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About doumall

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  1. I removed the weather commentary from the TR. Had no idea it got that cold in the Cascades. I just assumed the avy education I have had which compares costal versus continental weather was generally correct. We all know what assumptions are good for... thanks for the comments.
  2. Cadaver Gap looked close to melting out, but was still skiable. The shund looked pretty reasonable to get over. Ingram direct was abandon by the guides due to the previous few days of record temps and reports of crevasses opening up. Looks way more fun than DC though, if you have good routefinding skills Im pretty sure it would go.
  3. I'm not so sure about that general statement buddy. I've very limited experience of the winds in Colorado, but did feel the brunt of the winter winds and cold once. And I've had my butt handed to me by nasty winds and cold temps on a few trips around here as well. Looks like you had fairly decent conditions overall on this trip. As more experienced folks around here can attest, things could get pretty nasty here as well if you're in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Wasnt trying to flame. Colorado doesnt have any icefields like the Cascades. Each place is really different from the other. I am pretty sure, despite not acutally being there anywhere close to the winter season, that weather in general is harsher in Colorado as far as wind and temperature are concened, a major reason for our horribly unstable snowpack. Not to say you dont get crazy dangerous storms there, 10 degrees and 50 mph winds will kill you too if not prepared and snow fall per hour is far more intense in the Cascades. Beautiful mountains you have out there, now if only you could see them more often
  4. Trip: Mount Rainier - DC Route, Ingram Flats BC Date: 5/19/2008 Trip Report: Mt Rainier 14,411’ Disappointment Cleaver Route Ski from 11,000‘ at Ingram Flats Mount Rainier draws many from afar, across the US and around the world. You are almost assured to run into climbing parties from overseas, which speaks to the popularity of the mountain. Tahoma, its native name, offers more than 10,000 vertical feet of relief, heavily glaciated terrain and seemingly limitless route choices. Very accomplished mountaineers earned their stripes on this peak. Debbie and I opted to climb as a two person party, which requires knowledge of somewhat involved rescue techniques and a large amount of glacier rescue gear. In order to rescue a helpless rope mate who has fallen into a crevasse alone, it is generally accepted that a Z by C pulley system is required to generate enough mechanical advantage to carry out the rescue. You must also set a snow anchor while in self arrest; no easy task. Several other details muddy the waters in a single rescuer situation. Our training involved setting up pulley systems in our living room repeatedly throughout the winter and then several on snow sessions practicing the anchor placement while in self arrest under heavy load. With pickets on your harness at the ready, we found it was actually quite reasonable to perform the anchor placement after some practice. Two pickets with draws, three prussiks, three lockers and three pulleys are required by each climber for the Z by C pulley system. We originally had our sites on the Emmons/Winthrop route, but heavy snow this year in the pacific NW have all but the Paradise trailhead requiring long snow covered road approaches. Many routes start at Paradise. Record high temperatures virtually shut all the routes down due to avalanche danger. Fortunately, the disappointment cleaver route is a pretty safe spring route and therefore was our choice for a summit attempt. Less talk now, more pics. We started at Paradise at 6 pm with a permit to camp on the Muir snowfield to avoid the hoards at Camp Muir. Debbie skinning up: Muir snowfield, the ascent route to Camp Muir: The snow was heavily pockmarked with suncups and bootsteps. Many locals make daytrips to Muir and back. We set camp on the climbers left side of the Muir Snowfield at 7,600’. Heavy winds blew throughout the night, a full moon shined bright. We were treated to a secluded night. Morning dawned with a somewhat concerning lenticular formation over the summit, a sign of changing weather. Having spent virtually zero time in the Cascades, the weather was somewhat of a mystery to us. The skin up the snowfield was easy with spectacular views of Adams and Hood: After a brief stop at stinky and crowded Camp Muir (10,000’), we continued on toward Ingram Flats. We used Cathedral gap to gain access to the Ingram Glacier. Looking back at Gibraltar and Cathedral Rocks: The gap was melted out, so the skis went on the packs. After cresting ridgeline, we were treated to a view of the lower and upper ingram icefalls and little Tahoma Peak: We set camp on the flats between opening crevasses in complete isolation, a far cry from sleeping in a stinky hut at Muir. The weather held through the night and the snow froze. We were clearly spending some karma on this trip. We slept through the alarm and started a bit late at 5 am. Several guided groups had already made their way onto the cleaver. We made our way over solid snow bridges and through a large serac fall induced avalanche debris field to the base of the steepest section on the route. The guides set fixed lines through this section, which traverses above cliffs on high 40 degree terrain to reach the ridgeline. The fixed lines seemed pretty useless to us. Guided groups often have super newbs though who probably grasp this line for dear life. A brief steep snow slope had us on more solid ground with views of the expansive Emmons Glacier. We found a few brief class 3 rock sections. At this point the first of several groups aborting their summit attempt came down past us. They spoke of high winds on the summit dome. Hmmm… what does high wind mean in the NW? Debbie catches the first up close glimpse of the summit dome. This route finds a way through most of the crevasse fields. Early season deep snows make this a walkup. A few snow bridges must be crossed, which in May should be pretty stable. Upon sighting rock again, you are close. The summit crater is just a few hundred feet away. We were surprised with the significance of the summit crater. High volcanoes are so cool, I cant wait to climb more of them. The guided groups seem content with standing inside the crater without heading over to the true summit. When we asked one of them where the summit was, they replied right here. We thought to ourselves, um, no, this is clearly not the summit buddy. Oh well, off to the top! It’s a good idea to stay roped up on the crossing of the ice filled crater as steam fumaroles can make holes in the seemingly solid snowfield. Sustained 40 mph winds were annoying but warm. Debbie on top of Washington: This was a special day for Debbie and I. The act of summiting Rainier was cool, but it paled in comparison to the step we took in our lives together. I snuck a rock on a ring up there and surprised her with the question of all questions. She didn’t see it coming at all, which made it so cool! I love you Debbie, my Fiancée! After a nice break on the summit with a stunning vista of the Cascades it was time to head down. The snow bridges up high remained well frozen: Which was good because these holes have no visible bottom. Adams and Hood: The Emmons Glacier with me in the foreground on the DC: Looking down the Ingram Glacier: A look at the terrain below the section with fixed lines. Can you spot our tent below Cathedral rocks? Adams on the horizon: Traveling below teetering seracs is a bit unnerving. This bridge was getting pretty soft, so we added some additional strands in our safety web. Camp! Time to ski out to Paradise: If you haven’t skied with a 50-60 lbs pack, you’re in for a treat the first time you do it. Debbie did a very impressive job getting down this mountain with her heavy load. I have a feeling if she had a chance to start skiing when she was young she might just whoop my butt down the mountain. Camp Muir is an impressive array of climber’s shelters. Debbie skiing the Muir snowfield as weather takes Rainier back under its shroud. I was waiting this whole trip to watch an icefall occur on the mountain. Just as I had accepted the fact that it wouldn’t happen, the Nisqually Ice Cliff gave birth to a rumbling avalanche of ice, a treat to watch. Rainier rolled over pretty easy for us. I can’t wait to get back her really soon and try a more interesting route as well as ski from the top. We spent some time in Seattle eating seafood and walking the piers, then headed to North Cascades National Park before climbing Mount Baker during the next weather window.
  5. Trip: Mount Baker - Coleman Deming with Heliotrope Ridge Variation Date: 5/24/2008 Trip Report: Mount Baker 10,778’ Heliotrope Ridge Variation to Coleman/Deming Route Ski from 7000’ on Coleman Glacier Koma Kulshan, the native name of Mount Baker, is a special place for those who love snow. The area holds the world record for snowfall with over 100’ falling in 1998. It is the most glaciated of all the Cascade Volcanoes and until Mount Saint Helens blew her top, the most active over recent times. Debbie’s last name is Baker, so clearly we were drawn to this peak from the start of our Cascade planning. I had heard from locals it has the most stunning mountain views of these volcanoes and also saw less people than Rainier, Hood or Adams. Approaching these mountains is a treat, whether in the car or on foot. You pass through temperate rainforest roaring with waterfalls and springing with vegetation. Nine hundred inches of snow this year has forest service route 39 closed well below the summer trailhead at 2,300’. This added 5 km to the climb, which was not a big deal to us since we had four days to complete the trip. Its great having a ton of time to do trips like this! The first day we started out by hiking through the impressive forest under foggy skies. Instead of taking the traversing standard route trail to Hogsback camp, we headed straight up an avalanche path toward Heliotrope ridge, a variation we heard was best during the winter months. To do this, instead of heading climber’s left over a bridge near the outhouses at the trailhead, climb straight up the forest into the large avalanche clearings. Follow these to tree line given the snow is stable. After nearing tree line, the visibility dropped to 30’ due to pea soup. Moving onto the snowfields above the trees would have been an exercise blind navigation on a weakening snowpack. We found a ridgeline and set camp. The next morning, the weather had improved providing for a nice sunrise. Hey look! The ocean! I love finding a route with map, compass and altimeter. The terrain through here was somewhat convoluted so all three tools came in hand to avoid steep stuff. Upon cresting Heliotrope Ridge, we found ourselves amongst the stunning display that is the Black Buttes accompanied by the smell of sulfur. Some up and down was required while overcoming huge ridgeline drifts to intersect the normal Coleman Glacier route. The cloud ceiling seemed close enough to reach out and grab. We were surprised to still find ourselves completely alone on this popular route. Digging commenced to set camp at 7000’ on the Coleman. The sun made for neat photography opportunities on this trip: A nice long day of relaxation was had. Summit day arrived the next morning at 4:30 am. The sun rises and sets later up here which lends for really long days in the spring time, a mountaineering treat. Just as we were getting ready to rope up, a local Canadian soloist came plodding along from below us on the Glacier. He was interested in roping up with us which were where happy to do given the increased safety of a three person team in crevasse country. Nice to meet you Jeff Sohy! The snow was still pretty soft without an overnight freeze. Making a boot pack up the deep slush was tough on me but well worth the effort. This route on Baker had significantly more glacier route finding than the DC route on Rainier. The boundary peaks were the only thing standing between us and British Columbia. A mountain wonderland! We held out hope a blanket of clouds would lift in time for our summit bid. Does a silver lining come to mind? Jeff told us of a huge ice avalanche which occurred the previous spring out of the icefall below Colfax peak. Huge blocks of ice could still be seen on the glacier surface a year later despite a huge snow year. You can see the ice wall above the bare rock which shed tons and tons of ice behind Debbie in this pic as well as some of the year old debri. The snow conditions improved with colder overnight temps above 8500’ with boots sinking only 4-6 inches into dry snow. You swing out climbers left below the Colfax Peak / Baker saddle to avoid two large crevasses on the upper Coleman Glacier. It is difficult to tell from these next two pics, which are the left and right pairs of this area, but the team is in the process of crossing really large snow bridges here. I would love to see this area in the summer. A short stroll had us to 9000’, ready to tackle the final stretch of the route. The snow was in excellent condition. A few areas of ice were found along the ridgeline below the Roman Wall. Cramponing conditions were optimal. The Roman Wall is a mid 40 degree slope which stretches up to the summit between rime covered buttes. This area is an accumulation zone for the Deming Glacier which has the second lowest reaching tongue of any Glacier in the lower 48 at 3.600’ (the Carbon is lower on Rainier). The climbing was simple but very enjoyable. Looking back down the slope, the hoards of Memorial Day climbers were finally on our radar. Coleman Glacier heading right, Deming left, Colfax Peak center. The final stretch to the now clear summit plateau had a bit of funky ice covering it. Jeff decided to call it quits here as he had been to the true summit many times before: The summit area is large with a distinct point to the east, Grant Peak, the true summit of Mount Baker. You can see the Sherman Crater fumaroles spewing sulfur into the air form up here. Debbie and I on the summit with Mount Shuksan and the Baker ski area behind. A helicopter tour of Baker took a brief break on the summit with the occupants running around like Ptarmigans on a brisk morning. After a hot lunch we began the trek back to camp which coincided with the summit falling back into the clutches of the abundant PNW moisture. The glissade down the Roman Wall was perfect and fast. The upper Deming Glacier with steam from the fumaroles: Debbie looking out over the lower Deming: Some neat views of the Coleman Headwall and a crevasse: The snow was becoming unstable and we had some steeper skiing below us to get out so we decided to stay the night and wait for better conditions the next morning. Our rewards were perfect corn turns the next morning and a wonderful sunset over the Pacific Ocean that night. Packing up the final camp of our trip: and skiing out down the Coleman: Looking back at Baker: We decided to get back to the trailhead using the normal route through Hogsback camp to avoid the up and down of Heliotrope Ridge. The skiing was really fun. Several parties had set camp at Hogsback which is visible on the left side of the snow bench in this pic. Looking over at the flirting tongues of the Coleman and Roosevelt Glaciers: More corn turns! Although we got in some good skiing, taking this route back was not the best idea. The traversing through the tight tree well infested rotten deadfall plagued forest was a bear. We survived though but this bridge had thoughts of changing that. The snow melts fast below 3000’! We had some walking to do to get back to the car. This trip was amazing. We were incredibly fortunate to get the two weather windows we did to get these peaks done. The seafood was awesome and spending time with Debbie is priceless. Can’t wait for our next trip together!
  6. I am heading out to Washington from Colorado this friday to climb Rainer and Baker conditions permitting. Am I going to run into problems with access if I rent an economy car? Looking at getting to Paradise for Rainier and Coleman/Demming route on Baker. What is access currenly like for the Coleman/Demming route? Thanks!
  7. Driving Pickets

    Thanks for the info all! That snow anchor article was well worth the read. More questions: As a two man rope team assuming no help from other parties, would you carry 4 pulleys each for a 5:1 mechanical advantage? With a 30m rope using Kiwi coils, would you have each climber carry an additional rescue line? What diameter and length? Answering my own questions here for the next newbie stumbling by: -3 pulleys can yield 6:1 advantage with a CxZ system, an acceptable advantage for pulling your buddy out alone assuming the rope isn’t badly entrenched in the lip. -to use a 6:1 system with a C at the victim and Z at the anchor, an additional 10 m of line is required when using a 10m kiwi, 10m spacing, 10m kiwi 2 person rope setup. A C at the victim is useful as the victim can assist with the hauling. A 6x1 system can be set up without a C at the victim by combination of Z and C at the anchor, so the addition rescue line is not imperative to get the 6x1 advantage. For rappelling down to an unconscious victim, hauling a pack up or using a secondary rescue line the additional 10 m rescue line is essential. Hey look, I can read! I have talked with people who guide in the NW who would two person travel with a 30 m rope, one pulley and only one picket each. Obviously it’s a matter of acceptable risk. For my first time on a heavily crevassed glacier route, I will carry three pulleys, one axe and two pickets each. Speed shouldn’t be an issue for me, I usually carry more weight at 14k anyway ;@ ha, newbie rant!
  8. Driving Pickets

    Side of the axe... check. Getting off the axe and using crampons/body weight to arrest while building a deadman... check. Sounds easy Another question: In a two man team, do you suggest carrying two pickets each for a backup to the original anchor.
  9. Driving Pickets

    As a the rescuer in a two man rope team how do you drive a picket without the use of your axe which would be currently used for arrest? Do most rope teams carry a hammer? Thanks
  10. Peak Suggestions

    Excellent info, thanks everyone. A mighty fine forum you have here. I will study up on all your suggestions and pull the trigger.
  11. Peak Suggestions

    Good point, that was a question within a question. Now that I know its a crap shoot, are storm intensity and duration accurately forecast 2 or 3 days out?
  12. Peak Suggestions

    Thanks everyone. We have no problem going anywhere in Washington. The main goal of the trip is moderate difficulty glacial experience. Sounds like the standard Ranier, Adams, Baker combo with Shuskan if time allots will be our plan. How predictable is the weather in Washington in mid to late May? Are storms accurately forecast two or three days out or is it a crap shoot?
  13. Peak Suggestions

    Sweet, thanks for the good input, definitely into the quality local brews and some back road sightseeing. I will for sure check out that route. So with Adams we would probably have time for another... any other opinions? It doesnt have to be on the beaten track.
  14. Peak Suggestions

    I am planning a trip to the NW this coming spring (may-june). Rainier and Shasta are on our list. Looking for suggestions on two other peaks to do on the trip, elevation not important, local favorites that will get us away from the hoards on the more popular peaks. Would be interested in only one other peak if requires a multi day approach for a really worthwhle outing. Minimal glacial experience, moderate rock and ice experience, hundreds of days spent above 13k on skis. Thanks!