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benny h

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About benny h

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  • Birthday 06/08/1983
  1. [TR] Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe 9/8/2012

    Great photos! I was out with friends on Eldorado that weekend. We could see the helicopter too. A ranger we met on Eldo said there was hurt climber on Torment. Do you know anything about what went down?
  2. Trip: Sloan Peak - West Face Date: 9/15/2012 Trip Report: On 9/15/12 my buddy Andrew and I set out to climb the West Face of Sloan. We'd been excited about climbing Sloan for a bit and talked about doing it all summer. We originally discussed doing the Cork-Screw Route, but the West Face sounded more up our alley. We left Seattle at 6am, began hiking by 9am. Set up camp around 12pm. Ate a quick lunch, began climbing around 1pm. Summit at 6pm. Back in camp at 12am. Enjoyed a leisurely morning the following day. Began hiking out at 11am, back at the car by 2pm. (Photo taken from summit of Columbia Peak, June 2012.) (route in brief) P1 - Begin just below prominent left slanting “chimney” system. Not much for protection, better climbing out left on the slab. Fairly dirty. Ends at a small ledge with a rap station. P2 - Continue above rap station staying right in the crack then moving out left onto slab. Angle lessens, rock quality improves. We began to simul climb ~ 50 ft above P1. P2 ends on broad shelf. Appeared to be a rap station on large boulder left of the route. Not exactly sure where that would land a descending party. P3 (right slanting dihedral) becomes obvious. Continued simulclimbing right up ledge system to a crack system the leads to the base of P3. Good tree to belay from just below the crack. Good spot for belayer to belay safely out of the way of rock fall. We found lots of loose rock and little in the way to build an anchor at the base of P3. If using a 60m or 70m rope it may be possible to begin P3 here, however rope drag would appear to be a big issue. (We used an 8.0mm 70m rope, folded in half, so we had 35m to work with per pitch). P3 - Right slanting dihedral. Most challenging pitch on the route. Most protectable pitch, #.75 - .3 size is most abundant. Perhaps doubles of cams #.75-2? We had a light rack (five cams: BD #.4-2; two tricams #1 and #.5; three nuts: BD #8,6,5) and ran it out a bit. Ends on a small ledge with a huge boulder. Sling boulder for an anchor; used a 20 ft piece of cordelette tied together. (short section before P3. Dihedral is above the climber.) P4- Continue up short crack / gully system. Start straight up toward over-hang, then moved out left around corner back into gully. Watch for loose rock. There used to be a fixed nut (size 13?) protecting the crux move; a #2 cam works better. I pulled off a microwave-sized rock taking a lead fall. Rock missed belayer. Belayers may want to position as far right as safely possible. Above crux, angle lessens, easy climbing, however more loose rocks. Pitch ends when the gully opens up. Large rock out right, good spot to build an anchor. Fixed nut, not any more. P5- Traverse left (downhill) into adjacent gully system, slightly over-hung face to the right. Pitch continues zigzaging up obvious weakness in the rock. Low fifth-class, good protection. We simulclimbed and alternated between running belays in 2 or 3 different places. Pitch ends at the base of large steep face, rock slung with webbing. Summit scramble- From here it sounds like there are a few options. We went left up another gully, unroped. Scrambling felt 4th class with one or two 5th class moves. We opted to go unroped to reduce rock-fall potential. As the angle eased off and the slope opens up to heather benches and ledges we changed back into approach shoes and continued up and meeting up with the Corks-skrew route which we took to the summit. Route Overview: Checking out the route over lunch. West Face complex. Route follows slightly right of the skyline. Ben's stoked on the summit. Andrew enjoying the views. Rainier to the South. Ben and Andrew on the Summit View East to Glacier View West to the Olympics View North towards Baker Sloan's Shadow. Descent: (Photo taken the next day: South ridge) We chose to rappel the south ridge directly off the Cork-Screw route where the path makes a hairpin turn to descend toward East Arm that contributes to Sloan's unique profile. We made six 35m rappels, with two short traverses / down climb sections. It was extremely useful to sight the south ridge from the Cork-Screw route, half between the hairpin turn and the East Arm. As we did not carry crampons, ice axes or poles on the climb, our plan was to descend to the open rocks as far south as possible so that we could traverse below the South-saddle and hike back to our campsite. We build most of our rap stations, but we did encounter a few established ones along the way. As we rappelled into darkness with only one head lamp, some of the rappels felt utterly terrifying. Good luck with not getting our rope stuck at all and each 35m section ending blessedly upon something from which we could make an anchor, the descent went slowly, however, safely. Our 3rd rappel continued over an overhung section that ended on a precarious sloping bench with about 2 feet of rope from the knots lying terrifyingly serene. I belayed my partner up and across a short traverse to our 4th rap station. This rappel continued left and needed a directional to reach the next section. From here I belayed my partner as he down climbed what's probably a short 5.0 section at best, but felt way more burly in the dark. In day light it might not be necessary to belay here, and to simply down climb and traverse climber's left toward the 5th rap station. From here one double length rappel should be able to get you off the ridge. We did it in two, 35m rappels. Once off the ridge we followed talus and granite slopes down hill. Found running water, crossed a 50-ft snow slope, regained another ridge and traversed, scrambling westward toward the saddle on the south ridge to return to camp. Comments: The entire route was dry and snow free. Wetness and snow may obscure what we encountered as straightforward route-finding. The views on this iconic mountain in the central cascades are worth the trip. Its surprising there was not more evidence of folks doing this route (either online or on route). While there are hazards such as loose rock, possible wetness earlier in the season, not great protection in some spots, and as far as we could tell, no straightforward descent; Sloan's West Face presents a number of great mountaineering problems to solve without incredibly difficult climbing. If you're reading this prior to climbing the West Face, have a great trip its totally worth it! Gear Notes: Approach shoes and rock shoes 70m, 8.0mm rope (folded in half) Light alpine rack (5 cams, BD #.4-2; 3 nuts, BD #8,6,5; and 2 tricams, #1 and .5) 8 – 10 slings, mostly doubles and triples. Camping gear and trekking poles. Approach Notes: FS 4096 off Mountain Loop Highway. Continue past road for Goat Lake trail if driving from Barlow Pass. Take FS 4096 to the end of the road ~ 2 miles(?). Somewhat rough road, ends at trail head, small area to park up to 3 or 4 cars / trucks. Hike established trail. Appeared to be well maintained. Recent trail work apparent. Trail follows a creak on right. Crosses the creak, trail steepens slightly, opens onto talus slope. Old sign post with no sign. Lots of cairns. Follow cairns / trail. View to the massive west face begins to come into view. Cairns lead back into woods, trail steepens and then exits into a low alpine meadow. Continue following stream beds, water courses up to the obvious saddle in a general South-Eastward up hill direction. Gain the saddle, turn left (ENE), follow path along ridge, exit onto talus / heather/ blueberry bush slope. West Face route begins in prominent left slanting gully (“chimney”) system just right of where this ridge ends. Access via the open slope, not the ridge. Excellent camping SE on broad bench below saddle of the Sloan's south ridge, across the slope.
  3. Well done! Self propelled expedition. Great inspiration!
  4. Trip: Columbia Peak - Monte Cristo Group 6/20/12 - West Spur Date: 6/20/2012 Trip Report: Tuesday, June 19th: Headed out to the abandoned mining town of Monte Cristo via Barlow Pass on the mountain loop highway. I'd been meaning to climb either Monte Cristo, Kyes or Columbia Peak for some time. The weather was classic shmooey on-again, off again, drizzle with nothing substantial to report. I opted for attempting Columbia Peak. I made my up toward Silver lake to Poodle Dog Pass, and followed the SE trending ridge toward Twin lakes. A ranger at the FS station East of Granite Falls reported that snow shoes would be needed to hike up to Silver Lake. This was not the case. The snow was decently compacted with virtually no post-holing to report. I made camp in a low saddle between the Silver Lake and Twin Lakes. Wednesday June 20th: Alpine start. Weather had cleared, snow was firm. Crampons and ice ax were sufficient to ascent the West Spur of Columbia peak. The final 400 - 500ft snow field on the NNW aspect appeared much steeper from a distance that it actually was. Snow conditions were ideal: Slightly crusty along the surface and less dense but well consolidated beneath. Followed the Beckey description the entire way. His rating goes at Grade I, class 3 terrain, with some decent exposure. There was certainly an appreciable amount of exposure: over 1500ft between the upper snow field and Twin Lakes below. An unsuccessful arrest along this snow field would be catastrophic. The weather, snow conditions, and time of day (shade until ~ 10am) were favorable and the climbing straight forward. The only crux aside from the lengthy run-out was where to enter onto the snow field from the West Spur. Multiple opportunities exists; as the snow melts out, rock scrambling. Super fun solo climb. Gear included ice ax and crampons. Certainly some options to link up climbs on the Wilmamns Peaks, Monte Cristo or Kyes. There was evidence of a recent large rock fall / avalanche on the upper north west aspect of the '76 glacier. looking up to the route [img:left][/img] Wilman's Spires across '76 gultch [img:left][/img] Looking up to the final aspect of the ascent. [img:left][/img] Summit view to the North with Sloan in the center. [img:left][/img] Summit view East [img:left][/img] Monte Cristo and Glacier [img:left][/img] Stoked. [img:left][/img] Scenic route. [img:left][/img] Looking up last bit of the route while descending. [img:left][/img] More of the upper snow field. [img:left][/img] POV on descent. [img:left][/img] View down the West Spur [img:left][/img] '76 Glacier [img:left][/img] [img:left][/img] Looking back up the West Spur [img:left][/img] Sunlight light on the route by ~ 10am on the Summer Solstice. [img:left][/img] Parting Shot while hiking along the S. Fork of the Sauk back to Barlow Pass. Columbia is on the right. [img:left][/img] Gear Notes: Crampons, Ice Ax Approach Notes: 4 mile river walk from Barlow Pass to abandoned mining town of Monte Cristo. A local historic group has done a great job maintaining the town working on the trail.
  5. Where are the easy trad leads? <5.7

    Check out the Royal Columns at Tieton. There are a plethora of easy to moderate trad climbs. Surprisingly many between 5.4 and 5.7. Buy the guide book. its $30, supports that area and the folks who developed it. It'll be a bit of hike from Bellingham, but the area is outstanding. tack on an extra 30 minutes or so to what you'd drive to Vantage.