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wsj3

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About wsj3

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  • Birthday 08/06/1965

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    Oregon
  1. Partner for Summer Cascade Climbs

    Greg, Are you interested in doing Mount Saint Helen in May? -Will (will@growandmake.com)
  2. I'm going to do this next time I'm at staircase. Done wagon wheel climb many times. Would love to see pics!?
  3. Partner for Summer Cascade Climbs

    Any interest in doing St. Helens or Hood?
  4. Howdy, I'm looking for a partner to tackle a few cascade climbs this Summer. I've climbed Mt. Adams, Mt. Washington, Shasta. I've also done big walls and a lot of free and trad climbing. I'd like to climb St. Helens, Mt. Elinor, Mt. Hood (June/July) and after those look at doing Mt Olympus and/or Rainier (August/Sept). I'm in good shape and 47. I have kids, so safety is a priority. If interested, let me know.
  5. I hope this is the right forum to post this? I am looking at doing Rainier and Mt. Olympus in September or next Summer. I'm trying to select a backpack which is good for both backpacking and climbing. I have a lightweight alpining pack, but need something for a 3-5 day climb. Any recommendations?
  6. [TR] Shasta - Avalanche Gulch 8/25/2011

    Here's some clarifications from the questions. 1) I took the 'Thumb' right hand ascent route. I don't think this was wise, but the climbers descending the same way as I was ascending, recommended it. It was dangerous. I descended on what I believe to be the second from the left chute as you ascend. It was a fairly easy down climb and step down to solid snow. Regarding my ascent and crampons. I put my crampons on shortly after leaving Helen Lake. The first section didn't require them since it's very low angle and was not icy. I definitely needed them as I approached the Heart and climbed through the Heart section. You don't need them above the Red Banks. These comments are specific to when I climbined on 8/19/11.
  7. Trip: Shasta - Avalanche Gulch Date: 8/25/2011 Trip Report: The following is a summary of my August 19th, 2011 solo, 12 hour climb of Mt. Shasta’s Avalanche Gulch Route During the Spring of 2011 I decided I wanted to get back into climbing, but explore mountaineering now that I live in the Pacific Northwest. With access to the Cascade range I could move from the trad, sport and aid climbing I’d done in California to the peak bagging of Oregon, Washington and Northern Cal. After buying my basic equipment I found a partner to get started with and summited Mt. Elinor in the Olympic National Park in July for my first exposure to climbing on steep snow, using crampons, ice-axe, glissading and practicing self-arrest. With that experience I felt ready to try Hood, Shasta, Adams or another entry-level Cascade summit. I attempted to find partners for mid-August on Shasta, when I would be camping with family for a week, but lining up dates that would work proved more and more difficult. I had purchased the ‘Climbing Mt. Shasta’ book by Steve Wilson and after reading it felt confident that I could climb it alone with an overnight at Helen Lake. This is an excellent book and should be read by anyone considering climbing Shasta. I arrived at Shasta on August 15th and setup camping at Fowlers Camp on the McCloud river. At 4000 feet, it was a perfect place to do some acclimating and explore the mountain. The next day I did a hike with a fully loaded backpack to below Helen Lake. With my binoculars I scanned the Heart section of the climb and the Red Banks. Getting to my spot below Helen Lake took around 90 minutes and lead me to conclude that trying a same day summit might be a better idea than spending a night at Helen Lake. Having read a couple trip reports of people soloing Shasta, I felt confident that it not having a partner wouldn’t be a problem. The two accounts I had read included one which took 30 hours and one that took 3 days and 2 nights. I wasn’t sure why it was taking this long for these climbers, but I wanted to find out. From my research the primary concerns or potential problems with climbing Shasta at this time of year would be altitude sickness, weather problems and rock fall. I talked with the folks at the 5th Season outfitting store in town and they indicated that the late season snow would make rock fall less of a threat and make the climbing easier (this proved true). On the night of August 18th I re-packed my gear (see gear list at bottom) and went to sleep at 9am. At 1am I awoke excited and ready to get started. I decided that I was going to take my time with the entire route and go slow but steady with rests whenever I felt one was needed. I had some coffee and ate some breakfast then drove to the Bunny Flat parking lot. At 3am I arrived and discovered that other parties were in the parking lot getting ready to set out. By star and moonlight I set out at 3:15 am for the cabin. The trail was lit by star and moonlight without a headlamp for the hike and a feeling of excitement and momentum accompanied me as I set out with my backpack and hiking poles. After the easy hike I arrived at the cabin, where I filled up on water (camelbak bladder and gatorade 1 qt bottle) and did a little stretching. After 15 minutes I set out for Helen Lake. The next two hours (approx) were spent hiking the causeway and switchbacks to Helen Lake. I used a flashlight so I didn’t trip and twist an ankle. Once at Helen I cached the quart bottle of water, deciding I might want it on the way down. I spent about 15 minutes resting at Helen and drinking water and then set out for the Heart. I could see 4 parties headlamps ascending toward the heart ahead of me. I set out and started to hike through crusty snow. I could feel the temperatures lowering and the wind picking up. I put on my down sweater under my mountaineering coat, balaclava and gloves. After an hour the incline became steeper as I passed a party of two young guys. I also paused regularly to look at the parties ahead and try to determine which route they were taking through the red banks. I now realized that the question of which way to go through the red banks was not entirely obvious and it looked like the groups ahead were not choosing the same route. I asked the two guys I was passing if they had climbed Shasta before and which route on the red banks they recommended. One of them said he had climbed to the Red Banks before and to head left after the Heart section. He seemed annoyed by my question and they both had an attitude which didn’t invite conversation. They came across as teenagers with an attitude, so I decided their opinion was probably not worth much. On one of the rock islands protruding from the snow I decided I would cache some additional items to lighten my load and pick them up on the descent (thermalounger, some food, spare headlamp). I continued climbing as the incline became steeper and after 30 minutes stopped to put on crampons. I was now using hiking poles and crampons for ascending. This combination worked well and I was able to keep a steady and efficient pace with occasional short breaks. I was beginning to feel the altitude and could feel my heart rate increasing as I was encountering steeper terrain. I would pause for 2 minutes and drink water around each 20 minutes. The sun was rising now and lighting up my surroundings. My energy was great and I was feeling momentum for the climb. As the terrain became steeper I would consider whether to take out my ice axe, but never felt it was steep enough or icy enough that I couldn’t stop myself if I should slip. Once I was through the heart section and below the Red Banks I stopped and rested for 20 minutes and forced myself to eat a clif bar, drink water and took 2 extra strength excederin as a preventive measure against altitude headache. I was feeling energetic and motivated. One thing that I had learned from my past climbing experience is that speed is safety. This means that spending time doing a lot of resting or standing around can have a negative consequence, particularly in this section below the huge talus field above me on the Red Banks. I don’t believe in going fast, but instead keeping moving and keeping a good pace. Having done bicycle touring throughout the world I knew that as long as I kept a steady, even pace I could go all day and cover a lot of ground. My training regimen in the Spring for climbing this Summer was to play basketball or soccer 5 days a week for 90 minutes. I also regularly did steep flights of outdoor stairs with a heavy pack on. I also did weight lifting for quads and gluts to build up some core muscle strength. Last, I lost ten pounds to minimize the impact on joints while climbing and reduce the weight I was hauling, which I think really helped. It still was not clear at this point what the best way to ascend the Red Banks was. After I set out toward the chimneys a party of two guys was descending on the far right Thumb section of the Red Banks. I crossed toward their path and asked where they had ascended. They told me that there had been some rock fall that morning and that the section they descended was the safest ascent. I took them at their word and followed the path they had just come down. This section went relatively quickly as I rounded the outside of the Red Banks section known as the thumb. Once around I discovered that this route had its own challenges. I had to cross a short bergschrund section of snow which looked like it could collapse and was deep. This was the one section of the entire climb, which I wish I had spent a little more time examining and considering options. I crossed the section quickly and cautiously and was then on more level ground with less snow. This next section was loose talus and a kind of scramble through a section which felt like it had potential for rock slide. I moved quickly and carefully through this section and encountered another individual coming down wearing crampons on the talus, who I asked about the best way to descend through the Red Banks. He told me that the chute he came up was steep and scary. He seemed anxious about the descent and asked me if I had any recommendations. I told him about my experience coming through the thumb section and that I thought that the path below us which went to the left, but not around the back might be the best bet. I then asked how much further to the top and as I expected, he told me ‘don’t want to discourage you, but you have a long way to go’. He also told me there were a few guided parties ahead and that the way I had come (the Thumb) was not recommended this time of year. While it was true that I still had a couple miles, it was all relatively easy compared to the previous section. I started off and covered the talus area quickly and then was on a flatter set of switchbacks which were slow and steady given the altitude. My goal at this point was to try and catch up with the guided parties to try and get advice and potentially follow them down through the Red Banks and ascertain the safest route. I kept a steady pace without resting through the next sections. After what must have been an hour I reached the Summit Plateau area, which was a very wide and flat section covered in snow. I could see two guys crossing it in the distance and set out to catch up with them. Before reaching the other side I’d caught up with one of the two people crossing the summit section. I asked him if he had any ideas about the descent and he also suggested the trail heading left. I passed him and shot to the base of the final summit pinnacle where the largest guided party was descending. I felt excited at this point and took off my pack to shoot up the final pinnacle. 15 minutes later I was on the true summit. I was elated and felt high. I had had a few moments of doubt after seeing the guy descending with anxiety about the descent. I signed into the summit registry and scanned the horizon. This being my first solo mountain summit I didn’t want to be surprised by a sudden bout of altitude sickness and then have trouble with unknowns on the descent of the Red Banks. I also saw a large cloud front moving quickly toward my location. This lead me to conclude I shouldn’t linger on the summit. I had a quick chat with the guide and his client who were with me on the summit and then started my descent. I decided I would again go at a steady pace to decrease my altitude until I reached the Red Banks section. After crossing the summit section I caught up with the large guided party and followed them down the switchbacks to above the Red Banks. When they stopped to put on crampons for the chute they would descend I asked the guide if there was an alternative route. They said they thought the chute chimney (steep) was the best way. I decided I would cautiously explore my options. I carefully walked down above the chimneys and looked into each until I found that the second from the left was an easy down climb to stable snow. I feel this was a good choice and one which had the only risk of rock slide from above. One thing which helped me to make this decision was my experience skiing and being familiar with snow and the ability to assess it’s stability and risks by sight. I had also asked the guides about glissading and they said the didn’t recommend glissading. I dismissed this recommendation, because the glissade looked completely manageable and I didn’t want to spend my time slowly descending the Heart section with the potential for rock fall. The glissade started out steep, but was not icy. I took out my ice axe and got into position. I was slow and cautious with only a moment or two which felt scary. Within 20 minutes I was down the Heart section and glissading on the low angle and soft snow toward Helen Lake. Within another 20 minutes I was at Helen Lake and had an incredible amount of fun with the final glissade. It was so relaxing and rewarding after the hard work of the mornings climb. On the glissade I encountered a guy coming up solo and was surprised to see him ascending this late in the day. I asked him if he was familiar with how far he had to go, to which he told me he had climbed Shasta the previous year. Once at Helen Lake I removed my coats and pants, gathered my cached goods and re-packed my pack. I was now ready for the final section, which was switchbacks on scree and then the causeway. This section was tough because fatigue was setting in and my mind was relaxing into a mindset of completion and not the mindset of momentum which had got me up the mountain. I spent the next hour on a downhill easy course toward the cabin. Once at the cabin I encountered the caretaker, as I took off my pack and semi-collapsed onto the stone bench. I was very fatigued, but felt good overall. I still had the final 2 miles to cover and didn’t spend a lot of time resting. The temperature was now in the eighties, but the last section was under pine trees for the most part. As I headed back to the car I passed the two young guys I had first passed on the way up, who I learned had turned around at the Red Banks. I was back at the car at 3:20pm and was relieved to take off my pack for the last time and turn on the car air conditioning. A few people could tell by my look and pack that I had just climbed the mountain, so I answered a few questions before heading into town. My conclusions and final thoughts are these. I wish that I had brought less food, since I never had hunger and 2 clif bars would have been plenty. I wish I had brought less water, because I poured out the cached water at Helen Lake and don’t feel I even needed all the water I drank on the ascent. I also wish I had brought my compact binoculars. I would have liked to see what the parties were doing on the Red Banks. I didn’t bring the Climbing Mt. Shasta book, but wish I had. I think I had a lot of questions I would have liked to look up answers on and the weight would have been a worth trade-off. I wish I had brought my solar iphone charger. I have a great app for GPS and when my phone ran out of batteries it could have become a problem. I also could have taken more pics and videos if I hadn’t run out of batteries. What I wish I had done differently: 1) Wish I had enjoyed the summit more. I regret feeling concerned about the descent and had taken in the summit, but I promised my wife and kids safety would be my highest priority. 2) Wish I had determined the safest route for the Red Banks before leaving. Gear Notes: Gear list: Lightweight Backpack 2 headlamps whistle 2 clif bars 1 bag of crushed potato chips, salami, cheese slices and trail mix 1 camelback bladder 1 quart bottle for water 1 down sweater coat 1 mountaineering jacket 1 balaclava 1 pair of fleece gloves 1 pair of water proof climbing boots (not plastic) 1 pair of cycling rain pants (perfect for glissading) 1 pair of REI long underwear pants 1 pair of REI long underwear shirt 1 nylon t-shirt 1 pair of wool socks over 1 pair of nylon cycling socks 1 iphone 1 set of crampons 1 ice axe 1 pair of hiking poles (MUST HAVE ITEM) 1 bivy sack (just in case) 1 thermarest and thermalounger (thought I would spend a lot more time resting) 1 pair of nice mountaineering sunglasses 1 swiss army knife 1 small sunblock (wish I had something stronger than SPF 30) 1 baseball cap (MUST HAVE ITEM) 1 handkerchief to cover my neck from sun burn 1 small bottle of pain reliever the crap kit provided by the park service (MAKE SURE TO BRING) small amount of toliet paper Approach Notes: Easy approach.
  8. I'm going to be camping at Shasta next week and hope to leave Thursday 8/18 for the climb. Bivy midway and hit the summit next morning. If you're interested in joining me, let me know.
  9. it would be great if you wrote a trip report detailing the route, issues, etc.
  10. I'm in Portland and looking for a recommendation of where to practice using crampons, ice-axe for self arrest/glissade etc. Any suggestions of a good place to start practicing before climbing?
  11. I'm an experienced trad, sport and big wall climber. I'm now wanting to take up alpine and attempt some summits this summer. I'm thinking Adams, Hood, Shasta. If you are looking for someone to climb with let me know. Somewhat flexible on dates.
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