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  • Birthday 11/26/2017

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  1. Trip: Mt. Adams > St. Helens > Mt. Hood Link-Up - Volcano Trifecta in a Day (...well almost) Date: 6/12/2013 Trip Report: There have been a few creative volcano trips posted recently and thought I’d add another more obscure approach to making these common slogs a slightly different adventure. Admittedly our trip was much more carbon intensive than the bike missions (props fellas!). Three good friends and I recently linked up the standard south face lines of Adams, St. Helens, and Hood. We intended to do this within a 24 hour window for all three, but things got complicated on St. Helens; amazingly enough given how straight forward the route is on this peak. We ended up completing this car-assisted eruption enchainment in 26 hours plus change. Weather was a bit of a factor and under different circumstances it would have been obviously wiser to align with a clearer window. But two in our party were from out of town and we were all to be in the same spot for a wedding the following weekend, hence our availability was locked in. Once we saw the NOAA forecast turn to 80% chance of precip the day before, we all just muttered a little before embarking anyways. Guess we figured it would increase the memorable factor. No need to go into specific conditions nor route beta as the snowpack has been iso-thermic for weeks and these routes are well documented as they represent the volcano 101 tour of PNW. But if you are one of the three people who read the title of this TR and immediately thought “that sounds like a fantastic time!”, here is a quick play-by-play in hopes our chronology might help another party’s bid on a similar link up with these peaks: Wednesday, June 12th. After folks rallied the drive from SEA and PDX, all four of us met up in White Salmon to caffeinate, do a duffle shuffle, and jump into my Sooby. 11:25am: Arrived just short of the Mt Adams Cold Springs trailhead. Luckily the road just reopened from the 2012 fire work this spring. 11:45am: Departed trailhead in slowly building clouds but still and mostly clear skies. 3:40pm: Summited Mt Adams via Standard South side route. Fairly sunny and t-shirt temps made for ideal spring skinning conditions. 4pm: Departed summit and skied the southwest chutes (aka "3-3-3" chutes) in buttery corn. Quick upward booting traverse let us regain the climbing route. Which we promptly lost and ran around in the burn area for an extra 30 mins re-finding the trail’s initial switchbacks. 5:45pm: Arrived back to the TH and cracked road sodas. Clouds blanketed the western skyline. 6:05pm: Started driving south, slightly slowed by road work on the burn. To Bingen for pizza, then Windy River toward St. Helens. 9:15pm: Arrived in heavy drizzle at St Helens SnoPark for the winter route. Climbers bivy was not open yet, which adds a few miles of trail and about 1200' vert. For us this was about an accumulative 3 hours extra; though it would obviously be less for faster parties. 9:45pm: Departed with headlamps in the rain for St. Helens’s winter route. Proceeded to get lost around 11pm (missed trail hitting a ridge to left, and went too far climber’s right). Corrected mistake and traverse until we found bootpack. Likely lost 30 mins here. Thursday, June 13th 1:15am: Summited St. Helens in a whiteout with blowing snow; started descent promptly. Missed the correct fall line due to the new snow covering uptracks for the top 1500’. We ended up too far skiier’s right with a challenging broad and crumbly talus ridge to traverse to correct it. Then decided to commit to the fall line and ended up ~2 miles off-route to the West. 2am: Doffed skis at ~4500’ and began one of those Cascade character-building sch’wacks traversing hard left over talus, brush, trees, creeks, and broken snow patches in the rain. Classic PNW experience. 4am: Regained winter route trail. 5:10am: At SnoPark lot and started drive to Timberline by 5:30am. 20 min nap for our driver halfway through kept the driving “safe”. 9:15am: Arrived Timberline parking lot. A fifth partner joined the fun and helped stir our stoke amidst the socked in and rainy conditions. It was windy enough to shut down the ski area, but thankfully the lodge still had large quantities of coffee for us to consume. 9:45am: Started up Hood in low viz and moderately wind conditions. 12noon: Ski depot just below the ‘shround. Viz remained low here and newly rhime’d snow (rather sn’icey) up top made this the only one we didn’t feel good about skiing from the summit. 12:20pm: Summited hood as a patch of blue opened up to greet us. Everybody happy to tag the third and finally have a bit of a vantage in to Hood River. 2pm’ish: At parking lot after skiing vertigo cloud soup conditions for the majority of the descend. Wonderfully humbling as many have skied from the summit to parking lot in 15-20 mins. 2:15pm: Off to meet up with more friends at the bachelor party and ten more hours of macho-hilarity. Considerations/Observations: •It’s possible this would go faster later in the season with a trail running approach, though arguably less fun as these are all such straight forward and great ski lines on moderate angles. This enchainment can easily be completed in 24 hours for a motivated team that has a low priority on sleep. 20 hours might be possible even if all goes perfectly on trailhead openings, conditions, and stoke. • This enchainment has a significant chance of having been done before as the proximity of the three peaks. While we didn’t see any posting on CC or TAY, it’s likely other NW’ies thought: “Could ya do ‘em all in a day?”. I am hoping it was in the 60’s. With leather boots + pins. Dead of winter. Biking between all peaks. With only snafflehound jerky and PBR consumed for all meals. • Given the more modern times, our GPS watch was crucial for our navigational errors in minimal visibility (snow storm during the night, and finding our way back to the palmer lift with 15-20’ of visibility). • Adams’s SW “3-3-3” chutes is a much better ski, but adds time even if you nail how to exit the basin, you still have a more time intensive traverse getting out. If only interested in speed, it is likely this peak could be done in 5 hours car-to-car with even pacing, skiing the ascent line (Lunch Ledge), and not botch re-finding the trail as we did. • Skipping the pizza stop would give take 20-30 mins off total time. But we were pretty stoked for warm carbs layered with lipids. • Speaking of diet, this type of trip was stellar! We each could keep our bar/gu ratio fairly low while we tanked up on fresh food from the cooler while driving to the next summit. • We chose to stick with driving pavement for the predictability, but a little later in the season, you might be able to cut across the gravel FS roads (#23 and #90) to possible drop a little time. Though it might be a wash. • St Helen's is obviously much faster/easier this time of year from the climber's bivy than the winter route’s Madison SnoPark. Puzzling why it was not open as the snow levels were plenty high and this road generally opens around mid May on standard snowpack years. Perhaps the sequester (?) or a land management strategy I don’t understand. If done from the bivy parking lot in good viz (clear skies / full moon), it is likely this will take only half the time it took us (3.5 hours versus 7‘ish). • Hood is a great hike and fantastic ski for a moderate line so long as both snow and visibility conditions are working for you. We easily lost an hour or more just due to slow navigation in our skiing. Or viewed another way, we gained an extra hour of fun adventuring. Few Photos: (photo credit goes mostly to partners: Zanto, Robinson, Thompson) White Salmon Pre-Stoke Adams Summit SW Chutes St Helens Start St Helens Summit Above the Schroud Summit of Hood Summit Vista Opening The awesome viz back at our skis! Post-Trip Activities Approach Notes: Vroom-Vroom!
  2. Abarlow: There have been various efforts on this wall in previous years by others. See the postings about half way down this discussion that gets into some of it: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/893015/3 Additionally, while on route we saw a handful of tat anchors on a few ledges and features throughout the climb on lines 100m+ away from GITM.
  3. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Gorillas In The Mist (New Topo) Date: 10/7/2012 Trip Report: Alongside a few friends, I headed up to check out GITM last month. It has seen a bit of attention in the past few seasons and we were curious about the Stuart's complex West Wall. We snagged one of fall's final dry days of splitter weather, though it was still plenty cold in the morning for the first couple pitches. With the shorter daylight and our first time on the wall, we decided to exit via the original route upper pitches to the wall’s right versus the striking direct finish. I look forward to returning for the direct finish pitches. Our experience on the route was fairly smooth, and we don't have any major new information/beta to add to the handful of reports already offered here on CascadeSprayers. However, we felt the currently posted topo was adventurously vague and missed the detail level that would aid smoother route finding for a party new to this wall. A new Cascade line needs traffic to become established, and to help encourage folks to get on this route we felt compelled to put together a new topo in order to clarify how to navigate GITM on this intricate and multi-featured face. We consulted with the four in our group, as well as chatted with Sol to make sure we weren’t missing something they experienced. Here is a link to the two page topo in PDF (10 megs, letter format, 0.25” print margins): www.zacwest.net/topos/GITMTopo-Oct2012.pdf Jpegs at good print-quailty are bit too large to post, but I have included lower-res images below if the link above breaks at some point in the future. These may work a bit better for those of us that prefer topos/info on smartphones while on route. As noted in other threads, the season is a bit later for this wall as it faces slightly NW and hence doesn’t see sun until mid afternoon often taking more time to dry out compared to other aspects on Stuart. It’s unlikely this route will see another send until next July, but we hope this topo proves useful for the folks interested in this route. A shout out to Dave, Elliot, and Dan for helping document our collective experience (and a fantastic day in the fall alpine together). Thanks to Sol and Blake for vetting the topo as well as GoatBoy for giving permission to use his West Wall photo. Page One (Topo) Page Two (Route Beta) Gear Notes: Single Set C3’s + Wires, Double C4 #0.3 through #3, Single #4. Single 60 or 70m rope for walk off. Two ropes may help if rapping. Approach Notes: Follow standard Ingall’s Lake/Stuart Pass approach for West Ridge. Drop down from shoulder toward Goat Pass. Obvious wall is on your right. Ascent Snow (and/or Talus) toward center base of wall. Line starts on splitter cracks in the middle of whiter rock area.
  4. Great to see this route getting a few sends in the last couple weeks. Certainly a unique wall for the area with it's relative steepness compared to Darrington's more historic slab routes. As a handful have suggested (and often true with many new Cascade lines), more traffic is key to a new line's improving quailty. A quick comment on the last pitch for other parties that might head out for this endeavor: We found the sixth pitch to look more intimidating (steep + dirty) than how it ends up actually climbing. We added this on in our final FA effort as it felt like a much more natural and grade-consistent finish than the moderate leftward gully. The 5 pitches of air underneath is a memorable position for the line's traversing exit with surprisingly good face features. While there is plenty of lichen on this final wall, the climbing itself is pretty clean and strait forward (we were all a little surprised this pitch went on-sight without any prior rap-in cleaning nor bolting necessary). This line already appeals to slightly more adventurous parties with both it's newness and being on a slightly more obscure wall. But if you find yourself looking up at this sixth pitch and the lower pitches went smooth for you, then it's worth venturing up to check the finish.
  5. Here are few photos of SnakeCharmer. Overview from base and top: Pitch One (5.9): Pitch Three (5.10): Pitch Four (5.11-): Pitch 6 (5.10):
  6. Very sad and strange timing to post this TR today.... just learned of the news of Horne's death in Peru a couple days ago, who is one of the sources we cited above. Wishing the best to all the friends and family affected by both of these losses in our greater community. His stoke for the mtns was evident in his robust write up. http://www.alpinist.com/doc/_print/web12x/newswire-horne-weiss-dead
  7. Rad: Indeed, this is true. The climbing, as most also post on other forums, remains consistently 4th class with intermittent sections of 5th. There are a few sections of where you have consistent mid-fifth climbing, and spots with 5.8 and 5.9. This is in part the nature of ridge traverses, though certainly they can differ from range to range. It's less about the consistency at a technical grade and more the scope of pulling it off in a day and efficiency at altitude that pose the greater aspects of the route's challenge. Certainly, don't take the beta as exact points on the ridge, but more as comments on each section noted between peaks. And it goes without saying this is just our experience.... so much can depend on micro-routefinding choices as to weather folks experience the same. Go get 'er!
  8. Trip: Sierra - Evolution Traverse Date: 7/14/2012 Trip Report: Two weeks ago, Mac and I put a bid on the famed Evolution Traverse in the high Sierra. We lucked out and nabbed a brilliant weather day to help pull off a on-sight push in 18 hours on this 8-mile ridge. It proved to be just as stellar as everyone says and quite fitting for Croft to have picked it for his entry into Kroese's 50 Favorite Climbs book -- this line is an über classic. With it's length and complexity we looked to a few key sources on the inter-webs in order to get as prepared as possible with the handful of nuances involved with the route. We were a bit surprised that CascadeSprayers didn't have an trip report entry in it's Cali section and we felt compelled to submit this one in hopes to fuel the stoke for more NorthWest'ies to make the trip to Cali for this gem (amongst many other stellar lines in the high Sierra). The Evolution Basin is an amazing location; it'd be like if the Enchantment Plateau smoked some PCP and then snorted five lines of coke. The relief is vastly larger; while on the ridge you remain at an average of 13k for bulk of the route. Sa'hick! If it is the uncertainty that draws you into your mountain adventures, then you should stop reading this post here, grab a copy of Croft's perfectly vague description from The Good, The Great, The Awesome, and have yourself one fantastic time up there. Consider that our spoiler alert for those not interested in the beta spray down we are about to unleash. For others of us okay with (or seek out) beta in hopes for a successful execution out of the gates, we aim to offer a quick Reader's Digest version of what we learned in our experience and how we would have done it differently to give a bigger guarantee on getting through this grade VI in a day on the initial go (which was a first for the both of us). First off, we used a handful of sources, but three descriptions were primary in our research: Croft's The Good, The Great, The Awesome Pull Harder's robust Evoultion Traverse Post with a great set of photos. And HariHari's Mountain Project entry. Props to these sources, they were a great help. And respect to Horne, Har-Noy, and Stoletov on their recent first winter ascent of the route. That's super proud to have pulled off. Brrr. As many sources mention, a more traditional rock topo's won't help prep for this route. It's just too long, and it would quickly prove useless. Instead we printed a map out (we used RyanB's hillmap.com for pulling custom sized topo prints -- super helpful tool if you're not familiar) and jotted down all the beta from the sources above to break things down in sections. When on route, we made a few of our own notes and tweaked a few things that we felt were different from three combine sources. They are mostly minor additions/edits, but it was helpful for us to know exactly what was coming up, hence these tweaks. We combine all this info on a couple page topo-beta-map, here a link: zacwest.net/topos/EvoTraverseBeta-July2012.pdf If you are looking at this in a few seasons and the link is broken, then PM me. (Not able to upload a PDF to CC, the .Jpeg exports were too big as well, hence the FTP alternative). These 3 pages outline all the info we wanted with us for getting to and when on the route. We added in a theoretical time chart to understand progress planning while on route to gauge scope and daylight hours -- though keep in mind this is just theoretical as there are a lot of variables at play with one's own exact timing. Our timing %'ages matched closely to what Horne @ PullHarder asserts, though ours is a slightly more granular. File is letter format with 0.5" margins, but print scale isn't crucial so long as things are legible. Here are some tips'n'tricks from our experience for folks interested in trying a single push bid: • Don't Freak Out on the Length. The route is indeed large, but no one section is super daunting. We agree with Horne that the route is well worth the effort even if you only get through a portion, or choose to exit with Spencer's summit for the Evo Half traverse. Just traversing from Gould to 13,332' would be a fantastic day. Bailing gets easier and easier the farther you get through the route -- which can give a nice piece of mind if the timing isn't coming together for the full push. It is substantially easier after 13,332', as it might require some raps before that point depending on your bail gully. • Acclimatize. A rest day for acclimatization can be incredibly helpful, esp'ly for our own sea level lungs. Croft cites doing this on his solo FA of the route, and we were very happy to have the day before to walk the JMT for the return section of the route, scout the snow conditions, look at possible water options, and enjoy Evolution Basin. Not to mention let the rain and lighting pass by on that Friday. • Understand how you preform on rock up high. 5.9 at 13k is much more adult grade than your umpteenth hike up Godzilla. Having familiarity with your own performance at elevation on the rock grades will greatly help you prepare. We'd caution anyone against this route as your first visit to the high sierra, even for the cardio'suffer'badasses among us. Go do two grade IV routes in a day on the hulk, temple crag, or mt. russell. There are many other tall objectives (and other shorter but still great sierra traverses) that make for a great education on how you'll preform up high as well as getting used to Sierra's nuances (e.g. "4th class" there can sometimes mean pulling 5.8). • Dial in the timing. On a normal to low snow year, July is a great time to do the route. Daylight is in your advantage, which is crucial for navigation on the slightly tricky sections in the beginning (getting off Gould) and the end of the route (up and down Huxley). Many parties go later in the season, but we were quite happy to be up there earlier in the year. That said, also bring a 100-200 lumen headlamp. • Snow Gear is best when you don't have to use it. We each brought a light weight axe and 'poons in, but were quite happy to leave them at camp with our assessment on our acclimatization day. Those tools may prove imperative in earlier season conditions, but hopefully you'll go when you don't need them. • Plan your water wisely. We had moderate temps with some hot hours in the sun, but mostly upper 70's for the bulk of the day, and went through 7 quarts of water a piece. We both could have done 10 easily. Water is an issue with lower snow. The recommended lake to drop down to just past point 13,332 is a perfectly placed and only 500 vert off the ridge crest. We took 3 liters of capacity on route, filled at the lake while having lunch, and then filled at the evo creek just before the JMT when returning to camp. • Don't bring rock shoes. We brought them as we thought we would need them from other solo experiences at the grade. While rock shoes can be crucial for comfort with security (relative term) for more common PNW solo objectives (like N ridge of Stuart or Outerspace), this ridge line is fairly broken and most of the hard moves are bouldery in nature and the exposed terrain is usually more moderate (5.7 and below). There are a few spots where you are pulling/down-climbing 5.8 with exposure. Hence we thought we would transition into rock shoes there. We never put them on as we got comfy with the terrain and then focused on keeping ourselves moving efficiently. • Keep the trad gear minimal. We took four cams (#0.5 - #2), a handful of burn nuts, couple of slow-draws, and some tat. It was too much for the route. But it does make a good insurance policy if things were to go wrong and you needed to bail before point 13,332' -- which you may need some bail gear to make a few raps down one of the steeper gullies. • Short Rap Line. 100' is all you need, but you want to make sure to have not much less than that length as 1 or 2 instances we had free hanging raps that stretched it right to a ledge. We are fans of dyno cord as there are more safe options for use. We took a cut 7.8 mm twin that was 85', but 15' more would have been nice in the couple of cases. You could take a 6mm tag line, but if you end up really needing to use your rope for climbing/simo/rescue then you are a bit limited. We also debated on swami's versus full harnesses, but were very glad to have the leg loops for the couple free hang rap sections. Those were short, but having done a few free hanging raps with a swami on prior objectives, the leg loops sure do help. • Minimize the Simo'ing. We saw some reports about simo'ing between Darwin and 13,332'. It is obviously a great way to move efficiently with a rope, but not as fast as just free soloing presuming you are comfortable with the grades and exposure. We tried to simo one area we thought looked insecure. But it turned out to be more straight forward than anticipated and we put the rope away after 150' of climbing. • Ditch the back up bivy insulation. We took light weight puffies for just-in-case thinking, but then vetted how easy this route would be to bail on the last half. For folks going in for a push it helps to avoid any extras and have your back up be hiking down the 3rd class scree/talus gullies back into the Evo basin. Less stable weather might be a factor -- but you might be bailing then as well. This isn't the ten essentials thinking you learned in your Mounties basic course, but then again this style of climbing with a compressed timeline likely wasn't discussed either. This would obviously be different for earlier or later season attempts that incur colder temps. • Keep the lids. Helmets were great to have as a few spots that are slightly chossy. We were happy to have them, esp'ly on a few of the gully crossings and raps where there were loose blocks. Well worth the weight in our view. • Scope the descent and de'pproach back to camp. Huxley would be a tricky peak to navigate efficiently in the dark, both up and off of it. The second gully is key to getting down with no raps. Enter it on it's north edge where cairns help lead the way. But it very helpful to understand how to best hit the JMT, and the turn off the trail back up to Darwin bench is good to know as it is likely you'll be here in the dark. While traveling cross country in the Sierra alpine at night can be easier than being on Cascades trail in the day, this short cross country climb up can feel Herculean after 15-20 hours on route. • Not rapping can be heads up. Yeah, that's pretty obvious. But for the most part, you can get through much of the route with out rapping and opting to down climb. In many cases, we think this would be slower (though arguably a prouder style), and there are a few sections where you need to be obviously more game on than what you ascend. Clearly the down climbing (and the route finding for rapping) crux is getting off Darwin. Croft's suggested line does not look pleasant, nor did HariHari's experience sound fun. It may be worth exploring the raps close to the crest as decent descent path initially, but you'd need to deviate into the gullies before the free hanging raps lower down that rap route. Here is how our timing went which might help with planning depending on daylight hours: It then took us about 2 additional hours to back to camp on the JMT and up to Darwin Bench. And here are a photos of while on route. Descending from the summit of Mendal (second peak) just after 7am, headed toward Darwin: The book is just barely surviving atop Darwin: Looking down route's crux, it's a bit complex getting into it, but goes smooth if you keep your wits about you (don't rush this section): The commonly photographed golden triangle (this marks about 40%): Fiske's sub ridge: Looking downward on moves up to Huxley's second col: Half way up Huxley with alpenglow's stop watch ticking hard: Topping out on Huxley around 8:25pm: Gear Notes: As noted above, keep weight and bulk as honed as possible. Approach Notes: High Sierras take a bit of travel energy to get to from the PNW, but SAC + RNO make good sense for flying. Or better yet, include this in a long road trip!
  9. Pair of BD Switchblade crampons for sale. Slightly modified with nylon nuts to for no thread slippage. PM me if interested. Seattle based, local sale/pick up preferred.
  10. Older pair of straight-shaft Prophets with slider leashes. These are traditional ice tool (not modern), but have hardly seen much use and in great shape. Ideal for someone interested to get in to Ice Climbing and on a budget. PM me if interested. I am in Seattle, pick up accordingly. Shipping the tools will require a few extra steps to avoid scamming.
  11. Cobras with Android Leashes + Fangs - $150 Time to upgrade my winter kit and selling a pair of Cobras. These are not the newer model, but have been modernized. Android (quick attach) leashes mounted with mini hose-clamps for stability and Fangs have been modified to fit the Cobras for better leash-less performance (this modification also allows for BD spinners to still attach to the tools). Been great tools for all around winter + alpine climbing. They do have some mileage in them (couple AK trips, 'rado, Cody, and mostly local PNW climbing) but are in good shape with many more seasons in them. Extra Pick available (+$35) if interested. PM me if you are interested. I am in Seattle, pick up accordingly. Shipping will require some extra time+ shenanigans to avoid scamming.
  12. PunkRock: The SRT stays on the ridge line ascending Sherpa's West Ridge. We only looked down, but didn't touch the Sherpa Couloir.
  13. Trip: Stuart Range Traverse - Mt. Stuart to Lil' Annapurna Date: 7/17/2010 Trip Report: Stuart Range Traverse + whipped cream & rainbow nonpareils This past weekend, a partner and I put a bid on the Stuart Range Traverse. This traverse, inspired by Croft’s impressive single-day completion in the late 80’s, has been briefly reported by a few prior posts ( here and here), but it was challenging to find specifics on the route’s navigational crux. After completing the range link up, we were confounded with how this enchainment doesn’t see the attention it clearly deserves. Comfortable bivy site are abundant. Possible at the Sherpa-Argo col, but a great perch at the Argo-Colchuck col, and of course the well-travelled Colchuck Col. Also plenty along the ridges and summits, particularly on the last three major summits. It’s amazing that one can pull of the STR with ample time on the goods without having to deal with forest service permit hassle. The border zone appears to be divide itself, and most bivy sites are slightly toward the Ingalls fall line (save the peaks directly above the enchantment plateau). The snow on route was a key component for success for quick water access as well as fast descents on what would be loose talus gullies later in the season. A bit earlier in the season would hedge on slightly longer daylight and even more snow coverage on the southern aspects which could further help speed. The ridge traverse purists out there may contend that the range’s proper skyline traverse would start at Goat pass with the West Ridge on Stuart and may assert that an SRT should go to (or past) McClellan. The full north ridge of Stuart seemed like a better start with many more quality pitches than the West Ridge mostly 4th class terrain. For us, Little Annapurna was a natural end point as the technical portion of the range is complete, and enchantment pass is the first hike-able pass you come across. In our view, both the west ridge of Argonaut and its NE face descent was the SRT crux. Anyone walking into Stuart’s north side can see the large series of spires that composes the long ridge from Sherpa-Argo Col to Argonaut’s summit. To stay directly on the crest involves both up and down climbing short .7-.9 pitches. Traversing around the spires can save significant time. We found staying on the crest early to gain a good position on the ridge, but eventually defaulting toward the south sides of the spires as well as using the gullies up/down access (and critical for water refueling in the afternoon heat) to be vital for efficient movement through this section. The snow was stiffening in the evening shade as we hit the NE face descent made it a bit more spicy. The rock edge of the main snow field allows for a lower traverse the snow field. Further hunting may have provided a non-rap solution to get down into the coliour dividing Argo-Colchuck Col and Argonaut, but we ended up opting for a rap on at the bottom of the snow field to get into the shaded trough before things further froze. This coliour runs at 40-45º and looks like a fantastic ski line, but hitting it too late in summer months could pose issue if you don’t have points. We had intended to descend down from Colchuck Col to include Backbone into the itin, however we had no Colchuck Lake permit on a heavy trafficked (& ranger’d) weekend to set up the night before. The hard snow conditions in the morning gave an uncomfortable feeling about the speed descent our tennies and a nut tool would provide. Our decision to go without axe or points didn’t allow us to climb DT as we would have preferred, but staying a bit more true to the skyline on the 4th class ridge saved time to open up an afternoon of a few bonus routes after the SRT was complete. For the number obsessed: 3:45am Depart Stuart Lake TH (lost for 30-45 mins as we botched finding the climbers trail) 7:15 Base of full north ridge (fairly buggy) 10:15 Stuart summit (two other parties at the notch) 12noon Sherpa summit 4:45 Argonuat summit 7:15 Colchuck summit 8:00pm Colchuck col for bivy (intermittent sleep at best) 6:30am Moving toward DT 8:00 Dragontail summit (napped for an hour in the sun) 9:40 Summit behind witches tower 10:50 Little Annapurna summit On to some bonus lines for the afternoon: 12:20 Base of Burger-Stanley on Prussik 2:15 Prussik summit 3:00 West Ridge base 3:20 Prussik summit again 4:00 Hiking down snow creek 6:45 Racking for outer space (turned at P4) 8:30 Descending to snow creek TH 9:15 Trailhead Gear Notes: One twin rope (doubled up for simo’ing and useful for a few raps) Extra tat (some remote rap stations see a lot of UV, but not much traffic) No axe, no crampons (but these may be a good idea if less comfortable on steep snowy terrain, or with firmer conditions) Light bivy kit (maybe a bit too light) C4 #4 that was not necessary (who ever thinks the upper gendarme pitch is actually any "off-width" technique is an anorexic midget... though this would have been handy had Backbone came together) Approach Notes: In Mountaineers Creek, out Snow Creek drainage. Few Pics: Gendarme P1 Stuart Summit looking at SRT Argonaut NE Descent Col Coziness Getting a few extra lines in
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