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About bgratias

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  • Birthday 11/26/2017
  1. Above the clouds on Red Mountain
  2. Yeah, the weather was better than we expected. We got socked in a couple of times, and even had it snow on us for a bit, but overall it was nice. It seemed like Colchuck was a distinct dividing line for the weather - Stuart was super cloudy all day, but Colchuck Lake stayed fairly clear.
  3. Trip: Colchuck Peak - North Buttress Couloir Date: 6/2/2012 Trip Report: Three of us climbed the NBC this past Saturday. We left the car around 8:30, and the couloir was pretty sloppy by the time we got to it. I'd recommend leaving a little earlier or starting from the lake (or just being faster than us.) The couloir was still filled with snow, and was definitely skiable with only a couple narrow points. We crossed a couple rock sections on the upper face, so I'm not sure if you could ski the whole thing. We had planned on skiing the route, but the upper face was too scary, so we skied the Colchuck Glacier instead. There were several other parties planning to climb the route on Sunday, so I'd imagine a really good bootpack is in place. Looking up the couloir Traverse into the couloir Reaching the notch Traversing onto the face The upper face Trying to find a way onto the summit Another party on the subpeak next to the Colchuck-Dragontail col (I have more pictures of you - PM me if you want them.) Skiing the Glacier Approach Notes: A bootpack is in around the lake.
  4. [TR] Argonaut Peak - NE Couloir 11/6/2011

    Jens, thanks for the info, and for the conditions report last week that got us thinking about this route. Reid, it must have been your tracks that got us down through the cliffs Sunday night - a big help! We lost them once the bushwacking started though, and ended up relying on the iphone too. Jordan, that is a really good idea, if I do the route again, I would definitely descend via the Colchuck Col. I might even be tempted to approach that way if I haven't figured out how to avoid the slide alder and cliff band by then.
  5. Trip: Argonaut Peak - NE Couloir Date: 11/6/2011 Trip Report: Ryan and I climbed the NE Couloir on Argonaut Peak this Sunday. Unfortunately, we skipped the summit after exiting the couloir because it was getting dark. The climb is in great shape. I'm not a very experienced Cascades winter climber, but it seems like there is a lot of ice in the Stuart Range right now. As usual, we underestimated the approach and ended up thrashing through slide alder and snowy boulders for a couple hours trying to get to the climb. We then had trouble finding a way through the cliff bands under the peak until we found a fat ice line that led to the upper slopes. The approach was terrible, but going through the same thing in the dark on the way down was even worse. Stuart Range Conditions: Dragontail Stuart Argonaut (NE Couloir is the obvious line on the left) Black and White Ice Formed below Argonaut Approach Ice (2 rope lengths) Couloir Entrance The couloir proper was mostly snow and neve with a few nice ice/mixed steps - all pretty easy. Really a terrific climb in awesome shape. The ice wasn't good/fat enough for screws, but we got by with a few rock pieces. Gear Notes: A few small cams and some nuts. A few screws for the approach ice. Approach Notes: Slide Alder and route finding issues for us on the approach and descent. There must be a better way, but we didn't find it...
  6. Trip: Mt. Baker - North Ridge Date: 8/27/2011 Trip Report: We climbed Baker's North Ridge this Saturday and found pretty good conditions. The trickiest part of the climb was finding a way onto the glacier and then across the glacier to the apron. We were turned around 5 or 6 times by pesky dead ending crevasses. We started in the dark, so that probably didn't help. It seemed like the best way to go was to drop onto the glacier from higher up, and then to stay low until directly below the left side of the apron. Lost in the Dark Another Dead End The left side of the apron was still easily passable, and the slope was in pretty good shape. We traversed the rock band to the left of the apron to the middle snow finger in order to get away from rock-fall (though it didn't seem too bad that morning.) The ice step was in great shape, and was about 2 pitches long. We climbed it just around the ridge on the left side. It took screws well all the way up. We stayed well left of the ridge and encountered a couple vertical moves at the top, but I think we could have avoided these by moving right, over the ridge, a bit sooner. Lower Ice Step Left Side of the Ridge Ryan approaching the short vertical section On top Above the ice step there were more crevasses, but we kept trending left and had no problems. Climbing above the ice step (this would take screws too) A steep section on the upper snow fields An fascinating wave shaped serac Wildflowers on the way out! Gear Notes: 6 screws Approach Notes: Scope out a way across the glacier the night before.
  7. [TR] Prusik Peak - Stanley-Burgner 7/15/2011

    Thanks for that topo olyclimber. It would have been very helpful. Next time!
  8. Trip: Prusik Peak - Stanley-Burgner Date: 7/15/2011 Trip Report: Ryan and I accidentally climbed the Stanley-Burgner on Prusik Peak this Friday. We are not terrific rock climbers, so we planned on either giving the Beckey south face route a try or settling for the west ridge if we felt short on time. We ended up getting off route (as usual) and “retreating upwards” via the Stanley-Burgner as bad weather came in ahead of schedule. We arrived at the Snow Lakes trailhead a little after 6:30 am and reached the south face sometime between 12:00 and 1:00. We met Ed Hobbick and ktschmid at the base of the face. They graciously lent us their #5 to use on the left hand variation of the first pitch which looked much nicer than the standard chimney on the right (thanks again guys!) After a couple more pitches, we arrived at the base of the infamous chock stone pitch, and realized we were on the Stanley-Burgner route, not the easier Beckey route. We weren’t sure if we could traverse right up higher, and decided to keep heading upwards to find out. By this time it was raining/hailing intermittently, and the clouds were getting thicker. It took me a solid 15 minutes of grunting and yelling to squeeze behind that miserable but intriguing chock stone. The chimney on the next pitch was even worse (or better?) After a half hour of yelling and grunting and pulling on gear, the final pitch was in view. We were both pretty exhausted at this point, and it was getting pretty late in the day, so we were anxious to get up and over and start the long hike out. The last pitch (and several others on the route) is a lot harder than it appears from the belay. This harder-than-it-looked pitch, combined with the harder-than-expected climb and worse-than-forecasted weather had us a little psyched out. The desperation intensified when I pulled over a bulge mid-pitch, couldn’t find any good handholds, ran out of strength, and took a 25’ fall. Dejectedly, I brought Ryan up, collected the gear, and shamelessly aided the rest of the pitch. We made 4-5 rappels off the top, postholed in our rock shoes around the west side, and got back to our gear at the base just after dark. The hike out was very long, and we made it back to the car at 3:30am - 21 hours on the go. The route was much more physical than I expected it to be. A lot of torso squeezing and awkward cracks. The protection on route was really good though, so we felt fairly safe even if the climbing was a little out of our comfort zone. I'd like to go back with two days and a little more skill and do it again. If anyone is planning on climbing the route in the near future and is feeling extra-charitable we dropped a #5 trango flexcam, and left a #1 camalot deep in a chimney on the last pitch (if you are not feeling charitable, you now have some extra motivation to get up there I guess.) Pictures: Baby Goats Crossing the dam between the snow lakes The hike was really nice on the way in, but not quite so pleasant on the way out later that night. Starting up the 3rd or 4th pitch The chock stone (felt really tight to me) Starting the second to last pitch (clearly I need some longer shorts...) The chimney looms above One of the few sun breaks, right before sunset. On top! First Rappel Getting ready for the 10 miles ahead... Definitely not a route for shorts Gear Notes: Long Pants. Two ropes would have made the descent a bit nicer, but one is okay. Approach Notes: Lengthy with lots of goats. A little snow after snow lakes, but no need for boots or an axe.
  9. Alpine - Forbidden Peak Cragging - Dragontail Peak Scenic - Joshua Tree Skiing - Chair Basin - Thumbtack Backflip (attempt) Bouldering - Dubrovnik, Croatia Ice - Chair Peak Humor - Sarajevo, Bosnia - skiing here involves a unique type of objective hazard: Landmines!
  10. Trip: Little Tahoma - Fryingpan/Whitman Glacier Date: 6/15/2009 Trip Report: My brother and I climbed Little Tahoma a couple of years ago. I can't say that it is a great climb, but it is in a terrific position. We left the trail head at around 8pm, and bivied at an awesome spot, right at the toe of the glacier, for the night. The approach would probably be nicer a little earlier in the season, because we ended up climbing through a bunch of loose boulders to get out of the valley. It didn't help that it was dark though. The next morning was basically a slog up through the notch to the climbers left of Little T, and a bit further around the base. Off the glacier, the route becomes loose volcanic rock. Not great climbing. We didn't have any rockfall issues though, and the weather and views were so good that we were having a great time! We used a rope for the summit ridge because of the loose rock, other parties probably wouldn't need one. Slings were the only things that offered protection, but they were pretty iffy. No need to rappel on the descent. A fun climb! This is still my favorite bivy spot ever. Walls on three sides and a smooth sandy floor. Rainier and Little Tahoma that night. The route goes to the left of Little Tahoma through an obvious notch. Quality climbing! Adams From here, Little Tahoma is clearly taller than Rainier. Such a cool position, but such a stupid pose. Down climbing the summit ridge on impeccable rock. Climbers on the DC route. Gear Notes: Red shorts and sunblock.
  11. Trip: Mt. Hood - Leuthold Couloir Date: 1/22/2011 Trip Report: A group of us (my brother Ryan, sneaky_steve Ladish, Lance Colley, Josh Grant and Erik Biesenthal) went up the Leuthold Couloir this Saturday. Though a bit windy in the morning it was a beautiful day. The south side is very icy, we could only skin on the tracks the snowcat made, and had to crampon from the top of the lifts to Illumination Saddle. We made it to the saddle just after sunrise. The down climb to the Reid is pretty icy right now, but the Reid is filled in well. The bottom part of the couloir leading to the hourglass consisted of about 8" of heavy powder on top of harder snow. This got us excited because we were planning to ski the route. Our skiing excitement was replaced by climbing excitement when we reached the hourglass and found it to be beautiful alpine ice! We were expecting a snow climb, but almost the entire upper part of the couloir was awesome ice. It wasn't super steep, and we were being hit by ice cubes the whole time, but the climbing was fantastic! Since we couldn't ski the route, we went down the south side. It was the worst skiing imaginable. It was like skiing down a field of ice cubes ranging from 2"-1' big. We ended up walking down most of the way to the lifts. Oh well, carrying the extra weight was good exercise. Down climbing to the Reid [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210155.jpg[/img] Starting up the couloir and getting excited for skiing! [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210161.jpg[/img] Climbing through the hour glass. Bummed we won't be able to ski, but excited about the awesome climbing conditions! [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210169.jpg[/img] Ice! [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210176.jpg[/img] [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210183.jpg[/img] [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210192.jpg[/img] It mellowed out a bit toward the top, and we were able to kick some steps. If you stayed in the middle there was still good ice, but our calves were burning by this point. [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210186.jpg[/img] [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210195.jpg[/img] [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210198.jpg[/img] [img:left]http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm85/rgratias/Luethold%20Couloir%20TR/P1210203.jpg[/img] Gear Notes: At least one tool. If you bring a rope, you could probably place screws from the hourglass all the way to the top couloir. Approach Notes: Icy on the south side, and dropping onto the Reid.
  12. EB First Ascent Serano / IgniterJackets?

    I've been using an igniter for awhile and like it a lot. The cut fits me well, and I like the option of tall sizes. It is quite a bit warmer than a typical fleece, and less breathable. I keep it in the included stuff bag, and it takes up more room than a fleece, but I'm sure it could be compressed more in a different bag. I have no complaints about the quality; I am surprised at how well the thin outer fabric has held up to abuse. Overall, it's worked great as a belay jacket for temperatures that don't require a big down jacket. The low-ish price (119.00 for mine) is a definite plus as well.
  13. The first cam I bought was a Gear4Rocks cam. I used it for awhile. Then I realized it was a piece of crap. I think it would probably hold a fall, but it is difficult to place. The cable is pretty flimsy, and I can't even fit my pinky into the thumb loop. It is not nearly as burly as it looked online. The thing that bothers me most about it is that its edges are all really sharp, so I don't like to have it rattling around in my pack. I've found that used cams can be just as cheap, are easier to handle, and seem more trustworthy.