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About jverschuyl

  • Birthday 06/11/1978


  • Occupation
    Wildlife Biologist
  • Location
    Mount Vernon, Washington

jverschuyl's Achievements


Gumby (1/14)



  1. Looks like a great trip. I was just up on Snowking last (Aug. 15th)... any chance you lost a glove up there? (Red OR brand)?
  2. Trip: Isolation Traverse North Cascades Aug 4-9 - Date: 8/9/2011 Trip Report: This idea for this trip began immediately after completing a traverse of Mt. Challenger with my dad (then 65 yrs old) last summer. Challenger Traverse 2010 We started looking at the maps and realized the missing link between the Ptarmigan Traverse (2003 with my dad and brother) and what we had just completed, was the Isolation Traverse (red in the pic below). So after a late spring knee surgery (dad) and an untimely ankle sprain (me) we set out with some hesitation this year hoping that we would be able to complete the trip. We started on Thursday the 4th from the Pyramid Lake trailhead and made quick work of the trail to the "lake". The climbers trail up from the lake is steep but in good shape. We grunted up the ~4400 vertical with our 6 day packs (did I mention my dad is 66!) to a bivy style camp that we squeezed our tent into at 5400 ft. The next morning was clear and beautiful. We set out to traverse to the Colonial Glacier. The traverse to the lake at the base of the Colonial Glacier is still entirely snow, and we found it fairly straight forward with relatively cold snow. Crampons were necessary. We continued up to the Colonial/Neve Glacier col and had lunch before descending to onto the Neve Glacier. We also saw some ski tracks that we would ultimately see off and on all the way to Backbone Ridge (I would be curious who was up there before us). Then we continued up ~2000 ft to the Snowfield col. We considered climbing Snowfield, but it was socked in and getting late in the day. Our philosophy was to do everything we could to promote success on the traverse, all other summits would remain ancillary. We continued down (and below the clouds) to a camp on the ridge before Isolation peak around 6600 ft. To get there we found it best to descend to the NW from the Snowfield col down the obvious snow ramp to 6800 ft before switching back and traversing to the Isolation/Snowfield ridge. We awoke to clear skies with valley fog and a thin ice layer on our tent. We set out to descend towards the small lake at the base of Isolation Peak, and then up the ramp on the SE shoulder of Isolation Peak into the fog and a bench at roughly 6400 ft. We ascended the south ridge of Isolation Peak to approx 6700ft before beginning to traverse around to the West ridge. This proved to be a fairly straight forward route and we saw some goats along the way, which were the only creatures weighing more than 10 lbs that we would see for 5 days. We continued down the west ridge of Isolation peak and across the bench above Wilcox lakes (~5300 ft) before ascending to the "glacial col" just west of the lakes and south of Newhalem Peak. It was getting later in the day, so we decided to set up camp here in a nice level heather pocket on the North side of the col. Looking toward the col from Wilcox lakes bench: Looking back at Isolation Peak: We awoke to a morning cloud layer (which was becoming a routine on this trip) and quickly completed a short bushwhack and boulder/snow descent into a very pronounced glacial cirque south of the Stout Lake basin and east of the Coccyx. A 1500 ft climb up an impressive couloir on nice hard snow brought us to the 6600ft ridgeline. A quick traverse to the SW led us to the north end of the Backbone Ridge traverse. We enjoyed lunch (probably spent too much time here) at a nice campsite before dropping onto Backbone Ridge itself. We continued a much longer than expected complete traverse of Backbone Ridge in snow that was mostly isothermic mush. Our route the next day would take us up through the Eldorado/Dorado Needle col rather than the high pass from the Marble to McAllister glaciers, so we set up camp at the South end of the ridge (~5700 ft). The next day we turned up the long gully below Eldorado's north face. We got to the wind lip at the top before the Eldorado/Dorado Needle col just after the sun hit it. We descended into this wind sculpted snow feature (~25 ft deep) and then up some scree and loose rock to the col and McAllister glacier. From here we traversed high across the McAllister and Inspiration glacier to the east ridge camp on Eldorado. The high glaciers were very filled in and we lingered a while at the Inspiration McAllister col to enjoy the views south to Dome peak and north to the Pickets, reflecting on both of those previous traverses. We continued to our camp on snow in the Eldorado Creek basin at 5500ft. The next day we got up early and completed the trip down through the boulder field and out the climbers trail... finally hitching back to our car at the pyramid lake trail (thanks to the friendly climbers who were in Boston Basin that picked us up). We were all the way out by 10am on the 6th day. SUCCESS!! Another great climb with my dad. Possibly the end of an era for committing to long distance climbing traverses together, but what a way to finish! Psalm 95:4 Psalms 121:1-2 Gear Notes: 2 pickets were brought but not used except to tie down the tent Crampons were essential for early morning snow 4 of 6 days Ice axe, 8.8mm 50m rope, harnesses, prusiks, etc. Route finding was the key on this traverse. It seems that there is now enough information floating around on the web to do a good job of planning for this traverse, but feel free to PM me or post questions.
  3. Jim, Great trip report... I got your email with the photos too... Can't wait to get down there someday myself. Let me know if you are up for a quick climb in the cascades somewhere before the snow flies. Jake
  4. Nice TR! on the sibley traverse did you guys drop to the north of the ridge or to the south once you saw the cairn? Thanks!
  5. sounds like success to me! what was the timeframe for making it out easy ridge? How was the descent from perfect pass to the west side of the impasse?
  6. Manacus: There are many descriptions on this site of how to enter the impasse at the top. Despite that about 80% of people seem to write that they go down and around. I think the fact that at the impasse you are 2-3 days from either end of the trip makes you think a bit more about the risks of a dirty ledge. However, ours was not a hard-man trip and I am sure better climbers could cruise it. We found the entrance (or at least one of them) to the traverse over the top but decided not to go. The descent to go below is easy on the west (mostly talus and boulders) but the climb out on the east was a bit more technical. Some 4th class exposed slabs on the east (4500-4900 ft) have rappel slings at the top which I am sure would be nice if you were coming down in the wet. The ledge at the top (from the uppermost large tree) was at 5100 ft the crossing at the bottom was at 4480. I understand there are ways to go ~ 2-400 ft higher yet and traverse above the entire impasse. We thought about re-ascending to look but decided to go with the sure thing and descend. Even looking down from perfect pass, didn't see anything that went too easily. Another post on this site suggests "don't get psyched by the impasse it is just another part of the route". I agree with that, but it is certainly still the most technical section of the Easy Ridge approach. We were sure we would complete the route over the top if the weather was good, so it was a bit defeating to descend. However, it only cost us about an hour, or at most 2.
  7. Trip: Challenger Traverse - Easy Ridge to Big Beaver Date: 7/16/2010 Trip Report: The climb of Challenger has been on my dad's list for several years. He is now 65 and we decided after 1 failed attempt two years ago to make it happen this summer. We started Thursday (7/16) afternoon from the Hannegan Pass trailhead and made good time over the pass to the Copper Creek camp just above the Chilliwack river crossing. The next morning we got going and made the easy ford and started up easy ridge. The trail through the trees is still easy to follow with some blowdown. At about 4700ft the snow began abruptly and we followed snow filled meadows up to Easy Ridge. We continued up to one of the few snow free campsites just above the saddle leading up to Easy Peak. It got cold enough overnight that crampons were useful in ascending to Easy Peak. From that point we made a long descending traverse (mostly on snow) to the entrance of "imperfect impasse". After much debate and a little frustration, we decided to go below the impasse. Despite the beautiful weather, the ledges accessing the impasse high route were dirty and water streaked. We ascended on decent snow (we were a little concerned with the strong afternoon sun) the steep slopes to Perfect Pass. The bank of wind blown corniced snow extended almost to the western edge of Perfect Pass still, but we found one semi-dry spot to camp. The next morning was chilly and beautiful. As we started across the well filled in glacier the temps were warming quickly. We made it across the glacier at a leisurely pace and saw another group of 4 that had apparently summitted the previous day camped high on the ridge above us. We dropped our packs at the other side at about 9 am and headed for the summit. The snowbridge across the bergshrund was enormous, and crevasse navigation even on the upper glacier was easy. When we got to the snow arete leading to the summit we found the amount of snow produced a challenge. The ledge leading to the summit block was filled in with hard high angle snow. There were two options go over the rock of the sub-summit or try to protect the traverse on the snow. We didn't feel comfortable with either and even though it was a tough decision we decided to call it good enough 40 ft shy of the summit. The previous day's party must have gone over the rock as we saw their tracks end at the sub-summit block. We descended and traversed north of Pt. 7374 to a campsite just below Eiley lake on Challenger Ridge. The next morning we got an early start and traversed the rest of Challenger Ridge (snow made it a little quicker than it might have been otherwise). The bushwack down to the big-beaver trail left us wondering how people choose to come in that way. We were happy to be going down and made it to the trail in 1 hr 45 min from the top of Challenger Ridge. The long hike out big beaver was buggy. We camped at 39 mile and then hiked to hwy 20 the next day and hitched back home to close the loop. All in all a very successful trip, with beautiful scenery. I am determined to get back to the Pickets soon but will try a different approach. I think that is a common philosophy until one realizes that all approaches to that region charge a significant toll. Easy Ridge (although more technical under current snow conditions from imperfect impasse to perfect pass) was my favorite of the two routes. That being said... the views along the whole route were unbeatable. Huge congrats to my 65 yr old dad for traversing ~55 miles with +/- 13k of elevation almost all of which with a heavy pack. Gear Notes: crampons, ice axe, rope we did not use pro or the 1 picket we brought Approach Notes: Snow covered along easy ridge. Wet and steep near perfect pass and imperfect impasse due to late melting snow. Buggy out Big Beaver Creek.
  8. I climbed Eldorado at the end of August 2004 (a very dry year) and it was quite straight forward. We stayed on the rock at the edge of the cliff overlooking the flat area of glacier, and came at the much reduced snow arete from the west. I would suggest the glacier would likely be A-OK for just about any season on that peak.
  9. Trip: Sloan Peak - Corkscrew Date: 8/23/2008 Trip Report: We walked the ~4 miles to the trail head from where the road slumps after spending a bit too much time trying to dig out our stuck truck. The crossing of the NF Sauk is easy on logs for 2 of 3 crossings, we never took off our boots. Once across the last log jam head S on the gravel bar 50 feet and look for the flags to head into the woods. The trail is well flagged but with plenty of down wood and overhanging veg. The basin at 4600 ft has at least one good tent site and we found several others at 4800-5000 ft on or near the climbers trail (above and East of the early season snow-chute). The glacier is still in good shape as we angled up across it until the run-out below got ugly. At that point we switchbacked up 100 vert feet and walked on the edge of a fairly sizeable crevasse. From there it was easy going to the "take out" at the far side (no moat). There was some new snow ontop of the old glacial firn, which made the crampons ball up just a bit. We still found crampons to be a useful addition to the climb, something I wouldn't always advocate. The rest of the corkscrew is quite easy to follow. Beautiful day with great clarity, we could see from Mt. Adams to Canada and the Olympics were even especially clear. Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/jverschuyl/SloanPeak Gear Notes: crampons iceaxe 8.8 mil 50m rope Approach Notes: brushy easy creek crossings few bugs compared to what I expected
  10. Yep we were in the black Toyota pickup. It looked like several people made it through after us. I must have hit the wrong line through the mud hole. I was on the high side and then just slid into the pit. I was kicking myself for not having a come along, we could have been through it in nothing. Did you guys climb Sloan?
  11. Went up the corkscrew from the traditional Cougar Creek approach on Fri-Sat(8/22-23). The river crossing and creek crossings are indeed easy. The road slump on FS rd 40 at Mile 0.8 is passable only when dry. After rains like we have had the last few days it becomes goo, and it is easy to get stuck. However, it seems to dry out pretty fast too, within 24-48 hours of the rain, and is then driveable to the trailhead. The route is in good shape, with all the necessary snowbridges still in place on the glacier. There is no moat at all on the far side of the glacier and the goat trail (corkscrew) part of the climb is easy to follow. The summit register has no pencil, but the last entry was from 8-15-07.
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