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Everything posted by ericb

  1. Climb: Prusik Peak-West Ridge - Via Snow Creek TH Date of Climb: 7/22/2006 Trip Report: Despite the forecasted 104 degree temps in Leavenworth, my friend Jeff Ramos and I decided to climb Prusik Peak Saturday via the beautiful west ridge. The only catch is that Enchantment permit requirements make an overnight stay difficult, and the approach (Snow Lakes) is 10 miles and ~ 6,000 vertical feet. Rather than take our chances with the permit lottery, we decided to do it car-to-car in a day. We figured we could beat the heat by doing the approach in the dark & early AM, take advantage of the fact that much of the climb is on the north side of the ridge. We arrived at the Snow Creek parking lot at 11PM Friday, and took a little nap in the gravel in from of the car, and started hiking at 2:30 AM. We made OK time, and got to watch the sun rise as we hiked from Nada Lake to Snow lake ~ 6 miles in. The trail up past Snow Lake was easy to follow with headlamp. Above that, cairns mark the route through low angled slabby rock at points – this might be a little more difficult in the dark, but it was light for us by then. The steep mileage between Snow Lake and Lake Vivienne slowed us down, and we took breaks to stay fueled up and hydrated…making it to the base of the climb around 0900. A friendly group of 4 was nice enough to let us cut in front of them as they were camping in the upper lakes, and we had a 10-mile death march left at the end of the day. We all watched as a cute cuddly marmot scampered about the rocks at the base of the route (more on him later) The climbing to gain the ridge was great fun…blocky 4th and low 5th class. I’ve read a number of TRs that express difficulty finding the start of the route, but we saw an obviously lichen free crack easily from the saddle. We climbed on a double over 8mm X 60M half rope which saved weight on the approach, and worked fine as we ended up simul-climbing after the first pitch until we gained the ridge near the crux. The ½ length was adequate to belay the 5.7 crux slab and exposed traverse to another good belay station. We then scrambled on ledges to below the final pitch(es). 30M might have been enough to get to the summit, but we set a belay after a 5.6 lie-back corner, 5.6 lie-back flake at the base of the final squeeze chimney as the rope drag was building. This worked great as it provided great photo ops of Jeff grunting up the final obstacle. He pulled up my pack and enjoyed watching me flail my way up as well. After some summit shots, we began our first of 5 single rope rappels at which point it was a short scramble in rock shoes back to the start of the climb. After the first rappel, Jeff felt the need to mention that he had never gotten a rope stuck on rappel that couldn’t be freed with a few tricks below…..ummm….bad idea. Let’s just say Jeff got an extra pitch in, climbing the rappel route to free the rope. On the way down, the mosquitos were horrible…..biting through clothes, wool socks, etc. We had some spray deet which was handy as you could mist your clothing as well as your skin. But eventually even it wears off, and in our desire to get back to the car we neglected to reapply, and paid dearly for this. We both went in light footwear, Jeff in his running shoes, and I in low-top approach shoes, and they were more than adequate from a performance standpoint, although our feet were in pretty bad shape (i.e. feeling every pebble) by the time we reached the car at 9:30 PM….a 19 hour day! Somewhere along the way down when Jeff took off his pack, I noticed that the nylon mesh on one side of his backpack suspension was suspiciously absent…..note to self…marmots, while cute, like to chew on salty plastic stuff. Managed to find placements for Cams BD #0.4 – #3, but didn’t really need the #3. Used medium to large hexes a lot, particularly for building anchors, and mid to large stoppers mostly. There were only a few patches of snow left on the approach, and none between the rappel exit and base of the route, so no need for crampons/ice axe, sturdy boots etc. Here are some pix: http://ericbakke.spaces.msn.com/photos/?_c02_owner=1 All-in-all...it was a really fun route, with moderate climbing and great exposure in a beautiful area. Gear Notes: 8mm x 60M half rope Small Rack to 3" Approach Shoes/Running Shoes Approach Notes: Few snow patches Had to take shoes off to wade across the dam spillway at Snow Lake
  2. I'm intrigued about this campsite...that's a game changer...I'll have to look into it for next time. As far as the start...I think the issue is that Beckey and Nelson describe different routes to gain the ridge. Beckey talks about traversing to a 5.6 dihedral I think, whereas Nelson starts you off directly above balanced rock. There was nothing approaching 5.6 the first pitch to the ridge on our route. As far as Snow Lake vs. Aasgaard...the reason we did SL for the car-to-car option was 1) I was more confident that we could do the first 7 of 10 miles by headlamp that way, whereas I was less excited about picking my way around Colchuck and up Aasgard in the dark. 2) I thought descending Snow Lake on spent legs would be easier than descending Aasgaard.
  3. Bulging/slightly herniated L5/S1 (Disc)

    I'm going to stay out of the Chiro/PT debate....I've done both, and think both helped at different times. One thing I did do that helped a ton was bought an inversion table...it's a great way to take pressure off the disks in the low back. You pay $300 once, and no more copays...you can do it in your house, in the morning before work, after you get home, after you go for a run or do something else that pisses off your back. I like that you don't need to take time off of work, and you can fit it into your schedule.
  4. [TR] Sahale Peak- Sahale Glacier-solo 7/18/2006

    When I did Sahale, we traversed across the SE gully, and took the ridge from the N/NE. It seemed like solid rock, Class 4. A single rope rap with 30M rope (15M) from a good sling at the summit got us to a good ledge again where we could comfortably downclimb. This sounds much easier than the south side loose class 5 climbing that I often read about and might be better/safer for a solo climber.
  5. [TR] Vesper Peak- North Face 7/9/2006

    Rad/Alpine_Tom.....is the ascent gully(ies) that either of you used visible on Alpine_Tom's second photo below the slab?
  6. Climb: Mount Rainier-Kautz Glacier/DC Descent Date of Climb: 6/25/2006 Trip Report: Me and a couple of my friends have had this route on our list for a long time. We had orginally planned on doing a one-day climb this weekend - and had the necessary permissions from our respective wives. With the forecasted weather, we decided it was worth upgrading a one-day climbing coupon to a full-weekend coupon and give it a shot. Sitters were found, rides to the airport were arranged, errands delayed, and by 3:45 AM Saturday, four of us were on our way to MRNP. The forecast was for an overnight low of ~ 48 degrees and 5mph winds at Muir, and a very hot Sunday, so we decided to go light with bags/bivys and carry over to avoid the hazards of the ice cliff and glacier crossings later in the day on Sunday. Condition reports said that the ice chute was all snow, so we opted not to bring a second tool and brought only pickets, fluke, and a couple lightweight titanium screws. We had our permits in-hand by 0630, and started the long approach by around 0730. We took our time, as none of us had really trained hard or done any big alpine climbs this year. We ended up doing the approach and camping with another group of 3 from the Midwest/East Coast, and we were glad to have their 22 year old human lung with us as he and two of ours traded leads post-holing knee deep up ~ 2,000 vf of moderately steep snow to just below Camp Hazard. There was ample water flowing at one of the camps at around 9,000 feet where we filled up our various hydration systems - I was glad to have brought my Iodine as this made melting at high camp a much easier process. We easily picked routes across the Nisqually and Wilson glacies that were direct and crevasse free. We made camp on a small partially melted out spot at around 10,500, melted a little, cooked, and jabbered. Luckily for us, the forecast was right on and we were plenty warm that night. The team of 3 had hauled a beefy 3-person 4-season tent which was used as a tarp for them to lay their pads and bags on for the night. We were up at ~ 1AM, and climbing by ~ 2AM. Despite the warm temps the snow had hardened nicely, and great for cramponing. Acting on a tip from the ranger, we looked for a camp just below Hazard (10,900) and followed the tracks where direct access to the glacier was found. This limits the time spent in the gully exposed to icefall hazard. Since guides are using this shortcut, a fixed line is there to protect and awkward class 4 downclimb to access the glacier should you need it. The lower ice chute was all firm snow with nice buckets from previous days descents....very straight forward. I was in fact thinking to myself that I could have further lightened my load by only bring my aluminum crampons/axe. This thought was quickly vanquished when we reached the very top part where it steepens to ~ 50 degrees, and the rotten rock impregnated glacier ice is semi-exposed for ~ 20-30 feet. For the first portion of the chute, Dave on the sharp-end opted not to place a screw in the marginal ice and just carried on carefully up, where gentler slopes and ample snow cover prevailed. I had my plastics laced for comfort, and was a littled sketched here where front-pointing was required. From there, the route was direct and straight forward to the summit. We stepped over a couple crevasses just beginning to open up (~3 inches). We were on the Summit by 8AM with warm temps (45 deg???) and barely a breeze. I had a light poly t-shirt and light wind shell and was comfy. We began our descent of the DC at 9AM, where despite the sweltering heat and crowds, the boot-pack provided added some relief to the sloppy descent. We jumped one ~ 3 foot crevasse near Ingram Glacier camp....the only real crevasse of note in two days. Muir to Paradise was a slog fest as expected, but we were all in agreement that the packed trail of the DC and mindless, albeit sloppy descent from Muir was preferable to downclimbing the crux portion of the chute, crossing below the ice-cliff, descending the turtle snow-field, and crossing the Wilson and Nisqually glaciers in 70 - 80 degree temps. I suspect that the warm temps this week will melt more of the snow cover off top portion of the ice-chute, making it more challenging than what we encountered. Gear Notes: Ice axe, crampons - brought pickets, screws...didn't use. Some might want a second tool and screws. Approach Notes: Great coverage on all glaciers, but could change fast given the heat wave
  7. [TR] The Tooth- South Face 5/16/2006

    I'm thinking about heading up there Saturday for a combined A/T - rock trip....from what you could see, is it skiable all the way to the alpental lot?
  8. Climb: Silver Star -Silver Star Creek/Glacier Date of Climb: 4/22/2006 Trip Report: Given the weather report, my buddy Brian and I decided to beat the post-Highway 20-opening crowds by making the long drive from Seattle to the Silver Star Creek trailhead via Mazama on Friday night. We were rewarded by amazing weather, great/stable snow conditions,and limited crowds....4 day-trippers from Wenatchee to be exact. We camped on the shoulder of Highway 20 and left the car at around 8:30 AM saturday with Rando gear, light overnight gear, 30 meter rope, and few pieces of pro (based on past years' beta about doing the climb in spring conditions). A group from Wenatchee (3 rando, 1 tele) pulled in while we were gearing up, and left ~ 30 minutes before we did. We booted the first steep ~ 500 vf from the car, but were able to skin the rest of the way to camp in the basin at around 6400'. We kept a comfortable pace and made it to camp at around 1:30 PM. The weather was amazing and we lazed around camp until the sun dropped behind the ridge and it got cold. It got much colder Saturday night than expected, and we were glad we both brought our 15 deg bags. The group from Wenatchee came by camp on the way out. Two had gone to within 15 feet of the summit, but didn't feel comfortable going higher unprotected. The following morning we got moving at ~ 7AM, with great skinning through ~ 14" of settled snow w/breakable crust from the previous weekend's storm. We saw lots of avvy debris from the early week warm-up, but the snow above 7000' was still rather soft, although consolidated. We made the Col ~ 10AM, rested a bit, ditched the skis, and booted to within 15 feet of the summit in continuous perfect snow conditions - (no crampons, no wallowing). The snow cover was getting a little thin in places, so it will likely have more exposed rock soon. We patted ourselves on the back for having hauled the rando rope and small rack 5200 vf, and finished the pitch with one double sling on a horn, and #1 camelot. Probably a little conservative, but we needed to justify hauling cams. Also, rando boots add a grade level to the scrambling. Summiting involved belaying each other up the last pitch from below as there were no anchor opportunities up top. The 15 foot traverse to straddle the true summit was spicey to say the least. Views from the top were unbelievable! At around noon, we headed down....we downclimbed to the col, donned the skis, and had a awesome although tiring ski down through heavy windblown snow to camp. We packed up and were able to ski all the way to Highway 20 by ~ 3PM. After a late lunch and my traditional post-climb mocha milkshake in Winthrop we were on our way Seattle. This is my first post, so not entirely clear on how to put pictures into the report, so here they are: http://spaces.msn.com/ericbakke/photos/?_c02_owner=1 Gear Notes: Floation, 30M rope, slings and a #1 Camelot....(probably didn't need the Camelot) Didn't need crampons, ski or boot Approach Notes: Road open to Silver Star Creek. Snow from the Highway to within 15 feet of the summit