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Everything posted by mthorman

  1. [TR] Forbidden Peak - East Ridge 7/2/2015

    It was a great climb, up an awesome line. Here are a few more pics to go with the TR. A good look at our objective. I had never been into Boston Basin before and it was truly inspiring. There is definitely a lot of up and down on the east ridge as is evidenced by this picture. Taylor making his way up the final snow slope above the gully. Magnificent views of Johannesburg mountain in the background. Our bivy, a couple hundred feet below the 1st gendarme on the East Ridge. I think the elevation was about 7,850 feet. Plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the views while eating dinner. We had beautiful weather for the actual climb and just enough breeze to make it pleasant. Here is Taylor negotiating a gendarme. Taylor higher up on the East Ridge.
  2. Lost: single rock shoe at WA Pass

    I climbed the SW Rib yesterday and descended the S Arete. Didn't see a rock shoe at the base of either route. Lots of other people up there so maybe somebody else got it. Just didn't want you to hike back up there for nothing.
  3. [TR] Denali - W. Buttress 6/6/2015

    Nice job! I really enjoyed reading your trip report and seeing the photos. It brought back many memories from my trip (we summited on May 27 this year). So I am sure we crossed paths with you somewhere on our descent. I am really glad we didn't have to spend 4 days waiting for weather to fly out. That would have been BRUTAL! We summited on Day 17 and flew off on Day 19. Anyway congrats again, it was a rough start to the season up there, and way to hang in there for a 2nd summit attempt.
  4. I am looking for a partner for July 3 (next Friday). I will be coming down from Eldorado on Thursday and have to be in Spokane on Saturday. So a longer route at Washington Pass or Leavenworth would be the best. Could also do Index or something else in the N. Cascades for a day. Happy to lead up to 5.9 alpine or follow 5.11. PM or email (westbnsf@gmail.com). Marlin
  5. Slesse Conditions 2015

    Wow! I can't believe the Pocket Glacier is gone already. It isn't even July!! Looks like Slesse might get a lot of traffic this season!
  6. Rear ender in Talkeetna

    Oh my word! I just flew off the Glacier with TAT on Friday. What a bad way to end a climb! I am glad nobody was killed.
  7. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 5/3/2015

    I did Gerber Sink yesterday and things were just near perfect. However yesterday was much colder and coming off a couple of cold/storm days. I suspect things will be soft today through the weekend. You would probably be fine tomorrow on Triple Couloirs as it is more of a snow than ice climb. I would just go really early in the morning (we topped out at 9:30am in March when climbing Triple Couloirs). Good luck!
  8. Yea! Way to solo it....good beta on temps too!
  9. Nice job sticking it out! Did you use/need snowshoes at all for the approach?
  10. Low Snow Year: Dog Route and Tech Route Timing?

    I haven't been up there yet, but check out this data from Paradise. SNOTEL Data for Paradise Note: you have to uncheck the "Fit Table to Screen" box or it will only show a couple days instead of all 30. Basically the snow pack has gained multiple inches at 5,100 feet on Rainier over the last 30 days which is a very good sign. However interesting to note that the precipitation accumulation is 104% of average for the year but Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is only 38% of average. So to my untrained eye they have gotten the normal precip but it has been in rain instead. I wonder at what point in elevation you would have to go to get the SWE to come up towards 100% to match the precip accumulation. Edit: After browsing through other Stations in the Cascades, I found that the stations at 6,000 feet had higher snow water equivalents (50-75%). So obviously still down but better than in the 30% range.
  11. Trip: Eldorado Peak, NW Ice Couloir Date: 4/10/2015 Trip Report: With a couple days off and a small weather window Duncan and I set our sights on Eldorado Peak. Our main objective was the Northwest Ice Couloir but with such a long approach we decided to try something on Dorado needle as well. Unfortunately we made a grave error in judgement and didn't bring skis or snowshoes. As a result were were postholling from ankle to knee the entire way above 5000 feet. It slowed us down so much that all we ended up doing was the NW Ice couloir. Oh well, I guess lesson learned. Looking down the Eldorado Glacier on the approach. Johannesburg and other mountains in the North Cascades dot the skyline. We had gone light on gear to save weight so no tent. But Duncan brought this little tarp and we made quite the cozy camp. We camped at the base of the east ridge of Eldorado and spent an hour watching the mountains and resting. For the afternoon we took off to see about climbing Dorado Needle. But with the hard work of breaking trail it took us 2 hours to get to the col at the Tepeh towers. We looked over at Dorado and realized that it would just take too long to keep going. We wanted to be fresh for the NW Ice couloir the next day. Since we still had a little time we decided to break trail to the Eldorado-Dean Col to save time in the morning. Here Duncan breaks trail across the Inspiration Glacier. Duncan overlooking the Marble Creek drainage from the Eldorado-Dean Col. We found the gully to down climb and then returned to camp for the night. During the night the wind picked up and starting blowing snow into our little shelter. We were a little worried that maybe the predicted storm had come early, but just after 6am we were treated to this sunrise in the North Cascades. It was definitely overcast but it didn't look like the big storm front. We left camp about 7am and followed our tracks back to the Eldorado-Dean Col. After down climbing a bit we found a rap station with some old pitons. A single rap but us down to steep snow. From there it was a short traverse through deep snow to the base of the couloir. Finally getting close to the base of the route we could see it was full of snow. The final snow slope to access the couloir was deep powder and took awhile to break trail. Finally reaching the 1st constriction we stopped to get a stance. I put in a screw and started out on the lead. I quickly climbed into the clouds and fought spindrift all the way. We ended up doing it all in 1 long simul block. It was mostly knee deep snow with a few nice sections of neve and a couple ice steps. There was no mixed climbing although there were a couple of snow/ice gullies up to 4 feet deep. Near the top there was a junction and without being able to see more than 30 feet due to clouds I picked the right gully. It turned near vertical at the top with breakable crust over soft snow. Here Duncan follows up the last steep section to the top through the clouds. From here it was easy hike to the summit of Eldorado. As luck would have it the sun was out on the summit and down the east ridge. Spent a few minutes enjoying the view before returning to camp. Packed up and headed back to the car. Gear Notes: 6 screws, 3 cams (BD #1, 2, 3), 6 nuts. Used 4 screws and 3 cams. Approach Notes: Lots of deep snow. Don't make our mistake and take some kind of floatation.
  12. [TR] Eldorado Peak, NW Ice Couloir - 4/10/2015

    Nick, see Jason's post about the approach beta. Goran, there isn't a particular good winter line that I know of. We were looking at something on the south face/buttress or a backup plan of the NE Ridge. Either way it would have been some mixed fun!
  13. [TR] Cutthroat Peak - Cauthorn-Wilson 4/4/2015

    I would, but I am headed up to Eldorado's NW Ice Couloir instead. Too many good routes and not enough time!
  14. [TR] Cutthroat Peak - Cauthorn-Wilson 4/4/2015

    Nice guys! I was justing thinking about this route yesterday!
  15. Wow, very impressive! Great job on accomplishing this goal.
  16. Very nice job guys! Love the pictures and route name!
  17. Training plans are a good start. Right now I am roughly following one while training for an Ironman Triathlon. However I have found for me it was more beneficial to understand the basis behind training; HR zones, fatigue, recovery, diet, etc. I am in the middle of reading "Training for the new Alpinism" by Steve House and Scott Johnston. I would highly recommend this book. I have learned much more about pushing my body during training and how things work together. It is geared more for Alpine climbing and getting in shape for endurance activities. Now I mostly use the "Training Plans" to get ideas for workouts more than a checkbox for each day. If you are looking to improve more strength specifics like pushing rock grades then you might also check out "The Rock Warrior's Way" by Arno Ilgner. I found that I was able to increase my lead abilities by a number grade after applying his principles. It is about the mental side rather than the physical side of climbing. Last thing I will say is consistency. Whatever you pick stick with it. I have a hard time with this as life seems to always get in the way, but when I actually do stay consistent for awhile I can always see the benefits. Good luck in your training!
  18. [TR] Dragontail Peak - NE couloir 3/1/2015

    Nice job and great pictures! We climbed TC the same day and saw your guy's tracks entering the couloir on our way down. We were hoping you guys would put up a TR so we could see the conditions of the route.
  19. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 3/13/2015

    I would be surprised if the road is open. The FS doesn't usually open it until much later and I doubt they will open it early even if it is snow free. Bottom line plan on the road walk and someday you might be pleasantly surprised. The road walk adds an extra 3.5 miles and 1200 ft of elevation gain. Good luck!
  20. Moving quickly on winter alpine terrain

    I am in the same boat. I think a lot of it just has to do with experience. Being able to route find quickly and then seeing placements for gear. I know I have spent way too much time fiddling around trying to figure out where to get a piece. I know for me with more time mixed climbing, I would also see tool placements quicker. Your times are pretty similar to mine. For instance, last spring I climbed the Stuart Glacier Couloir in very winter like conditions. The West Ridge section was 5 pitches of mixed climbing, in the M3/M4 ish range. It took us 4 hours for the 5 pitches swinging leads. In comparison two weeks ago I climbed TC on Dragontail and did it in just over 4 hours from the lake to the summit (3K elevation gain). But we only pitched out 2 pitches, and other than that it was just steep snow soloing. I feel like my anchor building is fast, and my efficiency is good at switching leads. I just feel like I need to put in a ton more milage in the alpine and mixed terrain. Why do you feel like following is time consuming? Retrieving gear should be pretty easy unless it is a pin and even those don't take that long to get out.
  21. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 3/13/2015

    I think doing this route as your first big alpine climb is very condition dependent. I climbed the route 2 weeks ago and it sounds like the conditions were the same. Which by the way is fat compared to last year. Last year there was a lot more rock and a lot less ice (at least in late March/early April). As others have said be very comfortable on steep snow. The route is several thousand feet long but really only the transitions between couloirs need protecting. The couloirs themselves can easily be soloed which saves a LOT of time. Many parties get bogged down and spend a long time on route dealing with protection. When I did it 2 weeks ago we spent the night at Colchuck lake, and we took bivy sacks to save on weight. I would recommend staying at the lake for your first time, particularly if this climb is going to push your limits. It helps to have a fresh start from the lake. Finally go with a partner who is at your level or better. That way if the steep ice runnels test your limits you can always swing leads. Lastly beware of the warmer weather as others have stated. I am not sure how much this warm trend/rain is affecting it, but it can't be good. However, this is definitely a classic route and worth the trip!
  22. [TR] Whitechuck - Standard 2/21/2015

    Wow...awesome photos! The lighting in the last photo makes the mountain look so impressive!
  23. Nice job guys! Thanks for breaking trail from the lake up to the climb (we were the party of two that passed you guys in the first couloir). The crux runnels definitely seemed to be in nice fat conditions. And the weather was amazing! Here is a shot of you guys coming up the 1st couloir. And one more of the sunrise with my partner Ryan approaching our belay mid way up the ice runnels. You can see you guys at the base of the runnels in the background.