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About kit_from_Montreal

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  • Birthday 03/25/1974


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    Montreal, Canada
  1. [TR] Mount Rainier- Gibraltar Ledges 3/2/2006

    I forgot to mention two things !!! 1) I already knew that but ... Duck tape rules !!!! I broke my pole the first day, found a small piece of wood and used duck tape to fix it to my broken pole. It held for the three days that we attempted the Ptarmigan ridge !!!!! Snow and rain were no match for the duct tape !!!! 2) We bring way too much food ! We brought only 1 day worth of food on our Gib Ledges attemp, I never felt angry and I had leftovers once we were back at the car. GORP and gel can get you far !!!
  2. [TR] Mount Rainier- Gibraltar Ledges 3/2/2006

    Yes, there were a few placements for rock pro. Exactly at the spot were we turned around, there was a thin crack that would have taken a blade. I haven't seen any ice thick enough and solid enough to put screws in. The chute looked icy from where we were though. I not sure if it was hard enough to take screws though I found the last 200 feet that we travelled to be the most exposed sections and we stopped around 50 feet from the entrance of the chute.
  3. Climb: Mount Rainier-Gibraltar Ledges Date of Climb: 3/2/2006 Trip Report: TR - Ptarmigan Ridge and Gibraltar Ledges attemps I know its a bit late, but here it goes .... The plan was to fly from Montreal to Vancouver on Friday evening, sleep at my friend's place and leave early in the morning for Mount Rainier. This way we would get as much time as a week off from work can get you for our climb, the Ptarmigan Ridge. Of course, nothing went as planned !!!! To start with, they lost one of our bags during the flight to Vancouver ! Outch ! Isn't that every climber's nightmare ? Especially on a week long trip, you know you will end up spending the whole week trying to recover all that gear if they can't retrieve the &*%#$@ bag. Happily, they delivered the bag with all of its content the next morning around 10h00 AM. At 11h00AM, we were ready to leave for Rainier, only to find out there was a 90 minute delay at the customs !!!! And that is how our first cimbing day ended !!! Happily, the rangers gave us all the instructions so that we could self register for our climb so we went straight for the Ipsut creek campground, camped in the car and started the climb right away the next morning. There was not enough snow for the first 500 vertical feet therefore we had to carry our skis on our back, adding to our already too heavy backpacks ! but our spirit was high ! We were finally starting our climb ! The hike/ski up to Ipsut pass went well, but when we got there, we lost the trail. We did not study the map properly and took an 180 degre turn from where the trail was trully heading, climbing toward Castle Peak instead of going up the ipsut pass. After a 2h of climbing, we realized that we were off course and manage to find our way back whitout losing too much altitude. Nonetheless, we had lost more than 2hours. First lessons learned of the trip: always take the time to study carefully the map ! When we reached the summit of Ipsut Pass, we did not have much daylight time left, so we decided to bivy there. The trail was not obvious with all the snow on the ground and we did not want to repeat our mistake and loose the trail a second time ! The next morning, it was raining/falling wet snow when we woke up. We figured that if we could gain some altitude, this wet snow/rain would turn into snow and it would be easier for us to stay dry. We did our best to follow the trail and although it did not follow what was indicated on the map, I think we managed to stay close to it most of the time and eventually reached Mowich lake . When we got there, my partner took the task of drying his sleeping bag + our down jacket (they had gotten wet from the moisture in the tent) and I went looking for the trail that goes up toward the Ptarmigan Ridge. BTW, can anyone tell me where that trail leaves the Mowich parking lot ? I saw part of a brown sign that indicated the start of the trail but never found the trail !!!! Anyway, we told ourselves that if the weather was better on tuesday morning, we would find our way trough the woods as we did the day before and try to gain some altitude. If the weather did not improve .... we would go down as everything started to get wet ! Well ! this is a picture that was taken on Tuesday morning. I'll let you guess what was our decision !!!! Second lesson learned: down and west coast climbing don't go well together ! The descent was uneventfull and we even managed to drive back to Vancouver the same day. On Wednesday, while drying/cleaning our equipment, we started looking for something else to climb. We found a few interesting climbs and then started to look at the weather forecast for our final decision. It turned out our best chance of good weather was for the Mount Rainier area ... and that is how we came up with our plan to climb the Gibraltar Ledges. Leave Vancouver at 5:00AM, stop to register at Longmire at 10:00AM, start climbing at 11:00AM, reach camp muir early in the afternoon, have a look at the route and go to bed early. Start the climb around 5:00AM the next morning, go to the summit and come back to muir, downclimb all the way to the parking lot early in the morning and drive back to Vancouver in time for our scheduled dinner !! In order to complete that plan we had decided to go as light as possible. We did cut my 8.1mm 60m rope in two and brought only half of it with us, 1 ice axe, crampons, 2 snow pickets, basic glacier travel gear, 1 day worth of food, 1 day worth of fuel, down jacket, down "and finally dry" sleeping bag, mattress. Again, nothing went as planned ! First, we woke up late, second we were searched at the border and had to sign papers testifying that we were not going to work in the USA (I guess people don't cross the border twice during the same week telling the officer that they will climb the same mountain ...) and third, I realized I had forgotten my skins back at my friends place .... I guess that's what happens if you drink too much wine at dinner the day before !! and ... on our way there we finally got our first glimpse at the mountain ... (that's day 6 of an 8 day trip ...hummmmm !) There wasn't much coming out of the clouds but it was enough to get our spirits high. With all these events, we ended up starting our climb to Muir around 3:00PM and just to make things worse, followed the wrong tracks. We realized our mistake and corrected our heading with only a minor delay. Soon after we got back on tracks, the clouds started to go away and we finally got a clear view of the mountain as well as the Gibraltar ledges The drawback of a late start is that we got to camp Muir way after dark and never got a good and close look at our route and ... it gets pretty cold up there at night ! I had waited too long before I did put my thicker gloves on and now had problems keeping my finger warm. Let's just say we were happy to slide in our sleeping bags when we finally got there ! The next morning, we woke up to a whiteout !!!!!! We figured that this was part of the moutain/winter weather and decided to set the alarm for every 30 minutes until it would go away. By 8:00AM our spirit was down ! We went back to our sleeping bags thinking we would not be able to go any higher. Happily, at 10:00AM I decided to have a last look and ... finally !!! we could see the sky ! We packed our bags, ate as fast as we could and started the climb. We did postholed all the way up to the Gibraltar rock. Sometimes it would only be 2 or 3 inches deep, but most of the time it was more like 2 feet deep. At least, the snow was stable and we did not see or start any avalanches. On the ledges, there was less snow. Actually, there was just enough to give you confidence and a good footing. The climb went slow but steady. Here are a few pictures we took. When we reached the point where the ledges get larger (approximately 50 feet from the chute), there was a wind lip that had formed bringing the slope angle to a much higher value. We spent 15-20 minutes trying to find a safe way through it, but could not. We tried to use snow pickets to anchor ourselves, but the snow was too soft. We then tried a bit lower, but again did not feel comfortable. It was getting close to 3:00PM and we were still far from the summit. Since I had not been able to warm up my feets, climbing after nightfall was not a good option. Therefore we decided that this would be our highpoint for the trip and turned back. Not an easy decision, but the safe one ! Just to let us know that we had taken the right decision, 30 minutes later, the summit was all covered by clouds .... Gear Notes: Basic glacier travel gear, snow picket, a few nuts or pitons would have been great as well
  4. [TR] Mt Rainier- Camp Muir 3/4/2006

    A fall would have been impossible/really hard to stop whitout protection but the footing was not so bad. We had to be really carefull for some sections though. One exception .... there is a wind lip that did form at the end where the ledges get larger (about 50 feet from the chute). We did not feel that this lip could be crossed safely without protection. A snow picket burried under the snow may do the job, but rock protection would be better for this section. We already knew we did not have enough time left to get to the summit at that point, so we did decide to turn around and not waste the 20-30 minutes it would have taken us to safely cross that section. If anyone feels like I am trashing this post, I am really sorry. I felt like these information would be useful to anyone (including snowball) heading for the Gib ledges in the next few weeks.
  5. [TR] Mt Rainier- Camp Muir 3/4/2006

    That remembers me that I DO have to post my TR ... I hope I'll have some time tommorow Anyway, I was on the Gib Ledges on Friday March 3. ( I talked to two guys on my way down friday night, maybe you were one of them snowball ????) Ice screws would be useless to protect the ledges (at least on Friday they were) as I did not see any ice. The snow was too soft as well to take snow pickets. Your best luck would have been with rock protection (nuts and blades) which we did not have ....
  6. Ptarmigan next weekend

    As a matter of fact, we got our ass kicked by the weather !!!! We started the climb on sunday morning and decided to retreat on tuesday as the weather was still looking bad and everything was getting wet from the rain/wet snow that was falling. The good thing about it though is that we had still enough time to get our equipment dry and give mount Rainier a second try. On Thursday afternoon, we were back on the mountain via the Gibraltar ledges this time. No summit again, but at least we got some good climbing and a lot of fun ! I'll post a TR with pictures later this week.
  7. Ptarmigan next weekend

    issshhhh ! Weather doesn't look too good ! I just hope I'll be able to get more then clouds on my pictures. Mike, I hope we will see you tomorrow !
  8. Ptarmigan next weekend

    Thanks Mike ! You just saved me $200 + the extra fuel required for an SUV !!! I did read your blog earlier this week. I don't understand how I missed the info ! Skykilo, thanks for the picture ! Even if we don't see that much of the Ptarmigan ridge, it is nice to see ! I just hope we get good weather !!!!
  9. Ptarmigan next weekend

    Thanks for the info ! I'll send him a PM By the way, are there any other numbers to reach the rangers ? I am using 360-569-2211 and it does not work. it rings 2 or 3 times and then it stops ......
  10. Ptarmigan next weekend

    Don't worry ! We are following it closely ! We will also bring an extra 3 days of food so that we can wait for good weather and increase our chance to make it to the summit. I spoke to a ranger last week. He did not mention anything regarding washouts ... I will call again this afternoon ! And ... don't worry Magellan ! I will post a TR with lotssssssssss of pictures !
  11. Ptarmigan next weekend

    Thanks for your comments Alex ! Sorry, I forgot to mention that my climbing boots do fit in my AT binding That's true ! but rental car usually have four season tires instead of real winter tires as well.... If there is as less as 6 inches of snow on the road, we may have to ski/snowshoe all the way up from the entrance. I'm playing devil's advocate here, but I just want to make sure we wont regret our decision !
  12. Ptarmigan next weekend

    Hi, I'll be flying from Montreal with a friend on Friday. We would like to climb the Ptarmigan Ridge next weekend/week but we still have a few questions left: 1)Anyone aware of what the conditions are on that side of the mountain ? 2)How long is the ski/walk from the campground to the high camp of the Ptarmigan route ? I have been able to find some information for the high camp to summit section but since these climbs were done in the summer, I am not sure what to expect for the approach ? 3) From personal experience and what I have read up to now, I think skis would be best for the approach (as opposed to snowshoes), can anyone confirm ? 4)Do we have to rent a SUV/4x4 to be able to drive to the Ipsut Creek Campground or is the road in a good enough condition to go with the cheaper option of renting a car ? I don't mind driving in the snow, I just don't know how well this road is maintained in the winter. 5) and ... any suggestions or must stop by gear shop in Seattle/Tacoma/Rainier Area ?