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geosean

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geosean last won the day on March 4 2020

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About geosean

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  • Birthday 06/13/1984

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  1. Trip: Sperry Peak - East Gully Trip Date: 01/23/2021 Trip Report: With the long period of sunshine after the rain event, @thedylan and I figured it would be lousy skiing but should be great for climbing... we were right! (This time). Earlier this fall we had made a list of possible winter climbing objectives, but then it started snowing, and snowing, and snowing; so we gave it up and went skiing. But this was our opportunity. Emboldened by some beta from this 2009 trip report, and this extra beta from Kyle M we decided to go for the East Gully route on Sperry Peak. It turned out to be an awesome route for easy ice and snow. Typically crappy ice climbers (like us) are left out in the cold (see what I did there?) when looking for alpine routes. You ask on a forum for east ice routes and everyone suggests Colonial, Eldo, Graybeard, etc. Or else North Twin and east snow routes. There never seems to be a happy medium or real climbing but not AI4. This was it! We nailed the conditions on route, except for a little sugary snow shenanigans on the ridge. The Mountain Loop Highway is closed for the winter at Deer Creek at 1600' so we opted for bikes. After a TH bivy on Friday night we started off at 5am. To our surprise we made it to the summer trailhead with only minimal biking through crusty snow, arriving there at 6:30 with 7.6 miles under our belts already. We brought snowshoes but ditched them at 2400' where the trail breaks out into the open and we got a good view of how crusty the snow was going to be. We did not regret this. The approach is short but was seriously aided by the high elevation snowpack and firm crust. We easily booted to the approach scramble at 3600'. First view: Route from where we left the summer trail: From the trail the route is obvious, up the gully that splits the face. All the photos make it look like there is a notch between two high points, but the right point is just a flat spot on the ridge. At about 3400' the approach scramble begins that shut down Kyle M and party. Fortunately, we had an easy snow gully, the ice step was wet and thin but there is a right variation that worked with an easy scramble section. The climbing begins at about 4400' with the money pitch right off the batt. If there was a way to build a rap anchor I might have been tempted to give up here and just lap the first pitch, there were several variations possible and it was awesome easy ice and hero snice, the kind of conditions to make you feel like a good ice climber! This didn't last and after maybe 100' it turned to snow over rock with no pro and a rock step looming, I built a crappy anchor and belayed Dylan up. He took the rock step that turned out to be an easy scramble move aided by the shockingly warm sunshine (I climbed it without gloves or a jacket). Then we were back into the snow gully. From here it was simul-soloing moderate snow and snice for several simul blocks with one great snice and ice step in the mix for Dylan to lead. First pitch: Second pitch rock step with spindrift: I lead again up to the ridge, as I approached it I realized I was climbing up to a cornice so had to bear left onto some insanely steep sugary snow with no pro and terrible axe plunges. I wallowed upward somehow making decent footholds and trusting that it seemed to be working. After probably 30 minutes for what was realistically probably 50' but felt like 200 I topped out on the ridge at a flat safe spot at 5500' and started burying everything metal I had for a crappy anchor in the sugar snow. I was psychologically done from the insecurity of it. You don't train for those conditions. The climbing worked, somehow, but it felt awful. Dylan, naturally, made it look easy on second. Dylan's photo looking back down to my belay with the NE ridge behind: Dylan lead the next simul block through the same place mentioned in the 2009 report: " the physical crux of the climb on such a move that required hooking a tree and pulling up with disintegrating footholds above a near vertical flute that dropped into the north face." Second that! The summit was close but the cornice looked daunting, fortunately, it was mostly fatigue talking and it was an easy 4' vertical step onto the summit! Summit slope: We had a good snack break in the sun and felt much rejuvenated. The descent went smoothly, some front pointing and careful walking on crusty snow, mostly NW near the scramble route to the head of the cirque and across the lake to the trail route and out to Headley Pass. We hit the summer TH at 6pm making it an 11.5 hour day on foot, just under 14 car to car. This was a fantastic route, if we could figure out a better way to do the NE ridge part I would definitely go back. There was an ice line to the left a few hundred feet below the ridge crest that I think the '09 party took, but it looked hard compared to the snow I did... in retrospect... Gear Notes: bikes, sneakers, boots, axe, ice tool, helmets, 60m 1/2 rope, 3 screws, some nuts and cams (placed 2 rock pieces all day, minimal options), 2 pickets (3 maybe useful?) Approach Notes: Bikes! Crust made for awesomely fast travel on the low angle stuff. The climb is very accessible from the summer TH.
  2. Nice Kyle, I've been looking up there while serac-ing, wondering how all that stuff was. Thanks for the compilation!
  3. Shuksan North Face

    Does anyone have a recent photo of the north face of Shuksan? Possibly from Goat Mountain or nearby. I'm looking to assess ice/rock ratios. Thanks.
  4. Shuksan North Face

    Does anyone have a recent photo of the north face of Shuksan? Possibly from Goat Mountain or nearby. I'm looking to assess ice/rock ratios. Thanks.
  5. [TR] Torment forbidden traverse - Tft 07/28/2020

    Pretty weak Dylan, couldn't even c2c the TFT after a broken leg. I guess the northern Pickets in a day will have to wait 'til next year. Awesome work @JonParker!
  6. [TR] Johannesburg - 1957 NE Rib 08/01/2020

    Actually, I was the follower through that stretch, and glad of it. We bivied on the top of the last tower on the east ridge right before the first rap station. It was nice for two and broke up the route nicely, also a handy snow patch for water.
  7. [TR] Johannesburg - 1957 NE Rib 08/01/2020

    Nice write up Nick. Me and @thedylan did the '51 rib this past weekend and were surprised at all the names on the register this year. If anyone goes again this season take some Rite-in-the-rain pages for the register, it's almost full. Also many of the rappels only have a single carabiner at the anchor so if you have some bail 'beaners please add one here and there. My most important piece of gear specific to this climb was work gloves! They really save the hands in the heather and the vertical brush. Does anyone have an opinion on whether the '51 or the '57 route are better (aka more fun)?
  8. Sauk River Road Access?

    Does anyone know the status of the North Fork Sauk River Road? (AKA Sloan Creek, AKA Rd 49). I know the FS says it's blocked by a slide, but I heard this might be passable. Just hoping someone has fresh beta. Thanks.
  9. Well done, thanks for the report! It's curious that it was so hard to get onto the base of the route this year; was your attempt to last year in the same season?
  10. Nice work Jason, it looks like you had good conditions for skiing. We had terrible visibility everywhere except in the couloir. Apparently I blew up the stash.
  11. Triad Climb

    Has anyone actually ever climbed the Triad and winter? I mean I know it's been done but I can't find any information about it and I am just looking for some general beta. Volken briefly mentions it under the Hidden Lake section in his ski touring book. If anybody has any information I would appreciate it. Thank you.
  12. wanted to buy BD Eldorado Tent

    Is anyone interested in selling a Black Diamond Eldorado or I-Tent? I'm looking to buy!! Let me know if you are interested! Thank you for reading.
  13. [TR] Columbia Peak - West Spur 10/06/2019

    Yeah, actually that was the initial inspiration for this peak. One day I'll have done all the Smoot guide but probably only because I'll have done most all the peaks around; it might be a while yet. He is a good source for peaks that don't necessarily catch your attention, that are best done shoulder season.
  14. Wow, nice work guys! That looks amazing.
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