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Posts posted by JZickler

  1. Trip: The Lion's Head - Lion Tamer


    Date: 7/9/2011


    Trip Report:

    The Lion Tamer - Grade III 5.10b 6P


    After two failed attempts last summer Ben Boldt and I managed to scale the sheer north face of Lion's Head Peak. At 800 feet, it’s the largest alpine rock wall in the Idaho Selkirks according to Thad Laird. Amazingly, this massive piece of granite rarely sees ascents and according to the summit register we were the third party to reach the summit via the Lion Tamer route. The FFA was done in 91 by John Kitel and Mark Pierce and there are no subsequent ascents recorded until 2001. I guess most climbers in the area prefer Chimney Rock or are perhaps just unaware of the incredible aesthetics and route potential offered by Lion's Head.


    The approach is easy if you can stay on the broken and less than obvious climber’s trail. It took us an hour to get from the parking area to the beginning of the boulder field where we encountered a significant amount of snow on the final slopes leading to the base of the route.


    Our previous attempts were thwarted by seeping cracks making the route impossible (for us at least) to climb free. Third times a charm – we found the route nearly dry except for the top of pitch 3, a short section of 5.7 that was wet and covered with lichen making for thought provoking foot-work. A sudden foot slip forced me to test my #1 C4 and luckily it held. This section is just below the large belay ledge at the base of pitch 4 that can hold snow and water well into July.


    Overall a super fun climb on an incredible peak! The climbing is difficult old school 5.10 but protects well in all the right places.


    a link to photos:







    Gear Notes:

    Stoppers, Mastercams 00-6, C4s .3 to 3, 2x2 2x3, 1-60m rope, 10 or so alpine draws. (pitches are long). Step kicking boots for the final snow slope and an axe or a sharp stick, some of the run-outs pose severe consequences! The route description is vague in the guidebook. I have a hand rendered copy of the topo from the summit cairn left by John and Mark that is spot on if anyone is interested.


    Approach Notes:

    Park at the switchback near the caribou sign. Follow the old road grade until the trail breaks left. Take time to find the trail it will save you time in the long run.

  2. It's motivating to hear about old guys still getting after it but, skinning lift accessed terrain is silly and negligent no matter who or how old you are. I work at a ski resort and had an encounter with a belligerent skinner (I too skin but in appropriate areas or at night :)) sliding up our most popular run on a busy day creating a severe objective hazard for guests and a dangerous situation for himself. There would be HUGE liability issues for resorts if they allowed it. That's my two cents.

  3. Seattle is a beautiful part of the world. I lived there for a it but alas the rain, traffic congestion, rude people, and ridiculous commute time to travel a short distance compelled me to seek dryer pastures. I'm now In Spokane and totally digging it. The economy here is built on the medical industry with several major hospital and the Intercollegiate School of Nursing in the downtown core. If you want to climb ridiculous amounts of sport routes EVERY DAY this is the place to be (i.e. Deep Creek, China Bend, Post Falls, Dishman). And you don't have to take a number and get in line to climb a route! There is also gratuitous amounts of mountain biking, from casual single track to sphincter clenching huck lines, it's all here! Spokane is in the process of improving it's urban bicycle infrastructure with a newly adopted Bike Master Plan which has established several sharrows and dedicated bike lanes. There is a surprisingly sizable bike scene here. There are two decent ski resorts within an hours drive (Mt. Spokane, 49) and many more close enough for a day trip (Schwitzer, Silver, Red Mountain). The Selkirks in North Idaho offer decent backcountry ski opportunities and lots of unexplored granite for the summer months. My girlfriend and I (she's a nursing student and a Seattle transplant) have a little place on the "South Hill," a historic neighborhood with narrow Maple lined streets and bungalow homes and we love it! Close to down town, trails, work, coffee shops, grocery, parks and the folks here smile and say "hello" when passing by. We really like the four distinct seasons and the different recreational opportunities they provide. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing more beautiful than a sunny summer day at Alki Beach and the white trash factor is a bit higher here, but overall I definitely prefer the tempo of life in Spokane.


    Good Luck!



  4. is that 2135 cu in?


    Yep. It's magic!


    I used it this weekend for an overnighter in the hills and it worked really well. It's noticeably heavier than the pack I was using (54oz. vs. 26oz.) but the added features are worth the extra weight. The hydration system did not freeze all day in temps around 20 degrees F.

  5. Got my new pack yesterday and conducted a packing test in my living room. This pack is deceiving at first glance. When unloaded it's sleek and fits tight to your body. The shape of the packing space is efficient and minimizes empty voids allowing you to use every cubic inch of space. I laid out a typical weekend's worth of gear and the Stash BC easily devoured it. Have a look:



  6. Thanks for the reassurance dbcolin. I ended up ordering the Stash BC because of its ability to carry a board vertically. That feature was the tie breaker for me. I actually found the older model on sale for $80 on BC.com and nearly bought it. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful advice - I'll post a gear review after a few turns! On that note - we just got BURIED here in the 509 so I'm off to eat it up!



  7. Anyone have experience with BCA packs? The Alp 40 seems like a dialed, well thought out system. I really like the nalgene compatible hydration setup - and with 40L I could use it for long weekends or even a week if staying in a hut. I really like the dry-sack closure system when using it without the lid. Anyone have a compelling argument against BCA packs? They make a great beacon!

  8. I'm in Spokane WA. Between Mountain Gear and Mountain Goat Outfitters I have access to every conceivable brand and model of pack. And the folks who work at both are legit skiers who seem to offer solid advice.


    I can recall very few times when I have carried my board put together. Usually when the terrain requires booting, it's not exactly conducive to fiddling with gear. Most of the time I carry my board split A frame style so the revelation may just work. It's nice to have options though.


    Jeez, sometimes I wish I could be more impulsive.

  9. Word. I'll bring along my shovel. I have the BCA companion - not sure how it compares in size to the voile. How do you like the Kode? I've read mixed reviews one common complaint is that they used poor materials in the construction and that the compression system interferes with quick access to the wet room. Have you experienced this? Guess if I buy if from REI/BC failure as a result of poor construction is not an issue.


    Packs are so user-specific though that you really need to just go test a bunch until you find what you want.


    So true. My plan was to narrow it down to three or four and exploit the REI/Backcountry "rental" program, sending the ones back that I disqualify.


    I have been using the 30L Lowe Alpine summit attack - a great pack for its intended purpose which is not touring!


    I want something with a wet room for skins and avi gear so I'm not stuffing my skins in the main compartment on top of my puffy at every transition. Also need a system that carries a board well - both together and split. A hydration system would also be nice.


    Just had a quick look at the BD revelation. Seems to have all my desired features in a super clean design. Curious how well it would carry a board....

  11. I'm in the market for a touring specific pack - I've realized over the last couple of seasons that the pack I've been using is completely inappropriate for this application. I'm trying to avert buyer's remorse from a poorly thought out purchase and would appreciate thoughts/advice. Here are my stats:


    Looking for something around 30L


    I appreciate simplicity - not attracted to gimmicks and unnecessary features


    I ride a splitboard


    Now PLEASE bestow upon me your infinite wisdom CC folks!

    Thanks in advance





  12. My regular partner is off to Wyoming to send in the Tetons & Rockies and I'm in search of a replacement(s)!

    Looking for dependable climbing partners with good mountain sense and judgement to climb alpine, rock, ice, and mixed routes primarily in the North Cascades and occasionally in the Selkirks. I live in Spokane so a 509 resident would be ideal but not required.

    I have gear for nearly every type of climbing. I'm climbing 5.12b sport, 5.10a trad, AI/WI3, and have big lungs for long slogs.

    If anyone is interested let me know and we can do a shakedown climb in Leavenworth or WA Pass.



  13. I've made several runs on my board with my Baruntse this season and it kinda sucks. Have also tried to ride in my Trangos and failed miserably. It will definitely get you off the mountain faster than walking but if you're looking to make quality turns I recommend cutting your board in half and installing a voile split kit.