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mthorman last won the day on June 21

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About mthorman

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  • Birthday 04/30/1987


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    Spokane, WA
  1. [TR] Chimney Rock - Free Friends 07/06/2021

    Yea we climbed Free Friends last week and approached from the Priest Lake side. Once you get to the saddle just before going up to Roothaan you can take a trail around the north side of the mountain that stays high and crosses to the east side of the crest just north of Roothaan. From there it is a pleasant walk along the east side of the crest to the East Face of Chimney Rock. Approach is only a little over an hour this way! Oh and the route is really good quality.
  2. Trip: Ruth Gorge - Kuriositeten and Mount Bradley plus others Trip Date: 04/26/2021 Trip Report: I am a little late in posting this because I had a 3 week Denali expedition right after this trip. So I am just now getting back into the swing of regular life and unpacking. Anyway I figured I would post up a trip report from the Ruth Gorge. We flew in on April 26 to the Ruth Glacier just below the East Face of Dickey. Man that is a face to dream about!! We were a team of 4 that functioned as 2 teams of 2. We just changed up partners a few times based on people’s route choice. The Ruth Gorge was Plan B and we didn’t know we were going to the Ruth until about 4 days prior to flying in. So we were pretty ill prepared with route research and overall beta (with the exception of the classic lines). Grosvenor, Johnson, and Wake (left to right), from the flight in. Talkeetna Air Taxi on the Ruth Glacier with Peak 7400 and London Towers in the background. April 27 - Our first full day on the glacier. It was warm and sunny and I teamed up with Robbie to head for Cobra Pillar and just see how the climbing was. We got up to the top of pitch 5 when the sun disappeared behind the mountain and it started to get cold. We were also less than impressed by the first 5 pitches. When the guidebook says “C1+ rotten or 5.11” you should probably just avoid that pitch! I led it and was literally kicking new footholds into the large granite crystals and hoping they wouldn’t crumble under my bodyweight. Needless to say we had no desire to go back with so much other good looking rock. Robbie on the 2nd pitch of Cobra Pillar. Robbie just after the traverse on Cobra Pillar April 28 - We scoped several lines and tried to generally figure out what lines had been done. Thankfully we had used our phone to screen shot several AAJ articles so we were able to figure out some of it. Our efforts were mostly focused on Dickey and Peak 7400 since they were the closest to camp. Scoping a potential ice line. April 29-30 - weather days. Snowed about 18 inches. May 1 - We scoped lines going south on the Ruth Glacier. Looked at stuff on Bradley, Wake, Johnson, and London Towers. We were starting to get a good sense of snow conditions based on aspect and finally figuring out where everything is. We did climb the opening 2 pitches of The Escalator on Mt Johnson. It was really fun alpine ice and it gave us a good excuse to use the ice tools and screws. There were a couple of steeper smears to the left that we hoped to climb but the ice was only about 2-3 inches thick and there wasn’t any rock pro available. Scoping "The Escalator" on Mount Johnson. Climbing up the first couple ice pitches on The Escalator on Mount Johnson. Great alpine ice! May 2 - Based on the conditions we found yesterday we deemed it prudent to give the mountains one more day to shed snow and get some freeze/thaw going so it wouldn’t be a postholing nightmare. We had brought a telescope so we looked very closely at a couple of lines that interested us and talked about what line to do tomorrow. A couple people of our group went over to check out the first couple pitches of “The Wine Bottle” on Mt. Dickey. Man that is an inspiring looking line! We watched them through the telescope. May 3 - I teamed up with Duncan to climb Kuriositeten (AI5, M3+, 800m). It is a “smaller route” that was first put up in 2008 on peak just left of 747 Pass. At 2500ft it isn’t really a small route but when you see how it looks sitting between the giants of Dickey and Bradley it appears small. The route follows a couloir splitting the east face of the peak. It is a lot of snow climbing but also contains some mixed steps and 3 distinct ice steps ranging from 15m to 70m tall. Honestly it reminded me of some of the climbing in Cody, WY, where you follow a twisting canyon/couloir always excited about what might be around the next corner. The crux is the final step. It is about 70m+ and the first half is pretty dead vertical. Thankfully the ice quality was great and we throughly enjoyed the position deap inside the slot. We had very little beta about this route so had only brought 7 screws. We were able to find rock gear for the beginning belay and then I just ran it out as far as I dared between screws. We still had to break it into 2 pitches as I found myself with only 2 anchor screws left after 35m. Duncan took the upper half and soon we found ourselves on the snow slopes above. This is a fantastic route in the Ruth and should see more traffic! One of the reasons we wanted to climb this route was to recon the decent from Bradley. One of the reports we had regarding Bradley, was to descend the “standard west ridge” but that party bailed down a face after not being able to descend the west ridge. Another report talked about descending to the Backside Glacier and walking way back around through 747 pass. Another report talked about descending the Bradley/Wake Col. To complicate matters CalTopo and Gaia both showed some weird topography anomalies on their topo maps. In fact both showed a 800-1000ft cliff coming off the back side of Bradley that looked very complicated to navigate around. The problem was the topo lines didn’t seem to match what we had heard in reports. Needless to say we were very interested in looking at the descent from the top of Kuriositeten. In the end we discovered that both Gaia and CalTopo were very wrong in their topography. In places it was off by 1000ft. What appeared to be a huge cliff was just a small snow slope that was easily walkable. We couldn’t see the whole decent but we felt much better about things after this day. Skiing over to Kuriositeten. It climbs the big gash on the peak in the middle back. Even though the line is 2500ft tall it looks small in comparison to Bradley (left) and Dickey (right). Duncan starting up Kuriositeten. Looking up from the belay at the top of the first ice step. Approaching the 3rd ice step crux. It is the narrow looking ribbon of ice way up in the slot. Duncan climbing up through the crux pitch on Kuriositeten. A fantastic route in the Ruth. From the summit of Kuriositeten looking over towards Mount Bradley. Descending the back side of Kuriositeten in the late evening light. May 4 - Rest day. May 5 and 6 - For the big goal of the trip we picked Mount Bradley. A couple of our party had started up the East Ridge of Bradley the day I had climbed on Cobra Pillar. They found deep unconsolidated snow on all northern aspects. Even though it is called the East Ridge the first 1/3 of the route is mostly on the north side of the ridge. So with no desire to go up that unconsolidated snow we searched for a new route. While looking through all of our screenshots from the AAJ we found John Frieh’s report about a linkup on Mt. Bradley. He and Dylan Johnson had also found bad snow on the start of the regular East Buttress. So with high hopes we set our eyes on their Link of “Season of the Sun" and the “East Buttress”. They rated it M5/6 and the route is 4500 feet tall. It was warm so our plan was to leave camp in the late afternoon and start the route in the evening. We were hoping that by this time the snow might start freezing back up from the day and we could avoid some nasty postholing by climbing through the night. We left camp at 4pm and but 5:15pm we were in crampons working our way up the initial snow slopes. The Season of the Sun route climbs on the right side of the SE face of the mountain and was originally put up by the Giri-Giri Boys. We were a little concerned about the reported M6 offwidth crux but figured we would take it one step at a time. After about 1000 ft of snow with short steps of rock and ice we arrived at the “crux”. We were pleasantly to find it full of ice (AI3). So after a quick romp up great ice and another pitch of low angle rock we arrived at the 2nd couloir. From here route goes up right then back left across snow slopes and around the end of a big buttress. This leads you into the big central gully about mid height on the face. The original Seasons of the Sun route cuts up and back left to stay on the face while we followed Frieh/Johnson’s variation back towards the East Buttress proper. It was somewhere in here that it got dark. Not pitch black but dark enough to warrant a headlamp when technical climbing. Several mixed pitches in the dark brought us to the East Buttress proper. From here another 2 long fun mixed pitches deposited us underneath a huge boulder. By this time it was getting light again and we were out of water. So we spent an hour brewing up and resting. The rest of the east buttress went by in a blur of simul-climbing including one section where I ran out of carabiners and slings and literally clipped the carabiner with all my nuts to a piton just so I could clip the rope in. We topped out on the summit about 10am. The decent was pretty straight forward although with more uphill than we liked. We just followed the main ridge to the west and then cut down and south to follow a different ridge line back towards the Bradley/Wake Col. Unfortunately this led us to wallow up several northern aspects of unconsolidated powder snow. Nothing like trenching in the afternoon sun when you have been up all night! We finally reached the col and took a short break to drink the last of our water and finish up our food. Then it was 2000ft of easy walking down to the last obstacle…the icefall between Wake and Bradley. From the top of the col it appeared to be less broken up on skiers left. But when we arrived skiers left there was only sagging “snow bridges” and open crevasses. We were able to end run everything far left and then rappel over the last bergshrund by leaving a bomber fixed nut in the rock. Finally home free we trudged wearily back towards the base of the route. The snow was like a trap door. Most steps you were fine but every few steps the door would open and suddenly you would be postholing to your thigh. We were excited to be back to our skis were the going suddenly got easy! Rolled back into camp at 7:30pm for a 27.5hr RT time. Starting up Seasons of the Sun. The M6 offwidth crux....we got lucky with fat ice conditions and easy climbing. Typically route conditions...soloing steep snow. About 1/4 of the way up the route now. Nearing the top of the East Buttress proper......during one of the long simul-blocks. The route up Bradley's 4500ft face. This is a linkup of Seasons of the Sun and the East Buttress first done by John Frieh and Dylan Johnson. Descending back down from the Bradley/Wake Col after climbing Mt. Bradley. May 7 - Weather day. Snowed off and on all day. May 8 - Snowed a bit then cleared up in the afternoon but wasn’t enough time for much more than a casual ski. It was warm again. We watched several ice lines we had been looking at fall off the walls. Our camp below the east face of Mount Dickey. Mount Bradley is just to the left of center in behind. May 9 - With the warm weather we opted for rock climbing. But the sun didn’t burn the clouds off until noon so we got a late start. We decided on Goldfinger which is on the Stump. We started climbing and were happy to find good quality rock. The rock quality was WAY better than the first few pitches of Cobra Pillar. Unfortunately due to our late start we lost the sun and our warmth about the top of pitch 6. We contemplated going a few more pitches but opted to just call it since it was unlikely we would top out anyway with such a late start. The climbing was very good though and it would be a classic anywhere in the lower 48. Coming up to the belay at the top of Pitch 2 of Goldfinger. Climbing pitch 6 of Goldfinger. It is fantastic climbing on very good quality rock! May 10 - With bad weather in the forecast for the next several days we opted to fly out. Several of the team members had flights out of Anchorage on the 13th so we didn’t want to be stuck on the glacier and miss flights. TAT here to pick us up. The ever changing clouds giving Mt. Bradley a moody look as we departed. Gear Notes: Alpine rack, heavy on screws for ice routes, heavy on cams for rock routes. Approach Notes: Fly in with Talkeetna Air Taxi, then ski/hike to climbs.
  3. Working on weaknesses

    My ice pitches look like the following right now. Note this is only pitches I have led. Do to the nature of leading vs. TR on ice I didn't count or factor in TR laps in my pyramid. The one thing I did use the TR pitches for was gauging when to start leading. I spent an entire year just doing TR laps and got about 60 pitches in before I really stepped up to start leading. I value that year as a good skills year of learning to read ice! WI3 - 81 pitches WI4 - 66 pitches WI5 - 34 pitches WI6 - 6 pitches My numbers show myself that I have enough of a base to where I should be able to focus and lead a bunch more WI5 and WI6 when I am feeling strong. Although I will say that unlike rock, ice seems to have so many more factors to consider (temps, ice condition, how cold I am etc). I have gotten to the point where it is more about how I am feeling that day and how things look from the bottom than the grades. I use the grades as more of a reference (ie do I want a hard day out or a chill day out?) especially since picked out WI5 will feel easier than many a fresh WI4. Last note on the pitch counts, I think I was roughly around 20 pitches at a particular grade before I started moving to the next grade much. I didn't hold that as a fast and hard rule more like a....don't try to lead a bunch of pitches of the next grade until you have built up good experience at the past grade. Mixed climbing is such a different beast to me. Maybe it is because I have only mixed climbed at the drytool crag in Spokane. Well I have done a few other pitches of where the route got a mixed grade but it was mostly in the alpine where grading can be difficult anyway because it depends so much on conditions. I guess if I climbed a bunch of mixed grades at Hyalite or up in Canada maybe I would have a better idea of the grading and could help compare things. But in my limited experience it is either brutally hard drytooling (stout M6 or M7) in Spokane or easy mixed climbing on an alpine climb like M3/M4 (think West Ridge of Stuart in Winter for example). Where are you getting in your mixed climbing?
  4. Working on weaknesses

    Hmm thanks for that...it is interesting. You sparked my curiosity so I had to go look. I have 1052 routes from 5.9-5.11. That doesn't include any multipitch climbs either since I keep those on a separate Excell spreadsheet and was too lazy to go through and figure out how many pitches of 5.9-5.11 there are. I have always been an onsite climber and it is rare for me to try the same route a couple times before sending. But I have also never lead a 5.12 clean so maybe it is time to start redpointing and/or hangboarding! I have roughly 350 trad pitches and 700 sport pitches.....which I am not sure is relevant to the discussion but interesting to note. I can't believe there are 800 routes at Smith in that range. That is a lot more than I would have guessed. I should also just sit down and read his book....I think I have it buried on a shelf somewhere. I do pay attention to my ice pitches a lot more. I want to make sure I have a good base for a pyramid so I keep pretty good tabs of lead climbing on ice. I don't move up to leading the next grade much until I have a good base at the previous grade. I know that seems common sense but it serves as a good visual reminder for me to be patient. Ice is not a place to get in over your head!
  5. What is your opinion on the Treadwall?

    I have used them before. It does get very monotonous. But it is a good alternative for doing ARC training if you just put your earbuds in and tune out. The ability to vary the angle steepness and the speed is very nice. But overall I wouldn't spend the money to buy one.
  6. Liberty Ridge -- best timing

    The above is great advice. When we did it the road hadn't opened yet but it was snow free so it was a pretty easy bike ride to the trailhead. I would recommend around mid/late May to just start looking for a good weather window.
  7. Better PNW weather forecasting

    Thanks for all the answers guys!
  8. Better PNW weather forecasting

    Wow thanks for sharing! That is some really cool stuff. Do you know what the green lines mean? It seems to have higher numbers for where the green shaded areas are....maybe dealing in chance of precip or sky coverage?? Also it looks like all of this is based on the GFS models but there is a 12km, 4km and 4/3km. What is difference between them?
  9. Ptarmigan Traverse Questions?

    I went this summer with a group of friends. I would echo everyone else's advice. A couple things to add, we only took 1L of water each and just collected more along the hike each day. No need to carry more than a liter or melt snow. Also on footwear I would advise against a real mountaineering boot. Pretty much everybody took hiking boots. The only 2 people to take mountaineering boots both ended up with a lot of blisters. Finally a note on the Bachelor Creek trail. Despite what some people tell you there is actually a trail there. Yes it is overgrown and bushy but there is a trail. You do not have to bushwhack, and if you are then you are off the trail.
  10. Nice job, that is some amazing country!! We were just there last weekend as part of the Ptarmigan Traverse. I am curious to know where you started scrambling Formidable from the last snowfield in the just below the summit basin. We choose a gully feature on the far right (outlined in red below) and the climbing was good Class 2 or 3 all the way to the top with the exception of a loose section near the top. But we topped out on the ridge well east of the main summit. And the traverse along the crest looked loose and more like Class 4 or easy 5th to go along the ridge, down into a notch and then back up to the actual summit. We ended up calling it good on the summit ridge since it was late in the day already and we needed to get back down to Yang Yang Lakes for the night. Do you remember where you went up looking at the photo below?
  11. Ptarmigan Traverse - Very Late Season

    Just got back from the Ptarmigan Traverse yesterday. A couple notes....the route onto the Le Conte Glacier was already 35-40 degree ice for 30 feet. I am guessing that will be a lot more by October. But the good news is we didn't see or cross any sketchy snow bridges. Overall the glaciers were in great shape and very easy to navigate. Even the exposed ice I mentioned before was easy especially if you have any ice climbing experience. If I were wanting to go in October I would be watching the weather from now until then. That way you will know what to expect in terms of changing conditions. For instance if they get an early snow in September that could make the red ledges much more time consuming and harder. Cal Topo has a weekly high imagery satelite photo that is very useful in terms of seeing snow levels. It won't tell you whether it is covered by 2 inches or 2 feet but you could see a recent snow made everything white above say 6000 ft. Let me know if you have any other specific route questions or need any beta for the trip. It is amazing!!
  12. Great TR! We are heading out this week so it was nice to see some current photos of the route! Marlin
  13. for sale FISH single portaledge

    I sent you a PM.
  14. [TR] Mt. Rainier - Tahoma Glacier 07/03/2020

    Cool trip and thanks for posting! I have always wanted to get around onto this side of the mountain.
  15. review Break Testing Climbing Cams

    Yea, it is a shame that they tapered the crack so far down. It doesn't look like any of those cams would have been able to be "placed" through the constriction they pulled them through. So basically you are testing it as a nut placement. I guess it is interesting to see what breaks first on the cams.....lobes, sling, or wire. But I would be more interested in the actual holding power of the cam on ideal placements. Like what was the dynamometer showing when the cams were slipping before they became overcammed in the constriction?