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About dmdebruin

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  • Birthday 04/27/1987
  1. Tormernt-Forbidden early May conditions

    Thanks all for the recommendations! I'll hope for good weather, but having some rain shadow options isn't a bad plan. All the climbing I've done in the Enchantments has actually been late spring, but I haven't done the Triple Couloirs on Dragontail yet, so maybe we can use that as a back-up plan. Any recommendations on other good options near Washington Pass in addition to Silver Star?
  2. Tormernt-Forbidden early May conditions

    Hmm...I'm detecting some sarcasm about Glacier Peak, though your point is well made.
  3. Tormernt-Forbidden early May conditions

    That's actually precisely what I was thinking: N. Ridge Baker down Coleman-Deming and N. Face Shuksan down Sulphide. I know next to nothing about Adams or Glacier Peak (and I've already been to Rainier). Any good skiing objectives similar to the ones I've outlined on Baker and Shuksan?
  4. Tormernt-Forbidden early May conditions

    This basically confirms what I already suspected--early May will be sub-prime conditions in Boston Basin. I've done a fair bit of climbing in the Enchantments already, so I'll probably set my sights on skiing Baker and Shuksan, then. Or maybe Mount Adams or Glacier Peak? Thoughts? @CascadeClimber: As the Cascades is a pretty big place, I'm open to suggestions for things that are east or south of the crest (I'm totally sure what that means). Thanks!
  5. My schedule is such that I've got the first week of May available for some climbing, but unfortunately little scheduling flexibility. I would be stoked to do the Torment-Forbidden Traverse, but I imagine that the first week of May will be pretty early season for that objective. I'd love some thoughts on feasibility. Will road closures affect trailhead access? Will the snow be deep enough that skis are a good idea? Will I need to carry my skis across the traverse? What's the snowpack usually doing around that time? Should I be concerned about avalanches? Any other concerns/hazards of which I should be aware? I understand that much of this may be quite speculative at this point. Thanks in advance. Edited to include a title that makes sense
  6. Mount Baker Highway camping, Fisher Chimney's beta

    I appreciate the beta. This has been most helpful.
  7. I'm looking for camping options along Mount Baker highway where we can crash prior to heading up the Fisher Chimney's on Shuksan in a week or so. I've trolled a couple of the USFS options and it looks like it might be hard to get a site based on the reservations already booked and limited walk-ins available. What's the beta on good campgrounds along Hwy 542 and/or dispersed camping? For the Fisher Chimneys, based on the most recent trip reports, it looks like we should be good to go as long as we're prepared for some ice climbing. Is the road open all the way to Artist Point this time of year? How's the parking situation at the trailhead to Lake Ann? Is there a toilet there/nearby? Thanks in advance.
  8. Stuart West Ridge Conditions

    Was on Stuart 6/2-4/2015. I haven't been since, but I'd agree axe and no crampons.
  9. [TR] Stuart Range - Stuart Traverse 6/2/2015

    At the time the Sherpa Glacier crevasses were pretty obvious. The schrund was cracking in spots but was largely bridged. The upper steep terrain was still all snow climbing.
  10. [TR] Stuart Range - Stuart Traverse 6/2/2015

    I can't say for sure the precise conditions on Cascadian since we came in from the north and it was a couple weeks ago. However, when I scoped the range from the south side at the I-90 overlook, things were quite dry, and that was the last day of May. At this point, I'm 95% confident you won't need crampons (unless there's a hard freeze or something) but you'd still probably want an ice axe as there's gotta be some snow left, I just don't know how much.
  11. Trip: Stuart Range - Stuart Traverse Date: 6/2/2015 Trip Report: When I've got some time, I'll probably write this up in a more compelling manner, but for now, I just want to recount the major details of our climb: From June 2 to 4 of this year, Josh Whitmore, Ron Funderburke, and I completed a traverse of Mount Stuart, Sherpa Peak, Argonaut Peak, Colchuck Peak, and Dragontail Peak. This project started last year with the intention to climb in mixed conditions via the Stuart Glacier Couloir on Mount Stuart and then through presumably mixed terrain from there. Our attempt last year was in May before we retreated because we ran out of fuel. However, due to the timing of schedules this year (we put Ron on a plane less 12 hours after finishing), we were forced all the way into June. This late timing and the weak Cascades snowpack in general this year meant that this was hardly a mixed climb. Instead, there was lots of rock climbing with annoyingly large amounts of snow climbing. As a result, we couldn't take a really light summer strategy and just use approach shoes, but we also couldn't leave the ice axes and crampons at home. From Mountaineer's Creek, we headed south to the base of the North Face of Mount Stuart. The Stuart Glacier Couloir was out by the time of our climb, leaving Sherpa Glacier and the North Ridge as the only real options (Ice Cliff was not looking friendly either). Our tight schedule also meant we had to climb in whatever conditions were happening at the time. Since we started our little adventure in the rain and didn't bring rock shoes, a rainy, wet North Ridge ascent in our boots did not seem exceptionally desirable. Instead, we climbed the Sherpa Glacier to the summit of Stuart. We bivied at a small saddle atop the Sherpa Glacier. From our bivy, we scampered up the West Ridge of Sherpa Peak and began descending the southeastern gully. Once we were off Sherpa, we met the crux of the route--getting from Sherpa to Argonaut. The terrain between Sherpa and Argonaut is about 2 miles of mostly 3rd, 4th, and 5th class over buttresses, across couloirs, and over or around gendarmes. The terrain is fairly continuous, route finding is not obvious, and we always seemed to be choosing between soloing into 5th class terrain, grueling bushwacking/fourth classing, or heading down a couloir a bit to cross a buttress and then come back up the next couloir. The struggle seemed never ending. This ultimately took us over the West Ridge of Argonaut where we then wrapped around to the base of the West (main) Summit. We bivied below the South Face of Argonaut. At sunrise we climbed the South Face of Argonaut. The face looked pretty awesome. We could easily spot a number of lines up the solid rock. It would be awesome to repeat that bivy just to go climb the number of short multipitch crack systems that face holds. We descended the NE Couloir of Argonaut for a bit then crossed a buttress over to the East Gully. Some lunch down on lower, more-level ground fueled us for a scoot over Colchuck. We descended the Colchuck Glacier Route/East Route to the Colchuck Col and then finished up Dragontail via the West Route. We descended the East Slopes Standard Route toward Aasgard Pass and then hiked to Colchuck Lake via talus and scree for what seemed like an eternity. A dogged hike around Colchuck Lake ultimately led us back to the car at Mountaineer's Creek. The whole affair took us about 56 hours car-to-car. If anyone is interested, this route could use a true "mixed" or "winter" first ascent. I'd be happy to provide as many details as possible to those seeking beta on a truly awesome link-up of 5 pretty outstanding peaks in a gorgeous wilderness. A snapshot of the terrain between Sherpa Peak and Argonaut Peak The West Ridge of Argonaut Peak as seen from the pass. The inspiring South Face of Argonaut Peak. Gear Notes: Because we were onsighting and didn't really know what to expect for conditions, we had a little more rack than we needed. If I was going to do the whole affair as a mixed climb (based on what I saw and my experience on Stuart Glacier Couloir last year), I'd bring singles BD 0.4 to #3, set of nuts, maybe a smaller cam or two, 4-6 13cm screws, and 6 or 8 slings. For the bare rock we encountered, just the cams, nuts, and 6 slings would be more than adequate. If we had rock shoes or even approach shoes, we probably wouldn't have placed pro at all. A 40m or 50m rope would've worked, or the skinniest 60m you can find. There's not much in the way of running water on route, so an MSR Reactor helped us make drinking water. For a summer climb, carry as little water as you think you need, hope there's running water coming off glacier somewhere along the way, and go fast. Open bivy options abound, but would be weather dependent. We used a BD First Light the first night (and got blasted by wind, pelted with some rain/sleet). The second night the weather looked a bit better and we were all tired so we just laid out our pads and slept open. Good bivies can be had atop Sherpa Glacier, at the pass between Sherpa and Argonaut, at the Argonaut-Colchuck pass, and the Colchuck Col. Beyond that, boots, crampons, and ice axe were still nice to have given the amount of snow we encountered. Two tools would make sense in truly mixed conditions. Approach Notes: Approached via Mountaineer's Creek. The turn-off for the climber's trail was never obvious to me either time I've done the hike, and even when you're clearly in the right drainage, there's a fair bit of cross-country travel to be had to get to the base of the north face of Stuart. The descent from Dragontail and the hike out from Colchuck Lake is very straightforward.
  12. I'll be heading to the Stuart Range in the first week of June with a couple partners (we're from outta state or I'd probably be there now). We are going back for round 2 on an attempt at traversing from Stuart to Dragontail with Sherpa, Argonaut, and Colchuck along the way. Last year we attempted the traverse in the last week of May and the Stuart Glacier Couloir had barely enough ice left in it to go (though the rock on the West Ridge was very pleasant). It's my understanding that the snowpack in the Cascades this year is quite low in general, but then I see week-old trip reports from the Triple Couloirs about how conditions are perfect. Consequently, I'd love to know what conditions are looking like in that area right now. I'm also accepting everyone's predictions on what that means for conditions in 3 weeks. Thanks in advance.
  13. A friend and I are venturing to the Cascades for a couple weeks starting 5/17. We have some folks joining us for a Mount Baker trip around Memorial Day weekend, but the two of us will have 4 or 5 days to climb some more technical objectives prior to that. Despite our current North Carolina residence, we both have a decent amount of alpine experience (technically, I have some experience and my partner has A LOT, but you get the idea). We are psyched on some classic mixed climbing. The Triple Couloirs on Dragontail Peak and Stuart Glacier Couloir on Mount Stuart have both come highly recommended. To this end, I have a few questions: 1) I've seen quite a few Triple Couloirs trip reports/condition reports dated in late April. How do things look now? Thoughts on what they might look like in 2 weeks when we arrive? 2) Similar question, but for Mount Stuart, specifically the Stuart Glacier Couloir. 3) In general, how are conditions this year? Snowfall and depth? Snowpack? Any persistent nasty layers to watch out for? Spring sloughing starting/in progress/finished? Ice is in fat, or not so much? 4) How about the approaches specifically? How far up the road along Eightmile Creek is open? Do we need to bring skis/snowshoes for the hikes in to Colchuck Lake and/or below the Sherpa Glacier? Finally, as I look at maps, it strikes me that a traverse could be pretty cool as well. I'm sure something like this has been done before and would love some input from knowledgeable parties. I was thinking maybe up Stuart Glacier Couloir, across Sherpa Peak, all the way over to Argonaut, over Colchuck, and down the Colchuck Glacier. Thoughts? Many thanks in advance.
  14. [TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 4/26/2014

    I'm curious as to what conditions are like on the Triple Couloirs approach now. A partner and I will be traveling from the east coast to climb May 17. We are hoping to do the Triple Couloirs and also the Stuart Glacier Couloir on Mount Stuart. Should we bring skis/snow shoes, or is booting up from the road a reasonable plan at this point? Just wondering as the original post mentions hiking in trail runners for a while.
  15. After getting some good beta in this thread, a partner and I are formulating some plans for mid-May climbing. We've never been to the Cascades before, but have plenty of experience in other ranges. Currently, we're thinking about Three Couloirs on Dragontail Peak and the Stuart Glacier Couloir on Mount Stuart. From what I've read so far, these both might be good in May and seem like they'd be doable in two days--hike in and camp, then climb the next day. Does that sound about right? If conditions are poor for these, what are other recommendations for long snow/ice climbs that time of year? (Doesn't have to be near Stuart, but that'd be nice.) Also, what's the camping beta for Leavenworth? Is the Forest Service camping good? A commercial campground instead? Ideally, we'll have 5 or 6 days to spend there, going in to Stuart/Colchuck a couple different times for the aforementioned climbs.