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Everything posted by mountainmatt

  1. Looks like an amazing trip Stewart. Some of the views are spectacular! Bummer on the accident. I'm glad you had two good partners to secure you in the bergschrund and that rescue got there quickly. Heal up quickly so we can get back out there soon
  2. Trip: Squire Creek, Darrington - Stage Right (5.10b, 10 pitches) Date: 6/26/2010 Trip Report: Martha and I headed up to check out some of the new routes in the Rattle and Slime guidebook. After talking to Chris, I figured we weren’t up for the 11a slab climbing on Center Stage and headed for the slightly easier Stage Right (5.10b, 11 pitches). We hiked up on Friday afternoon and camped out under the large boulder named, “Martha’s Place” (named for another Martha). From the large boulder, I could count 18 separate waterfalls within the basin. We had a nice dry bivy site and running water as well! We climbed Stage right on Saturday (see below), and after a slow start on Sunday morning and a light rain shower, we decided to save the Waterfall route for our next trip. Overall a fantastic and beautiful place, I can’t wait to get back up there and try Center Stage and the Flight of the Falcon on Salish. Approach: (time ~4 hours) As described in the new Rattle and Slime guidebook, simply head up Squire Creek road until the nice turnaround and park (watch out for young D-town locals making out in their large pickups). Head up the old road, through the wash out, back onto the old road until you hit the old trail head. The trail gets a little rougher at this point, but is still easygoing and only slightly uphill. There are a few stream crossings, but they are easily managed. When you hit the large white rock field, drop down and right towards the Creek, start watching for orange flag tape from here on. Follow the flagging to a trail that walks on the east side of the river for a while until you come to the Creek, leaving you with two options: 1) cross several logs and a little bush whacking to get to the other side (or) 2) take off your shoes and wade across going from the rock bed on one side to the other. We did #1 on the way up, and #2 on the way down. Both were not that bad. After the crossing, continue on the trail for a while until you come into a large dry riverbed. We tried to stay in the riverbed as long as possible until bushwhacking to the running creek. Here we walked straight up the creek, rock hoping, some bush whacking, and sometimes both! This route is not recommended if the stream is running (see map below). By the end, both Martha and I had had our feet plunge into the river several times, and were getting pretty worked over. Thankfully, Martha’s place appeared shortly afterwards. Route approach: (~45 min) From Martha’s place, we dropped down following the creek until we came to a rock gully that leads up to Roan wall. There is a large carin to mark the start of the route and a few along the way as well. Route: Overall a great route! The approach pitches are just that, and the best climbing starts on pitch 3 and higher. Pitch -1: 5.8 with 4 bolts, a little dirty, straightforward. Scramble ~200 ft up and right after the belay to a corner. Pitch 0: 5.4 with only a little gear, but easy. Follows a face crack system. Scramble several hundred feet up, traverse off to the right to access the first pitch. Pitch 1: 5.8 A little heady of a lead and a bit difficult on route finding. After 170 ft you come to two widely spaced bolts (belay here, we should have) but we had read there was a higher belay another ~30 feet up. I could not find this belay, and Martha started simul-climbing for another 20-30 (total of 50-60 ft above the widely spaced bolts) where I found a tree and made a belay. Although the topo indicates this is easy third class, I found it to be more like hard fourth easy fifth pulling over trees and blocks, I would stay roped up. Pitch 2: Third class. From the tree belay, there was a dead tree climbers right that you could climb behind that leads to a large ledge system. Easy walking/scrambling leads to a perch ~250 ft from the dead tree where you can make a gear anchor (0.75 and a red tcu). It’s easiest to unrope and walk. Pitch 3: 5.10a. Slab climbing with fun knobs, good climbing. 10 bolts. Pitch 4: 5.5 Head straight up and then traverse left to the anchors. Slightly dirty, but easy. Pitch 5: 5.10a Classic Darrrington style slab climbing, a fun roof as well! 10 bolts. Pitch 6: 5.10b Exciting and sustained slab climbing with a fun roof. 12 bolts. Pitch 7: 5.9 Very fun and sustained edge climbing, 10 bolts. Pitch 8: 5.8 After stepping over a roof, move up easy terrain to an fun corner to easier terrain and the summit! Gear: Single rack of small tcus up to 0.75 camalot. Some extra small gear and a single #3 camalot also came in handy on pitch #1. Double 60 meter ropes. Bring at least 12 draws (not the 10 reported in the guide). Route Descent: (10 rappels) To descend, we walked on the ridge ~100ft to a large 10ft high block, dropped to the left of it, squeezed through the trees, and rappelled down Center Stage (which looks awesome as well!). Rappels were straightforward. Descent: (~3 hours) To try and avoid the creek hoping madness on the way up, we found a dry streambed that was further away from the creek and walked down that. While the rock was fairly loose, it was much easier to walk down and only required a small section of bush whacking on the way down. I would recommend this for future parties (see map). Thanks to all the Squire Creek crew for putting up so many awesome lines in such an awesome area! Not to mention all the trail work you guys are doing up there. Cheers! Approach: Through the trees: Entering into the basin: Bush whacking: Camp (Martha’s Place): Martha in her place: Awesome view from camp: On the way to Roan wall: Pitch -1: Pitch 3: Pitch 4: Pitch 7: Summit: View from the top of Roan wall: Salish Peak (next time!): Purdy (note: Martha's place boulder): Waterfall buttress: Heading out: Backside of Roan (left) Salish peak (right) At the boulder field before being back on the good trail: Now this is how to stash a beer!
  3. It had been a while since Stewart and I had a chance to head out and get on a route, but now that I moved back to the west coast and was close to Yosemite, we figured it was a good chance to climb something up in the valley. We wanted to climb on Memorial Day weekend and we figured the normal walls would be a zoo, so we planned on climbing the less traveled Southwest face of Liberty Cap (V 5.9 C2+). Stewart flew in on Thursday and after arranging the gear and a few quick stops we headed out to the valley. We bivied on the side of the road about an hour outside of the park and drove in on Friday to Curry village. We packed up, caught the shuttle, and started hiking around 10 AM. The approach goes up the mist trail, which refers to the spray from Vernal falls that “mists” you as you hike up the long series of stone stairs. Most of the tourists had brought rain jackets and shells, we took it as the closest thing we would get to a shower for the next several days. Stewart took all of the metal gear and I was stuck with the pig. It seemed very heavy, but of course we had packed lots of creature comforts for the climb including a few beers, hard cider, port, and baileys. The funniest part of the hike was all of the comments from tourists that ranged from beautiful women telling us how cool we were (because big walls are glamorous?) as well as a nice lady asking why I was bringing up such a large trash can. We arrived at the base and scrambled to the base of the route up the third class ramp, dropped our gear, and headed back down to the river to fill up our water. Luckily, someone had tried the route a few days earlier and left several gallons of water at the base of the route which made this a lot easier. As we were both going to be pretty slow, Stewart headed up to fix the first two pitches (70 feet and 130 feet). The first section was supposed to be a crux (C2+), but with offset cams it felt fairly straight forward. The rest of the link up was a mix of free and C1 climbing that trended up and right to a bolt anchor. Stewart fixed the lines and returned to the ledge to bivy in one of the two caves. We cooked up food, enjoyed some beer, and watched the stars appear in the night sky. Stewart launched up the fixed lines the next morning with me following behind. However we had made a mistake; not leaving in a directional for the second person to jug. After about 5-10 feet of jugging, the rope slide on the edge sending me ~30 feet to the right straight into a tree giving me several nice cuts and bruises on my legs. The rope was now going over an overhanging face and I was stuck wrapped around the middle of two trees. Stewart yelled down to check on me, but of course the nearby Nevada falls made it nearly impossible to hear. I wrestled with the trees for a while, but made little progress, rather I managed to just add a lot of additional cuts to my legs and arms. I finally gave up, lowered to the ledge and traversed back over to the start. Stewart lowered and added a few fixed pieces and I was off jugging again. Unfortunately, we had wasted a lot of time dealing with this so we were unlikely to make it to the big ledge that night at the top of pitch 7. I launched out on pitch 3 which again had an interesting mix of aid (C1+) and free climbing. Sometimes it would just be an extra move or two, and other times you had to free 10-15 feet pulling the heavy aid rack along for the ride. Stewart cleaned the pitch faster than I could get the pig up to the base, and was soon off leading again. Pitch 4 was a longer section of both free and C1 aid that led up a nice dihedral to a small stance. The whole time we had great views of the valley below and a great look at Nevada falls. Pitch 5 was another one of the crux pitches of the route; a crack corner that leads to a long rivet/bolt ladder with a few extra fun sections thrown in. The first involves bat hooking through between two of the rivets which was fairly straight forward, the second was supposed to be an upside-down cam hook between two rivets which I could never find (instead I top stepped and reached up to the next placement), and the third was a hook move between two of the rivets. When nearing the top of the pitch, the clouds had grown dark and the thunder started to rumble. I climbed the final 5.7 ramp in the rain and started bringing up the pig. Stewart jugged up and we had the “go / no-go” discussion. It would be fairly easy to bail from there, but since it was the last bolt anchor, bailing after that would be expensive. We waited out the rain for the while and after checking the weather again and seeing some of the clouds start to break, we decided to go on knowing that there was a chance for a thunderstorm the next day and that the last pitch had mandatory 5.8 R climbing that would suck if it was wet. Stewart headed up pitch 6 with it still lightly raining and made it to a ledge where we would bivy for the night. By the time I started jugging, it was dark, I was dehydrated, and hadn’t eaten enough food that day. I got my new headlamp stuck on the “red” setting making the cleaning more interesting. I was completely destroyed by the time I got to the ledge. Stewart got everything setup while I stared into space like a zombie. We were both sore the next morning so we gulped down some ibuprofen and I started leading pitch 7. This pitch had a little bit of everything: some easy free climbing, traversing around trees, a chimney, some reachy aid climbing, a tension traverse, and finally crack jugging with horrible rope drag. This topped us out on a big ledge that we hoped to get up the day before. Pitch 8 started by offering a squeeze chimney which Stewart cruised on lead. I thrashed my way through the chimney on second nearly getting stuck a few times. Stewart headed out on pitch 9 as well which was mostly free with only a few C1 placements. This pitch ends with what was described as a “hauling nightmare” in the guidebook due to the patches of manzanita bushes. I wouldn’t say it was all that bad, but the bag did have to be freed a couple of times before reaching the ledge. At this point it started lightly raining again making the runout slab at the finish the route a bit unknown. We hoped we wouldn’t have to bivy right below the summit due to wet slabs. Once the rain had slowed down again, I led off on pitch 10 up a nice clean and slightly flared corner to a series of manzanita bushes. As that offered the only protection, I headed up straight through them; grunting and thrashing all while adding more cuts to my legs. It looked like I had fought a cheese grater and lost horribly. The pitch ended with a nice hanging belay and Stewart came up to take the infamous last pitch of 5.8 R. It hadn’t rained enough to be too concerned with the water which had been our major concern, the bigger issue is that the route hadn’t been done enough to clearly find the bolts that were up there, and there were multiple sections of mossy smearing. Stewart pulled it off with style and we were at the top right at sunset. We bived on the top, eating as much of our excess food as we could, drinking our remaining hard cider, Baileys, and port while puffing on some old cigars. The stars were out in full force making it a great end to the route. In the morning, we were both pretty sore, but got the pig packed up and stumbled our way back to Curry village. The comments on the way out were much less flattering. Perhaps it’s because we hadn’t showered in three days and smelled like dirt, sunblock, and dried blood? Since we had all of our empty crushed water bottles on the top of the haul bag, multiple people commented that it sure was a big trash can I was carrying. Several other people noticed my heavily scraped legs in horror, and one lady kindly asked if I needed first aid and medicine. I just kept my head down hiking commenting, “Hodor”. All together it was a nice trip, in a fantastic setting, with crowds, and a good friend. Looking forward to the next one… Hiking up the mist trail Stewart taking a break from the rack Liberty Cap - the southwest face goes up the center of the face starting from the tree ramp cutting across the bottom Stewart starting pitch 1 Linking pitch 1 into pitch 2 Nevada falls Leading up pitch 4 Cleaning pitch 4 Out on pitch 5, the rivet ladder Stewart on pitch 6 as the thunderstorm rumbles in the background Bivy at the top of pitch 6 My legs about halfway up. They got worse after this... Stewart cleaning pitch 7 The start of the squeeze chimney Start of the ramp on pitch 10 I'm somewhere in the tree on pitch 10 Stewart about to launch on the final pitch Bivy on the summit Sunrise! Shadow of Liberty cap on the left and half dome on the right; Yosemite falls is off in the distance Backside of Halfdome Hiking out with our trash can (Hodor!)
  4. [TR] Liberty Cap - Southwest face 5/27/2016

    Just for you Stewart: the first known Unicorn ascent of Snake dike by Handy-Corn
  5. Trip: Vantage - Torre de Plumas 5.7 R A0 Date: 2/21/2010 Trip Report: Several years ago, we were sitting around a campfire in Vantage with the awe-inspiring backdrop of the feathers in site. Being climbing book junkies, we were all aware of the amazing history of the feathers; the successes, the failures, and the epics. We could identify several of the individual routes on each tower, when jokingly someone threw out, “I wonder if someone will ever link the summits of all of the towers?” We all laughed about the difficulties of the idea, but that night, a seed was planted in my mind. The next couple of years I found myself climbing in Yosemite, Red Rocks, and Index, but my mind constantly drifted back to thoughts about the linking the towers of the feathers. I finally decided that I had to start taking the traverse seriously and began my training. As luck would have it while training one day, I ran into another inspired soul who had seen the traverse as well and was interested. ‘Shooter’ and I combined forces. We waited for months for the right weather window. With the favorable weather forecast last weekend, we knew we had our shot. We packed for a light and fast traverse, carrying only a single rope and one can of Rainier each for the entire traverse. We hoped that with some luck, that would be all we needed. After a brief warm up, we set out to strike at the traverse. We started by leading the route on the far western end of the feathers, being sure to summit each tower on the way. After a bouldery start (see topo), we connected up with some anchors (likely left by another party on a previous attempt at the traverse). ‘Shooter’ joined me at the belay, and proceeded off into the wild terrain ahead. After a difficult ground avoidance move, he was back on course into a long section of tricky walking. Finding a large boulder (possibly one of the last good belays to be found), he set up the belay and brought me over. At this point, I couldn’t help but think about the new movie “The North Face” as people arrived to witness our triumph or failure. I only hoped that we would make it to the end of the traverse, so I could enjoy the Rainier I had so carefully stashed in my chalk bag. Looking at the next section, I knew that I had additional tricky walking ahead, so I grabbed some extra gear and set off. After summiting another tower, I arrived at the giant steps; a series of four foot down climbs that come one after another. I took a couple of deep breaths and thought about all of the training I had done over the last several months. I knew I was as ready as I could ever be; I set off down the stairs towards the unknown. The first stair provided little issue, nor did the second or third, and soon I had arrived at a large ledge near the large gap in the traverse. Finding another anchor left by a previous attempt, I set up and brought ‘Shooter’ over to the belay. We discussed at length our strategy for the next section and decided that ‘Shooter’ was the best candidate for the crux of the route. I lowered him down to about halfway down the tower, were he proceeded to start the “queen swing”. After several runs back and forth, he managed to connect to the other side in a full body stem. Luck would have it, that there were holds there to allow him to continue off to an adjacent crack. Far from the anchor, we were both desperately hoping for some gear but there was none to be found (hence the R rating). ‘Shooter’ who had also been training very hard, was up for the task: composing himself, and sending the crack to the top of the next pillar. After setting a belay, I lowered off the previous anchor and climbed up to the tower. We celebrated a brief victory; the ‘queen swing’ had been done, which we knew would be one of the major cruxes of the route. However, it also meant that when we pulled the rope, it would be very hard to traverse back the other way. And furthermore, the next section of the climb was about to provide the scariest moment of the adventure. After crossing another long section of technical walking, I stumbled on a good bivy site for two. I made sure to take note of this in case we didn’t complete the route in a day. But I really hoped that we would, since we were traveling so fast and light, and we only brought one Rainier each. After another short section, I arrived at another large gap, finding another old set of anchors, most likely left by a party attempting the route from the other direction. I began to step across, when I felt something shifting in my chalk bag. I instinctively reached back and grabbed my only can of Rainier from falling out of my chalk bag and into the darkness of the chimney. I took several minutes to compose myself before I attempted to climb any further. Accordingly, we have named the feature, ‘nearly lost my Rainier step’. At this point, I could see what I thought was the end of the climb, but the traverse did not let up. A complicated section of walking that involved technical footwork was ahead. There was also little room to place any protection, keeping my blood pumping until the very end. I finally set up a belay and brought ‘Shooter’ over to the end. We celebrated our traverse by cracking open the Rainiers before headed back to the car nearly 400 feet away. The main objective: The summit of an early tower: Bouldery start Seconding pitch 1: Route finding: Looking down the traverse (note the ground is very close on the right): Heading out on pitch 2: Approaching the ‘giant steps’ The ‘queen swing’ Nearing the end: Celebration: Topo:
  6. [TR] Nightmare Needles - Fire Spire 8/9/2015

    Very nice trip, and such a awesome area to spend some time. You have all of the feel of the enchantments without any of the crowds. Very nice photo/labeling of the ridge; you really have to get back there to get that image.
  7. Nice one Timmay! Stonehenge! Where the demons dwell Where the banshees live and they do live well Stonehenge! Where a man's a man and the children dance to the Pipes of Pan
  8. [TR] Mt. Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier 5/24/2014

    Nice trip Chad and Stewart! I love the picture of the ridge traverse in the fog! .
  9. Nice one! That is such a great area; good climbing, great views, and no people
  10. Trip: Colchuck Lake - Sunchips 5.8 - FA Date: 7/26/2008 Trip Report: A while back, Evan and I headed in for four days of climbing in the Enchantments. On the first day, we searched around for potential new lines in the area. On day two, we climbed the west face of CBR (which is a fantastic line, no TR for this one since I think the subject has been covered pretty well). On Saturday, we headed over to look at one of the potential new lines we found right near the south side of Colchuck Lake. After a short hike up the hill, we found what looked like a nice 3 pitch line following a series of cracks and ledges. The route appeared to be a new line (that or it hasn’t been climbed in at least a decade or two). The climbing was excellent, easily protectable, and made up of mostly 5.6 moves. Each pitch contains a short 5.8 crux, but is well protected. Each pitch is ~25m long ending with a large ledge and a good-sized tree. On the descent, we started cleaning, brushing, and removing some branches from a tree that blocked the route. The next day, we climbed the route again; switching leads around to make sure we agreed with the gear suggestions and ratings. We also spent a descent amount of time cleaning the route, trundling rocks, removing vegetation, brushing off the moss, and establishing three belays around the trees. This route should be a nice day out for new alpine climbers, for a rest day, or people looking for something short to do as a warm up for the longer routes on Dragontail and Colchuck. Enjoy! The appraoch: Building carins on the way up: Looking up at the approach, Sunchips in the background: Where the route goes roughly: Looking up from the base: Evan on P1: Matt on P2: Evan on P3: Sunchips always taste great after a day of route cleaning: Topo (I have a much larger one, but cannot get it to post that way, PM me if you would like a copy): Gear Notes: Rack to 4", Single 60m rope, a few longrunners Approach Notes: Hike to the south side of Colchuck lake then see pictures and map above
  11. [TR] Colchuck Balanced Rock - The Scoop 5.11C 9/25/2014

    Blake is right on. Here is the picture of Stuart leading the pitch. After you do the traverse, you get in the corner and there are a few good pieces. The online topo indicates RPs are useful, the guidebook marks them as bolts or pins (we placed neither on the entire route, so bring some nuts). When the slab gets a little steeper, stem/smear up and grab the ledge that Stuart is standing on in the picture. After that, get into the corner crack which takes good gear but always felt a little funky to me. .
  12. [TR] Colchuck Balanced Rock - The Scoop 5.11C 9/25/2014

    Nice to see another TR on this line! When we first put up the route we actually cleaned the entire thing so there was little-no moss on it. Apparently it needs a little more attention to keep the lower pitches clean. The scoop is definitely the money pitch, but the last two pitches are very nice as well and are definitely worth climbing.
  13. [TR] Commonwealth Basin - Superbowl Ice 2/2/2014

    Nice one! Your pictures make it look better than when we did it a few years ago. It was listed under the "rumors of ice" section of the guidebook, hence we referred to it as that. A fun climb for sure! http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=752801 .
  14. [TR] Silverton - Various 12/10/2013

    Nice Stewball, looks like a fun one! (and love the suspenders Courtney ) .
  15. Speed records in Washington

    ~10 minutes top to bottom for me .
  16. That is one hell of an awesome trip! .
  17. [TR] Jet Tower - East Buttress, 5.9 9/9/2013

    Awesome! Looks like a super awesome area! The route was done by Evan and Micah which they named, "The Scorpions Tale" checking in at 5.8 with some R sections. In talking to them, they started at the base of the toe as there was too much snow to start at the side. It was put up on a few different trips and completed in August after a lot a good deal of cleaning loose blocks. I've seen a few pics, but I'll leave the rest of the details to them.
  18. Chris Greyell

    That is absolutely terrible! Chris took me out to Squire Creek to show off what an amazing area it was in the winter and I ran into him almost every time we headed out there after that. Always happy to show you the next route he was working on and give you lots of stoke. He was a pioneer of many routes in Washington and an inspiration for all of us. He will definitely be missed.
  19. Climbing mag #170

    Does anyone have a copy of Climbing magazine #170 from August 1997? If so can you shoot me a PM? I was hoping to get a couple of topos out of it if possible .
  20. Climbing mag #170

    Got it! Thanks y'all!
  21. Climbing mag #170

  22. Awesome Joe, that looks like one fine line for sure! .
  23. Wow, nice one Stewball! Sounds like a very painful way to exit the pickets though! .