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About Cornfed

  • Birthday 12/04/1972


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  1. Got on Skeena26 Labor Day weekend 2020. We found the approach trail to be easy to follow - THANK YOU for all the work to put this in clearing rogue branches, and deadfall, etc. Really nice job - thought it remains a big steep haul and the gulley crossings in very dry conditions are exciting. For 2nd gulley, we went up the side of the gulley and found a really nice camp in the woods, then we went up the ridge 5 more minutes and found the "grassy meadow" and decided that would be a nicer camp spot so went back and got our bags. From Grassy meadow, I scurried up and right on slabs and identified the Africa flake marking the Concerto line, but we decided for Skeena26 being that we are slow and it was shorter and maybe easier??? Anyway, we had to 4th class climb a bit from the high point to find the bolts marking pitch 1. First bolt is excitingly high (I'd say maybe 25' above a pool and a big fall), so we opted for the 5.8 line to the right, but later climbing pitch 1 after the descent - kudos to you guys for bolting that on lead as the whole pitch was pretty sustained! We got up and onto pitch 9, but bailed half way up as we had a hard time finding the "good crack for pro" just below the 5.8 bit and had figured it might be the last pitch of the day anyway due to daylight. The third bolt on Pitch 4 (before the overlap) isn't there - on descent, I discovered there was pro under the rock overlap. The first bolt after the overlap on pitch 4 is the only 1/4" bolt - the only one on the whole route - it didn't look super confidence inspiring. The bolt after the 1/4" has been damaged pretty good maybe from ice fall. By the time I got to the next clip, I was feeling happy to clip it. So - just be aware that right now Pitch 4 is pretty run out and/ or you are into a few suspect bolts. Another bolt on (I think on pitch 5) was loose enough to nearly pull out, which I realized when hand screwing the nut back on and the bolt started to come out! Higher up, everything seems in good order and all belays were in great shape. Wish we were faster and could have made the summit - rock is so clean and it is a beautiful little visited place. For trad gear, we brought way too much rack, but some very small nuts could have been placed in the micro-cracks if one really was desperate.
  2. Zach - I cut my teeth at Devil's Lake several years ago too. My ice partner list is getting shorter though - was hoping to get out on the ice this weekend Friday or Saturday if you are interested. Cut me an email: robstephenson@yahoo.com
  3. I was thinking of trying to go scratch around Mount Baker Coleman seracs after Thanksgiving - looking for a partner for either Friday or Saturday. Moderate stuff - just looking to knock the dust off the gear since my annual Bozeman trip fell through and the weather is so clear and cold! robstephenson@yahoo.com
  4. Awesome - thanks guys. My cousins daughter and her husband just got out there a couple of weeks ago and got on top of both summits. Been my Dad's dream for 50 years and I tried to get in there twice with him over the years, but always he was smoked by the time we bush whacked in there far enough to see the summits and he was bushed!
  5. This area is a family trip area for me since I was a kid and I've gotten up into the Selkirks a few times to camp and climb at Chimney Rock. It is such an epic area, and virtually no one goes there because it doesn't get written up much. Thanks for the TR, I'd love to do some of these traverses up there and go climbing again on Chimney Rock and some of the lesser known mountains, but I live in Seattle and always go out there with family, so tough to partner up and spend time out there. It is a long ways from Seattle!
  6. I like to get out once a week to 38 or Index during the summer since family obligations make weekend climbing a rarity! Many of my regular partners of the past few years have slowly faded into work, fatherhood, or other hobbies, and having a longer list of potential partners is a good thing. Looking to add a few more names to the list of folks who are interested and just plain able to do it - ideally Seattleites or nearby as coordination, ride sharing, etc is much easier! I live in Wallingford and work downtown. I try to leave between 3 and 4pm on climbing days to beat some of the traffic. Next trip is Tuesday (i.e. tomorrow)! robstephenson@yahoo.com or 206-501-1335 if you can make tomorrow, of if you might be interested in hooking up.
  7. Did you find a partner? I'm heading up there, but my partner thinks he is most likely to get snagged at work. Worst case, we can crag as a group of 3. robstephenson@yahoo.com I can leave Seattle between 3 and 4pm but closer to 3pm if that helps!
  8. This prior trip report for Vesper has a great pic of Howling Ridge is you scroll to the bottom and mentions of climbing it. http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1112076
  9. Trip: Wolf Peak near Vesper - Howling Ridge Date: 8/24/2014 Trip Report: Earlier this summer, I was climbing with Dan Jaffe, and we talked about his first ascent of Howling Ridge on Wolf Peak (near Vesper). This ridge is prominent when viewed from Vesper. Dan texted asking about climbing that weekend; I was available and planning to climb, though I’d already lined up my friend Gavin for something "big". When Gavin thinks “big”, he is planning of one of his 100 mile races or some other 20+ hour climb, but at 40 with kids, something big to me usually means more than an 8 hour trip. Not one for tackling undocumented climbs, I had suggested Thompson, but always one to be accommodating, I suggested to Dan that we repeat his route as a group of three. What more documentation do we need than the guy who did the first ascent! He agreed, but later admitted on the approach that it had been nearly 30 years, and the route details were a little fuzzy! Some history: Dan “stumbled” upon this route while scouting the north face of Sperry. He had his dog with him 28 years ago, who ran along the base of the route the whole time “howling” at him. Thus the name Howling Ridge. He wrote up some brief details and sent it to the American Alpine Journal. It has since made up one paragraph in Becky’s guidebook. Dan didn’t exactly remember how long it took to approach or climb the route how they got to the base, or the exact rating. So – I’ll share what we did. It is a worthwhile outing, and a great option for a long adventurous alpine day in an incredible setting at a moderate grade. I was excited to check it out what was a new area for me. Wolf Peak is the minor peak (and highest point) on the ridge that connects Vesper and Sperry. This is a popular area, though we only saw 8-10 other people in the high cirque. The trail register noted that 36 people signed that day after us! Most probably turned around because of the weather we encountered high on route so we never had a chance to make their acquaintance! The approach is similar to the approach for the North Face of Vesper. Go through Headlee Pass (2+ hours and 3400 feet of elevation gain) to 4,800 feet. Then follow the rightward traversing trail the drops briefly, but then ascends steadily to the alpine lake that sits in the cirque below Sperry and Vesper. Lots of ice and snow at this lake (for late August) and a few picturesque campsites at the foot of the lake for the camping. We hiked around the right side of the lake. Next time I do it, I’ll go left which is more straight-forward. Gaining the ridge further left looks more challenging, but it is easily managed, however, and probably more efficient. We gained the ridge to the east of Wolf peak and looked down the steep north face to a glacier below. From here one can see the long flat ridge that runs away to the North from the base of Howling Ridge towards Big Four. One could approach the ridge from here by rapping from bushes, then crossing ¼ mile of broken snow and glacier to the base of the ridge. Dan didn’t recall how they did it, but didn’t recall that much snow, so we opted to traverse southwest below Wolf Peak to the col between Wolf and Vesper and left our packs here where we could easily pick them up on the descent from Wolf peak summit, which is a walk off (bonus). We descended loose rock and scree to the Vesper glacier – be careful! We did NOT bring crampons or ice axe, but would have brought lightweight crampons in retrospect. There is a snowfield that separates the Howling ridge from the rock adjacent Vesper Glacier, and it is important to climb the lower rock before descending too far on the Vesper Glacier since the ridge gains height as you descend. See route photos. We roped up for this pitch (P1) which was 4th and low 5th class. Then we un-roped to descend slightly and cross the small snow field before roping up again to gain the actual route. The true route starts 200-300’ lower, which is reached by descending more easy snow to the Howling Ridge base. We were 4+ hours to here running short on time and growing concerned about the puffy clouds, so we short-cut the overall climb and headed straight to the ridge crest on more 4th and low 5th class terrain (P2). The first drop of rain is always a bummer. We felt it near the end of the 3rd pitch – our first on the true ridge crest. The image bellow is from the third pitch. The long flat ridge that runs North from the base of the route is visible. I took over pitch four climbing fast and using all the rope. By the time I set an anchor, we were in real rain accompanied by thunder. Bringing up two climbers with significant rope drag and wet ropes is damn hard work! By the time the boys reached the belay, we were all soaked, but the worst of the rain and hail was starting to lesson. Given the route is a walk-off and rapping to the glacier was likely at least two full rope lengths and an unknown, we decided continuing was the best course of action. Dan suggested 10-15 minutes might see the rain stop, but I was uncertain of the difficulty and number of pitches remaining, and was worried about the next round of rain and hail, so I opted to get started on Pitch 5 in the wet and rain. I led another full rope length, and then Dan took over for a shorter and easier pitch (P6), from where it looked like we were one short pitch (P7) from the summit. With thunder and occasional lightning to the north and south threatening round two, I sprinted up the final pitch and yelled encouragement to the boys to “move it”. We took a quick summit shot and headed for our packs, which is a short 15 minutes scramble and walk to the col – no raps required. Dan’s recollection of the route was Grade 3 and 5.8. Becky calls is Grade II/II and 5.6/ 5.7. I’d go with Becky. You can make the ridge harder or easier as there are many options, but the best climbing is on the ridge crest. It is busy at times, but the rock is of pretty good quality, and the positioning is spectacular. It is a route that deserves more attention than it gets, but from what we can tell has rarely been climbed other than by those scrambing up from the south side. Gear Notes: Gear: Single set of cams to 3” and a set of nuts. I also used a few hexes, but Dan doesn’t like them. Double 60 meter ropes because we had 3 people. Double would have allowed longer raps down to the Vesper Glacier had that become more critical. Crampons would be nice. Axe is less critical as you have to carry it with you on route. The moat onto the rock was pretty manageable. Approach Notes: See above
  10. That was me and another fellow you ran into. We were on skis and had planned on climbing the NF and skiing the White Salmon. The White Salmon was bony looking and the NF socked in with clouds so we ended up yo-yoing a nice stash of powder. I knew of John through this web site and had the good fortune to run into him a few times in the mountains. He was unfailingly friendly and stuck me as being very strong and competent. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I didn't recognize your name - did you change it? Anyway, it was no accident we ran into you. Your partner - Ari told me he wanted to do that route and I did too, but I couldn't leave the day before to camp as you guys did; I think you guys hooked up on Cascade. I was going to go up there solo to catch up later, but didn't want to head in solo and looked for a partner. Ari suggested I also check Cascade Climbers, and I was lucky to meet John this way (at 1AM when I picked him up). He was easy going, super strong, and likeable instantly. I spend the whole morning trying to keep up with him. We went maybe 500' above your high point, but were moving too slow in the deep snow, and our plan to use your boot pack to catch you on the summit for the descent was foiled when you turned back. Ari lives in SF now. I had always hoped to repeat that route with John. He didn't reach out to me for this attempt, but had he done so, I suspect I might have tried to make it happen because I was itching to get out last week in the good weather. I guess the weather was too good (warm). In fact it was 66 degrees at 10am at the Baker telemetric station! The fact that I might have been compelled to join in the attempt him makes it all the spookier. Who knows, maybe I would have suggested it was too warm, or maybe I'd be with John now. Anyway, it breaks me up inside. There was a super packed house at his Memorial on Sunday. Three hours of friends and family telling wonderful John stories. It is a blessing to be loved as much as he was loved and a tragedy to have the life cut short.
  11. I met John 5 years ago on this site to climb (among all other things), the North Face of Shuksan. On that day, we had planned to follow the boot pack of a couple of other friends who had a head start on us, but they turned at the base of the route due to concern over the weather. John and I started up the route, but turned after an hour due to deep snow and slow going - we just weren't feeling it. I've bantered back and forth with John these past five years wanting to give it another go with him. I guess that route may just have to go unclimbed for me. I'll save it for John. I was lucky to have met John on this forum, and found that not only was he a better and more experienced climber and mountaineer than me, but a great guy. It turned out we were both breaking into the world of fatherhood together both having had our first born in the prior 3 years. Had we met 10 years earlier, I suspect we'd have gotten together frequently both socially and in the mountains and become very close. As it is, when you are 40 and starting to raise a family, getting out at all feels like an accomplishment at times and we only got together about once a year. I had just sent John an e-mail seeking a lunch date this past Wednesday. Probably around the time of the accident. I wish he'd have gotten that e-mail, but it looks like that inquiry will have to go unanswered. I've been tearing up or outright crying for much of the past 24 hours and my heart absolutely aches for his wife Jill and their two kids - Lila (5) and Dillon (7) who won't have their daddy to take them skiing or to play soccer. Thanks for the trip report. Heading over to the Memorial now...
  12. I try to get out once a week or so during the summer to the Exits or Index. I live in Seattle and work downtown. "After" work is typically leaving between 3-4pm. I have a couple regular partners lined up this year, but always looking to expand the list of like-minded folks on account of family, work, and other fun stuff going on. I try to get it done when I can (i.e. during the week) because weekends fill up with "other" stuff including hanging out with my two little daughters. I was hoping to get started tomorrow afternoon (Monday May 20th) because it is the best forecast of the week. robstephenson@yahoo.com
  13. Doug - Amazing write-up. Someday, you'll have to show me how to get the pictures where you want them in these reports. An area that I'd love to spend a bit more time. This was an inspiring write-up! Rob
  14. Nice report and photos. I tried to take a buddy up to do that one time, but the weather never cleared (i.e. it kept raining and snowing higher up), nor did I didn't find the "Bumblebee" notch to get over the Ridge to the boulderfield approach. You confirmed one thing though, which is that it is a VERY full day!
  15. Trip: Washington Pass - Direct East Buttress - SEWS Date: 10/6/2012 Trip Report: I had <10 days on rock this year including a mid-Sept trip to Yosemite so the really nice weather had me jockeying to get one big day out. Why not introduce my Canadian buddy Jeremy to Washington Pass where I'd only climbed one time myself. Incredibly the weather held for us even after we had to punt by a week. When you are about to turn 40, you have 2 kids, a "regular" job, a house in the City, and a wife who is waiting for you to give up "climbing" in exchange for more responsible hobbies, 24 hours of pure adventure is amazing and cleansing for the soul! The thought of sleeping in the back of my car on a cold night with the windows down and a big route ahead of us was more appealing than sleeping in a warm bed. I was jazzing to go, so after helping to get the kids in bed, I took off about 10pm Friday night. The stars at Washington Pass on a clear night are fabulous. Three+ hours later, Jeremy's car was parked all by its lonesome in the right spot so I pulled in next door and crawled into my nice warm sleeping bag! My car registered 28 degrees. We woke about 5:30 and moved very slow all morning because it was so cold. The creek you follow from the hairpin was mostly frozen. Thankfully, the first pitches are in the sun. Jeremy is a superior climber to me and has fewer exemptions on his income taxes, so we selected him for the odd pitches and I'd do even. Many references to the map and guide put us at the base of the route in about 2 casual hours of hiking/ scrambling. We assume the start takes the easiest line up the sunny side of the buttress and found it easy going. I told Jer to take pitch 2 since he still had all the gear harnessed and it would take more time to switch gear twice. The biggest challenge was not grabbing onto any of the rotten rock that could break off in your hands. Pitches 3 and 4 ended up being somewhat adventurous as I'm pretty sure we were off the trade route. I think the route goes up and left into a left facing corner under a roof, and then up past some trees and stepping right for the belay below the bolt ladder. Jeremy was convinced it went up, then right over the arete and up another crack system; he was on lead and had the Supertopo print out, so this is what he did. Once around the arete and in the shade, it was not only cold but a sustained and steep crack route with good gear which I was happier cleaning than leading. Towards the belay, my jams started getting shaky because my hands were taking on the temperature of the rock. At the belay, we agreed Jeremy was already part way up pitch 4 and that he should just continue for expediency sakes. This pitch and with a 30' long FAT 4"-6" crack. Jeremy nursed his single 4" cam up the crack a couple of times before racing for the belay. I think what we did is referenced in Becky as the 1965 variation. No grade given in the guidebooks, but the climbing was awesome, as hard as anything else on the climb (5.9ish), and well protected (if you have 2 4"-5" cams). The first photos shows Jeremy working around the arete. Pitches 5 and 6: Another oddity occurs in that the Supertopo led us to expect 14 bolts. What we found were about 8-9 bolts, then a 2 bolt anchor (which presumably is the top of pitch 5?). We continued past this anchor past 2 or 3 more bolts on a rightward traverse (which included one tricky step right and down), then a crack upwards and slightly right to a small, but nice ledge. Jeremy was SURE we were off route - though I still hadn't convinced him we were off route lower down. From that ledge, our 6th pitch was only about 40 feet up to a sloping ledge that matched the route description very well and included one bolt. I was surprised on pitch 5 that with all the nice new hardware, the most important bolt on the pitch for protection was the oldest and most likely to blow bolt I've ever clipped and weighted. I'm sure Becky placed that one himself. 2nd photo shows the start of Pitch 5. Pitch 7: Very straight-forward. Bolts are very close except for one of them (again the 2nd oldest bolt on the entire route) which had a big reach for it and then above it. We agreed there are 2 - 5.9 mantles - one right after the other. 2nd one is better protected with a nice bolt. Pitches 8-10: I ran these together into two pitches. The first pitch included a fun finger crack and some easier 5.5/5.6 climbing that I ran until I hear 10 meters. It ended with me going way left (setting up some serious rope drag) to built an anchor in the last nice crack just below the final few moves to the summit. My 2nd pitch involved the final crack/block, a scramble up to the summit, over the top down the exposed "step-down" and across the summit arete to the end of the climb. Downclimbing/ rapping the South Arete took only about an hour and we were unroped 9 hours after first roping up as the sun was going down. All in all, a beautiful day, with some challenging and adventurous climbing. We descended to the Blue Lake TH -- this is a much nicer descent and only involves about 2km of road back to the Hairpin. I am pretty retarded about posting photos and I recall it took me about an hour to figure it out last time so I'll post separately. Gear Notes: We had a rack of tri-cams and a few hexes that work really well on this route - maybe better than cams in many spots. Otherwise a full set of cams to 4". Approach Notes: Hairpin approach, carry over as the base would be a major pain to get back to. Blue Lake Trailhead de-proach and easy walk on the road back to the car.
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