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About jca

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  1. Trip: Mt. Rainier National Park - Liberty Ridge Date: 7/29/1990 Trip Report: I left from Bellingham, Washington on Friday, July 27, 1990 for a climb of Mt. Rainier’s classic northern route, Liberty Ridge. The route was among the first of the steep northerly ridges and faces of the glacier-clad giant to be climbed (1935) and has become a magnet for climbers in recent years following the publication of a book about so-called “classic climbs”. Although the ridge was considered an extremely difficult climb when it was first scaled, climbing standards, equipment and attitudes have scaled the climb down to a serious but not highly technical category. During the months of May and June in many years, good weather and a stable snow pack make the climb a steep but technically easy affair. The ridge is several miles from the nearest road and the various approaches take from one to two days depending on speed of party, snow and glacier conditions. All approaches lead to the narrow Carbon Glacier which can vary from a frozen highway on a cold spring morning to an impassable jumble of crevasses and towering seracs (ice blocks) later in the summer. When the glacier is badly broken up, only expert ice climbers may be able to ascend the approach. There is no other feasible approach because the Carbon Glacier is flanked by two steep and crumbling ridges which descend the northeast and northwest corners of the mountain, Curtis Ridge and Ptarmigan Ridge, respectively. Since the late 1970’s eleven climbers had died attempting the ridge. Most of these climbers were relatively inexperienced in climbing snow and ice. They were all male, they were all in their thirties or younger and they were all attracted by the promise of a classic route with a big reputation which also promised not to be too difficult. For example, there are no vertical ice or rock walls to be climbed. Climbers of modest experience who know their climbing limitations usually believe they can climb a Grade III route, as Liberty Ridge is usually rated. Grade III denotes a route which should take a competent party much of the day in good weather. A grade IV will often take all day and for slower climbers may require a bivouac. Given lack of snow and a great deal of ice instead, a common late summer condition, Liberty Ridge becomes a grade IV route. Climbing ice is much more difficult and dangerous than climbing firm snow. Even though the climbers wear crampons (spikes fastened on the boots), should a slip occur the climber cannot arrest (stop) with an ice axe on ice as on snow. Therefore, when climbing steep ice climbers place a series of ice screws (threaded metal tubes) along their route through which the rope is threaded. The leading climber on the rope places the screws (anywhere from 10’ to 100’ apart depending on steepness and conditions) and the last climber on the rope removes them. Every so often the last climber must be brought up even with the leader and turn over all of the screws to the leader. Climbers who expect little trouble with ice on the Liberty Ridge route may take no screws or only two or three. Climbers use a similar system of protection for rock climbing by using pitons (spikes pounded in with a hammer) or removable metal chocks or camming devices. Given the relative lateness of the climbing season (late July) I choose to take three ice screws for protection. We would also take crampons, 110’ rope, ice axes, helmets, a stout three-person tent, and other specialized equipment. We were myself, Joe Abbott, 48, attorney from Everson, Wa., Howard Evans, 56, professor in the department of education, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wa., and my brother, Terry Abbott, 46, telephone company manager, Everett, Wa. Howard and I had climbed together frequently for ten years and had climbed several grade III routes, some involving steep ice and snow. Terry had climbed occasionally for seven or eight years. Terry underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1985. Howard and I were fit enough to participate in occasional fun runs and enjoy our climbs. Terry walks vigorously on a regular basis. None of us claimed to be world class climbers or anything remotely approaching such ability. We were experienced but physically average climbers. The weather had been mild for a week or so preceeding our climb but the forecast was for steadily rising temperatures and freezing levels. I was concerned about warm temperatures which can contribute to unstable snow and ice and increased rockfall. However, since lowland temperatures were not predicted to be extreme (mid-eighties), I believed we could avoid problems by very early starts on climbing days. I had previously climbed the ridge twice, in June 1986 and June 1988. Howard Evans and I had also accompanied other, climbers on a climb of nearby East Willis Wall in June 1989. The Willis Wall routes have a reputation for frequent and hazardous rockfall and icefall. We were confident Liberty Ridge would be much easier. We arrived late in the afternoon of the 27th at White River ranger station where one registers to climb north side routes in Mt. Rainier National Park. We estimated three days was sufficient time to complete the climb and indicated a return date of July 30 on the registration cards. We were informed that as late as July 20 a party had successfully climbed the route - although they reported the Carbon Glacier as badly broken up. After registering, we hiked routinely for three hours and camped just short of St. Elmo Pass on a patch of snow. On Saturday, July 28 we crossed lower Curtis Ridge, placing that night’s camp on the edge of the Carbon Glacier. We were deliberately moving slowly to acclimatize to altitude while avoiding fatigue. In an attempt to arrive early and have a long rest at the only real bivouac site on Liberty Ridge, we broke camp and headed up the Carbon Glacier at 3:30 am on Sunday, July 29th. We immediately encountered route-finding problems which were to continue throughout a very long day. We climbed from the 7,000’ campsite to 9,000’ on the East side of Liberty Ridge, only to be stopped by large crevasses. At midmorning we descended about 600’ and ascended again to 9,000’ on the West side of the ridge, again to be stopped by crevasses. At that point we could observe what appeared to be a feasible route in the center of the Carbon Glacier immediately at the toe of the ridge. We descended once more, then ascended toward the supposed ramp and discovered instead huge seracs separated by crevasses. After a blind lead or two we were able to climb through the serac maze utilizing belays from ice screws. Now we approached the lower ridge itself and what I had been dreading; a 50º mud wall complete with imbedded but terribly loose boulders. Further, frequent rockfall was coming down the face. The ridge was a tottering, dusty, rotten mass, shedding its outer layer minute by minute. The steep face was the only way onto the ridge. There was no choice if we were to proceed. The wall was about 100’ high. I led up and in a few minutes was clinging to the uppermost climbable portion. Immediately above was a rotten overhang. Next, I would have to traverse right on the loose and questionable material for about 120’. I kept my crampons on the whole time and they seemed to help in the loose, dusty surface. I edged across carefully, dislodging an occasional barrage, to the dismay of those below. After much eating of dust, struggle and trepidation I was able to reach a secure stance and belay the rest of the party. When the others reached my position we could relax as the remainder of the climb to high camp promised to be only a scramble. Following a few bites of lunch we began scrambling unroped up the west flank rock of the steep ridge. Thumb Rock at about 10,000’ is the only suitable campsite on the upper ridge. At a point about 400’ below Thumb Rock the climbing ahead became steep and we decided to rope up. No sooner did we begin moving upward than we heard shouts from above, warning of severe rockfall danger. Despite the danger, the route we had selected was the only feasible path upward. All else was even more dangerous. Following another 30 or 40 minutes of upward struggle, we were able to join the two shouters, young (early 20’s) climbers from New Jersey. The reason for their shouting became apparent. They had been hit by rockfall and the leader’s pack lost, along with his sleeping bag, their rope, tent poles, ice screws and cold food. Also, due to the warm afternoon temperatures the leader was wearing only boots, poly underwear and running shorts. All of his warm clothing was in the lost pack. He was an experienced climber but understandably concerned because of the lost gear. We assured him that we carried quite a bit of extra clothing and food and would distribute some of it as soon as we reached the Thumb Rock site just above. Arriving at Thumb Rock an hour or so later we did share our extra clothing and equip the other climber for a night without a sleeping bag by giving him two fleece jackets and other odds and ends of clothing to sleep in. After a short summer night we were up at 3:00 am and heading upslope, five men on a single 110’ rope. The climber without clothes was equipped with all manner of handouts such as our spare mittens, a light sweater tied around his head and nylon wind shirt and pants that my brother just happened to have in his pack. The snow surface was frozen with an inch or more of ice on the surface. Though we could break through and cut or kick a step with great effort, it soon became obvious that this would take too much energy and we were forced to begin front pointing on our crampons and establishing belays. We carried on in this manner for many hours, taking occasional breaks on rock outcroppings. We passed the steep sections where a slip could be fatal during the morning hours and slowly began to relax. Late in the afternoon, just as the climbing was becoming easier at about 13,000’, we began to be concerned about an ominous black cloud moving toward the summit from the West. Soon we began to see lightning flashes and feel the first rushes of wind. We could also see torrents of precipitation pouring from the clouds. Suddenly we were enveloped in the storm with pounding hail and a flashing and crashing all around. We were in a bowl-like depression a few hundred feet (perhaps 500) below the summit of the ridge which is known as Liberty Cap. From Liberty Cap one can make a walking descent off the mountain. Now the hail increased in size (half inch and larger) and became a torrent. Despite Goretex parkas and mitts we were hurting and had to get under some sort of cover on the 25º slope. Lightning was hitting all around spreading fear in our group. The temperature was down to 15º F and the wind gusting to 30 mph. We pulled out the fly of our tent and crouched under it, attempting to sit on our packs. Above us the slope was steeper and the hail flowed down the slope in a continuing avalance. Within 15 or 20 minutes it had become a moving, almost liquid pile around and against us, threatening to bury packs and equipment and/or push us down the slope. We were now shouting queries and instructions at each other above the noise of the storm. I was beginning to freeze as I had given my fleece jacket to the fellow who lost his pack and I had little on under a Goretex shell. We had to move fast and the only possible shelter was a crevasse about 200’ upslope. We frantically shouldered packs and began fighting upslope through the now thigh-deep river of flowing hail. Someone was watching over these poor climbers because it was then that the storm began to wane. When we reached the crevasse we observed it was pretty much filled in with a cavern extending back under the slope above. I suggested camping inside as the hour was late and we were tired and cold….but…..no takers. The ice slope above was 40º and we needed to climb another 200-300 vertical feet to reach the level area of Liberty Cap where we could pitch our tent. The fun began. The climber with no clothes was a strong ice climber so he led upward placing the ice screws for protection. When he was out a rope-length he belayed me up. Then he and I cut a small ledge in the ice (long enough for five people). Then we belayed the other three climbers up. With all five climbers clipped in to one ice screw!!, the leader climbed upward with 2 screws to establish a new belay station after another 80 feet or so. Tedious! We were too tired and cold to be scared. Finally, we were on top in 40 mph wind and a complete whiteout. I was freezing and the “shakes” not far away. The others wanted me to route-find off the mountain since I had climbed the route previously. My response was that we were an accident waiting to happen and “get that tent up”! Soon all five of us were piled in the three-person tent with feet on heads and heads on feet, etc. However, that was good for the climber with no clothes. The next morning was glorious, clear and cold; about 5ºF. This photo (on top of Liberty Cap) shows the author (in yellow) next to the fellow equipped with borrowed clothing. Howard Evans is on the left. Our tent had been pitched about 200’ from this spot. The next picture is from a different climb showing Terry (with snow on him) who had just crawled out of the crevasse he fell into less than 100’ from the top of Liberty Cap! We considered Liberty Cap (14,100’) our summit and descended the mountain from there since most of us had been to the main summit of Columbia Crest (14,410’) on other climbs. This climb turned out OK for everyone because we had enough clothing and equipment (although the rope was a bit short for 5 climbers). Again and again on other climbs I was to discover that I had “just enough”. Joe Abbott
  2. WILLIS WALL June 11, 1989 Old French Proverb: “God helps three kinds of people: Fools, Children and Drunkards”, Berthelin, Pierre Charles (1762) ************************** I enjoy the controversy which often follows postings on this site and I appreciate the links to tales of adventure. On the 25th Anniversary of the event, here is a tale of three days in the lives of four middle-aged, married-with-children guys who decided to attempt Willis Wall. We never were hard-core; just regular folks who like hot showers and cold beer and hate physical discomfort. The climbing was not very difficult, but it was scary. *************************** On the afternoon of June 9, 1989, a Friday, four aging mountaineers from Whatcom County, Washington departed to make an attempt on Willis Wall. The four were Anton Karuza (who talked us into it), 36, a podiatrist; Jeff Steger, 42, a psychologist; Joe Abbott, 47, an attorney and Howard Evans, 54, a University professor. We were not professional climbers and not young. Howard Evans and I met in the first mountaineering course for each of us when he was 45 and I was 38. Willis Wall, the Nordwand of Mt. Rainier, is a route known for loose boulders, cliffs of frozen mud, frequent rock fall and occasional massive ice avalanches from the 300’ ice cliffs which hang above the climbing routes. Anyone who sees Willis Wall hardly needs to be convinced of its danger. The wall encompasses the avalanche-scarred stretch of Mount Rainier’s north face between Curtis Ridge and Liberty Ridge. It rises from the Carbon Glacier some 4,000 feet to meet ice cliffs spilling from 14,112-foot Liberty Cap, the lowest of the three prominent nobs on the mountain’s broad summit. Chunks of ice and rock frequently careen down the wall in warm weather and scatter debris down its 50-degree sides. “Despite the objective hazards, the Willis Wall is a popular objective, in theory if not in practice. To climb Willis Wall and survive seems to elevate one to “”immortal”” status among Northwest climbers”. Climbing The Northwest Volcanoes, Jeff Smoot, 2nd Ed. We thought conditions on the mountain would probably be as ideal as they can ever be. There had been recent snowfall, daytime temperatures at low elevations only rose into the 60’s and we optimists opined that the Wall should be well cemented together and stable. We were probably over-educated and lacking in common sense. After late lunch and a fight with Friday afternoon traffic through Seattle we were able to leave the White River campground trailhead by 7:00 PM. We moved rapidly and soon reached Boulder Basin (5,000’) where a bivouac with sleeping bags and bivvy sacks was comfortable and uneventful. The large and sometimes aggressive marmots we encountered on previous trips to Liberty Ridge were not out and about. Anton was our most experienced climber and the one who dared to propose this climb. He and I had climbed Liberty Ridge and Price Glacier (Mt. Shuksan) together. Jeff had climbed steep ice on the North side of Mt. Hood and joined Anton and I on the NE Buttress of Mt. Goode. Howard was a strong outdoorsman with solid experience on the Cascade Volcanoes, including Mt. Rainier, in summer and winter. When asked whether he was interested in joining a Willis Wall climb, there was a long pause before the answer of “why not?” came. He knew what Willis Wall is. Until 1960 the National Park Service had prohibited climbing on the Wall believing it to be too dangerous. On day two of our trek the weather remained cool and bright as we crossed Curtis Ridge and slowly wound our way up the center of the Carbon Glacier East of Liberty Ridge to nearly 9,000’. We found what we were looking for; a 20-foot wide crevasse running from East to West to protect us from all but the largest avalanche (we hoped) from the Wall. We had all read “Beckey”, and Dee Molenaar’s “Challenge of Rainier”, heard a few additional tales and were well aware of what the Wall could do. A few years before his death I had the pleasure of meeting a fine gentleman, Mr. Pete Schoening . When we talked about the Wall he related that once, in his early climbing years, he and some friends were camped in a similar place on the carbon glacier, waiting to do the Wall the next day. About 10:00 PM they were jolted by a huge icefall coming down the Wall. He said that was enough for them; they couldn’t sleep at all and went home the next morning. However, I had not heard that story when we were on the route. As we lazed about on our sleeping bags in hot afternoon sunshine, we “scoped out” a solid-looking 45° snow ramp just left of the center of the Wall and concluded that was our starting point to access the Wall from the Carbon Glacier the next morning. At dusk we heard something and noticed a small cloud coming down the right side of the Wall near Liberty Ridge. It was obviously big enough to sweep away anyone in its path but nothing for us to worry about behind our crevasse barrier. We managed a picture or two of the “small” icefall. We were feeling smug about the lack of activity on the left half of the Wall, our intended route. Sometime after 10:00 PM, in darkness, something broke loose on the left half of the Wall. Thunder brought us half-way out of our sleeping bags and we searched the darkness upslope for any sign of movement toward our new friend; the 20’ wide crevasse. Soon the noise died away and no ice monsters had appeared. By 3:00 AM some of us were stirring and trying to rouse those who weren’t. By 4:00 AM we were roped up and ready to climb. Temperature was about 9°F and we were hopeful that the Wall would remain quiet. We angled leftward toward Curtis Ridge and our hoped-for ramp. Alas, as the light improved, we saw that our ramp was gone, smashed by the large icefall a few hours earlier. However, in its place was a pile of broken ice completely filling the bergshrund and covering the place where the ramp had been. In the early morning twilight we climbed over the ice block pile, then upward rapidly as a four-man rope on frozen snow, needing only crampons and one ice tool as the angle was never very steep, varying from 30° to 40°. We started up toward the crest of Curtis Ridge but soon angled to the right, aiming for the nearest rock cliff which would provide some protection from the objective danger of rock and ice fall. The morning sun was on the cliffs above and on us before we gained the shelter of a cliff but nothing substantial fell. We rested, then climbed upward through a break in the cliff band to reach what Beckey describes in his Cascade Alpine Guide as a “key ramp”, then followed it right on a traverse. At one point the ramp ended and we were forced downward on water ice interspersed with boulders. Only about one rope length of front pointing was required to pass around a cliff corner (East Rib?) and regain our ramp. The maneuver was one of only two or three where we belayed each other. We continued to gain height, climbing snow or ice chutes through cliff bands and generally moving upward and Westward toward the upper portion of the Wall. At all times we hugged cliffs when we could and moved fast when we could not. During most of the morning, the rock fall was sporadic, just an occasional clatter from small rocks. Then, as we were luckily hugging a rock wall, with no warning, there was an explosion on our scree-covered ledge no more than thirty feet from the nearest climber. The air was filled with rock dust and we were all shaken. However, we were high on the route and there was no thought except “let’s get up this thing and out of here”. We took a number of breaks through the day but tried to keep them short. Although we carried bivy sacks and sleeping bags we weren’t giving thought to a bivy on the Wall. We wanted this to be our one and only day on this rotten drainage of rock and ice. Pushing Westerly around a cliff corner on a scree-covered ledge we faced the obvious crux of the battle; a steep drainage coulier above where our ledge ended in a drop-off. The coulier is probably just East of the Central Rib. The upper coulier began some fifteen feet above our heads and appeared to be a narrow, perhaps fifteen-foot wide, “cannonball-alley”. To reach this dubious escape route someone would have to lead fifteen feet of vertical, frozen mud imbedded with small boulders. Everyone agreed Anton would lead the pitch, including Anton. While this conclusion was being reached an interruption occurred; a growing rumble, then a thunderous roar of what we estimated to be two, ten-yard loads of ice and rock, mostly ice, crashing past us down the coulier. We, of course, were pressed against the cliff on our ledge just short of the coulier. Although the sun was on the ice cliffs above we quickly decided it was now or never to tackle the coulier, the only apparent way up. A comment was made that we might have twenty minutes, or perhaps none!! Anton led the mud wall in five minutes or less, front-pointing with two tools. In the icy coulier above he placed one ice screw and belayed the second up. Quick climbing by all of us and we were above the crux and out of the gun barrel for a break on a small shoulder below the snowfield which lies below the summit ice cliffs. For the first time in hours we felt confident we would complete the route and escape it unscathed. However, the climb was not over and we could not relax. It was late afternoon and we gave no thought to climbing the ice cliff looming above us; instead opting for a leftward traverse toward the top of Curtis Ridge. The traverse turned out to be easy, walking on 30° snow compacted by frequent ice avalanches. We hurried as best as four middle-aged guys with packs can hurry above twelve thousand feet. Now, when we were all very tired, we faced one last obstacle, several hundred feet of steep, near knee-deep, soft snow. After taking inventory of energy levels, Howard, at age 54, took the lead and kicked steps to a shoulder where we could begin a descent down the Emmons Glacier. Howard had previously climbed Mt. Rainier from 6,500’ in one day and always performed well at altitude. I perform less well. As we started down near dusk it had been a 17-hour day following a short night. We came to a flat area on the glacier. I could go no further. I was down and on the ice, barely awake. I heard a voice say “I guess we’re bivvying here; Joe is out”. After I was rolled into my sleeping bag I began to warm up. I could hear Jeff fighting a sputtering stove. Soon I was handed a lukewarm drink. The next day was a pleasant descent in brilliant sunshine. Leaving St. Elmo Pass we met four strapping fellows; climbers know the type; six-feet two, slender, twenty-somethings; small high-tech packs. They looked like professionals. We looked like their fathers, or worse. After pleasantries they asked “are you the guys who signed out for Willis Wall?” Response: “Yes”. Then, “did you do the route?” Response: “Yes”. Then “ALL RIGHT!!!” Followed by high-fives all around. The twenty-somethings were headed for Liberty Ridge and bouyed by the knowledge that they could look forward to another thirty or forty years of climbing! When Pete Schoening saw our Willis Wall photos on a wall in my office he said “did you climb Willis Wall?” When I answered in the affirmative he began shouting “hard core, you are hard core!” I am proud to have an autographed copy of K2 The Savage Mountain by Houston and Bates where Pete wrote: “Joe – Best Wishes on your future climbing – And stay off Willis Wall – OK?” /s/ Pete Schoening 5-15-01 My Willis Wall companions and I are aging and feeling our injuries and limitations but we still hike, climb and share beer back at the trailheads. Life is good. The climbs are mostly scrambles. Howard is the recipient of a letter from then Park Superintendent Neal Guse stating (in response to my inquiry about a fellow his age climbing the Wall) that after sending my letter to various climbing rangers and those who have worked in the park for many years, although it is not certain, it is “very likely that Howard Evans is the oldest climber”. At age 78 I have little doubt that he could still kick steps for several hundred feet up a snow slope above 12,000’. In 34 years of climbing I climbed many routes and mountains requiring a higher level of climbing ability. I also encountered and survived several life-threatening weather situations, but no climb in perfect weather and conditions ever took more out of me than Willis Wall. Joe Abbott Tacoma News Tribune February 27, 2001 Mount Rainier’s Willis Wall – a 4,000-foot mountain face frequently bombarded by avalanches and menaced by a sinister overhanging cliff – isn’t such a popular hangout anymore. No brave soul has attempted any of Willis Wall’s five known routes in at least 10 years, maybe longer, Mount Rainier rangers say. While climbers on other parts of the mountain cope with crowds and bottlenecks, Willis Wall’s reputation as the most dangerous place on the peak has helped the forbidding face stand alone and aloof.
  3. great climbing quotes

    I don't recall who but a well known guide once told his clients(when things were getting questionable), "Gentlemen, I think we will do more climbs if we don't do this one".
  4. I woke FRED up once by playing a John Phillips Souza march on the CD player. After that he liked me less.
  5. Another accident on Hood

    Winter mountaineering in the northwest should be approached as a "big deal", a serious undertaking. My friends and I played around a lot and experimented with clothing, gear, etc. before trying the volcanoes and other big nw peaks in winter. We made mistakes in the early going but didn't pay too heavily because the early attempts were mostly walk-downs. Later, on the higher peaks, we always had enough gear to "get by". One of our frequently stated goals was to never have our names in the press. I have been buried in an avalanche, watched my partner pull an old piton on the schwartz ledges on Robson(he survived after only a 25 foot, bouncing fall) and saw another partner fall backwards into a crevasse after jumping it. We were also a day late many times but our spouses had strict instructions to wait that extra day. We always assumed there would be no rescue except from our party. But we never believed stuff just happens. I know that almost all of the major disasters on Rainier and Hood, for example, occurred during or right after periods of heavy precipitation. When I think back about it I realize that many of the harder climbs I did were done with only one or two days notice when we realized that conditions were near perfection. If you try to pick some far off date for a nw climb, good luck.
  6. Save the planet, climb local

    Don't forget Mt. Robson; world class alpine; 6 hours or so from Sumas.
  7. Stop Swimming

    I was buried in a powder av. near Artist Point(Mt Baker ski area)in the winter of 1987. I had my eyes open and could see the light above me as I was swept downslope perhaps 100 feet. I was swimming like crazy and it really seemed to help pull my upper body toward the surface. However, my skinny skis with 3-point bindings were pulling me downward. As I felt the snow coming to a stop I lunged upward and got one hand out. I was able to bend my arm in the loose snow and clear a hole to my face. Other than that I could not move. My partner dug me out. Now I ski in the controlled areas and climb only when conditions are very stable and still have fun. In addition to all the other equipment and techniques available to help avoid and/or susvive an av., I believe quick release bindings, pole straps(or not placing the straps around your wrists and pack straps could help.
  9. Reading Accidents In North American Mountaineering provides a lot of insights. I'm serious, although there have been the ones like "Injured by his pack".
  10. How can they teach the thousand? things in a class that should make you bail...from the obvious(like 2 acres of snow around you just settled a few inches with a "whump") to the not so obvious(like H is not his usual self; he is slow and it will soon be hard to find the rappel station(Grand Teton)/exit ledges(Mt Robson)/tent in the woods/trail/gear we stashed/road we drove in on/freeway/wife coming to pick me up, etc.
  11. I am a 65 year old climber who often did not turn around when I should have on "little" mountains(Mt Baker for example) and paid a modest price(long miserable night in snow cave or on ledge) but I always turned around in time on big, scary things(to me anyway) like Mt Robson. I am still here and finally found Mt Robson in perfect conditions(frozen solid) on August 8, 1998. Patience rewards. If you insist on climbing in uncertain conditions, it seems to me it is mandetory to have an escape route in mind. Try climbing the slog, descent route before you attempt the north wall.
  12. H**d Aftermath..

    Of all the lessons I learned in climbing the hardest to absorb was knowing when to say when(learned the hard way...by numerous bad experiences). But those experiences are priceless...now that they are far behind and I am warm, dry, fed and rested.
  13. H**d Aftermath..

    I have climbed in the Cascade range for 26 years; have been reading Accidents In North American Mountaineering and other climbing accident reports/stories for most of that time and, although there must have been such occurances, I cannot recall one where an experienced climber was lost/missing, etc. whose death would likely have been prevented by wearing a "locator beacon" or similar device. A possible exception is some of the persons lost in the 1986 Mt. Hood disaster, but they pretty much did not fit the description of "experienced climber". On the other hand, inexperienced climbers, hunters, skiers, fisherman, snomobilers, hikers, campers(who didn't even plan to leave a campsite) and vehicle drivers get lost all the time(and often don't tell anyone where they are going. Perhaps we should all put on a beacon when we leave the house.
  14. 3 Lost on Mount Hood

    My experience tells me the sheriff's analysis is a distillation of everthing he has learned from all sources; i. e. mt. rescue personnel, rangers, past accidents, etc. I have not climbed Hood but have climbed most other name routes in Pac. N.W. My analysis would be same. Terrible prevailing wind would "drive" the climbers where he believes they tried to go. Caves appear to be on leeward slope and a logical place to seek refuge.