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Bill8 last won the day on August 7

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About Bill8

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  1. Trip: North Cascades - NW Face of Forbidden Peak Trip Date: 08/04/2019 Trip Report: Climbed the Northwest Face of Forbidden Peak on Sunday, Aug. 4. I believe now that we badly botched getting on the start of the route, exiting the glacier too close to the toe of the arete, rather than attempting to climb further around and up to the right of it. This resulted in some time consuming and stressful problem solving in unpleasant terrain. After crossing the Forbidden Glacier, we found a place where we could make a short down climb/rappel off the glacier and onto rock, near what we thought was the start of the climbing route. Off to our right was a gaping hole filled with ice and rock debris that's part of the moat. Once on the rock, we scrambled up 10 or 15 feet to where we were beneath a roughly seven-foot-thick snow patch, looking up at a corner system that we reasoned (convinced ourselves) could be the start of the rock climbing. (View from across the Forbidden Glacier of the rib on Forbidden where the climb is located.) (Rappelling off of the Forbidden Glacier. The snow was soft and we reluctantly opted to bury and leave a picket to do this.) My climbing partner Pat led the corner, and some terrain above it. There was some dirty rock and some of the climbing felt 5.8/5.9. He stopped after about 80 feet at a semi-hanging belay. I followed up to the belay and we decided after some discussion we were definitely not on the route. Some abandoned gear we passed on the way up indicated we may not have been the first party to have made this mistake. Looking down and climber's right we could see what appeared to possibly be the access ramp feature described in the Cascades Rock guidebook. We then watched as the top of a massive ice tower--a chunk of ice that was maybe about the size of a 55-gallon drum--collapsed into another debris filled hole in the glacier, next to the ramp. Short on good options, we lowered/rappelled down into a more sheltered part of the moat, and then climbed a short section of polished 5.8ish rock up out of it, over to the right, to reach the start of the ramp. In the place where we finally established a belay we were just above the debris hole where we'd seen the ice fall, and close to other threatening towers of ice that were by now baking in direct sunlight. But it appeared that we were far enough away that we were not in immediate danger if anything else fell. From here we followed the ramp system up and further right to the climb proper. Parts of the ramp felt mid-fifth class, with maybe some 5.6/5.7 moves, and sparse gear. As this ramp trended higher, the snow got closer to it, although I can't confirm whether there's a spot right now where you could get off of the glacier in this area and onto the rock. At this point, the climbing thankfully became more straightforward and matched with descriptions we'd read. Although the lower part of the route was looser and dirtier than I expected it would be. The 5.6 knife edge and 5.8 pitch were both stellar, with fun climbing, good gear, and an amazing position on the mountain. I stayed near the ridge crest approaching the 5.8 section and then climbed cracks and other features on the steeper rock straight ahead before cutting left. This seemed to work well. On the upper section of the climb, the rock quality improves somewhat compared to the lower portion. But don't expect to be romping up Leavenworth or Index grade granite, there's still plenty of loose rock. We simul-climbed after the 5.8 pitch, stopping twice to re-rack and belay before the summit. (Upper section of the climb, with the 5.6 knife edge in the foreground, the 5.8 section above it, and the rest of the route beyond.) All of the messing around at the base of the route meant that we reached the summit much later than expected. We descended the West Ridge, reaching the notch just after dark and decided to bivy there, rather than continuing with the rappels back down into Boston Basin. This meant we both missed a day of work without giving notice and caused a great deal of worry for our significant others who expected us back on Sunday night. But having not done the rappels before, I think we made the right decision. We woke up around 5 a.m. and descended back to the car without incident. One perk of staying out an extra night is that we got to see an impressive northern lights display from the notch on the West Ridge that lasted until around dawn. (Feeble attempt at capturing a dramatic northern lights display with an iPhone camera.) On the approach, the Boston Glacier wasn't too difficult to get across. We were able to pick out a line across most of it from the rappel notch near Sharkfin Col. We also watched another party headed to do the North Ridge hit a dead end that we were able to then avoid. (Boston Glacier, as seen from the rappel notch right of Sharkfin Col.) (Looking back at the Boston Glacier from near the gully that leads up to the low point on the North Ridge, that provides access to the Forbidden Glacier.) The Forbidden Glacier becomes more heavily crevassed nearer to the base of the route, but it seems like based on past trip reports that this is pretty standard. As for the rappels on the approach, two raps with a 60m rope from the notch right of Sharkfin Col will currently get you to the edge of the moat on the Boston Glacier. It's also possible to scramble down climber's right after one rappel onto the glacier. We went too high in the gully that leads to this notch and had to go back down to reach it. It's off climbers left in the same general area (can't remember if it's before or just after) as a slung rappel station in the gully. If you're getting too far above that rap station in the gully, you've gone too far. This gully is mostly snow free right now and very loose. We crossed over to the Forbidden Glacier via the low point on the North Ridge (there's another place to cross over just north of here, not sure if there's any advantage to using it instead). From the low point on the ridge, exposed scrambling (we roped up for it) down and skiers left of a bivy site will lead you to a rappel anchor that we backed up with a new piece of webbing and a second rap ring. One rap with a 60m gets you down onto the glacier. On Saturday night, we bivyed below this cross over point on the North Ridge, on the Boston Glacier side, near the glacier, where we had access to snow to melt for water. My overall impressions of the route are that it climbs a beautiful feature in an iconic part of the North Cascades--a great mountaineering adventure in a wild setting. (Eldorado Peak and Moraine Lake as seen from the climbing route.) That said, I thought it was short on good rock climbing. The crux for us was definitely getting on the route, but I also don't think we did it the easy way if there is such a thing. Don't underestimate the time it could take getting on this climb and the hazards that are present near the base of the route, particularly this late in the summer. And don't forget there aren't many easy alternatives to get back to Boston Basin once you're on the Forbidden Glacier. This was my first significant outing in the North Cascades after moving back to Washington state following a four year stint in Washington, D.C. It was a full on one. Definitely memorable. Gear Notes: Single 60m rope, double rack of cams from finger sizes to #2, one #3 (small gear seems to be more useful than big pieces on this route), set of nuts, two pickets. Approach shoes, aluminum crampons, ice axe. Approach Notes: See trip report.
  2. Looking for a partner to climb at Vantage or Tieton this weekend. Mostly interested in crack climbing. Can trad lead to 10c/d, but I'm happy to climb easier or harder. I have a car and would like to plan on leaving Seattle around 7 a.m. Send me an e-mail if interested at bill.lucia@gmail.com. -Bill
  3. Suiattle River Road

    There's a plan to pave Suiattle River Road to mile 21 by 2014. This would eliminate the 9 mile walk or bike ride from the closure at mile 12 to the Downy Creek Trail. The environmental impact study and public comments are here... http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/wa/suiattle/ea.htm The comment period for the amended EIS closed on September 10.
  4. Trip: Dome Peak - Southwest Peak - South Face to Southwest Ridge to Summit Traverse Date: 9/10/2012 Trip Report: Climbed what might have been a couple new pitches on the far left side of the south face of the Southwest Peak of Dome on Saturday. I'm still somewhat uncertain about the names of the features we climbed , but I'll do my best to describe the route we followed. To get to the start of the climbing we descended southeast from the Dome-Chickamin Col on rock bands and snow. We then traversed on exposed and gravelly fourth class ledges to the far left side of the south face of the Southwest Peak. Our climb began with two four star 200 foot pitches. The first climbed a series of cracks, one 5.9+ finger and hand crack that involved some arete climbing and a sketchy loose flake, a perfect 50' 5.8 splitter hand crack, and a cool 50' 5.9 squeeze with a finger crack on the wall for pro. The start of pitch 1: Below the squeeze on pitch 1: The next pitch was 5.9+ hands followed by some nebulous terrain that included a nice 5.9 lieback section. Hand crack on pitch 2: These two pitches deposited us on some third and fourth class terrain on what I believe is the southwest ridge. We unroped and scrambled about 300 feet to get to the bottom of a broken face. I think this is the face mentioned in the description for the 1992 Southwest Ridge route that is in the green Beckey Guide. A delicate section of 5.10a slab, corner, stemming and lie-backing with thin pro lead to easier but loose terrain. Another pitch of loose mid fifth landed us on a tower south of the summit. Some down-climbing and traversing lead to the bottom of a perfect 5.8+ white granite dihedral with a good finger crack. We climbed the dihedral and escaped right using a fun undercling flake to avoid a large roof. Beautiful dihedral: Two more pitches of loose low to mid-fifth brought us to the summit of the Southwest Peak. From the summit of the Southwest Peak we began a simul-climbing traverse. This traverse is in the Beckey Guide. The climbing ranged from enjoyable and exposed hand-traversing on good knife-edge granite, to horrifying sections of crumbling knife-edge dirt and loose rock. Traverse: Our late start meant that we completed the dirt traverse and some of the other final sections of the ridge by headlamp as massive lighting storms lit up the sky in the south and east. More than a bit nerve-wracking, but it all worked out. At the end of the traverse we descended to our camp just below the summit of Dome. A few bonus photos... Glacier at sunset: Ridge at sunset: Bivy at the col: Descending the Dome Glacier: Gear Notes: Doubles from small sizes to #2, 1 #3, 1 #4 Approach Notes: Rode bikes 9 miles up Suiattle River Road, then approached via Downy Creek and Bachelor Creek. The trail up Bachelor Creek was not as bad as I expected. Camped the first night at 6.5 Mile Camp. Camped the second night at the col below the summit of Dome. From 6.5 Mile Camp to the Col took about 12 hours. Awesome bivy spot, but very exposed and windy. Trickles of running water. Hiked and biked out from the Col to the car in one brutal shot. Took about 14 hours. The final mile of the bike ride, by headlamp in the rain, was a bit surreal.
  5. Trip: Juno Tower - Clean Break Date: 9/4/2012 Trip Report: Climbed Clean Break on Juno Tower a few days ago. Nice route, some excellent 4 star pitches and plenty of dirty and mediocre pitches of ridge scrambling toward the top. For me the thin moves in the small corner on pitch 5 felt like the crux. We camped at the col because we were planning on climbing Rebel Yell the next day. If I did the climb again I'd camp at the bench and eliminate the walk back up to the col at the end of the day. This would only add about an hour to the approach in the morning. There is running water on the left side of the last snowfield that you pass before reaching the climb. On pitch 2 we climbed to the top of the somewhat dirty dihedral rather than traversing left. This pitch is fun and would probably be one of the better pitches on the climb if it saw more traffic and some of the lichen got buffed off the right wall. It's also more direct and helps you to link pitches. It felt like 9+/10a, with good finger locks in a corner crack and lichen-crusted crimping, smearing and edging on the face. There is some dirt in the crack but it took good small gear the whole way. You can exit left around the arete near the top of the corner via some cool moves that protect well with a bigger cam (can't remember what size, #2 or #3?). After that I climbed a low angle wide crack and belayed at a big flake and tree with some rap tat. I think this belay was about halfway up pitch 3. If you belayed somewhere below the wide crack you wouldn't have to down climb to start the next pitch.
  6. Trip: North Early Winter Spire - West Face Date: 7/11/2012 Trip Report: Climbed the West Face of NEWS yesterday. It was my first time on the route and this is now one of my favorite rock climbs in the Cascades. The weather was great and fortunately there were very few mosquitoes. Left the car at 6:30 a.m. There is patchy snow on the trail and in the basin but we were very comfortable in approach shoes. We arrived at the base of the spire at 8:15 a.m. and we were on the summit at 1 p.m. We climbed in the shade until the last pitch and the temperature was nice. The climbing is good the whole way. The pitch 5 finger and hand crack is incredible. The crux crack seems soft for 5.11-, and would probably be no harder than 10b at Index. The lichen on the final slab traverse keeps it interesting. Overall, a really fun and varied route. Slings on all the rappel anchors looked good. The gully before the chockstone has some snow, but a single 60m rope rappel will get you down to the dirt so you can walk to the next anchor. Gear Notes: Brought doubles from blue Master Cam size to #2 BD Camalot, one #3 Camalot, set of nuts with a few extras in the smaller sizes. Can't think of anything I would've left behind, or added. Single 60m gets you down fine. Approach Notes: Patchy snow on the trail and beneath the spires, but approach shoes are fine.
  7. Looking for a partner to climb any time after Tuesday next week at Leavenworth or Index. The extended forecast looks great Wednesday through Sunday. I lead 10a/b, glad to follow harder or climb easier, just happy to get out. Have a rope, rack and car. Driving from Seattle. Send me an e-mail if interested: bill.lucia@gmail.com.