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Everything posted by bellows

  1. Trip: Slippery Slab Tower - Northeast Face Date: 10/1/2016 Trip Report: Slippery Slab Tower near Stevens Pass is a good destination if you're looking for a long hike capped with a short rock climb on an appealing alpine tower. Overall it's about 12 miles round trip with half a pitch of low-fifth rock. The hiking along the PCT is certainly the highlight of the day. Saturday's weather was just good enough for my wife and I to squeeze it in for one last climb to cap off our summer. Fall colors in full effect: Progressively closer views of Slippery Slab Tower along the approach: At the base of the climb we scrambled the obvious 4th class gully up to a big ledge with trees. From there I led a single pitch ~50' up a slabby dihedral, made appropriately slippery with a small squall of snow flurries and my trail runners. I took the single lead all the way to the summit block and belayed by wife up. From there we down climbed to a boulder with sling and rapped the route and gully. Action shots: About an hour later we were back at our packs where Mac was waiting patiently for us. Alpine crag dog: Overall is was just over 8 hours c2c via the Tunnel Creek approach. We were slowed down by plentiful blueberries still in season along the trail: Gear Notes: Small alpine rack. There's a stuck 0.3 (not mine) crammed way in a crack in the dihedral that you might be able to booty with a coat hanger, a flash light, and a patient belayer. Approach Notes: Savor the approach.
  2. Great pics as usual! If you ever decide to publish a coffee table book I'll be first in line to buy one.
  3. Trip: Yellowjacket Tower - Standard Date: 8/6/2016 Trip Report: My wife and I haven't gotten out together much this summer now that we have a nine month old baby girl in the house. But Saturday we got our au pair to cover a longer day and we set off for Der Town first thing in the morning. The goal was to get on something with an alpine feel. Something new. Something with a little bit of a hike in, some mellow climbing, and getting us on top of a peak or feature or something. And the crux: it had to be round trip from Seattle in 12 hours. A friend recommended Yellowjacket Tower. In retrospect I'm not sure if I'd totally recommend YJT due to the looseness in the approach gully but it fit the bill on Saturday. View from the road: Distances in the Icicle are deceptive. It looked pretty close from the road but ended up taking us almost two hours at a leisurely pace to get up to roped terrain territory. Lots of unpleasant scrambling and a few quick belays got us to the nicely bolted belay station at the base of the actual climbing. Katie tries to give me a kiss for good luck before I set off up the first 5.4 pitch: Katie following the first pitch: The second pitch to the top was short and sweet. Nice exposure to the valley below and a single 5.4 boulder move to the top. Katie showing off: A single big overhanging rappel from the upper belay station got us back to the base of the first pitch: A couple more raps and scrambling down the unpleasant gully got us to the base and then a quick descent back to the car. Back to Seattle by 5:30 with plenty of time to play with the kiddo before bedtime: It was overall an enjoyable day. Any day in the mountains with my wife is a good day in my book. For future reference, does anyone have recommendations for easy alpine climbs doable in ~12 hours round trip from Seattle? The Tooth is the obvious answer. We're looking for less obvious answers. Slippery Slab Tower looks like it could be a good less obvious option... Gear Notes: Light rack. Apparently a pink/red tricam will protect the top boulder move but it's not much of a move and solid pro at your feet protect against anything catastrophic. Approach Notes: Icicle creek mile 6, walk across the bridge & go up
  4. Trip: Sinister Peak - North Face Date: 8/14/2016 Trip Report: Despite its ominous sounding name, Sinister is a very attractive peak with a beautiful steep snow route directly up its north face. John ("Juan") Sharp and I tackled it over three big days this past weekend. We met up in Bellevue early Saturday morning, made even earlier for me after watching a surprisingly entertaining GnR concert the night before. Axl's still got it. Thankfully John drove. We were heading up the trail from the Suiattle shortly after 8 a.m. The approach was long and hot but at least there was a lot of brush, bugs, bees, and blisters. John is rather twisted, this would be his third time up Bachelor Creek in 14 months. Thankfully my first. Honestly though, my initial reaction to the the trail is that the schwack is a little overstated and the length is understated. Staying on old tread through the slide alder and brush and crossing the log at ~4100' worked well for us. Cresting the ridge above Cub Lake was glorious and we finally got views that paid off in spades: We were hoping to make the Dome-Chickamin col for camp but rolling into the Itswoot Ridge bivy spots at 6:00 was good enough. View of Dome from camp: Sunday was a long day. We had relatively easy travel up to the Dome-Chickamin col and then started down the Chickamin with great views across to our route: We belayed across a thin bergschrund at the top of the Chickamin and then spent quite a bit of time weaving and dead-ending through crevasses and ice falls to get to the flats below the north face. Looking back at the cracked out chick: As we rested and got ready for the north face, we noticed a lonely bear wandering around the glacier we had just descended and wondered if he was going to complicate our return. Hey buddy: Not much we could do about Yogi so we started up the face. A couple big simul pitches including one of nice tool sticks in easy ice got us to a moat about halfway up the face. A short mid-fifth rock pitch got us past the moat although we likely could have traversed a bit climbers left and maybe stayed on some thin snow bridges. After that it was cruiser calf burning steep snow up the upper face all the way to the top. Looking down on the upper face: Great views while on route. Gunsight looking rad: Dome looking domey: The summit was excellent and we relaxed a bit, read the entertaining register, and pointed out all the places we had been to or wanted to go to. Self promotion on top: The descent off Sinister was sketchy. In retrospect we probably could have found better beta and known to keep following the ridge all the way to a single rap to the col, but ended up rapping the "dirty 3rd class gully" off the south side of the west ridge that Beckey mentions. Three chossy loose raps down the gully. Ugh. No bueno. Coming off the Dome-Sinister col was also difficult with a belay across an awkward sliver of snow over a gaping bergshrund. And we still had to avoid the damn bear waiting in ambush for us on the Chickamin. Turns out the bear was long gone and we just had a long slog back to camp. Looking back on Sinister on the way out: I didn't want to orphan Dome so I tagged it on the way back through the col. The traverse to the true summit was unexpectdly exciting after a long day on the move: The return to camp was much less exciting as we started to feel the miles in our feet and knees. We ended up needing headlamps for the last hour or so. Monday we woke up late and had a long walk out. Parting view of Itswoot Ridge with an overly friendly marmot checking out our camp spot: And apparently a trip report with John isn't complete unless you include a pic of lower leg carnage. We kicked up a wasp nest on the hike out ~4 miles from the trailhead and each got stung a bunch. Two days later my ankles are cankles and itch like crazy: Gear Notes: We had a few nuts, 2 screws, 2 pickets, 2 tools, and 60m of rope to get off Sinister. Approach Notes: Bergshrunds below the Dome-Chickamin col and below the Dome-Sinister col will become problematic very soon. Actually the entire Chickamin Glacier is going to be problematic pretty soon.
  5. [TR] Mt. Index - North Peak - North Face 8/21/2016

    Good job and great writing! Blue collar climbing at its finest.
  6. Did you guys lose your bivy sacks or something??? Really impressive work on all the c2c classics this summer!
  7. Did you ever figure out who was throwing rocks at you? Interestingly, there was also a big rockfall event sometime Monday morning at Exit 38. I wonder if there was a mini-quake or something else linking the events. Info here: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/massive-rock-fall-exit-38-routes-damaged/112108748
  8. Ideas for a highschool mountain climb

    Snowking could be a great option for your criteria. It falls outside the National Park and wilderness areas so there are no permit or group size limitations. Beautiful camping up at Cyclone Lake. And a mellow glacier if you are so inclined, or you can avoid it completely and stay on a scramble up Kindy Ridge. Better yet, do a loop from Cyclone lake are go up the right side of the lake and across the glacier then come back via the ridge on the left side. Great views across to Eldorado and Forbidden and everywhere else. It's doable in a long day, more enjoyable over two days, and would be super chill over three days.
  9. [TR] Sinister Peak - North Face 8/14/2016

    Thanks! Bold ski descent. We saw your entry in the register:
  10. Dome Peak beta

    I climbed Dome & Sinister this past weekend from Downey Creek. The log crossing at 4100' worked fine. Take a hard left uphill and follow the creek a bit after the crossing to stay on old tread through the slide alder. The key to finding the log crossing is to take a right at a split in the trail at 4100ish. We initially didn't take the left and went straight up and the trail seemed to braid into a bunch of different thrash paths that seemed to peter out so we went back to the log crossing. Lots of recent beta I've seen says to keep going up one of these paths but for us the log crossing worked fine. I'm sure there are lots of other opinions on it. YMMV. Enjoy! Once you put in the effort the rewards are certainly worth it.
  11. [TR] Sinister Peak - North Face 8/14/2016

    I felt bad for the bear, he looked lost and I think he would have trouble navigating the crevasses back to terra firma. Poor guy is probably going to wind up in the bottom of a crack or starve to death. We were likely his only food source up there and I didn't feel like volunteering to sustain him. Jason, I was introduced to some "Jasonisms" on the trip. The bee stings hurt but at least they will itch for a week. We also saw the choss dawg calling card taking summit pron to a new level. Here's some more photos courtesy of John. Der Nordwand: Starting up from ~6800: Mid face: Cruising: Signing in:
  12. [TR] Yellowjacket Tower - Standard 8/6/2016

    You mean put a kiddo on your Wish List? This climb would be a walk in the park for you two.
  13. [TR] Yellowjacket Tower - Standard 8/6/2016

    Good recommendations. Vesper routes could be perfect if we get up and get on the road earlier. The 12 hour restriction is more of a "be home by 5:00PM for the baby" restriction.
  14. Partner Aug. 12-14?

    PM'd you John
  15. Trip: Mt Challenger - Easy Ridge / Perfect Pass Date: 7/24/2016 Trip Report: Mt Challenger via Easy Ridge and Perfect Pass is not exactly easy but overall it's a rather perfect climb full of typical north cascade challengeĀ®s. Brian and I left the trailhead just before 10 on Saturday morning after getting overnight permits at the ranger station in Glacier. Protip: despite the website saying otherwise, apparently you can self register during off hours for certain backcountry camping zones in NOCA, including Easy Ridge. Had we known this we would have been on the trail a bit earlier. No worries though, cloudy skies kept temps cool and our pace quick. 11 miles to the Chilliwack crossing, an easy ford, then an exceptionally good abandoned trail up several thousand feet to Easy Ridge. Views were mostly obscured, dampening our spirits a bit and wondering if we were going to get the typical bad picket weather while the rest of the state was bluebird. We met a trio of climbers on Easy Peak who had suffered that scenario the same day. We traversed the long ridge and made camp in the early evening at the lowest spot in the ridge between Easy Peak and Whatcom Peak. Sunday morning we woke up at dawn and dropped down to the "Perfect Impasse", a deep narrow gorge with a potential 4th scramble route around the top. In the early morning light the downsloping scramble looked exposed, slimy, and definitely x-rated. Possessing more fitness than boldness, we shrugged our shoulders and dropped down 800' to the easy walk across. A steep jungle schwack and some scrambling on the far side of the gorge took us up to heather meadows and then talus and slabs up to Perfect Pass. Overall the added detour probably only took us an extra hour and a half. From the pass, a long rising traverse took us across the extensive Challenger Glacier. We then made a u-turn and headed up towards the peak which is hidden from view. Don't aim for the visible false western summit. The bergshrund was easily passed on climbers left via steep snow up to a snow arete before the rocky summit. A short overstated 5.7 rock pitch with 5 fixed pieces for protection led us to the wildly exposed and remote summit. Where we were rewarded with amazing views in all directions including Fury, Luna Cirque, and looking back at Easy Ridge with Whatcom Peak close by Reversing the route and we were back to Perfect Pass 6 hours after leaving it. Dropping down from the pass we realized we were basically committed to doing the drop down again since we had skipped the impasse bypass in the morning. So close yet so far. On the slog back up talus I saw a rock with a cool pocket of large crystals. My rockhound father would be impressed! Back at camp after a long but beautiful 14 hour day we were rewarded with a nice sunset lighting up the pickets Monday we woke up and traversed Easy Ridge with much better views than two days earlier. And settled into a looong walk out. Overall a highly rewarding trip. Miles are long, but a light pack, good weather, and great partner made for a very satisfying climb! Gear Notes: We brought a few nuts but didn't use them. Approach Notes: Hannegan Pass. If you miss the turnoff for Easy Ridge then you're REALLY not paying attention, it's super obvious.
  16. [TR] East Fury - Standard 7/25/2016

    Dude, that's off the hook! Well, technically I guess Leor is "off_the_hook" but you're off the hook too! Inspiring, I'm way impressed. Nice job.
  17. [TR] Trisolace Peak - Northeast Spur 7/6/2016

    Very cool. Thanks for shedding some light on what looks like an awesome and relatively unknown area.
  18. [TR] Denali - West Buttress 5/28/2016

    Cool! As a climber and a Patriots fan I recognized the name. I climbed Denali three years ago with my wife for our honeymoon. Least romantic honeymoon ever... at times our three person Trango tent didn't seem big enough for the two of us. But it was an amazing trip that I look back fondly upon. Your pictures bring back good memories, thanks for posting!
  19. Good stuff. I was up there about a month ago and missed the same turn up the "small watercourse" and found myself in the same steep slider alder junk wondering what the hell I was doing and fighting my instinct to bail. Eventually regaining the climbers trail a few hundred feet and a few hundred swears later. On the way down, following the actual trail and spotting my error I tried to place some stones across the wrong way to help steer people correctly. I guess I shoulda placed more, but glad to know there have been other bastards suffering that schwack.
  20. [TR] Denali - West Buttress 5/28/2016

    Excellent pics. Like Pucker said, don't sell yourself short. It's a big mountain and a proud accomplishment! Nice duffel bag. Are you related to a former NFL player?
  21. Best of TRs on CC.Com

    Any trip report from Marc-Andre. Reading his winter solo of Slesse then following it up with his first TR of Cheam Peak is mind blowing: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1137036 http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=800493 I also really like Josh Lewis's trip reports. He tells good stories and his youthful enthusiasm is inspiring. JasonG's trip reports for pictures of places I need to add to my ever expanding list.
  22. Trip: Mount Anderson - West Peak and Namesake Standards Date: 6/26/2016 Trip Report: This past weekend I had a two day hall pass to get out in the mountains. After half-heartedly reaching out for partners, I realized what I really wanted to do was spend a solitary night in a remote alpine setting somewhere. Better yet, somewhere I didn't know very well. Enter Mount Anderson, the hydrographic apex of the Olympics, and a long way from any road. Saturday morning found me at the end of that road, at least what was drivable. I left my truck a little after 8:00 and biked 5.5 miles up the abandoned Dosewallips River Road. From there a nice 10.5 mile gradually ascending hike through lush forest led to Anderson Pass. Another couple hours up a climbers trail towards the Anderson Glacier and I finally caught my first good view of the massif: The Anderson Glacier is apparently a shell of its former self, with one consequence being that the steep snow finger leading to Flypaper Pass is melting out quicker every year. There was already a small bergshrund at the bottom of the finger which forced me out to the right on easy rock for 20' or so: Then back onto the snow finger and up to Flypaper Pass. It was almost 5:00 by the time I got to the pass but I was feeling good and there was plenty of daylight so after a short rest and dropping my bivy gear I dropped ~400' down the Eel Glacier where I came across a monitoring station: Then traversed west towards the taller West Peak before heading up to a notch in the minor north rib. The view of the summit from this notch: Originally I planned to do the steep snow traverse, but once I saw it and realized it had been baking in the sun and with perched hangfire above, I opted for the "class 3" ridge route. Calling it class 3 is a stretch, it felt waaay more exciting with incredible exposure and horrendously loose rock. Over a couple bumps and a false summit: And on to the true summit of West Peak for a selfie: Looking back towards Mt Anderson proper and Flypaper Pass: Longer views of the rest of the Olympics were mostly obscured by clouds: On my way back to my bivy I came across TONS of glacier worms that had appeared in my footsteps from a few hours earlier: Back at Flypaper Pass by 9:00PM where I made camp, watched the sunset, and let the RPMs from the west peak scramble wind down. If a remote alpine bivy is the kinda thing that makes your soul sing, this place was hard to beat. Sunday morning I woke up with the sun, packed my kit, and again dropped 400' down onto the Eel before traversing east towards the shorter namesake Mt Anderson. An hour plus later and I was on top with spectacular cloudless views in all directions: Hellooo Seattle: Mount Anderson West Peak (7365') from namesake Mount Anderson (7321'): Longer view: The backside of the Brothers: Mt Olympus: Some big volcano: Buncha stuff I don't recognize: To complete my adventure, and since I was already carrying my kit, I dropped down the southeast face and somewhat followed route 3 down from the guidebook: I eventually picked my way down to a pair of small lakes, then up over a ridge and back to the Anderson Glacier basin and hike & bike home. The Olympics once again impressed me. I need to do more trips starting and ending like this: Gear Notes: Ice axe, crampons & mountaineering boots plus trail runners. I also brought an avy probe and a couple aerial photos of a late season Eel Glacier for crevasse management. The upper glacier towards Mt Anderson proper has some legit cracks. Approach Notes: Bring a bike for the road.
  23. It was definitely a lot of mileage but didn't feel like a slog due to a light pack and relatively good trail all the way up to the basin. Oly, I scrambled the standard east ridge of the West Peak. Klenke has some great beta on summitpost that gives blow by blow descriptions of the ridge. He calls it class 4 with some low 5th moves which I think is more accurate that the guidebook "class 3". Then again, I'm new to the Olympics so that might just be the way it is. It's loose enough that it'd be kinda hard to protect for the leader. And heck yeah, I'm up for some more easterly adventures from westerly Seattle! The Needles look pretty interesting...
  24. That's a nice pic of the Anderson massif and good shot of the snow on the east/southeast face that I took on my way down. I ended up climbing the West Peak on Saturday and Mt Anderson proper on Sunday with a bivy at Flypaper Pass. TR posted!
  25. Great pics! If I knew my Olympic mountains better I might have been able to get a pic of Mt Lena from Mount Anderson on Sunday morning, but alas I only recognize the more obvious peaks at this point in my explorations.