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Everything posted by BrettS

  1. Enchantment link up

  2. [TR] Summit Chief - Standard 09/21/2019

    Fun times, and great photos!
  3. Thanks for the fun scenic day out! Good times!
  4. Alpine Dads wanted

    I'm in a similar boat, but we have a younger kid (1.5ish), and both my wife and I are looking for Alpine/cragging families. Thanks for posting!
  5. 3 o’clock rock stewards, thank you

    Good meeting you up there yesterday. It was certainly a fine day to be out! I second the thanks for all the new hardware!
  6. Beautiful! I need to get back out there.
  7. Amazing all around! Way to realize such a big dream together! Two left shoes over that much terrain.....ouch! Impressive and inspirational!
  8. Fun route! Pitch 4 is classic darrington, and wonderfully sustained. Thanks for all the effort putting this up!
  9. Trip: Bugaboos - Beckey-Chouinard and Surfs Up Trip Date: 08/07/2018 Trip Report: My wife and I took a quick trip to the Bugs last week, primarily to get on South Howser’s Beckey-Chouinard which has been on my dream list for years. We also climbed Snowpatch spire via Surfs Up. Both were great routes, and we had a blast! The crux was leaving the one year old at home with the grandparents, but I think that was just on our end. We were also lucky to have stellar weather and great travel conditions for the duration of our short trip, though I expect this to change very quickly. The Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col was melting fast, and may already be a bit sketchy from a rock fall perspective. I won’t share a ton of beta, since it is all over out there. We decided to camp at East Creek so that we could check out the approach/descent the day before and potentially get a jump on the multitudes (and there were a lot of folks!) marching in early from Applebee Dome. I think this worked out pretty well, but it’s a bit of a hump carrying a heavy pack over the BS col and down the Pigeon-Howser col. The PH col has some unpleasant loose scrambling which is a bit unnerving when there are multiple parties tromping around. BS Col PH Col and East Creek PH Col We woke up early and scrambled up to the split rock (a bit tricky in the dark). We headed up a bit too early through blocks, where I think you are supposed to continue traversing on slabs, but it all worked out. We simuled 3 pitches, then climbed pitch after pitch of 5.8-5.10- awesomeness that was both fun and tiring. The dihedral pitches are really fun. We did the standard squeeze chimney, which was a bit of a thrutch with a pack/ice axe on, but was well protected and certainly doable. The 5.10 cracks to the left looked inviting, though I heard from other parties that that are a little rounded and sustained relative to the other splitter cracks on the route. Pick your poison. I’ve never really done tension traverse purposefully, and I’m not really sure how the leader would avoid the 5.10+ traverse on the last pitch before the rappel. Luckily it is just really one short committing move and you’re to easy ground. I’m sure you could figure out a way to aid it, but it wasn’t that bad, and it is very easy for the follower to tension across if you wait a while to place your first piece in the easy chimney/gully after the traverse. The rappels are great, and get you down fast (single 70m). I would stick to the descriptions for the rappels that are available online and posted at the Kian Hut. They are right on, and very literal. We got down to the snow as light was fading and romped back to the Pigeon-Howser Col. I did not bring crampons, which was fine with the exception of a glacier ice traverse just above East Creek Camp. This was a bit spicy, but probably avoidable earlier in the year. We got back to camp around 11:00, which felt relatively civilized, though I was certainly a bit tired. It was a great route, and worthy of the hype! Of course this has led to route crowding, and most days there were several groups that retreated because they were too far back in the conga line. We took a rest day, and then humped our heavy packs over to Snowpatch Spire on the way out. We decided to go for Surfs Up, as it made logistical sense and we had heard good things. The first few pitches were meh by Bugaboo classic standards, but the following pitches were stellar! The position from Surfs Up Ledge onward is really amazing, and the climbing is fun! Again, the rappels are great (single 70m) and get you down fast. A beautiful place that is now very popular! I’ll be back! Gear Notes: Doubles to 3" single 4" Approach Notes: Up BS Col, Down PH Col to East Creek
  10. The Road is in pretty good shape. A Prius would probably get there, though it would be a bit slow going to avoid some of the potholes. In general, the road is in better shape than most found in the Cascades.
  11. Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col Conditions

    I’ll try to oblige if I get a second. Good short trip!
  12. Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col Conditions

    It was good last week, but melting fast and I don't expect it to be in condition much longer. The two schrunds are starting to open up, and there is a short section of glacier ice down low. The upper section is melted out, with some mandatory loose scrambling. You can rap the upper section with double ropes. I imagine that things are going to rapidly deteriorate over the next couple of weeks.
  13. Chance encounters up in the hills are always fun. Good to see you up there Jason on such a fine day! East Wilmans was fun, and conditions were excellent!
  14. [TR] Mount Whitney - East Buttress 9/7/2016

    Nice work buddy! Looks like a lot of fun!
  15. That makes our conditions on Guillaumet look like a cakewalk! Nice work, and thanks for sharing!
  16. Slesse Access FYI

    I assume that the pocket glacier is still around? Any updates on its status? Thanks.
  17. Nice! Was there much wetness/seepage up there? Thanks for sharing!
  18. Wow! Your trips and photos are always inspiring! Thanks for testing the waters out there, and for providing fodder for my climbing daydreams.
  19. I'm thinking about heading up to give Yak Check a go on Sunday this week. Any thoughts on whether the route will be reasonably dry or not given the current forecast (light to moderate rain through Friday, sunny Saturday and Sunday with cool temps)? Thanks for the help!
  20. Yak Check Dry this Weekend?

    I was hoping you would chime in! Thanks for the help!
  21. Trip: Nesakwatch Spires and Rexford - Ensawkwatch Enchainment Variation Date: 8/24/2015 Trip Report: My wife and I climbed the Ensawkwatch Enchainment last weekend with a few variations (SW Ridge N Nesakwatch, N Ridge S Nesakwatch, and W Face Rexford)for a fun full day of climbing in a really unique and beautiful place. There seems to be an ethic in this area of preserving a little adventure by not divulging too much beta, so I’ll try to refrain from being overly specific (let me know if I say too much and I can edit). It was certainly fun to have a measure of route finding excitement, and there appear to be many variations on these routes that will likely go at around the same grade. We decided to make this trip much more manageable by breaking it into three days, hiking in Friday afternoon, climbing Saturday, and hiking out Sunday. It is certainly a relentless hump up to the basin below the spires (something like 1,000 meters in 3 kilometers) but luckily the approach is fairly short, taking us about 3 hours at a moderate pace with heavy overnight packs. Finding water is a bit of a challenge up there this time of year. Luckily there is a small snow/ice patch below Rexford that appears to stick around through the summer we used for water that is about half an hour round trip from the bivy rock. The rock is a spectacular place to spend the night, and is ideally situated near the start and finish of the enchainment. Slesse with cool clouds Bivy Rock below S Nesakwatch and Rexford We started the enchainment with the Southwest Ridge of North Nesakwatch Spire. We thought that this would be a good alternative to the standard North Ridge as it is substantially steeper and looks much cleaner. There appear to be many options to start the climbing on the ridge. We stayed more or less on the ridge crest for the majority of the climb. There are 3-4 pitches of good finger and hand cracks that ascend the initial steep portion of the ridge that are around the 5.9 range. There is a wide section that looked really good that I avoided since I lacked a 4 inch piece (maybe bring a 4” piece for this section?). This is followed by low angle easy section (we simuled) to the base of the final headwall pitch. The headwall crack is easier 5.8-9, and is really fun! A final easier pitch over some loose blocks reaches the summit (a little funkiness here the way we went anyway). Overall the Southwest Ridge had some really fun crack climbing, with a little loose block action encountered on occasion. SW Ridge Profile SW Ridge SW Ridge SW Ridge SW Ridge Awesome headwall pitch We descended the south ridge slightly on the east side carefully over some loose terrain, and began climbing the standard North Ridge of South Nesakwatch Spire. We simuled most of the ridge left of the crest on generally sound rock. We pitched out the final chimney section below the summit block, and I thought it was around 5.7ish. We didn’t do the final 5.7 unprotected (at least without big gear) offwidth to the true summit, because…, well…, I suck at offwidths and it scared me. It really didn’t look that bad though, and I’m sure a few grunts would get you through it without too much trouble. S Nesakwatch Spire and Rexford We descended the south ridge for a short distance to a single short rappel and then continued down the ridge to the col between the S spire and Rexford. We scrambled up some loose and exposed 4th class terrain up to the base of a large chimney, and then around the corner to the left up another easy chimney to a sandy ledge where we set up a belay. One pitch (5.7ish) got us to the standard West Ridge route. Instead of heading left on easy terrain towards the standard route (cairns here), we headed up and right to climb the West Face of the false summit. From here we ascended up and right, following the same general line as these guys . We found the climbing here to be very enjoyable, with the final 2-3 pitches after the initial traverse in the 5.8-9 range on very good hand and finger cracks with great belay ledges. There were a few loose blocks here and there that required some careful avoidance, and there was a lot of lichen, but the climbing was really very good here. The final right leaning crack to the false summit was particularly exposed and aesthetic. Certainly a great alternative to the standard West Ridge route! West Face Rexford Summit From the false summit, we scrambled around the shattered ridgecrest to the right, and ascended a short easy (5.6ish) chimney to the true summit. Unfortunately, the beautiful views seen earlier in the day were completely obscured by the wildfire smoke that blew in in the afternoon. At least we got some good views in the morning, and some great climbing in the afternoon! Smokey N and S Spires on descent of Rexford Summit The descent down the West Ridge route was easy and uneventful. It was fun traversing the large rocky ridge crest down to the final gully rappel. The boulders in this area are brilliant white with golden accents, and are extremely clean. After a short boulder hop back to the bivy rock, we unloaded our gear and relaxed in the smoky amber evening light. Rexford West Face of false summit descending the West Ridge of Rexford This was definitely a fun, and adventurous outing with great climbing interspersed with some careful loose block avoidance. The scenery and terrain is very unique, and it’s a great place to spend some time. The West Face of South Nesakwatch Spire looks absolutely amazing, and certainly warrants a return trip! Gear Notes: We brought doubles to 3". I would maybe bring doubles to 2" and one 3" and 4" piece for the SW Ridge if I were to do it again. Approach Notes: Short, steep, and well marked. The road to the signed trail head is drive-able all the way with a Subaru, but just barely so. Take a right directly after Riverside Campground, go across the Creek, and take your first right. Follow the rough road and at the only major fork, take a right.
  22. That looks like a lot of fun in a beautiful area. I would love to get out there sometime soon! Thanks for sharing!
  23. What an awesome trip, and a great write up! Thanks for sharing the photos, and some of those features look like great climbing! After the last few trips, hope you enjoy fishing, swimming, and looking at beautiful women for the rest of the summer! Oh, and nice ass by the way!
  24. Trip: Aguja Guillaumet (Chalten Massif, Patagonia) - Comesana-Fonrouge Date: 2/2/2015 Trip Report: Trip: Aguja Guillaumet via Comesana-Fonrouge (Patagonia) Date: 2/2/2015 Trip Report: My wife and I recently returned from a 3 week trip to the Chalten massif in Southern Patagonia. It was an amazing trip, and we were lucky enough to have good weather for the majority of our trip. The area is amazing, and is definitely worthy of all the hype! We successfully summited our main climbing objective, Aguja Guillaumet (The northernmost peak of the Fitzroy skyline) via the Comesana-Fonrouge, our intended route of ascent. It was an amazing experience including beautiful scenery, perfect granite, interesting company, lucky weather, a few mistakes, and a very long summit day! Our first attempt at the climb came a few days earlier, and can only be described as a complete and utter failure. We frantically tried to catch a weather window that was developing as soon as we arrived in El Chalten, and managed to forget a good chunk of necessary gear in our jet lagged state. Fortunately a few days later, things were looking good again. We packed up in a much more civilized fashion, made sure that we had all, and not more than we needed, and caught a ride in the morning to begin the approach to basecamp. The hike begins just before a bridge that crosses Rio Electrico, so named due to booming sound that emanates from the valley from the strong winds, reminiscent of thunder. The first four miles of the trail follow the river valley in a gentle and pleasant path through beach forests and green grass. The river, with its blueish green hue from glacial sediment, is never far away, and provides scenic views. After four miles, the work begins. a steep trail ascends straight up alongside a cascading creek. We were happy to take the packs off and set up camp when we finally arrived at our destination, Piedra Negra. The basecamp at Piedra Negra (named after the black rock in the vicinity) was very nice with a clean source of water, flat terrain, and some nice tent spots to choose from. It sits right below Giullaumet, and we were able to check out our climbing route and strategize for the coming day. We chose our home for the next few days, and set up shop. We had a friendly Argentinean neighbor (Santiago or "Santi" for short) who had climbed our route before and readily gave us his thoughts and advice. We ate copious amounts of freeze-dried food, and went to bed early for the long day to come. The alarm went off bright and early at 2:30 am, but I was already awake, anxious for the day to come. I opened the tent door, tense with what I would see outside. Relief and excitement came as I saw Guillaumet in front of me bathed in moonlight, only thin high clouds, and very little wind. It was go time! The climb starts with a relatively short traverse on a low angle glacier with only a few easily avoided crevasses. We made short work of the glacier, and then began the next and less enjoyable challenge of ascending a steep, long and loose scree field. I am fairly confident that we found the most challenging way up the scree prior to encountering the final obstacle prior to the roped rock climbing, a long and steep snow field that cut across the north face of the mountain. We strapped on our crampons, pulled out our ice axes, and started traversing the lower snow slopes. Approximately halfway across, we decided that we were tired of traversing, and started climbing straight up the middle of the steep snow, front pointing with our crampons, and swinging our ice axes. The snow was in great condition for cramponing, and we climbed relatively quickly, but we were a bit surprised as the angle continued to increase. The snow reached about 45-50 degrees, and we were approximately 3/4 of the way up when the sun began to rise. I can say without a doubt that it was the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen. The sky was a cool turquoise, and the circling lower clouds were vibrant pink. The east horizon was fiery red and orange, and the snow we clung to glowed in a reflection of the sky above. It was truly amazing, and something that will never be forgotten. We reached the top of the snow slope, and realized that we would have to descend to the start of the roped climbing route. We made a single rappel to a nice ledge, changed into rock climbing gear, and began up the route. At this point, there were several other climbing parties below us, and we wanted to stay ahead of them, so we climbed as quickly and efficiently as possible. The initial rock pitches were easy (in the 5.6 range) and we moved upwards rapidly. Soon the lower parties were out of sight and earshot. The Chalten massif is known for it's golden granite, and the rock is truly amazing. Clean cracks split the rock that made for very enjoyable climbing. After about 5 pitches we made it to the crux of the climbing route, an incredible (5.10b/c) crack that begins the harder portion of the rock climb. I started off well, climbing free but quickly found that my heavy pack was going to make this pitch a challenge. After taking a short fall, I decided that it was time to go to aid mode. The pitch didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but Soraya made quick work of it, and we got past the crux able to continue our climb. The next two pitches were our favorite of the entire route. A traverse cut across the exposed west face of the mountain with impressive exposure below, and then a beautiful crack slanted back right. They were fun, exposed and had magnificent rock quality. This is why you climb in Patagonia! Another short pitch led to the Amy Col, where our route met several others. We managed to stay well ahead of other parties on our route, but here we reached a traffic jam with other parties coming up from the Brenner Route. This cost us some time as we were stuck behind several other climbers, but we had some good company with climbers from Oregon, California, Argentina, and Chile. The climbing continued to be interesting and fun, the weather was beautiful, and the temperatures began to rise as the sun hit the rock. About 15-16 pitches into the climb we got to the final push to the summit, a relatively low angle (30 degree) snow slope to the summit block. By this point it was quite hot, and the sun hitting the snow intensified the heat. The snow was soft due to the temperatures, but the going remained easy as we climbed the last bit near the top. There it was, the tippy top! All we had to do was one more easy pitch. Soraya put me on belay and I made my way the last few meters up the wind-carved granite. I flopped over the summit rock, in a moment of sheer joy and exhaustion. Once I had the energy to look up, the view was stupendous. To the west were the fangs of the Torre range, smattered with wind-driven rime ice. Beyond was the immense ice sheet and the other countless glaciated peaks of southern Patagonia. To the east was the vast Argentinean steppe dotted by turquoise lakes of all shapes and sizes. The constant crash of falling seracs from the surrounding alpine glaciers punctuated the silence usually filled by the roaring wind. It was a moment of complete satisfaction, and immense beauty. But we only had a moment. The delays from the crux pitch and the traffic jam had put us a bit behind schedule, and we wanted to be off the rock before dark. We were only half way, as we had a long way to go down. We scurried down the snow, organized our gear for the descend and began rappelling. And there were a lot of rappels! We chose to descend our climbing route, and it was a long route meaning many rappels. Many of them were double rope rappels, and we had to back up many of the rappel stations that were in dangerous disrepair. Some of the rappels were impressively exposed. Each time we pulled the rope we prayed that the rope would come down smoothly and not get stuck. Luckily, we had few rappelling problems and we descended relatively quickly all things considered. Regardless, I would definitely recommend descending the Amy Route instead of the Comesana-fonrouge as we did. We reached the snow slope, and found other parties who had not made it to the summit starting a rappel down the snow. We realized that they were rappelling the correct climbing route, and that we had ascended a much harder snow slope in the morning than was necessary. We made four double rope rappels down the snow in the dark, but unfortunately the rope got stuck on one of them and I had to prussic up the snow and build a new anchor. We were relatively safe at this point, so it wasn't a big deal, but it was certainly exhausting! We descended the scree slope and glacier much more easily than we climbed them thanks to some keen route finding from Soraya, and we made it back to the tent by 1:30 in the morning. We were too exhausted to make dinner, so we just high-fived for an awesome and successful climb, climbed in our sleeping bags and fell asleep. We slept in a bit in the morning. Soraya made me coffee and oatmeal in bed (what a wife)! We lazily packed up and headed down the steep trail to the river. The last four miles should have been easy, but somehow felt exhausting. We finally reached the end of the trail threw, our packs on the ground, and waited for someone to drive by and give us a ride back to El Chalten. We quickly got a ride into town. We took a shower, limped into town, and ate the saltiest, fattiest, and sugariest food we could find before hobbling back to bed. We also got to take our heavy bags for a walk up the Torre Valley. We intended to climb something, but it didn’t work out. I have a bunch of cool photos though. Enjoy! Gear Notes: Doubles to #3 was good for me. Approach Notes: Find a trail on climbers left side of the scree field above the glacier, and stay to the far climbers right on the snow slope. Otherwise straightforward. Ask me about the Torre approach if you like, but it changes annually.