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About ALpinista

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  • Birthday 11/30/1999
  1. Yep, mthorman, smash and grab seems to be the current style. That never would have occurred to us in 1980. I grew up reading about the early days of Alaska Range mountaineering, and wanted to experience the range in the Brad Washburn style, walking in from the road. If you're interested, here are a couple of other TRs from the West Fork: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/899819/TR_West_Fork_Ruth_Glacier_Alas#Post899819 http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/899824/TR_Alaska_Range_Colton_Leech_W#Post899824 These days I'm a blue water sailor and have been trying to interest some young guns to do a sailboat supported expedition into the BC coast range (Mt. Waddington) or the St. Elias group with a tidewater approach from the boat. So far, no takers. Most say it would be too big a time commitment. JK
  2. Great TR! And thanks for the memories! We did the second ascent of 11.300 SW Ridge in 1980 as a warm-up before the East Ridge of Mt. Huntington, and I remember it as my favorite climb of many in the Ruth. On the same expedition two of our party (Scott Woolums and Scott Shuey) did the first ascent of what is now the descent route for the SW Ridge. Not knowing any better, we descended the SW Ridge from the summit. At least we avoided the serac hazards of the current descent route! Here's our TR of the 1980 trip: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/921453/TR_West_Fork_Ruth_Huntington_E#Post921453 JK
  3. AK flight pricing

    Showing my age, but I sure miss flying with Cliff and Jay. Can't remember how many times Jay flew in just to bring us a six-pack. Often he would buzz overhead in his cub and drop beers and steaks as we skied up the glacier. And then there was the time he pulled me off the upper West Fork with a broken leg...
  4. Another awesome route, John! Makes me wish I was 30 years younger!
  5. Hi Guys, On our 2nd ascent of the route, we had great conditions all the way to the rock band at mid-height. There was no 'schrund at all, and we simul-climbed all the way to our 1st bivy at the rock band. Protection to that point was all screws and our single picket. Keith got several pieces of rock pro in on the short face above the bivy, then we had two good pitches up the continuing gully to the crux pitch, well protected with screws and picket. The crux was basically unprotected for the last 60 - 60 feet up the chimney section (slightly overhanging with crappy rotten ice in the back of the slot). The brits bypassed the crux by aid climbing to the right of the gully. On the rock pitch after the crux, I got a single stopper in at the bottom of the pitch, then a pin left by the 1st ascent party about 40 feet above the stopper. That pitch was the end of all difficulties. We did the climb in early April, and from what I understand from reading other TRs, there was considerably more snow in the range 30 years ago (climate change?). As Mark alluded to, this route is very intimidating because of objective hazards that threaten the lower half of the route, not to mention the scary descent down the face of Huntington/Rooster Comb col. We've spent literally months camped in the West Fork, and it is truly frightening to witness the massive and frequent avalanches that occur all along the North faces of Rooster Comb and Mt. Huntington, often obscuring your planned line of ascent/descent for minutes at a time. That said, Keith and I waited for a good weather window and climbed as fast and light as possible when in the line of fire. And even then we missed getting flushed out of the lower route by minutes when a huge cornice fell off. If you want to see some photos of these avalanches and a photo showing our line on the col (and some shots of Keith and Leigh's route on the NW Face of the Rooster) see this TR: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/921453/TR_West_Fork_Ruth_Huntington_E#Post921453 Good Luck guys. If you get the right conditions this is a fantastic route, well worth the effort. Jay
  6. I love the view from your 10,500' camp into the top half of the couloir on the Colton/Leech route. Brings back memories of being totally flamed out leading out of the top of that bitch. I was sure glad there was a great bivy platform there! Awesome job, John! What great weather you guys had. Smash and grab masters!
  7. [TR] Mount Huntington - Phantom Wall 4/27/2013

    Awesome TR, Kraken! Brought back many good memories for me. Our descent down the WFC was in picture perfect weather, but I was still shaken from a 100 foot fall the day before at the top of the Colton/Leech, and my right crampon kept coming off my boot on every rap. The next day I broke my leg descending the French Icefall crossing back to the Ruth. Good Times! I was lucky to be climbing in the range in the '80s, and found my way up Huntington 3 times.
  8. Nice 4 days of work John and Doug. Talk about a lightning strike! Things have sure changed since "back in the day". Our shortest trip into the Ruth was 40 days. Now you young guys are knocking off fantastic first ascents over a long weekend. Mega-props... JK
  9. [TR] Alaska Range - Peak 11,300 4/22/2010

    Hey Daniel - Way to trench! When we did the 2nd ascent in 1980 we had perfect neve or boilerplate blue ice all the way from the bivy notch to the summit. Below that the snow was firm and probably only mid-calf deep. And that was in April... The worst trenching I've had to do was on the Rooster Comb climbing the SE FAce of the main peak in 1978. I was trenching my way up towards the ridge in bottomless sugar, when the top three feet of snow above me avalanched over the top of me. Buried both tools and held on for dear life! Anyway, good on you for perseverance! Pics of our climb here: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/921453/TR_West_Fork_Ruth_Huntington_E#Post921453 Jay Kerr
  10. 3 Lost on Mount Hood

    Perhaps we can't judge their preparation, but we can question their judgment. Climbing high in any season in stormy conditions guarantees an epic. Summer or Winter, an epic can be deadly.
  11. 3 Lost on Mount Hood

    Once again Mt. Hood proves itself to be a serious mountain to the grief of those who would climb her. I learned that lesson in 1978 high on the Elliot Glacier in a cold mid-winter bivouac, the longest, coldest night of my life. We descended the next day in the teeth of a gale, opting to survive rather than summit. In the early 80's my partners and I climbed the North face in winter many times to train for harder, longer routes in Alaska. We did ascents of both gullies, the cleaver, Cathedral Spire Buttress, the Elliot headwall... even a scary unplanned girdle traverse to escape the face to Cooper Spur, but I never forgot that first long cold night in the 'schrund below the hourglass. After that night I always approached Mt. Hood with respect and caution, even after success on much colder and more technical mountains farther North. Personally, I am never surprised to learn that another life has been lost on our mountain. Climbers take risks on Mt. Hood that they would not take on more "serious" peaks, perhaps because of a perception that our mountain is not. The lack of surprise does not make it any less tragic. Those of us who have lost friends in the mountains know the grief and heartbreak that goes with the loss. I hope that the friends and family of our new lost brother find peace, and hope that his partners are found safe. Jay Kerr Portland, OR