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bellows last won the day on August 5 2023

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  1. Trip: Matterhorn - Hornli Ridge Trip Date: 07/27/2023 Trip Report: When I was a kid my parents received a large Toblerone chocolate bar from friends returning from Switzerland. In rural Maine, this was special; a foreign, fancy treat from a far off exotic place. My sisters and I were NOT allowed to touch it. I forget when or if it was ever opened and consumed, but I never forgot the fascination with the wrapping and the wicked looking mountain adorning it. Fast forward to 2018 and I got to see the actual mountain with my own eyes. I had taken a week long trip to the Alps with grand plans to climb the Matterhorn. But it was intimidating. Tall, steep, piercing the sky with no apparent easy was up. Fresh snow on the mountain gave me a convenient excuse to chicken out and set my sights on easier peaks. I never even made it up to the Hornli Hut at the base of the route. Back in Seattle, I kept thinking about it. I knew I chickened out, and eventually made plans to head back. Last week I got my shot. I acclimatized for a couple days over the weekend in Italy on Gran Paradiso, a beautiful and relaxed mountain that is a worthy destination all its own. Then I drove over to Tasch, Switzerland, just outside Zermatt and crashed in a hostel as thunderstorms crashed outside dumping snow on the Matterhorn. Tuesday 7/25 I took an early cable car up to Schwarzsee and made the two hour hike up to the Hornli hut where I would spend the next three nights. The storm had chased off most climbers at the hut, and there were only a dozen or so folks planning to climb. The anxiety amongst then was palpable. I was glad to have a couple days to time the weather and conditions better. The view from Schwarzsee: View from the near the hut: The hut. Helicopters make a regular appearance dropping off supplies (1L of water for 10CHF!) and picking up waste: Luxurious accommodations at 10,000': Wednesday I had a leisurely morning and around noontime took several hours and scouted the lower portion of the route which I’d be climbing in the dark the following day. The weather was good and it gave a chance for some of the snow up high to melt and settle. Low on the route: Thursday began at 4:00am with breakfast in the hut. At 4:20 they open the doors and let the Swiss guided parties out first, followed by foreign guided parties, then the independents and soloists like me. With the subpar route conditions, it was relatively uncrowded and more relaxed than I anticipated. 4:19: I was glad to have scouted the route the day before, but in the end it was easy to follow headlamps of the guided parties ahead of me. The first half was mostly easy 4th class terrain and snow free. A few hundred feet before the emergency Solvay hut the snow started and I donned crampons that would stay on for the rest of the day. I made it to the Solvay hut in 2.5 hours and took a short rest waiting for a few climbers to pass the technical crux of the Upper Moseley Slab immediately outside the door to the hut: Above this point I slowed down dramatically. Gone was the carefree snow-free scrambling. Now it was relentless exposed 4th class with crampons and big consequences. Thankfully the more difficult sections had big fixed ropes that I could tether to and batman my way up: 3 hours of focused scrambling later I was on top! The way down was significantly slower. I was tired and the exposure was never ending. Thankfully I had another night booked at the Hornli hut so I could take my time and not worry about cable car schedules. I eventually made it down late afternoon (~13 hours round trip) and after 40 years got to enjoy that Toblerone bar. Overall the Matterhorn was much more challenging than I expected. Although the movements are never hard, the shear length of the climb and relentless exposure is way more taxing than I could have imagined. Glad to say I've done it. The Alps are beautiful, I'd go back in a heartbeat. Gear Notes: 40m rope worked well for rappels. I used a PA with large locking biner to clip off to some of the fixed sailing ropes (at least I'd end up in a hospital instead of a morgue if I biffed some of the harder moves where the fixed ropes are). Approach Notes: Cable Car to Schwarzsee, then 2 hour hike to the hut. Climbing in the Alps is so civilized!
  2. Alright Seattle crew! I'll pick up @olyclimberin West Seattle at 5:00 then head north. @OlympicMtnBoy, you're not too far off the highway, I can pick you up NE 143rd St and 36th Ave NE, probably ~5:30 depending on traffic. @Alisse, can you meet at/near Stewart's? Text me your numbers and we can let you know when we're close. Mine is 617-721-xxxx
  3. I have a swagger wagon (don't call it a minivan!) that can do the trick as long as folks don't mind sitting on stale cheerios. Room for 6! We'll swing through Lake City and get you Stewart.
  4. I’m in! Oly, pm me your phone number and we can coordinate
  5. I might be a little late but I’ll be there!
  6. Legend. I got lucky enough to climb with him twice, once at Index up GNS and once at Leavenworth. It took him half an hour to limp up the five minute approach, but once on the rock he cruised a 5.7 like nothing:
  7. Whoever rolled into 14 camp on June 1st and got your abandoned castle must have been super excited, that thing was amazing!
  8. Looking forward to it. The Beer Junction is my hood!
  9. Snow is completely avoidable, even the snowpatch below the false summit is avoidable. Crampons/axe definitely not necessary.
  10. Trip: Mt Stuart - West Ridge Trip Date: 08/20/2022 Trip Report: What a classic route, total type 1 fun climbing at its best. My wife and I climbed it over two relaxing days last weekend. Beta is plentiful, so here’s pics. Headlight basin, one of my favorite approaches in the Cascades. Ingalls Lake, last flowing water until the next day. We’re going here! Starting up the super fun 3rd/4th class Staircase. Looking across to Long John’s Tower. Intimidating to look at, easy to scramble up on the right. Settled in for a high bivy above LJT notch. The alpenglow from the setting sun was incredible. We stayed up late enjoying the ambiance and watched the stars and Milky Way come out. Then the weirdest thing, a long string of lights moving steadily across the night sky then disappearing made us question our reality. UFO? Turns out it was the same thing Oly saw over on the peninsula: https://westseattleblog.com/2022/08/heres-what-that-bright-streak-in-the-sky-was/ Lazy start in the morning. Snow available for water near the West Ridge Notch. Somewhere on the summit block, maybe pitch 3? It all seemed pretty mellow follow-your-nose easy 5th climbing. Summit! Saw several folks up top, one soloist who started from the car about the time we were waking up (an impressive 4 hours up the WR), two guys attempting the Stuart Range Traverse to Asguard in a day, and several scramblers up & down the Cascadian. The descent was less enjoyable, Katie's first time experiencing the Cascadian and she said she wants to downclimb the WR next time. Finally the slog up to Longs Pass gave us a parting view of Stuart and the route. Back at the truck, tired but mentally refreshed as always. Gear Notes: Rope and minimal rack. No axe or crampons necessary. Approach Notes: This field is required?
  11. Awesome trip report! Congrats on 100. Hah, now you gotta finish the Smoot list. So inspiring to see the father/son trips. Also super cool seeing the next generation on this site!
  12. @ryaneames your dad’s a rock star! His trip report on nwhikers of his own solo of this route definitely inspired me.
  13. Way to persevere. On-sighting an unknown descent off that peak without a rope would be intimidating af!
  14. Trip: Mt Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys Trip Date: 07/18/2021 Trip Report: This weekend I roped up with my wife for the first time in several years on an outstandingly beautiful climb. I immediately understood why Becky included Fisher Chimneys in his 100 favorite climbs of North America. We lucked out in every way: fantastic weather that wasn’t too hot or cold, easy route finding up the chimneys, cruiser snow and glacier conditions, and only a few other parties on the summit pyramid scramble. And most importantly, excellent two day child care on the home front! We bivied at the truck Friday night and started hiking Saturday morning. The hike to the chimneys was straight forward, as were the chimneys. We bivied below Winnies Slide, which doesn’t have running water but is a short 10 minute jaunt up to the upper bivies where there is running water. Winnies slide is all steep snow right now. Sunday we were moving at first light. The Upper Curtis is mostly smooth sailing with just a bit of steep snow/ice at the start and some steep snow at the exit up to the Sulphide Glacier. We scrambled up the central gully on the pyramid, putting the rope in my pack and not taking it out until a couple rappels on the way down. Views were spectacular. It took us about 7 hours round trip from our bivy. We had a nice nap back at camp and relaxed for a bit before packing up and heading out. The chimneys took a bit longer going down than they did coming up. We were tired by that point and did a few rappels and were pretty cautious with the exposure in the chimneys. Back at the truck ~8:00 and at home in bed by midnight. Hiking to Lake Ann Spectacular views 24-7 Starting the first scramble section: View of the chimneys. The route finding is fairly obvious once you start up. Relaxing in camp below Winnies Slide Early morning on the Upper Curtis Glacier View of the summit pyramid Katie leading up the central gulley All smiles on top! Parting shot on the drive out Post Script: Unbeknownst to me, my grandmother passed away gracefully at the age of 101 on Saturday night. Sometime around her passing I woke up to look outside and check the weather. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many stars. I’m not an especially religious person, but in retrospect it seems as though a greater being was calling me out to see her ascend to heaven. RIP Margaret Colson Devot. Gear Notes: Brought a second tool for the steep snow and potential ice but it wasn't necessary Approach Notes: Road closed at Heather Meadows added ~1 mile to the approach
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