, is mysterious; you have no clue what may happen next. It provides various and random challenges. But if you have a lot of time and the right weather, this mystery may become a remarkable adventure. I cannot state if there is or not any way through to the plateau (I gave up too early), but too me the summit is not a big deal. However, do not get influenced by my desires; we may have completely different climbing objectives. One more thing, whichever route you decide to climb on this side (except NR which you may consider as an easy descend), you'll almost surly be in solitude.
  7. Pictures look better then reality. Once the clouds opened for a few hours afternoon, there was a pretty strong creak running down North Face near Adams Glacier causing huge rock falls to the lower part of the middle glacier. Usually this face looks very inviting with nice ice coverage, but not this time. In fact, the glacier on the pictures looks like very accessible with many places through, but once you are closer the view is different, blocked by ice blocks or big crevasses. Unlike majority of people, I'm usually a very late starter. In this case, however, I would recommend getting on the slope, perhaps, at first light, not for the strict safety reason but to have longer day in case of a need of exploring alternatives. I did not have that luxury. Anyway, let me know how your tip was.
  8. Trip: Southern WA Cascades - Mt Adams, Adams Glacier Date: 7/23/2007 Trip Report: Adams Glacier, Another Attempt to Mt Adams Introduction Prior to this trip I've solo'd Adams Glacier twice in June/July over the last few years. It is one of my favorite routes; not too steep but steep enough to keep focused, not too crevassed but enough to think, and, of course, a lot of rock falls, something that usually makes me nervous. The route is basically pretty manageable for solo climbing. This was my real third attempt; however, I was not alone this time. My buddy was Reid Mayer, a young but experienced rock climber with practically no mountaineering experience (he took some courses on Baker and Shuksan though). I like climbing the same routes more than once. It gives more understanding of the route, glacier, and weather factors. Each time I climb the specific route the conditions are (not surprisingly) completely different. One time it can be a happy adventure, and other time a survival story. My approach to mountaineering is not just about getting to the top (the summit is just a potential target, a direction), but the whole experience, and most importantly to come back alive and intact. The First Attempt - ???? My first attempt on Adams Glacier was a long time ago and I turned back before even reaching the Killen Creak trailhead. I entered the forest while it was getting dark. The road was bad (bumpy and shaking) with no traffic at all. I had no map and was not really sure where I was going. I had a feeling that I was going to be alone on the mountain (at least on that side). My anxiety was high and I tried to find a good excuse to retreat from my journey. And, I found one: my car was not suitable for the road conditions. The Second Attempt - 2002 My second attempt was quite an adventure; however, it was close to a disaster as well. It was an early afternoon and I was looking at the standard route of Mt. Hood standing at the parking lot of Timberline Lodge. I was contemplating the route conditions and recalling the long hikes over the ski area. I've climbed this route perhaps five times with some variations and was really bored of doing it again. It did not take me long to change my mind and drive my (this time) Jeep to Trout Lake ranger station. They did not like the idea of me going solo on Adams Glacier but gave me all information and even printed some pictures of the adjacent routes which helped me later (North Ridge was my plan to descend.). On the way up to Killen Meadow I met a few adventurers that told me they just skied down Adams Glacier. I did not really believe their story till the next day after seeing the ski tracks going straight down over anything in the way. Anyway, I found a nice spot on one of the hills and set up my camp, unknowingly too far South from the right place. I (mis)calculated the round trip time and decided not to take my headlamp, going very light (don't ask). I took, however, two tracking polls, a classic ice-ax, and an additional ice tool. The next morning I was straggling with moraines to get to the base of the glacier. The weather was cold and the wind picking up. Over the next few hours the snow was getting icier and harder and the visibility clogged by clouds. Around half way, I had a feeling that I was running out of time but did not want to go back through the steep slope filled with crevasses. I hoped that closer to the top the slope would ease and the overall route conditions improve. And, yes, the overall slope became less steep with a few exceptions just before massive cuts in the glacier. These cuts were from one ridge to the other wide. My classic ice-ax could not get in to the ice, so I used it as a stick to keep my balance while walking along the sharp edge of the crevasse with the wind pushing me down to its abyss, and look for a potential bridge to cross it. I used to walk narrow and sharp exposed ridges in the Alps, but that was a long time ago (nevertheless, still helpful). Dealing with these unexpected crevasses was very stressful. I became certain I was not going to make it before dark. I was too high to retreat and still hoped that going up was giving me better chance of survival. Unfortunately, every next crevasse dampened my positivity. I was tired physically and mentally. I was scared. I told myself that if I leave that area alive I would not climb again. Finally I reached the plateau and quickly moved toward the North Ridge and started running down. Then the rock suddenly steepened and I realized that I was in wrong place, West Face of North Ridge. I had to make a quick decision, keep going or back up and go to North Ridge. I decided that during dark North Ridge would be safer. This was a very long descent. I ran as fast and as long as the dimmed light allowed me to lose as much elevation and escape from freezing conditions. I knew as long as I was moving my body would keep warm. Unfortunately, the darkness stopped me in the middle of the ridge. Blindly, I was slowly wandering down tripping over invisibly dark rocks. I was exhausted and decided to get to the edge of the ridge and jump on the glacier/snow field, but the height was too great. I made a few additional attempts on the lower elevations and finally jumped and continued walking on the glacier. I hallucinated two times. I could not recognize the location of my tent. I took a nap on rocks. The pain in my knees from the cold woke me up quickly, however. It was still dark but I decided to keep going. I found my tent when the sun was already up. I took a few hours of deep sleep. After this incident I stopped climbing for two weeks. Then I came back and climbed Rainier three times and was in shape again. The Third Attempt - July 25-26, 2003 The next year I came back to Adams Wilderness. This time, after learning my lesson, I set up my camp at the base of the glacier. The weather was beautiful but dangerously warm. My concern was to be able to bypass Ice Cap before it started throwing down ice and rocks. At the beginning of the middle part of Adams Glacier I found a quite steep slope and climbed it just for fun and practice. This time, however, I was furnished with two ice tools. When I moved to the right of the glacier my route was blocked by huge ice blocks and crevasses making it impossible to progress. I did not like these obstacles especially at the beginning of my day. I had to make the decision of getting in to the crevasse along its narrow ledge and then climbing its vertical wall up to the top or to retreat. I had plenty of time for more obstacles and decided to make a move. "Just calm down, focus, and don't fall," I said to myself. The crevasse was big and deep, deep enough to break my back or kill, and to disappear without a trace. Even though mountaineering is a very dangerous activity, I usually do not take any risk while climbing unless there is no other choice. I assessed my chances and concluded that the risk was minimal and only associated with the snow/ice conditions of the crevasse wall; the rest was up to my mental strength and physical skills. I climbed in to the crevasse and then to its top successfully. The rest of the climb was smooth with the exception of late season rock falls. When I reached the summit, one of the climbers seeing me fully equipped asked about the route I ascended and replied, "Impossible, no one climbs Adams Glacier at this time of the year." Some pictures... The Fourth Attempt - 2004 It was June 2004. I was not able to get through snow patches and skipped Adams Glacier; instead, I experienced a survival journey (avalanche, rock fall, hidden crevasse-all in one day, very scary) on Kautz Glacier, Mt Rainier, during the snow storm and multi-day whiteout. Mt. Rainier, The Survival Story The Fifth and Sixth Attempts - 2005, 2006 Many things happened in my mountaineering community. I basically lost my confidence and was easily intimidated by bad climbing conditions. However, I took advantage and did the South Spur route. The Seventh and the Last So Far Attempt - July 22-24, 2007 The Trout Lake approach was closed due to the washouts so we decided to climb Rainier first (Kautz). Unfortunately, it was raining over night and most of the next day. My sleeping bag started soaking up water which accumulated in our tent. Basically the tent was leaking water through its entire surface. I made a phone call to learn that the weather forecast was worsening over the next 4-5 days. We had enough food and fuel to stay but were not well prepared for the heavy and long rain. So we decided to retreat with the first opportunity of calm weather. We went to Yakima to search for some sunshine and to dry our gear. When the weather forecast was supposed to improve, we decided to climb Adams (smaller) first and than Rainier. When we arrived to Killen Meadow, the rest of the mountain above was hidden in clouds. The noisy wind blew furiously around the ridges and glaciers. Our initial plan was setting a camp at the base of Adams Glacier but we decided to stay at the meadow. The next day we left the camp quite late, around 8 am. Only half of the glacier was visible; the rest was still covered by clouds. Rainier, on the other hand, looked nice. The lower part of the glacier was friendly and accessible, nothing as I remembered from my previous climbs. Crevasses were clearly visible and easy to traverse. We kept gaining elevation without noticing the slope had already steepened till I was stopped by a crevasse with a broken bridge. The crevasse was deep to raise the excitement. I warned Reid to be alert while I was crossing the bridge. He crossed the bridge a few minutes later also with no problem. We kept climbing on the right side of the glacier till I could not see any reasonable way through and moved to the left side. Our pace slowed down because the terrain required more focus. We walked along the edge of a crevasse and then around steep icy blocks cracked in many places. We roped at the base of the glacier but used no protections so far. It was up to Reid to decide when and where he would have needed more security. The left side of the glacier did not look promising either. It was already late, at least 3 pm, and I was worried that we might have run out of daylight. We had headlamps (of course) but on the broken glacier with huge ice blocks they would not really be that helpful. I needed 30 - 60 minutes more to determine if the next section was going to let us through. The huge, steep ice blocks were making the traversal almost impossible. These 60 minutes were critical if we wanted to be able to retreat. My altimeter showed 10,300 feet. It was about 2,000 feet of reasonably steep, icy and snowy slope down or about over 1,000 feet up of unknown. If we would not be able to get through at any later point, we would have to stay on the glacier overnight. I did not like that idea. Reid did not like the idea of down climbing. He had a similar feeling as I had during my first climb of Adams Glacier. Basically the route looks much steeper on the way down. He proposed to get to the West Side of North Ridge, somehow get on it, and to descend it. From the place we were located his idea seemed to be feasible, but there were hidden factors such as ice falls and other parts of the glacier as well as rock cliff we were not able to see. There were too many ifs. The risk might have been too high. We did not have time for experiments. So I made a call to retreat. This time Reid wanted to set up protections; he was afraid of falling. At any time the fall would have ended up in a (hopefully nearest) crevasse below to trap the unfortunate climber. He wanted to climb first to lower the chance of the fall impact. His argument was that he was at higher risk of falling (slipped two times on Rainier, no problems, however). I did not like his way of thinking at all. Any fall might have been a disaster for both of us and wanted a "no fall" thinking policy. Period! We had no time or luxury to deal with recovery. I just stated, "Take no fall, no matter what you do. Just focus and everything should be fine." The fear factor at the beginning is always high due to the pessimistic imaginations but then it disappears. We started climbing down. I used all pickets and/or ice screws for running protections. Unfortunately it was taking too much time and I decided to limit to only one at the time. Reid agreed. He had already built his confidence. We were using almost the whole length of the rope. One anchor was not a great protection in case of a fall, especially for the upper climber, but it gave an illusion of security and let us focus on the climbing techniques. As long as we were able to see we were able to climb successfully. But, this would have been too easy. Somewhere in the middle of the slope, on the icy section, roughly ten feet above one of the crevasses, Reid lost his crampon. Luckily, the rope blocked the crampon from further movement just above the edge of the crevasse. There was no way he would have been able to keep climbing safely down the slope with just one crampon, still too much to go especially on ice. Reid very carefully started making steps with his ice tool and slowly moved down. The rope was still holding the crampon. Every movement threatened to cause the crampon to fall into the crevasse or down to nowhere. I hoped that it would be the crevasse; it would have been easier to recover. Finally Reid managed to grab the crampon. He still had to descend to the crevasse and use its edge as a seat. He did a good job and we were able to keep climbing down again. One more time he had a problem with his crampon but did not lose it. When we arrived at the bottom of the steep section, flatter terrain, it was already getting dark. I looked around but found no footprints. Due to lack of visibility the navigation was difficult. We were wandering between icy crevasses for the next few hours to get to the moraines. Then we continued our struggle till we found a creek. We followed the creek to the meadow and our tent. We arrived at our camp just before 2 am. Conclusion These three climbs on the same mountain and the same route were under completely different conditions with completely different outcomes. Reid experienced similar impressions about this climb as I did the first time (scary and without any intention of down climbing). My previous experiences and knowledge of the route (as well as the trip report by Hefeweizen at CC) surely influenced my decisions over this trip. In the critical moment, expecting worse rather than better, I decided not to proceed any further. Perhaps, without my previous experiences I would have kept climbing up or tried to attempt the ridge (as Reid suggested) hoping it would have been easier and less risky than down climbing. However, I know for sure that due to my decision we came back alive and intact. The summit is not the most important, the whole experience is. Marek R. Damm Mt Adams, Adams Glacier - July 23, 2007 More pictures... Gear Notes: For solo two ice tools Approach Notes: Trout Lake approach closed due to the washouts
  9. And what was the reality? One week! If searchers went up before last weekend who knows how many bodies we would have to count. It took two active days (plus extra time to prepare) in a comparably perfect weather conditions to get to the cave. Are you implying that Kelly was irresponsible and would not care about other people lives? He was a mountaineer and knew that such possibility existed.
  10. Is this scenario possible? (Rated R) Whatever they were trying to do, a terrible accident happened and the two climbers were immediately gone. Kelly was the only one who survived, maybe injured at that point or maybe soon after another attempt on his own (perhaps climbing up above the cave and falling down) or combination of both. The point is he left alone and injured with knowledge his partners were dead. However, the most important part is that Kelly (with extensive mountaineering experience and reality) was completely aware of his hopeless situation and impossible and pointless rescue attempt by SAR in such conditions (not to mention imposing risk to rescuers). He decided just to make a good bye call, but he did not want say anything directly that the two others were dead and he himself was about to die. So he just said about the airplane, town, and feeling could effects. He used metaphor. Is not it the phrase often used were people are dying, feeling could? He knew that many people would start looking for him and wanted to postpone the search till the storm eased, to prevent from possibility of unnecessary additional deaths.
  11. I liked what Sheriff has said in the last conference especially his attitude (I was able to see only the beginning because the reporter started commenting...). Please do not understand me incorrectly, I am too realistic to be positive in case like this and, but I would never say it is over till it is. I am not trying to level up hope, that is not what I have learned from my experiences. However, there is always a question to ask, "Did you see the body?"
  12. I never know what the speed of the wind is while I climb (it is already irrelevant) just feel its effect. There was, however, one instance that I was provided with such information at the Paradise climbing RS (after I was back). It was 90 miles per hour. It was a very remarkable climb especially seeing five other climbers heading the summit from the opposite direction. It was a climbing ranger from Camp Shurman with four from Nepal in very fanny uniforms. There was no way to safely stand on the top. I imagine how much fight these three on Hood had to put to stay alive.
  13. That is absolutely correct. But according to what Sheriff has said in the video, they were in that area, above it. The inconsistent info was confusing me.
  14. Thanks for posting the (pdf) picture. It clarifies a lot. By the way, I did not sleep well and woke up with huge headache, but in my warm bed.
  15. I am completely exhausted and have to get some sleep. For the last several days I was not able to do much but monitoring info about this accident and make sense of anything. I am personally involved in this whole situation (even though I don’t know any of this guys) because I am a mountain climber and most importantly was involved in the search for my best climbing buddy. If you really want to know to what extend and with what result, do the search, it is easy. Maybe then you will understand why I am asking for the evidence so much. But for today I am out. Good night.
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