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montypiton last won the day on January 5

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About montypiton

  • Birthday 11/03/1952


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    schoolbus driver
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    central Washington

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  1. clouds parted enough today to look (january 10) - Drury is disconnected blobs of ice, Pencil appears to have formed and fallen; little-to-no ice visible on any of the usual prospects in either Icicle or Tumwater Canyon. If temps drop as forecast, I'm hoping to see improvement by weekend.
  2. I climbed the Cassin Ridge in May of 1981, my first major climb in the Alaska Range. Prior experience had included several winter seasons in the Tetons, Colorado Rockies, Cascades. Preparation focused on climbing up to 5.10 in double leather boots and 30-40lb pack. While on route, my partner and I passed two other teams who were hauling their packs. Both teams had started the route two days ahead of us. One of them summitted two days after we did, the other team aborted. From my experience on this, and other big mountain routes (south face Aconcagua) I would recommend focusing on becoming comfortable/efficient climbing in big double boots and an expedition-size pack. If time to jump on full-on alpine routes is limited, at least go climb your favorite crag routes in full expedition gear, in snowy/icy conditions if possible. I stated above that we had trained to climb to 5.10 in expedition boots and packs. -- that was overkill. What i remember is thinking that there was nothing on the Cassin that would be rated harder than about 5.6 if you climbed it in rock-shoes and t-shirt at your local trad crag... mostly I remember the route as really FUN climbing on far-better-than-expected rock. My partner was relatively inexperienced at altitude, so we allowed generous time -- ten days on route, resting every other day. That worked well for us, and decades later Roger Robinson informed me that the NPS had taken to recommending our protocol to teams with limited experience. If your team has the opportunity to train and get comfortable/efficient at altitude, you could most likely cut our time in half with ease. I have to say, though, that hauling an abundance of food/fuel keeps me more mentally relaxed on a big route... climbing tired & hungry at altitude is a poor set-up. one further note; even at their coldest, the Cascades come nowhere near the Alaska Range. some time camping out in Montana/Wyoming/Colorado might be helpful in prepping for -30F...
  3. water won't hurt your rope. Note: we are, after all, encouraged to wash ropes periodically, to remove the fine abrasives (sand, dust) that accumulate in the rope's weave in the course of normal use. your rope will suffer more damage from being piled in the dust at an outdoor belay than it will from getting wet...
  4. Surface Live Free 191cm WIDE skis mounted with Fritschi Diamir plate touring bindings. These puppies are absolute magic in powder or crud, but challenging on hardpack. I would not part with them except age and injury have resulted in loss of weight and strength and they are becoming too much ski for me. My loss your gain. $500.00 plus shipping or demo / pick up in Leavenworth, WA. payment via paypal, cash, or personal check. -Haireball
  5. confusing: I'm guessing this is the Snow Lake accessed from Alpental, not the Snow Lake below the Enchantments accessed from Icicle Canyon...
  6. I could be convinced to give it a shot... Lived in Portland in the early eighties and have climbed a handful of Hood routes on various aspects, as well as skiing the South Side from the summit on prehistoric three-pin telemark gear ( it would be way more fun on modern A-T gear!). I'm seventy years old, so probably slower than you, but that's not likely a problem on Hood... unless you're in a hurry / impatient. -Haireball
  7. Gerber/Sink may be OK - more mixed than Triple Couloir, and doesn't hold near as much snow. NE couloir on Colchuck, but you'd likely have to tunnel through a cornice at top. On Stuart there are three "seasonal" couloirs between Stuart Glacier Couloir and the old NW Buttress route that disappear by June. Bill Dobbins and I climbed one of them about ten years ago and took the liberty of naming the trio the Mixed Blessings (easy mixed M-fun). They should be in reasonable shape, and if not, I've climbed the old NW Buttress route in mixed conditions -- it goes fourth class in dry summer conditions. Popular couloir routes like Triple couloir or Stuart Glacier couloir typically come in a month or so later; probably a wallow this early. -Haireball sorry about the BOLD -- don't know what turned it on, and I was unable to eliminate it. digitally illiterate...
  8. playground point - a handrul of 5,0 -5-easy climbs that can be led otr toproped., and kid-friendly starting area.. as the name suggests, it was originally developed as a kid-friendly venue...
  9. My kids are grown, but I have a TON of experience climbing with kids from toddler to teen. I'm grandpa age, and live in Leavenworth. - these days climbing with grandnieces & grandnephews, cuz I haven't been graced with my own grandchildren yet. But if you got a kid who wants to climb, you're welcome to give me a call. long-retired AMGA guide, with decades of experience training guides & mountain rescue personnel. Not much of a "sport-climber" -- much prefer traditional rock-climbing & alpinism. shoot me a private message if you wish. -Haireball
  10. April to June is the spring alpine ice season in the Stuart Range. Lotsa routes, but only a few get much traffic. Many of the routes that have been climbed remain undocumented (intentionally). There's usually a late fall / early winter alpine ice season as well. These routes are typically mixed, not pure ice, so ya need to be ready for that . The good part is that its usually pretty forgiving mixed climbing, not the "new age" mixed terror.
  11. okay Alisse, I'll bite. I've skied all over the western US, old enough to remember $5 all-day unrestricted tram ticket at Jackson Hole Teton Village. ski- approach Denali twice in '80s, and twelve seasons pro patrol at Stevens Pass, Squaw Valley, and Mammoth Mountain. I am infamous among my friends for liking bivouacs, and have skied stuff that some people used to consider "extreme" At age 68, I'm probably not the guy to do a long schwack and 5000' vertical in the same day. But I'm a solid skier with 60 years on skis, and graduate of the old "National Avalanche School" = the grandaddy of all avalanche schools, from which the AIARE protocols were derived. If you don't mind ski-mountaineering with someone old enough to be your dad, give me a shout. -Haireball
  12. Rad has a point. The colleagues I know who make the biggest scene about summit-honesty-ethics, etc etc are those who have money at stake. I've played the sponsorship game and its a pain in the ass - gets in the way of the fun I'm tryin' to have. Sponsored climbs have cost me friendships and climbing partners. The summit is merely an excuse to jump on the route. The journey is where the action is. The destination is just the excuse to begin the journey. -Haireball
  13. my trees don't seem to mind. they apparently prefer being climbed to being cut down for firewood... -Haireball
  14. I would be happy to share beta on the Icicle and Tumwater canyons. Mostly, we locals don't bother to document/publicize our routes because we believe other climbers might enjoy the feel of climbing undocumented routes -- the feel of a "first ascent". However, we also recognize that not every climber has the time and resources to get the most out of "adventure climbing". Some folks really do need to know where and what a climb is. So, we're willing to share the wealth. True, some of you will miss out on the "adventure" feature, but many will be happy to know of the many little-known and perfectly accessible venues out there. -Haireball
  15. Ok, finally conditions have stabilized sufficiently to justify a latest edition of Haireball's Ass-clammin report: After monitoring the Funnel for a week, and snooping around elsewhere in the Icicle, Anthony Lubetski and I pulled the trigger and walked up to Hubba Hubba this morning. It had not been our first choice, but Eightmile Butt-rest has melted out, and the only other ice that looked remotely climbable was the Dog Nasty Dike on Dog Dome, and we were not prepared to bridge the river. so - Hubba Hubba. after a sobering approach over piles of avalanche debris we estimated at thirty feet or more deep, we found the Funnel to be badly sun rotted and shedding bits at a greater pace than we wanted to risk, so we opted for Hubba Hubba left, hoping for two pitches WI-3, M-0. The first WI-2, M-0 pitch was bony but fun (I always enjoy old-school mixed), but the second WI-3 pitch was being continuously scoured by bits of ice and dirt shed from the sun-baked ridge above, so we chickened out and rapped off from the resident anchor. It was a fabulous morning, even with the post-holing in an inconsistent snow cover that could be a leg-breaker for the unwary. lowland ice appears to be disappearing at an unexpectedly fast pace,. When Dr Shipman and I can do a fly-over (nice to have climbing partners who own and fly small airplanes), I'll present what we see in the alpine venues. If we don''t suffer a catastrophically abrupt spring melt, I expect to see a superb spring alpine mixed season in the Stuart range. -Haireball
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