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Everything posted by jstluise

  1. I've found the historical snowpack data to be useful when planning trips, particularly spring ski tours when there is a question of road/trail access and if a route is in or not. After reading a trip report I'll just compare that year's snowpack data to the current year. If anyone else runs across this thread the snowpack data can be found here: https://climate.washington.edu/snowdepth/
  2. Trip: Mount Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier Trip Date: 07/05/2019 Trip Report: Jefferson Park Glacier was in our sights, but warm weather in the forecast made us a bit wary. The freezing level was around 13k with overnight temps on the summit in the low 40s. Glacier Peak was also on our list, so we opted to play it safe and plan for that instead. However, as the weekend approached the weather forecast was improving slightly for Jefferson and turning poor for Glacier Peak. Jefferson it is! I was excited since this would be my first climb in Oregon. On Friday afternoon, five of us met up at the Woodpecker Ridge trailhead. On the drive in we took note of conditions on the north ridge and the summit block. The ridge looked completely covered and the northwest face of the summit pyramid was a mix of snow and rock. Now the question was what the Jeff Park Glacier looked like and what we would find on the narrow ridge connecting the top of Jeff Park Glacier and the north ridge. At around 14:45 we took off on the trail in the direction of Jefferson Park. We considered camping at Jefferson Park, but discussed knocking off another 1000' and camping higher on the ridge so we could get a better look at the glacier in daylight. The skies were clear with the occasional cloud and the absence of trees on the trail made for a warm approach. Shortly after reaching the Whitewater Trail junction, we turned uphill for the ridge that sits east of Russell Creek and leads up to the toe of Jefferson Park Glacier. It seemed like 6800' was a common area to camp so that's what we aimed for, though there were also accounts of camping at 7400'. At this point we were still unsure of our descent route (Russell or Whitewater), so we planned to camp lower to avoid any unnecessary climbing back up to camp if we returned too low on the ridge. There was the occasional patch of snow on the way up the ridge and eventually we found a good spot around 6900'. It seemed like we were the only group up on the ridge. The lower shrund was long and extended well east under the active rockfall area, but looked easily passable. It was hard to tell what the upper shrund looked like so we would have to until morning to find out. With warm weather still in the forecast, we planned for a 0200 departure time so we could start getting some daylight as we approached the cracks on the glacier. The forecast also called for some breezy conditions the next day which we were beginning to experience at camp. After melting some snow we retreated to our tents with alarms set for 0100. It was 50°F when we woke up with clear skies and a light breeze. We gathered our gear and at 0200 were off, heading up the ridge. Shortly after, we passed a small bivy site at 7400' and then were standing on the glacier where we geared up as a team of 2 and 3. Still all by ourselves, we picked a direction and started uphill in the dark. Not too long after, we saw headlamps appear on the ridge to our left. A team of 5 was moving along the ridge and I thought they were heading up the north ridge route, but eventually they descended and joined us on the glacier at nearly the same elevation. We found out later they were camping in Jeff Park. They were moving pretty quick and passed by. The snow was in great shape, not too soft and not too hard which made for easy steps and good purchase with the crampons. There was a thick enough crust that you wouldn't punch through but it was still possible to drive your axe shaft all the way in to self belay as the grade steepened. As the other group reached the crevassed area below the shrund with a hint of daylight, they roped up and began placing pickets and simul climbing. This slowed their progress a little bit and we climbed to their left to avoid any ice debris from them, but unfortunately we didn't give them a wide enough berth. A large dinner plate sized chunk of crust released from their party and started falling between the two groups. We tracked it in the low light and at first it looked like it would miss us like some smaller ice pieces that fell before, but this chunk moved differently. The piece whizzed by me (2nd to last) less than 10' away and struck the last person in our party. He saw it coming and was able to somewhat shield himself where it hit his chest and arm, but it still took him off his feet and knocked the wind out of him. After a short rest and assessment, he just had a sore arm and ribs and nothing appeared to be broken. It could have been a lot worse... We continued towards the lower shrund, moving a bit further climber's left to avoid another incident while keeping an eye out for rocks above. The grade steepened to about 35° as we skirted around the lower shrund, but with the great snow conditions we felt very comfortable. The 2nd tools remained stowed and we didn't place any pro. Once we were above the lower shrund and traversed under Mohler Tooth we finally got a good look at the upper shrund to find a small crack that was easy to cross. Here we took a break while we waited for the other party to climb this section since it would have been a little crowded. After the other group was clear, we crossed the shrund and cruised up to the saddle between Smith Rock and Mohler Tooth. It was around 0700 at this point. The ridge looked to be snow free, so we stowed our crampons and waited for the group to get out in front of us so we weren't right on their heels. The ridge climbed nicely. Our lead did place a few cams and slung a few rocks along the way since we brought them, but it really didn't feel entirely necessary if you're comfortable with scrambling. I feel like I've climbed more exposed terrain that was classified as 4th class. The last part of the ridge before joining the north ridge was still covered in snow/ice, so maybe that portion is the low 5th class climbing I read about once it melts out. We put our crampons back on and finished the ridge to reach the north ridge. The group in front of us decided to descend down a snow gully to the glacier instead of finishing the snowy part of ridge, so we were finally able to get past. Now on the north ridge, we started the trek south to the summit pyramid. The snow was still firm and there was an old boot pack, so we made quick work of the ridge. The summit pyramid was a mix of snow, ice, and rock like we saw the previous day from the drive and it looked like the route to the summit was all snow/ice. At this point we grabbed our 2nd tools and the group of 3 lead the way. The first portion was a fairly steep (~60°?) mix of snow and ice, but we were able to make good purchase with the tools and crampons. A couple cams were placed and there was good ice for a screw. This first portion topped out at a rappel station at the base of the large snow patch, about a third of the way up the summit block. This was probably the toughest section to climb, but looking back at the pictures we likely could have made things easier by traversing a short ways under the summit block before heading up. But it was still fun climbing nonetheless! We then hiked up the snow and began a traverse south, underneath and to the west of the summit. The route would continue south and eventually turn east to wrap around the south side of the summit. This was the second portion of steep climbing, albeit easier than the first. Once again we protected this with a couple cams and a screw before reaching the plethora of slings at the summit. We made it! The summit was just big enough for the five of us to hang out and take in the views. From here we contemplated our descent route. The Whitewater Glacier was our default and there looked to be a nice rappel off the south of the summit down to snow which could then be easily downclimbed to the Whitewater (compared to making the traverse underneath and to the west of the summit pyramid to Red Saddle). The Russell Glacier was also an option, and with the still firm snow conditions and a good bootpack heading down the Mill Creek Glacier, we decided to give that option a go. We rapped off the west side of the summit, down to the snowy traverse section, and then downclimbed to the rappel station we first encountered on our way up. At this point the other party was beginning their climb up the summit pyramid. Another rappel and we were off the summit pyramid and heading down the Mill Creek Glacier. We followed the tracks and had a rough idea where we were heading based on views from the summit and a GPS route, but soon the tracks disappeared and we were left just making the steep snow traverse toward the Russell. We took the path of least resistance and soon found ourselves crossing a scree field before eventually reaching the Russell at 8600'. I think we took a pretty good route to the Russell. Perhaps earlier in the season with more snow one could traverse higher and enter the glacier at a higher point, but with the current conditions we found ourselves at a good spot on the Russell. Higher up there was a lot of exposed scree and the rockfall was very active. The next challenge was to descend the Russell and find a good traverse back to camp to avoid hitting the ridge too low and having to climb back up. Scree was the theme of this portion. We descended the Russell on snow, but soon had to start traversing which led to plenty of scree fields separated by snow patches. Again, we took the path of least resistance while aiming high. Eventually we found ourselves to the west of our ridge with only about a 300' climb back up to camp. Not ideal, but I think we took the best route we could all things considered. If we did it over again this time of year, I think we would opt for the Whitewater descent. I think the Russell earlier in the season with more snow coverage would be a good option, but once the scree starts to show it makes it a bit of a pain especially since most of it is a traverse. After a rest at camp, we packed up and headed down the ridge and out to the trailhead. It was a long day but a great day! A good mix of glacier, rock, and ice. Excellent weather and stellar conditions. I'm happy to put down Jefferson as my first Oregon volcano! Time Stats: DAY 1: (time, duration, split time, elev, total gain, leg gain) 14:45, 00:00, 00:00, 4500', +0', +0', Woodpecker TH Start 18:10, 03:25, 03:25, 6900', +2400', +2400', Arrive Camp Day 1 Splits: 03:25, TH to Camp Day 1 Total: 03:25 ----- DAY 2: 02:00, 00:00, 00:00, 6900', +2400', +0', Leave Camp 02:30, 00:30, 00:30, 7450', +2950', +550', Start Jeff Park Glacier 06:50, 04:50, 04:20, 9950', +5450', +2500', Top of Jeff Park Glacier 09:05, 07:05, 02:15, 10180', +5680', +230', Gained North Ridge 11:00, 09:00, 01:55, 10495', +5995', +315', Summit 14:50, 12:50, 03:50, 8580', +4080', -1915', Gained Russell Glacier 17:00, 15:00, 02:10, 6900', +2400', -1680', Arrive Camp 21:00, 19:00, 04:00, 4500', +0000', -2400', Woodpecker TH End Day 2 Splits: 09:00, Camp to Summit 06:00, Summit to Camp 04:00, Camp to TH Day 2 Total: 19:00 Day 2 Splits (excluding major breaks/waits) 06:20, Camp to Summit 05:00, Summit to Camp 03:00, Camp to TH GPS Route/Track: Our route can be seen and exported from here: https://caltopo.com/m/GB6S Photos: Woodpecker trail approach: Jeff Park Glacier: View from camp: Other party ascending Jeff Park Glacier (below lower shrund): Skirting lower shrund (Mohler Tooth to the right): Upper shrund (Smith Rock to the right): Smith Rock: North ridge and summit: Summit pyramid: Looking back (north) at the north ridge: First pitch on the summit pyramid: View from summit: First rappel: Traverse to Russell: Heading down the Russell: Gear Notes: Glacier gear, 2nd tool, light rock rack and a few screws. We had one 60m rope and one 30m rope. The 60m was nice to have for the rappels. Approach Notes: Woodpecker Ridge Trail
  3. It was an awesome climb and I'm surprised too that it isn't busier. Definitely one that I would do again. I'm curious how the permitting system work when it is implemented next year... @ScaredSilly, that is interesting. I took a look at the snowpack data for Mt. Hood (closest station to Jeff) and it may explain things a little bit. This year the snowpack was average or slightly above earlier in the year then tapered off in the spring. The year you climbed it, 2014, the snowpack was well below average early in the year but then picked up quite a bit in the spring, which may explain the wide open shrund (lack of winter snowfall) and more snow on the summit ridge (more spring snow).
  4. We were considering tackling Jeff Park Glacier this coming weekend, but it is looking like it will be pretty warm (freezing level shooting up to around 13k). That may steer us away to another objective, but I'm looking for advice from others that have been up on the route around this time of year. I anticipate the rockfall to be quite active while trying to cross the shrunds, and the north ridge to be sloppy. Thoughts? Thanks!
  5. Warm conditions on Jefferson...go or no-go?

    Thanks for the info. We thought we were going to forego Jefferson and head up to Glacier Peak instead, but it's looking like some weather is moving into the Glacier Peak area this weekend and the forecast for Jefferson has slightly improved. So we're going to give Jeff a shot. Good to know about the Russell, and being able to traverse over to Jeff Park Glacier. Wasn't sure about that and didn't want to camp too high. Seems like if you camp around 6800' you should be able to get back pretty easily...higher up at around 7400' I'm not sure. Was planning on the Whitewater, but we'll scope it out when we're up there, the descent down Mill Creek Glacier and getting over to the Russell does look steep which could be interesting in the slop.
  6. Warm conditions on Jefferson...go or no-go?

    Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately it is looking like the forecasted overnight temps for the summit may not even get into the 30s on Saturday morning, so yeah...sloppy. Sounds like it may be doable, but we may bail and save it for another time. The next couple days would probably be much better with freezing levels at 10k. Quick question on the route, specifically getting off the summit and onto the Whitewater - I've read accounts of rapping off the summit (Which direction? South to Red Saddle?) as well as retracing the route to the base of the summit pyramid and then doing the steep traverse along the west side to Red Saddle. And also rapping off the east side from the base (north side) of the summit pyramid? Seems like there are a few options to get onto the Whitewater...just curious what the preferred way is. Thanks again!
  7. For sale: Icebreaker 100% merino wool base layer system. Men's size Large, black in color. Top: 200 Weight Oasis Long Sleeve Crew Bottom: 200 Weight Oasis Leggings (full length, no fly) New in box, never used. Retails for $180+. $150 OBO, local pickup in Seattle area or I am willing to ship.
  8. New in box, never worn, Men's Icebreaker Oasis 200 merino wool base layer. Size: Large, Color: Black, Top: Long Sleeve Crew, Bottom: Full Length Leggings (no fly) $120 firm for local pickup around Seattle/Bellevue area. Add shipping costs if you would like me to ship.
  9. Colder weather is approaching, so I figured this would be a good time for a bump. $100 firm for local pickup, or $100 + shipping if you want me to ship it.
  10. New with tags! Eddie Bauer First Ascent Men's Downlight Stormdown Jacket, size Tall Medium (extra inch or so in sleeves/torso). Color Navy/Navy. 800 fill down insulation. I bought this a few years ago but it never made it in to my regular rotation of jackets. $140 shipped, or if you want to meet locally (Seattle/Bellevue) we can agree on a lower price. PRICE REDUCED! $100 firm for local pickup (Seattle/Bellevue) or add shipping if you want me to send it.
  11. Brand new! Too much tent for me, so I am looking to get something smaller. http://www.rei.com/product/750077 $150 ($250+ Value) Item is located near UW, Seattle
  12. Trip: Colchuck Peak & Dragontail Peak - North Buttress Trip Date: 08/11/2018 Trip Report: After thru-hiking the Enchantments a couple years ago, it has been on my list to get back in the area and tackle some of the surrounding peaks. I'm not sure why it took so long! Just looking for a scramble, we decided to do the North Buttress route on Colchuck Peak and then hit Dragontail on our way to Aasgard Pass and back down to Colchuck Lake. From a bit of reading it seemed that staying on the west side of the ridge would make for some class 3/4 scrambling, while staying on top of the ridge would give some low 5th class climbing. We had some awesome weather, great views, and fun climbing. We arrived at the trailhead Friday night and after a quick bivy we were on the trail shortly after 4:30am the next morning. We cruised up to Colchuck Lake in a couple hours and arrived at the southwest corner of the lake where the approach toward the Buttress begins. It was light out by then and we were pleasantly surprised to see clear blue skies. It was quite hazy the day before due to the wildfires but the incoming weather system must have pushed the smoke out. We stopped at the lake edge to filter some water and then off we went up the talus field toward the notch/col on the route. The scramble up to the notch was straightforward, basically just hugging the right side of the lower talus field and before crossing over some of the vegetation to the upper slope which contained more scree. From there we just made our way straight up the gully to the notch. It took about 45 minutes to ascent the 1,100' to the notch (6,800') where we could finally get a good view of the route, as well as views off to the west where Sherpa Peak and Mount Stuart sit. View of Colchuck Peak and the North Buttress. From the notch we could see a couple options. There was what looked like an easy traverse but it seemed a bit far off the ridge. This may be a way to the Northwest Route but we decided to stay as high as possible on the ridge which turned out just fine. The first couple hundred feet of scrambling was a bit slow. There was definitely come class 4 mixed in and at points we were directly on the crest so we had nice views of Colchuck Lake, Colchuck Glacier, and Dragontail Peak. A little exposed. Eventually this beginning section was over and we started to really gain some elevation. At this point the route turned into an easy class 3 scramble where we followed goat trails most of the time. At points where the trails began to traverse more and deviate off the ridge, we abandoned the trail and went up where more fun and interesting climbing was. A bit of exposure in spots but the holds were easy and plentiful. One great part about this route is that you're in the shade the entire time! The weather definitely cooled down from the day before, but not being in the direct sun was sure nice. It was clear during the climb up to Colchuck with some clouds off in the distance past Mount Stuart. We also got to see a helicopter circling Mount Stuart multiple times. It sounds like a hiker broke their leg, according to the Seattle Times. The rest of the route up until just below the summit was easy going and fun. About 200' below the summit we ended up heading directly up the south side which probably had the most exposure so far in the climb, but we felt comfortable on the rock. There may have been a way around the west side of the summit at this point but we didn't investigate because the route we took looked doable. After that section of climbing we hit the summit! It was 10:30am, a little over 3 hours since leaving the lake. We were moving at a comfortable 1000' an hour. Colchuck Lake, Colchuck Glacier, and Dragontail Peak from the summit of Colchuck Peak. After a quick break we were on our way down to the col between Colchuck and Dragontail, then on our way back up toward Dragontail. Easy scrambling up the gully before we gained the ridge and traversed over to the summit just as a party of 3 was on their way down. At this point we were getting some light cloud cover which gave us some shade. We were on the summit by 12:30pm. Looking down Colchuck Glacier. Argonaut Peak, Sherpa, and Stuart. Colchuck Glacier seen from the ascent up Dragontail. Summit of Dragontail Peak. Looking toward the upper Enchantments. Pano at the top of Dragontail. We had some lunch on the summit and then off we went down and towards Aasgard pass. At this point I realized I forgot about the snow traverse. Luckily the snow was soft and there was already somewhat of a boot pack so getting down wasn't too bad. And we were glad we decided to bring trekking poles as they helped some too. If the snow was harder I think an ice axe would have been nice to have. Looking back at the snow traverse. We made our way down Aasgard pass and back to the lake. A quick break for some water at the lake and we were back on the now very busy Colchuck Lake trail. We arrived at the car at 5:00pm, just shy of 12.5 hours. Here are some stats: Splits (excluding breaks at lake and summits): -Car to Colchuck Lk. - 2:00 -Colchuck Lk. to Colchuck Peak - 3:15 -Colchuck Peak to Dragontail Peak - 1:30 -Dragontail Peak to Colchuck Lk. - 1:40 -Colchuck Lk. to Car - 2:00 Car-to-Car Total Time: 12.5 hours Mileage: ~13.3 miles Elevation Gain: 6'800' Bluetooth Speakers on the Trail: 5 Here is our route and the approach to the North Buttress from Colchuck Lake: GPS Track. North Buttress Approach (track drawn on ridge is not exact). We had a great time on this route! Fun scrambling with options for more exposed terrain. And you can't beat the views! I'd recommend this route to anyone that is looking to get off the beaten path and would prefer a scramble over one of the true rock climbing routes in the area. Gear Notes: Helmets. Trekking poles were useful for snow traverse and descending Aasgard. Approach Notes: Obvious trail that splits off (right) the main trail at SW corner of Colchuck Lake. Follow talus field up and to the climber's right, which leads to a gully below the notch.
  13. Trip: Mt. Rainier - Kautz Glacier Trip Date: 07/13/2018 Trip Report: I met up with two fellow CC'ers at Paradise on Friday morning for an attempt at the Kautz. It was going to be a busy weekend on the mountain which was evident by the line of climbers waiting for the guide house to open at 7am, but we would soon discover that we would have the route all to ourselves. After getting our permit we were back at the cars to gather gear and discuss whether or not we wanted to descend the Kautz or carryover and descend the DC. We eventually agreed on the carryover, and given the excellent weather forecast we left the tent at the car with plans of an open bivy either at High Castle or just below the rock step. We took the essentials and had our packs down around 35 lbs which was a nice change of pace. By 9:15am we were on the trail and heading towards Glacier Vista where we then dropped down onto the lower Nisqually. The Fan is melting out and showed plenty of signs of rock fall so we aimed for the Wilson gully which looked to be in much better shape. We roped up and it was an easy trek across the Niqually and up the gully. There were some cracks starting to open up in the gully but nothing major. From there it was a straight shot to the ridge where we then ascended to just below the Turtle snowfield (9400') where we found plenty of running water. It was around 3pm by this time so we took a good break to replenish our water, have a snack, and enjoy the views. We all felt good so we continued on up to Hazard. By 5:30pm, just over 8 hours from the parking lot, we arrived at 11,100' just below the rock step with a handful of bivy sites to choose from. There was a fair bit of wind but unfortunately none of the bivy sites offered much protection. We did find running water here as well (though it slowed to a trickle by morning). After taking a quick look at the ice chute we settled in for the evening. By this time we had not seen any other parties on the route and we were all alone at Hazard. We did find out after the climb that another party did start out later than us and was bivying at the Castle. I think I managed to get a few hours of sleep with the wind beating down on us all night. I've definitely slept better. We got a bit of a late start, but by 4:30a we were on the move and we were at the base of the ice chute at 5:15a with some good light on the route. We used our rope to rappel off the rock step. The anchor looked to be in good shape, but the fixed line has seen better days. The first ice step was full of penitentes which made for easy solo climbing. We each had an axe and a tool, though the tool wasn't really necessary on the first step. We continued above the first step on the lower angle snow towards the second ice step which looked to only have a short section of alpine ice toward the top. As the steepness began to increase we were still on dense sun cupped snow which made for fun climbing with a tool. This was my first time on steep terrain with a tool so it was a good introduction. I continued up to where the ice began and waited for my more experienced partners to solo the ice. I almost followed but with it being my first time on steep alpine ice had them build a quick anchor and belay me up through the short section of ice. With the ice chute out of the way we continued upwards toward the top of Wapowtey Cleaver, easily navigating the crevasses. We didn't quite touch Wapowtey Cleaver before turning NW toward the saddle between Point Success and the summit. By 10:30a we were on the summit! It was a bit breezy so we snapped some pictures and then retreated into the crater for a break at register rock. We were all alone on the summit as well which we expected since the DC climbers were probably on the summit closer to sunrise. At 11:45pm we started down the hot and slushy DC route. We made good time and got see the impressive icefall that happened earlier in the week. We hustled through this section and arrived at Muir just after 3pm. After a good break to grab a snack and pack some gear, we slogged down the Muir snowfield and were back to the cars by 5:30p. This route was new to all of us and we had a blast! Being away from the crowds and in a new area of the mountain was really great. And I think this was a perfect route for me to experience steeper, more technical terrain. I'm looking forward to getting on more steep ice in the future. Thanks Kevin and Phil for a awesome climb! Paradise to Hazard: 8 hrs Hazard to Summit: 6 hrs Summit to Muir: 4.5 hrs Muir to Paradise: 2.5 hrs Total Mileage: 14.1 miles according to the GPS Photos and GPS track courtesy of Kevin Wilson Gully: Ice Chute: Sunset: Approaching first step: In the first step: Approaching second step: Looking down the chute: Belay: Above the chute/Wapowety Cleaver: Summit headstand: Icefall from above: Icefall from below/Ingraham Flats: GPS Track: Gear Notes: Standard glacier rack. Ice axe + tool. 6 screws. Approach Notes: Wilson Gully. Running water at Upper Castle and at Hazard if it is warm enough.
  14. Preferred Kautz Approach

    @Bdubs, when were you on the route? Three of us started out Friday morning, bivied around 11,100', and hit the summit Saturday morning (carried over to the DC). We also took the gully approach. We were all alone on the route, but did see what looked to be some headlamps coming up the lower Nisqually (maybe the Wilson) at around 3am when we woke up Saturday morning. Thought maybe it was a group doing it in a single push but we didn't see anyone the rest of the morning before we were out of view of the Kautz. Edit: just saw @dave schultz's TR on the single push up the Kautz and down Tahoma. Those are the lamps we saw Saturday morning. Nice work, Dave!
  15. Preferred Kautz Approach

    I haven't seen any real recent reports but based on previous years the approach from Paradise should be in okay shape. If The Fan is out you can always head up higher and approach via the Wilson Glacier bench.
  16. The North Face Mountain 25 Tent. 2-Person, 4-Season double wall. Bomber! I purchased this tent new around (I think) 2012 and have never used it! It has only been pitched a few times at my home. Great tent and it sucks I've never used it but I just haven't had the need for this burly of a tent on any of my climbs. Everything is included and in like new condition: -Tent Body -Fly with built in vestibule -Poles (4 for body, 1 for vestibule) + 2 pole repair sleeves -Aluminum stakes -All the guylines you'll want/need -Unopened tube of Seamgrip -All the carrying bags Asking $350. I would like to sell locally (Seattle/Bellevue area) but if you're really interested we can work out shipping it.
  17. Trip: North & South Twin Sister - West Ridges (with a bushwhacking shortcut) Date: 8/25/2017 Trip Report: But was it a shortcut? Our plan: Climb the North Twin via the West Ridge on Friday, find a spot to camp (hopefully the basin), and then finish off the trip Saturday with the South Twin via the West Ridge. The big unknown going into the trip was the best way to link the two climbs together. The map showed two adjacent trails/roads that may be accessible with a short bushwhack in between them, but I knew they were overgrown from looking at the satellite images. If that worked we wouldn't have to retreat all the way to Dailey Prairie before heading up the ST trail. We left the (then open) gated bridge (1200') at about 0930 on Friday morning. The two of us each brought along a bike after reading many suggestions to do so. We walked the bikes most of the way on the forest roads, yielding to the trucks that occasionally passed by. We consulted the map and altimeter a few times just to make sure we were making the correct turns but overall it was fairly obvious which way to go on the forest roads. We arrived at the NT turnoff (3240') at around 1130 and proceeded to push the bikes up to the NT trailhead (4120') which took another 45 minutes or so. We stashed the bikes and some of our overnight gear to lighten our load and after a break took off on the NT trail at around 1245. NT Trailhead The trail was obvious and we had no route-finding issues. Some cairns marked the way once you got farther up onto the ridge. The rock was good with plenty of solid and grippy holds. I could see why people recommended bringing along some gloves. We made our way up the ridge, following cairns when we saw them and the path of least resistance when we didn't. We met a couple climbers on their way down at around 6000' who let us know about either ascending directly up the ridge, or looping around the north side on more of a trail. We chose to go right up the ridge. At 1500 we arrived at the NT summit (6640'), just over 2 hours after leaving the trailhead (5:30 from the car). Heading up the ridge Scrambling Baker from NT summit Looking at the ST from the NT summit After 30 minutes on the summit we took off back down the ridge, this time dropping down to the north side as mentioned by the other climbers. This route was fine although it was littered with more loose rocks; we would have preferred coming down the solid ridge. Anyways, we scrambled back down and arrived at the trailhead at 1745. We did have a slight delay when we passed by our trekking poles we stashed on our way up the ridge! That was an extra few hundred feet of climbing! Here are our routes so the rest of the TR makes sense (click to enlarge): Green = day 1 Magenta = day 1 bushwhacking Cyan = day 2 We grabbed the bikes and our gear, then rode down one switchback to around 3760' where I had hoped we could begin our traverse over to the ST trail. We stashed the bikes again and then started off on the obvious old trail/road. It was overgrown with young alders but it was easy to follow and the bushwhacking was manageable. The alders were thick in spots but they were easy to push through. Also, the alders were only present on this old road so it was a good indicator we were on the right track, but eventually the alders stopped. This was the end of the marked trail and we would need to do some true bushwhacking to meet up with road on the other side. We took a bearing and continued moving. According to the map it was only around 300-400 feet before we would meet up with the other side. Our progress slowed a bit as the forest became more dense, but we moved on. Watching the GPS, we arrived at the switchback of the other road I was looking for, but we didn't see anything resembling a road yet. We were near the switchback corner, but unfortunately I made an error and thought we had to ascent up the switchback to the ST trailhead. I should have checked my map. In retrospect we should have descended slightly at that point which would have led us to the old road and eventually the ST trailhead. We continued, ascending slightly and watching the GPS, looking for any sign of a road. Nothing. More bushwhacking. More cussing as huckleberry bushes scratched our legs. Eventually we were beyond the mapped road and had just assumed the road was so overgrown we couldn't find it. At this point we were out of water and looking forward to getting to Orsino Creek to re-hydrate, so we picked a line toward the creek/basin and continued on. The bushwhacking wasn't the most fun, but we did get some relief as the forest thinned with rising elevation. Eventually we were out of most of the trees and on the scree below the NT West Ridge. We continued our traverse and at around 4400' we spotted a cairn! We were finally on the ST trail, just 800' higher than we planned. That was a relief. Still thirsty, we continued on the real route now and soon arrived at Orsino Creek to get some much needed water. A few minutes later we made it to flat area of the basin (4800') where we would set up camp for the night. It was 2030 (2:30 after dropping the bikes and beginning our "shortcut"). I did manage to find a couple nearby trees to set up my new hammock. My climbing partner slept in my UL two person so I had that as a back up. A bit of a weight penalty bringing along my hammock but I really wanted to try it! It was great, by the way! We fell asleep to the occasional pika chirp. Camp Spot (the next morning) Cozy spot for a hammock (NT in background) The next morning we took our time getting up and after breaking down camp we were off to the ST at 0800. We left most of our gear at camp, only bringing one pack between us with some water and snacks. We hiked a bit deeper into the basin before turning south and gaining the ridge at around 5400'. From there it was straight forward with a lot of cairns marking the way. We were in the shade for the first part of the climb so it made for a cool (and cool) ascent. Overall we liked the ST route better than the NT. There was a lot more solid rock and barely any dirt/scree that we dealt with on the NT. It just made the climbing more enjoyable for us. More of the route was exposed which we liked as well. I would rate it class 3, though due to some of the exposure some might rate sections class 4. We never felt like protection would be necessary. Ascending the ST Just below the summit we wrapped down around the south side as recommended by other reports and made the scramble to the summit (7000') by 1000. At 1045 we started our descent and made it down the ridge without difficulty. Just before we dropped off the ridge into the basin we ran into bargainhunter and his climbing partner who were beginning their loop traverse. Check out his TR! On the ST summit Looking SE from summit Panorama (NT on left) We were back at camp at 1230 where we gathered our gear and continued descending, stopping by the creek again to replenish our water. We had a couple options at this point: 1) try to find the correct route and bushwhack our way back to our bikes, or 2) hike all the way down to Dailey Prairie and then back up the NT trail to retrieve the bikes. We opted for option 1, assuming we could find the beginning of the road. We continued down past where we joined the ST trail the day before, following the cairns along the way. Eventually we left the talus field and made our way into the forest where the cairns disappeared. There was a fairly obvious, albeit slightly overgrown, trail to follow through the forest. Occasionally we would see a piece of ribbon on a tree branch marking the trail. We lost the trail a couple times where there were fallen trees but taking a bearing toward the trailhead lead got us back on track pretty quickly. Soon we were at the ST trailhead, where the old road/trail ended. This is where we wanted to end up the day before. The road continued NNW which is where we wanted to go get back to our bikes. So we followed it, fighting the young alders along the way. But overall it was pretty good. We lost it a couple times, but keeping an eye out for the alders led us back on track. After about 0.3 miles we hit the end of the road and had to begin bushwhacking the middle section to meet up with the road we were on yesterday. Some fallen trees looked familiar as we tromped through the woods. Keeping an eye on the GPS we were getting close to route from yesterday but we still didn't see the alders we were looking for. We probably bushwhacked 300' more than we needed to but eventually found the road and soon were back at the bikes. It took 1 hour to make this 0.7 miles bushwhack traverse. We probably could have shaved 10 minutes off if we hit our mark better. By 1500 we were on the bikes and tearing down the forest roads. And by 1540 we were back at the car...2600' and ~6 miles in 40 minutes was awesome after a long couple days. We had a great time on the NT and ST! This was our first time up there and we highly recommend it for some excellent scrambling. As for the "shortcut", I say save yourself the headache and just use the standard route from Dailey Prairie to get to the ST. This is especially true if you have bikes since it makes the trip down to Dailey Prairie a breeze. Overall it would be more mileage and elevation gain, but I bet it is a heck of a lot more enjoyable than bushwhacking. Mileage: Forest Roads (up and down) - 10 mi total NT Ascent from forest road - 2.5 mi NT Descent to beginning of bushwhack - 1.8 mi Bushwhack To camp - 1.5 mi ST Ascent from camp- 1.2 mi ST Descent to forest road - 3.4 mi Total 20.4 mi Also, I could totally see doing the NT or ST in a day, especially if you have bikes. Based on our times it would have taken us just under 9 hours to do the NT car-to-car (5:30 up, 3:15 down). Gear Notes: Helmets, gloves, bikes.
  18. Nice TR! We ran into you guys as we were descending the South Twin. Sounds like you had a proper adventure!
  19. We're planning to make up a trip up the west ridge of the North Twin and, if we are feeling up for it, the west ridge of the South Twin as well (descending the same routes). It is a few hour drive for us so we'll be staying overnight no matter what. The plan would be to summit the North Twin on day 1 and South Twin on day 2. We'll be bringing bikes along. Some questions I have: -Is there easy access between the North Twin and South Twin trailheads without having to retreat all the way back to Dailey Prarie? It looks like the two adjacent forest roads aren't too far apart with a bit of bushwacking? -Would you recommend setting up camp and stashing the bikes at the North Twin or South Twin trailhead? I suppose it doesn't matter much. For example we could camp and leave the bikes at the North Twin TH and then we would just have to backtrack after climbing the South Twin to get the bikes. Unless we can walk the bikes between trailheads? Any suggestions for executing this trip would be appreciated!
  20. Twin Sisters - camping and approach questions

    Thanks for the input. For some reason there was a delay in my email notification and I didn't know I had responses until now. The Green Creek Circuit sounds awesome, but perhaps it would be better earlier in the year when there is more snow? Also, the class 3/4 west ridges seems better suited for us since we are planning to leave protection at home. Haven't spent a lot of time on any class 5 rock anyways, so maybe we'll save the Green Creek side for the future. I've read about people getting their bikes up to the North Twin TH, so I think we'll plan on at least that. If after climbing the North Twin and we can't find a route over to the South Twin "trail", we can cruise down to Dailey Prairie to camp. Otherwise, hopefully, we'll camp somewhere in the basin between the North and South Twin. I dunno, we'll see what happens! Looking forward to climbing the twins!
  21. After years of talking about it I've decided this is the year I finally put together my first AT setup...there has been far too many times where I get jealous of the skier flying past me down the mountain. I've been doing my research and right now my main question is ski width. Can someone make a width recommendation for a good all around ski here in the PNW? 90-105 mm is a range I see a lot...95ish mm seems popular. Other info: I'm 6' 175lb. Certainly not an expert skier, but I would put myself in the intermediate category. Ski length would be 180-185 cm. Thanks!
  22. question AT Ski Width Recommendation?

    I hope so, definitely looking forward to getting out with them. I haven't messed with the glue yet, but yeah I've heard it's a PITA. I did find a shop today that carries the TLT6 Mountain but unfortunately didn't have my size in stock...maybe soon. They did have the TLT7 Performance in my size so I tried it out. Felt good right out of the box. Nice boot and I like the new ultralock 3.0 system. One thing I don't like is the lack of toe welt for step-in crampons. I still want to try out the TLT6 Mountains. The salesman said they were "a lot" narrower than the TLT7s, but best I can find online is that the last is 1mm narrower (101mm vs 102mm) so I'm not sure I believe what he said. They won't be as stiff as the TLT7s (carbon cuff), but if the fit is similar I'll go the TLT6 route...my wallet will appreciate it. Oh, I did try on the Arc Teryx Procline Carbon. More than I want to spend but...Holy. Crap. The ROM is incredible in that boot...feels like you're wearing a pair of hiking boots.
  23. question AT Ski Width Recommendation?

    Thanks for the response. I ended up finding a decent deal on craigslist for some skis, skins, and bindings. The skis are older but in good shape, '06 Trab Free Rando 171cm w/ 79mm waist...a little narrower than I was planning but I'll give them a go. BD skins are in great shape minus the glue, I gotta see if I can breathe any life back into them with the paper bag/iron trick. The bindings are the Dynafit vertical STs and are in great shape. I would probably just use them except I already bought the Speed Turn 2.0s on a deal I couldn't pass up. I think I'm going to run the speed turns and hold onto the verticals...I've got a couple friends that are wanting to get their own touring setup. I'm moving onto boots now. Really like the looks and reviews of the Dynafit TLT6 Mountain CRs, but I need to find a place to try them on. I stopped by sturtevants but they didn't have much for ski touring gear.
  24. question AT Ski Width Recommendation?

    Thanks everyone for the advice. I definitely have a better idea now of what to look for. Since I am mainly interested in spring/summer skimo trips, I think my first pair of AT skis would be something on the narrow side, 75mm-90mm, with a more minimal brakeless tech binding. This will get me through next spring/summer and give me a pretty lightweight setup. Then next year I can think about a mid-winter AT setup, ~105s with the radical bindings I was originally looking at. It seems like the radicals would be a bit overkill for a spring/summer ski, but maybe not.
  25. question AT Ski Width Recommendation?

    I haven't delved into the leash vs no leash debate much, but going brakeless might be an option. I like those leashes...they seem to eliminate the issues that people bring up about wearing leashes, mainly not separating from your skis in avy terrain. Water, you're spot on with my main objectives (skimo). For the last 10 years I've been mountaineering in the spring/summer, so I'd like to make similar trips but with skis. That's my primary objective, but getting this setup will definitely make me want to get out for some winter touring. It is sounding more like I'd be better off with a narrow ski (75mm-90mm) to start me off which will get me through next spring/summer, and then later if I want to make more winter trips look for something in the 105mm range.