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Everything posted by mthorman

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!!
  4. Great TR! We are heading out this week so it was nice to see some current photos of the route! Marlin
  5. for sale FISH single portaledge

    I sent you a PM.
  6. [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.
  7. 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?
  8. Most REAL experiences climbing

    Great idea. I always learn so much by my own and other people's mistakes. 1. I used to girth hitch the little cord of my point and shoot camera into a sling so as to prevent from accidentally dropping it. Then one day about 5 pitches up on SEWS I looked down to see that I had clipped into that little camera cord as my tether at the anchor. Someone I grabbed the main sling but instead of clipping into the end of it I clipped into the carmera cord at the end. Needless to say I don't ever tether my camera by a sling anymore..... 2. I had a friend fall and die while climbing with a new partner on a long multipitch route. They were climbing above their ability but their new partner didn't realize it. At the time, I was climbing with a lot of new people on bigger routes as well. I realized that I could have easily been my friend's "new climbing partner" in that scenario. It is so hard to tell someone's actual level of experience from a hike up to a cliff/mountain. I had previously thought that as long as I was solid at whatever grade we were doing it didn't matter. But after a lot of reflection I decided that wasn't true. If I was climbing with someone of less ability they could want to "hold up their end of the partnership" by leading, routefinding etc. But what if they are way in over their heads, and I don't know it because I don't know them as a person or their past experience. Now days I want to spend a day cragging or just get to know someone as a friend before getting into a big route together.
  9. Adams Climbing Permit?

    Haha...yea. What surprised me was that you had to buy an online climbing permit in the first place. Is that new this year? Granted it has been a couple years since I have been up there but I only remember having to fill out a free wilderness permit.
  10. Adams Climbing Permit?

    So according to the USFS, climbing Mt. Adams is currently closed due to COVID, and they say permits will be available from Recreation.gov once the trailhead re-opens. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5435984
  11. Home climbing walls and training setups

    If you have an attic the rafters work well. I just screwed in long lag screws but left the head out about 1". Then I slot the hole in the ice tool head over the screw head. Doesn't help your technique but it sure works out the arms! I have been doing 90 sec circuits followed by 4.5min rest (repeat 6 times for about a 30 min power endurance workout) I tried to upload a 5 sec video clip but it just puts it as a file you have to download (IMG_2251.mp4). But below is a screen shot from the video.
  12. question New winter boot recommendations

    Just FYI the Scarpa Phantom Tech was updated last year (2019). The new version supposedly fixes the durability issues with the sole and zipper. Obviously I don't think it has been out long enough for anyone to truly know but might be worth looking into what exactly got changed. Personally I have the old version of the Tech and really like it. It is lighter, more waterproof, and I think warmer than my Nepals. I have also worn the Scarpa 6000 a bit. It is definitely a heavier and warmer version of the Tech. But it doesn't walk as nice nor do I feel very nimble to like scramble rock on an approach. I have multiple climbing partners with the Sportiva G5. They all love the boots and say they are very warm. One of the nice things is the BOA system.....quick and easy adjustment. One of my buddies loves it because he can loosen his boots at belays on a long multipitch climb.
  13. [TR] Mt. Hood - Yocum Ridge Solo 03/21/2020

    Interesting.....I bet that if it had made the list it would be climbed a LOT more!
  14. idea MYOG - Gear mod's and personal creations.

    I rigged up an old phone cord for my nut tool tether. It allows a long reach but retracts so it doesn't get in the way. I can't claim it as original as I got it from John Godino's website. He has quite a list of cool DIY mods. https://www.alpinesavvy.com/diy-gear-making-and-modification
  15. [TR] Cabinet Mountains - Multiple 03/21/2020

    Porter, you should definitely plan a trip up there next winter! Thanks Jason, yes all the photos posted are mine.
  16. I finally took the time to sit down and read your report and watch the videos. Wow, what a fantastic climb!! It is so cool that you were able to get such great footage. And that natural ice tunnel....looks like one of the most memorable pitches ever! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the climb.
  17. Easy way for you to win 2 free Ice Screws

    Wait the way I read it the photo contest ended on March 2 at 10am. That was before you even posted this...... "Here's all of the "People's Choice" finalists in the Verti Call Photo Contest! The photo with the most amount of "likes" by Mar 2nd @ 10am EST wins the People's Choice! Prize is two Grandwall ice screws from Verti Call. Good luck!"
  18. wanted to buy Anyone selling: mountain hardwear direkt 2

    I have seen 4 or 5 for sale in the last year. You just have to keep your eyes open.....Mountain Project, Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace. Good luck...they are worth the effort to get one!
  19. idea Playing Cards For Cimbing

    Really cool idea. The joker replacement is awesome! The piton is definitely my favorite suit. I am definitely going to order up a set!
  20. Trip: Banks Lake, WA - Zenith, Emerald, Cable, Razorblades plus others Trip Date: 03/03/2019 to 03/14/2019 Trip Report: With reports of an incredible season at Banks Lake, my partner (Joe Peters) and I decided we needed to get over there. We drove over on March 3 to find a good place to set up a camp. Joe had to finish a couple things at work, but my wife Trisha came out to climb for the 1st two days until Joe got back. Then Joe and I were able to spend another 9 days climbing some of the wildest ice I have ever been on. Banks lake is that good!! I didn't list any grades in this trip report. Banks is a funny place and I found that grades were tricky to judge. In the end I decided that Wayne Wallace was right when he said..."Grades don't matter, everything here is hard." We camped in Joe's tipi tent which is pretty luxurious complete with stove for heat and drying gear. The best spot we found to camp was right across from Salt and Pepper. Camping limit is 15 days, it was free, and there was a toilet. We were able to sit in camp and stare up at Salt and Pepper every evening. Evening light in our camp. The view of Salt and Pepper from camp. (photo credit Joe Peters) Living it up inside the tipi. With that stove we could be sitting around in a t-shirt. It was absolutely essential for drying out boots and other wet gear after climbing every day. Here is a brief overview of our trip. 3/4 - Peewees #2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 3/5 - Climb below Emerald, Trotsky's Folly and Trotsky's Revenge (also called Phase Transition) 3/6 - Peewees #1 and 5 3/7 - The Emerald and Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor) 3/8 - Tea 'n' the Sahara 3/9 - The Cable and H2O2 3/10 - Unnamed climb Butch Cassidy in Moses Coulee 3/11 - Bombs over Old Baghdad (the climb across Banks lake at MP3) 3/12 - Shitting Razorblades 3/13 - Salt and Pepper 3/14 - Zenith I will just let the pictures tell the rest of story with a few captions. Peewee's Playground. I referenced these from right to left starting with 1 and ending with 8. Me leading Peewee #4 on the 1st day. A great place to start getting used to Banks ice! (photo credit Trisha Thorman) Craig Pope had just put up this line which he thought was probably an FA. It transitioned from the ice through the rock and out to the hanging dagger. It is Peewee #2 and he named it Turn the Page. This is a couple guys from MT climbing it on TR in the beautiful afternoon sun. The next day Trisha and I climbed this little flow. It was fantastic steep climbing that eased off about half way up. It is right off the road at the Emerald Pullout. It is amazing to me that there are so many of these lines that don't have names. Anywhere else and these good pitches of ice would all be named! Trisha doing a TR lap on Trotsky's Revenge. Day 3 Trisha headed back home and Joe arrived. Here Joe is arriving at the top of the fantastic Peewee #1. This is Satan's Panties (also called Absent Minded Professor). Rumor is that it hasn't come in for multiple years. It was a really fun multi-tiered climb that was a great warmup for the bigger climbs at Banks. The Emerald sits tucked up in a small valley above the main Banks Lake proper. It was a fantastic steep pitch of excellent climbing. It even faced north so it didn't get any sun to ruin the ice! Me leading the Emerald. (photo credit Joe Peters) Joe topping out on the Emerald at the end of a great day! With a cloudy day we decided to brave the lake and head across for some of the bigger lines. Thankfully the lake ice was thick and solid with no noises. The climb directly above me is Tea 'n' the Sahara. The one to my right is unknown.....it never came in this year unfortunately (or at least the dagger never touched down). (Photo credit Joe Peters). A closer view of Tea 'n' the Sahara. This was definitely my favorite climb of the trip. It consisted of 4 steep pitches each about 90-120 feet in length. The ice was typical Banks with plenty of excavating but the position and length of the climbing make it a classic for sure. Joe climbing the final steep 4th pitch. Looking back up at pitch 4 of Tea 'n' the Sahara from rappel. We were able to rappel the entire route with 2 rope stretching 70m rappels......take 70m ropes! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable....it is such an amazing, steep, crazy, gymnastic, different route. An absolute must do at Banks. Here Brian Williams is a little past halfway up the long pitch. Me leading the Cable. It is so good......just go do it! (photo credit Joe Peters) The Cable in the setting sun. Next we went to climb H2O2. Here are a couple of unknown climbers on it the night before. Yet another great pitch of climbing right next to the road. Here Joe is putting up H2O2 in the evening sun. The following day we drove over to Moses Coulee. Unfortunately Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were pretty wrecked by the sun. This is an unnamed climb on the same road about 1/2 mile before Butch Cassidy. After reviewing the guidebook and talking with several other people this is actually Butch Cassidy. The climb between Butch and Sundance Kid is unnamed (although climbed). The WA ice guidebook has the wrong mileage to these climbs. Looking up at Unnamed route Butch Cassidy was awe inspiring. There were so many hanging daggers through the steep upper roofs. I gave it a go on lead but ended up sitting on a screw in the roof. I found out I wasn't fit enough to lock off on a tool and clean hanging daggers for that long. Still an awesome experience! Me approaching the large ice roof of hanging icicles. (Photo credit Joe Peters) The next day was cloudy so we headed back across the lake. This climb is right across from MP3. It isn't in the WA ice book and nobody seems to know what it is called. After staring at it disappearing into the fog above we decided to call it Stairway to Heaven. (Edit: sounds like it is called Bombs over old Baghdad) Here is Joe leading up pitch 2. The next day was time to get on Razorblades. This is a climb that had been on my list to do for a while and it didn't disappoint. Some years the first pitch isn't in or so thin that you can't protect it well. This year it was fat! Me leading up the crux first pitch of Razorblades. I don't think I have ever climbed ice by pulling on ice mushrooms with my hands instead of swinging my tools into the ice....fun but funky! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Finally after staring at Salt and Pepper every night for a week, we decided we needed to go and do it. The guidebook made the 1st pitch sound hard and scary. It climbs the loose rock on the left and traverses up the snow ramp to the ice. It was loose, but I found a decent pin and a couple cam placements. You definitely don't need a #3 C4. I would take a couple of KB pins and a set of cams from BD .3 to #1. The crux step of rock is easy 5th but it is loose and a fall would be very bad. Joe climbing up the steep ice of Salt and Pepper. It was a fantastic climb with big exposure. This is looking straight down for about 300 feet. We wrapped up our trip with Zenith. A fitting end to a fantastic trip. It was very fat this year but still steep and long! (Photo credit Joe Peters) Joe and I on Zenith. Being a roadside crag, many times a few people stop and watch. Sue Tebow was one such person but she was kind enough to leave us her contact information so we could get a couple pictures she took. It is always a treat to get both the leader and the follower in the same picture. Thanks Sue! (Photo credit Sue Tebow) A final parting shot of the huge deathcicle above Zenith. It was so fascinating to look up at but we wasted no time in getting out of there. It consisted of a thin hollow tube of ice that extended 30 feet or so below the cliff. Out of the center poured a huge amount of water. (Photo credit Joe Peters) Gear Notes: Ice screws and 70m ropes Approach Notes: Short and easy unless you are crossing the lake!
  21. Yea there is an insane amount of potential especially if you get a good cold year! If you want a copy of any of the pictures you are in, just send me an email (westbnsf@gmail.com).
  22. [TR] Colchuck Lake area - conditions 03/16/2019

    Figured I would post an update (May 4, 2019) on current conditions for those interested. The bad news.....there is little to no ice on the N. Face of Dragontail. I was really hoping that the freeze/thaw from the last couple weeks would work it's magic. The ice runnels on TC look like rock. We hiked in to climb Gerber Sink but it was mostly rock with just a couple of snowfields. Ended up doing the Northeast Couloir on Colchuck as a consolation prize. It was steep snow, even unconsolidated in places which was surprising. When the route cuts left at the top we took the smaller left hand couloir variation. It had a couple of easy ice steps and 1 short rock step.....better than the snowy slog up the right hand option. Came down the Colchuck Glacier which was super straight forward and actually quite soft in the afternoon....it was a nice 2500 ft glissade. Other notes.....the road is still gated. In fact there is still 4-6 inches of snow across the road for about 100 yards near the trailhead. Other than that it was a clear road. The trail is almost all snow starting right from the trailhead. In the morning the snow was hard and walking was easy. On the way down we were happy we had carried up snowshoes so we could avoid the postholing. We rode bikes from the truck to the trailhead which meant after our long day we didn't have to walk that road down. Trisha halfway up the Northeast couloir on Colchuck. Current view (5/4/19) of the N. Face of Dragontail.
  23. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    Hmm...I have never noticed that issue but you bring up a great point. I have definitely ridden a lot more in Spantiks than Nepals. I also think your suggestion to just walk is a great one. Especially to many of the popular routes there is a great boot pack this time of year. Here are a couple comparison pics. On the Spantik you can see the highback doesn't quite come to the top of the boot so definitely not a problem. On the Nepal it does come up higher than the boot by about 1 1/2". Again I have never noticed my calfs being sore or rubbing but I also have only done short decents like Aasgard Pass, Mt. Adams lower mountain and stuff in the Cabinets with them. I wonder if you could just flip the lever on the highback to give you more room? You would sacrifice performance but then again we are talking about efficiency of snow travel. This picture shows the lever flipped which creates several inches of room. Also I believe that Burton made a Lo-Back Binding that was significantly less than a traditional highback. Not sure they still do but maybe you could find an old used one.
  24. Long snowy approaches - equipment recs???

    I have had good luck with my mountaineering boots on a splitboard. If you get a small enough binding a La Sportiva Nepal works very well (definitely put in a dozen or more trips with that setup). I even used La Sportiva Spantiks with my splitboard up on Denali. I wouldn't want to ride those in the resort but as you stated you aren't looking for beautiful backcountry riding just efficient snow travel.
  25. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple couloirs 03/31/2019

    Overall was there much ice on the face? It seems like it took awhile to warm up this year and then suddenly freezing levels are super high. I am curious whether there will be enough freeze thaw to actually get good ice conditions on the north face of Dragontail this year.