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About treekiwi

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  • Birthday 11/30/1999
  1. Trip: Mt Thielsen - East Face, "Brainless Child" Date: 3/22/2014 Trip Report: Trip:- Mt Thielsen, East Face, Brainless Child, WI5+ “steep mush”, 5.9 X, 2000' Party:- Tyler Adams and Steve Elder 3/22/14 Tyler and I left the car at about 1:30am and hiked up the Thielsen Trail by headlamp/moonlight. After about an hour, we lost the boot track and put snowshoes on and went straight up through the woods. I've done this trail many times in winter now, but can still get disorientated in the dark. A quick GPS check showed we were just below the ridge line, so all was well. We ditched the snowshoes at the junction of the PCT and started the laborious post holing around the west face and north face. Under the north face, the snow improved to crampon conditions and our pace picked up. We reached the small saddle between the north and east faces right at sunrise. Another 30 minutes got us to the base of our route. After a quick assessment, I decided the first pitch would be best to go up the rock buttress trending left to gain the ice. Originally I had entertained the ideas of going left or right on ice leads to access the main gully, but both looked sketchy. First pitch was about 65m and probably about 5.9....it was surprisingly fun climbing on even more surprisingly solid rock. Mostly short grunty moves to another ledge system and not bad protection. First belay was on rock just to the right of the gully ice. Second pitch started by stepping left into the gully and up a short thin steep ice section and then up nice rolling ice about WI3+ with a couple of screws. This pitch was close to 70M to another rock belay on the right of the gully under an overhang that was dripping water big time. The belay itself was fairly dry, but once I moved up and left to start pitch 3, it was like a waterfall. I got one dubious screw in this pitch, which was probably WI4+, but soft deteriorating ice with perhaps a 10M vertical section near the top. This lead into low angle snow to a rock belay on the left side. The 4th pitch looked easy from below (how many times do I make that mistake!). The ice didn't look good, but I was soon to find out that it was worse than not good. With huge relief, I found a good medium cam on the left side about 10M up. Then there was no pro for another 10M where I was able to sling a rock horn and weighted the rope down with a couple of screamers. There was no lip to really retain the sling, so I doubt it would have fared very well in a fall, but it gave enough reassurance for the final vertical section to the top. About the only thing I've ever climbed this hard with rotten ice like this was Riptide back in 1994. Gently place tool as high as possible and pull down till it kind of stops. Quick weight test, close eyes and move up. Repeat. Delicate feet required here as the ice was tending to crumble under weight, and crampon placement was causing unnerving hollow noises from the semi detached “ice” shield. Another 10M brought me to a great rock belay on the right. Two more pitches of snow gully with a small step each brought us into the easy upper snow couloir leading to the top. The final step before the upper couloir had such thin rotten ice that I opted to climb the rock to the right, which was actually really fun dry tooling/rock climbing about 5.8 with fair pro. Once in the upper couloir, we pretty much simul-climbed keeping a picket between us to the top. Luckily our aerial reconnaissance proved correct and the gully was continuous all the way to the ridge just below the summit. If this climb was in good condition, it could be recommended as a committing but safe WI4+ outing. The problem lies in finding it in those conditions. It is east facing and gets the sun the moment it rises, and doesn't lose it until mid afternoon. All that freeze/thaw is what makes the ice, but for it to be good ice, it really needs to be climbed when there's no sun on it. The problem I've found with Thielsen is that right after a cold spell when the weather clears enough to climb, it either tends to be incredibly windy up there, or you have too much sun as we did. If we'd gotten on it two days earlier it might have been in better shape. As it was, we were pummeled by ice pellets and chunks all day, often conveniently arriving in waves just when crux moves were happening. Higher up in the snow couloir, Tyler was in lead and I glanced up to see a number of rocks hurtling towards him, one the size of a loaf of bread. I yelled a warning, and he scuttled up like a Pug on a hot cook top, but still caught the big one just above the kneecap. Down below, I had plenty of time to scoot left and right and they all missed me. Luckily, no serious damage to Tyler's knee, and we were able to carry on up. Surprisingly, these were the only rocks all day, and there virtually no rock debris on the snow at the base. Protection on the leads was marginal as screws just wouldn't work.....I think I only placed three the whole route, of which perhaps only one was any good. Rock pro was actually good when available, which wasn't very often. Luckily, the belays were all pretty solid, although I belayed off my harness for all except the bomber anchor at the top of the crux 4th pitch. Huge thanks to Tyler for being an amazing partner in this Quixotic quest of mine. I'm sure the vast majority of climbers would have been whining and wanting to bail off before we had done two pitches. Tyler kept a smile on even after the rock tried to crudely trim his knee's meniscus. Tyler at sunrise near the east face Looking up 1st rock pitch Leading 1st pitch Tyler belaying 1st pitch Leading 1st pitch Start of 2nd pitch Tyler approaching 2nd belay Crux 4th pitch Route from air...."Brainless Child" is the thin ice gully left of center and left of the icy cave at the base Aerial shot of route from the side....steep and sweeet! In the upper snow couloir Tyler topping out on ridge Steve at top, smiling at surviving Gear Notes: Rack:- 8 screws, cams almost to #3, motley wire collection (never used), KB's, LA's, Specters (very handy), and beaks (didn't use).
  2. MENAGERIE, OR Peregrine Closure

    Just wanted to bring to everyone's attention the fact that the UFS has not yet released the comments by the Access Fund to be viewed in the Public Reading Room forum, which is where we are all able to post our comments. Apparently they do not wish the general public to be able to access these extremely detailed and pertinent comments. I really believe this may speak volumes about the agenda of the Forest service in this matter......
  3. MENAGERIE, OR Peregrine Closure

    Howdy Folks, Here is the text of my comments re this proposal as submitted to the FS. Re Menagerie Seasonal Closure: As an outdoors enthusiast for over 45 years, I strongly support protection of species that need protection. I have a particular love of raptors, crows, etc because of their beauty and incredible flying ability. As a pilot, I can only wish I had just a small amount of their skills. I have been involved in many outdoor activities over the years, including mountaineering, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, running, and, yes, rock climbing. Unfortunately, it appears that rock climbing has become an epithet when used in the same sentence as the Menagerie Wilderness. It seems that a lengthy history of mis-communication has led us all to a situation where a huge amount of distrust is spoiling what could remain an incredible resource to both humans and the birds. I fully support reasonable, scientifically based closures that are in line with normal current practices at other sites, and that have the backing of a diverse peer review. I understand that local biologists should be able to adjust the closures to reflect any special local concerns, but in this case, I believe that this process has been tarnished by fallacies and unbridled mistrust. I have climbed in the Menagerie several times over the the last 4-5 years, have never broken the closure rules. I firmly believe that the folks I know that climb there are likewise respectful of the closure. However, based on my research into this issue, the proposed closure extension does not appear to pass a sniff test of science or reasonableness. To conclude, if the past differences between biologists and climbers could be set aside and the issue properly re-evaluated by suitable experts and authorities, I firmly believe that a solution can be found that satisfies all parties, and especially the raptors requirements. Yours, Steve Elder
  4. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Howdy Bill, The climbing was a bit cerebral, not always super steep, but you had to be on top of route finding and hold selection. Lots of the snow/ice would not support body weight and it was a matter of deciding where to go. I would often check out two or three alternatives before settling on "the way". When I finally got to the top ice section, I was in heaven, as it was the first solid thing I'd found. Yes, let's hit the cliffs when we get back. Steve
  5. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Hi Sanchez, It all depends on the preceding weather. I did the standard route last Feb after another aborted attempt on the north side. It was somewhat rimed up, but rock was showing and protection would have been available. I would imagine it could be totally plastered, but if it has been windy, might be more rock. Be prepared for both would be my advice. Cheers Steve
  6. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Yeah, most of Illumination is great fun......I've had some excellent trips on it's flanks. You know, I've had the North Face of Thielsen as my screen saver for a couple of years now. I have been somewhat obsessed with it. The other day when I was finally privileged to be walking out, I looked back at my nemesis. It was resplendent in the final red glow of the day. I stood there under the west face and gave it two middle fingers for quite awhile. Then, I realized that we were smiling at each other, because I had been sticking him/her in the flanks all day with my Ergo's, and then he/she/it had slammed me on my arse. So we were even........I got what I needed and Mt Thielsen proved it was not to be taken lightly. Cheers Steve
  7. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Close.....a Piper Cherokee 180......nice plane, I've flown it all over the USA on business.
  8. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Hey Wayne! Thanks for that. At least you had the good sense not to bust your butt open!
  9. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Thanks Sobo, kind'a nu at dis!
  10. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Yes, I feel very lucky. I thought I'd retired from this style of climbing, but here I go again, 15 years later. Like they say on the Sopranos, "He reeled me back in (pretend strong Italian accent)". So many years of solo alpine stuff, and as soon as I abandon my own feet and hands and revert to aid, look what happens!
  11. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    Thanks Colin, and sounds like you've been having some fun times up on Illumination lately. We should get out sometime. Cheers, Steve
  12. [TR] Mt Thielsen - North Face 1/13/2012

    I knew some pervert would want to see evidence....I didn't have the mental capacity at the time to photo the scene of the crime, but here are the bolts that I, errr..chopped inadvertantly. http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=73013&title=ripped-bolts-off-thielsen&cat=500
  13. Trip: Mt Thielsen - North Face Date: 1/13/2012 Trip Report: Don't usually post trip reports but thought this one might be worthy. Soloed a route on the north face of Thielsen last Friday. A smear that leads up to the McLaughlin route and joins the NE Buttress right below the upper headwall. Route was thin ice/snow over slabs with a lot of mixed climbing topped by a nice little ice pitch of about WI3 or so. Not much real ice on route despite the appearance...most of it was frozen snow over rock. Soloed the lower 700' approx without a rope. Pulled out rope for headwall aid section where I got into trouble. A really nice looking knob ripped off under body weight, and the ensuing fall ripped both old bolts out. Landed pretty hard back on the saddle and re-assessed the options. Decided to down-climb the east face. Was able to rap quite a bit, but anchors were so bad in some cases that downclimbing seemed safer. Thielsen's rock really is as bad as it's reputation....approach with caution. Now off to Ouray for some real ice...will be out of town for the next three weeks.
  14. FS: Asolo AFS 8000 boots

    Just for reference, what is your street shoe size?
  15. FS: Asolo AFS 8000 boots

    Hi Alex, I'm interested, but is this the size listed on the liner or the shell? I have similar boots right now that are falling apart and I'd like to replace, but mine say 10 on the liner, but I normally wear a street shoe size 11. Cheers, Steve