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Ian Lauder

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About Ian Lauder

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  • Birthday 08/31/1966

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  1. Trip: Tatoosh Range - Tatoosh Traverse Trip Date: 06/30/2019 Trip Report: 12 peaks with 2 rock climbs in 2 days. 25 hours moving time. About 18 miles and about 9000ft gain. So, this isn’t one of those “fastest time” kind of trips, no trail running involved. Just 3 climbers with 25-30lb overnight packs and climbing gear. With our 9-day Pickets Traverse plan weathered out we kicked around ideas for the weekend and decided to roll the dice on the slight thunderstorm forecasts around Rainier to do the full Tatoosh Traverse. Picked up a camping permit at 7:30am on Sat at Longmire and were on the trail by 8:50 at the Snow Lake trailhead having left a vehicle back at Longmire. 4 hours in we tagged Stevens Peak after having done a long off trail traverse below Unicorn, some thick bushwhacking down into a snow filled basin that took us up to the saddle between Stevens and Boundary. Saw a fox right at the col as we popped up. From there ran the ridge back to the saddle and on to Boundary peak, from Boundary we were at Unicorn by 5pm and climbed the 2nd 5.6 route. From there went up and over Foss. Thought we spotted a boot track in some snow on the way to Castle and went to follow it, but it was a fresh bear track. Got to the base of Castle by 8pm and setup camp. 4 down on day 1. So, we would have to hustle to get 8 on day 2. Found running water at this point only in the basin on the way to Stevens, running off a wall on the backside coming off Unicorn and a convenient little stream right at the top of Castle near our camp. Rest of our water fills had come from stuffing water bottles with snow along the way. Up at 6am and on our way to climb Castle before 7. Finished off Castle, packed up camp and had knocked off Pinnacle within 2 hours. 6 down 6 to go. From Pinnacle headed over to Plumber then Denman and had those knocked off within an hour each. 8 down and 4 to go. Up next was Lane Peak which was a little trickier. We wound up scrambling up the narrow gulley that we remembered having ice climbed up last winter right to a tree that had a rappel sling on it. The gulley seemed to be 4th class or 5.0, easy climbing but really exposed but good rock (as opposed to the rest of Lane). Then we found a scramble path down climbers left of that gulley for the way down. #9 down and 3 to go. Had lunch and it was about 1pm at this point. Took longer to get over to Wahpenayo having to do a long traverse side hilling over heather and screen slopes then turning upwards about halfway to gain the ridge. On the other side it was a mix of snowfields and ridge running to get to the summit. #10 down and 2 to go. Some more steep heather and grass slope travel to get to the climbers trail between Eagle and Chutla and some more bushwhacking through trees. Right about when the predicted thunder would be starting, we were hearing some thunder nearby and started getting a little rain. But still had sun and blue sky to our South and we knew the thunderstorms were predicted more over Rainier to the North. At the trail we dropped packs and cruised up Chutla Peak crossing our fingers the thundercloud wouldn’t get worse. #11 down and 1 left. Cruised back down to our packs and did the short traverse over to the saddle and dropped packs again. Had a quick discussion about how we felt about the thunder and decided to get in the trees and start heading up Eagle as we still has some blue sky and sun to one side. #12 of 12 down and by the time we were back at our packs the storm clouds had moved off and we were back to blue sky. Long trail back to Longmire and back late evening before dark. After picking up the car shuttle and back to Ashford found the only place open to eat anything was the Highlander where we got a big pizza that was a combination of a little overcooked and undercooked but was everything we needed. Too tired to drive home we crashed in the cars in the parking lot across from Whittakers Bunkhouse. I must have been low on salt from sweating buckets for 2 days all I wanted for breakfast the next morning was a salty French dip and a bag of chips which I found at the bakery in Eatonville. According to the beta we read after the fact a full Tatoosh Range traverse of all 12 peaks with overnight gear takes about 2.5 days and involves hiking in the night before the start and finishing at twilight the "3rd" day if you count hiking in early on Friday for a Sat/Sun traverse. So, we did it 2 days flat without an early hike in. We started at 8am after getting permits on Sat. Did the longer and harder initial approach to Stevens. And finished at 8pm the next day before dark. And we didn't cut corners on the technical climbing where some people only do the easy pitches or the scramble routes. So, way to go team Rodica and Philip. Beast Mode. We just grabbed some gpx tracks we found somewhere and what we collectively remembered from having done most of the peaks individually or in small groups at one time or another in the past and winged it. Gear Notes: 40m rope, light alpine rack, ice axe, crampons Approach Notes: Snow Lake trailhead, lower traverse under Unicorn to basin up to saddle between Stevens and Boundary. Then after Stevens and Boundary did the standard traverse hitting all 12 peaks. Plenty of snow and water sources available for water. No bugs out. Great conditions.
  2. [TR] Mount Baker - North Ridge 06/15/2019

    That's great to hear, we were hoping you guys made it without any issues or that we hadn't kicked any ice down on you. That's a great shot you got of Rodica.
  3. [TR] Mount Baker - North Ridge 06/15/2019

    Yea that was pretty much his reaction. We went back and forth a couple times as he didn't think I understood the gravity of the situation.
  4. Trip: Mount Baker - North Ridge Trip Date: 06/15/2019 Trip Report: Climbed the North Ridge of Mount Baker on Saturday morning, awesome day. Hiking in we met a climber we knew who said the snow bridge across the Coleman/Deming had collapsed the night before and parties were turning around. But they saw someone who had rapped into the crevasse and walked out, so we figured one way or another we had a way down. Ran into some skiers on their way down who warned us very emphatically that the bridge was out. We were like, okay thanks. Then he repeated "its out, the bridge is OUT". Okay thanks, we got it. Got to the snowfield and found a large group of about 6 who were bailing out because they heard the Coleman was out. Okay, on we went. Got camp setup around the 6600ft football area and had the place to ourselves early afternoon. Not much in the way of tracks we could see so we hiked about another 1000ft up to the base of the ridge to log a track and make a bootpath to follow the next morning. We did start to pickup some previous bootprints around the base of the ridge. Started up around 3:30am on Saturday and got to the base of the climb around 7:30. Saw previous tracks that came up both the left and right sides of the ridge. Most went lower around the base so we took that path which worked out great. As I was leading up the ice pitch saw a pair coming up behind us. First people we saw that day. A guide and his client we leapfrogged the rest of the route with. As I was belaying up my wife another pair of climbers were getting to the base of the climb, but we never saw them again. We also saw 3 climbers much further down the ridge but never saw them again either rest of the day. Got to the summit around 10:30am. Steep in sections but there was a cruiser bootpath already there. We only had to kick back in part of the path traversing over toward the base of the climb that had melted out quite a bit. On the way back down the Coleman, as expected, people had figured out the end run and the Coleman/Deming route was just fine. Back at the trailhead ran into another group heading up for the North Ridge who had just left a car shuttle at the Easton trailhead to do a carryover because they heard the Coleman was out. Bummer they had to do that. Gear Notes: 60m rope, 3 pickets, 6 screws. Approach Notes: While the snowbridge at the end run was in (where I was standing in the pic above) and is the way across it does look like it could collapse further. And rangers are saying its the worst conditions they have seen in 25 years. Just an FYI to check your route options before you go.
  5. [TR] Mount Cruiser - Southwest Corner 05/26/2019

    Yea, from now on will do that. First time in 10 years had a rope chewed up. Were more concerned about salty stuff and goats. Didn't see any goats though.
  6. Trip: Mount Cruiser - Southwest Corner Trip Date: 05/26/2019 Trip Report: Note that the road was opened by the park service only for Memorial Day weekend and has otherwise been closed for construction. Check ahead of time with NPS about the road access to the trailhead. Mount Cruiser YouTube Video Also, some beta such as on Summit Post says NWFS pass is needed. If you park at the trailhead you need an Olympic Park pass (can pay cash or credit card in the envelopes) if the booth is closed. Could also park on the road outside the park booth and walk in. NFWS pass may be needed at that point? Weather was wonky everywhere this weekend. Olympics had a potential window for Sun/Mon so we changed our plans 4 times before deciding on a 2-day Cruiser trip. Plan was to hike in Sun and camp at Gladys Divide (note a camping permit is needed for either Flapjack Lake or Gladys Divide, they are in the same zone). So we got permit by phone from the Hoodsport WIC on Friday. (view from camp up the approach to Beta and the Needle) 5hrs from trailhead to Gladys Divide and pitched camp around 1pm. A couple guys came down from Beta right about then said the weather in all directions looked great. Originally there were slight chances of thunder starting around then. So since weather was shifting and Monday was looking potentially worse we geared up last minute and decided to make a run for the climb right then at 2pm figuring we would be coming back to camp around dark. (3rd class scramble up Beta from the Needle) Only took us 1:45 from camp to the base of the 4th class scramble up Cruiser. (2nd rap anchor, there's a tree anchor as well a bit further left, a 60m rap will get you to the snow from the tree, we didn't use this one). The 2 gullys were a mix of snow, rock and moats but were navigable. (the "4th class move", just a step down) There were a pair of minimalist climbers ahead of us. Picking out their footprints in the snow in a few places sped up our routefinding of the gullys. So, whoever you two were Thank You. First one with the "4th class move" was easy, finding the 2nd gully would take a bit of poking around if you didn't know where to look, we stayed high on the ridge where the snow topped out, then dropped down the ridge. From there it was a mix of rock scrambling, crossing the snow, and navigating moats to the base of the climb. (navigate down the 1st gully, skirted the moats and then find the next long gully, which was a mix of snow, rock and moat navigation) From there another 2 hours for the first of us to climb the 4th class pitch, up the 3rd class through the cannon hole and then climb the standard route to the summit. That put us there around 6pm. Probably around 8:00 to 8:30 before we had all 4 people back down at the base of the climb and ready to head back. (first view of Cuiser from the top of Beta before dropping down the 1st gully) Another 3 hours to get back to the camp at 11:30pm. With the sun going down we were going back up the 2nd gully in the dark then taking it much slower down the 3rd class scramble of Beta. Did a double rope rap from the tree anchor on Beta which got us a bit down the snow slope. Snow conditions were easy enough to run down the entire slope to camp. Around 19 hours actual moving time car-to-car for the climb with 4 people (with overnight packs). There is a mouse or snaffulhound at Gladys Divide sporting a new neon green nest. Woke up to a shredded rope the next morning. One of the minimalist climbers we met also had a chunk taken out of his climbing glove from a snaffulhound that bit his hand at the top of the 4th class gully scramble rap station. I saw a couple of them running around the climbing route. Gear Notes: ice axe, 60m rope, crampons (not really needed), light rack (.5, a couple microcams, #2 cam, a few slings, cordellete for belay anchor) - brought more pro but didn't use it. Approach Notes: 5hrs trailhead to Gladys Divide, bit of snow starting below the divide, snow covered approach to base of Beta, Beta is snow free, mixed snow/rocks/moats in the gullys but navigable. 4th class scramble and route are snow free. 1:45min from Gladys Divide to base of 4th class pitch.
  7. Trip: Colchuck - Colchuck Peak, DragonTail Peak, Enchantments Trip Date: 05/04/2019 Trip Report: Decided to do a long 1-day solo trip of Colchuck Peak and Dragontail. Last minute decision to exit through the Enchantments. 22 miles, 8000ft gain, 21 hours. Started at 10:30pm on Friday, timed it to get across the slopes to Dragontail before they got much sun. Temps through the night were in the 30s. 5 hours from Bridge Creek to the far end of Colchuck Lake, pretty good snow conditions, minimal postholing with boots. Colchuck glacier was in great shape, easy walk up to the col. Colchuck is melted out more than I've seen before this early. Mix of snow and rock. Gully from the col to Dragontail was in great shape, climbed the rocks to exit to the ridge. Started across towards Dragontail peak around 9:30am. Summit of Dragontail by 10:30am. 12 hours on the dot. Being that early figured I had all day to go through the Enchantments instead of Aasgard Pass. Glissaded down the slope from the base of Dragontail into the Enchantments. Snow was firm and fine for hiking all the way across in boots. 14 hours in was almost to the exit down to Snow Lake. Took 6 hours to finish the exit out to the Snow Lake trailhead. Posthole hell. Figured that would be a popular enough route there would be some kind of bootpath kicked in to follow out. Nope. Only saw 3 people camped at Colchuck Lake on my way in, didn't see anyone else till coming across a couple pair of skiers on their way up from Snow Lake. And a big thank you to the awesome couple from Canada who I hitched a ride from for the 3.5 mile ride back to my truck at the end of the day as the sun was setting, I was nodding off and I lost the last bit of cell service. Gear Notes: ice axe, ice tool, crampons Approach Notes: Gate closed, started at Bridge Creek Campground. Road is snow free till trailhead, mixed snow and trail till branch to Colchuck lake then snow. Was fine with boots, minimal postholing.
  8. South Early Winter Spire - Southwest Couloir

    I climbed it yesterday (4/30). Chockstone is easily walked around. About halfway up the upper part of the gulley is a short rocky/icy step, then a fair amount of mixed snow/ice/rock. But there was enough coverage all the rocks were staying in place. There was a fresh covering of snow from the day before. See video
  9. [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 06/24/2018

    Dad was in training for an unnamed peak in Pakistan. Good people. We do wish them well. As for getting down the DC route in the afternoon. Yea, we were crossing our fingers on the rock fall areas. Just posted a video with bits and pieces of the route. At about 3:40 you can see what the worst rock fall area looks like in the afternoon, it all looked pretty fresh. Kautz route video
  10. [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 06/24/2018

    Yea, we passed a few other bivvy sites from the 10,800 camp, the big rock rings were all open and better for setting up the tarp and had a bigger windbreak. We had expected ~15mph winds overnight but lucked out with none at all. Its just a few minutes walk to the fixed lines and turned out to be easy to find just following the climbers path. Didn't have any issues getting down in the dark.
  11. Trip: Mount Rainier - Kautz Trip Date: 06/24/2018 Trip Report: 2-day Carryover on the Kautz to the DC Cleaver. We started out gathering as much beta as possible but still had some gaps such as where exactly to find the fixed lines. Turns out one blog had it at the wrong elevation and no others described exactly where to find it. Some beta mentioned people retreating the ice steps because they found no viable way to the summit in the week before. Finally found someone who had a gps track from a guide who did it the week before so as long as weather cooperated we were good to go. The biggest planning challenge was getting our normal 45lb overnight glacier packs down to 35lbs. After buying new BD Speed 40 packs and our new hyperlight tarp shell, aluminum ice screws and a new light 60m rope, along with cutting all the creature comforts we got our pack weights where we wanted for a carryover. Drove to Longmire on Friday to pickup our permit early and stayed in Ashford. On Sat morning we were on the trail by 7am in overcast light drizzle which soon burned off. Weather showed we had a tight window between then and Sunday evening when a cold front and high winds were to move in. 7 hours later after crossing the Nisqually, going up the Fan arrived at 2pm at the lower Camp Hazard at 10,800 and found ourselves the only ones up there with the nice rock rings to ourselves. Soon after another pair, dad & daughter, joined us. Not bad only 5 people and 2 parties for the route the next morning. The Dad had tried it the same weekend before and recounted not getting any further than this point after having been blown out by 50mph winds. But at least he knew where to find the fixed lines. From the 10,800 rock rings just walk about 450ft up the scree where a climbers trail takes you right to them. He was an ice climber who lived in Ouray so we figured living at altitude and being a hard core ice climber with a party of 2 they would be fast. We discussed leaving times, we said we would be up at 1:30 and leaving hopefully by 2:30. They were planning on getting up at 3am, but they wanted to get through the climb first and asked if they could go ahead of us. No problem we said. Knowing the route was a wide chute and could accommodate multiple parties at the same time anyway. But he seemed to be thinking it was a standard ice route with only one way up. So we get up at 1:30 and are moving at 2:30 with Dad & Daughter not quite ready yet, but they catch up to us a few hundred feet later at the rock step and we let them go first since they wanted to downclimb it. Dad was making comments to himself and Daughter about how you don’t ice climb in the dark. Well, Dad, nobody made you getup early, you changed your start time to be in front of us And we had no plans to climb the ice in the dark either. Figured they would be a bit with him coaching his daughter down we just set up our rope to rap down as we padded our start time to accommodate taking time find and rapping the rock step in the dark. Which was a good idea since it wasn’t a rock scramble it was a big chuck of ice. And turns out one of the 2 handlines just drops into a free hanging drop down to a steep ice slope you have to climb back up. The rock step down, we climbed up and out to find the traverse. It was still pretty dark, just able to make out features in the distance by a hint of moonlight. But we could see Dad and Daughter who had charged straight up into a rock band with a seracs above them. All we could see was Dads headlamp flashing all over the place, as Daughters headlamp looked at him, back at us, back to him, back to us, back to him, back to us. Well, guess Dad didn’t read the route description or he was looking to put up a new route. So we continued traversing far left around the seracs to the base of the first ice step. It was easy enough climbing we wound up just soloing through it. By now we were just getting enough light to turn off headlamps and had timed it just right. Apparently Dad finally downclimbed from the rock band and followed us around to the ice step. After we soloed the first step I look over and here comes Dad with an ice axe in one hand a ski pole in the other pulling Daughter up behind him. As Daughter passes with her hand wrapped around the base of her ski pole trying to get a good stick in the ice with the tip and her ice axe flopped sideways she yells “Dad – I’m not as comfortable on the technical stuff as you – slow down”. Dad yells back “This is not technical”. And off they went. Now that we had the route to ourselves we set up our plan which was to get Philip credit for an intermediate ice climb splitting it into a multi-pitch with a lead swap. So I setup a picket anchor, and with our single 60m rope split it in half. Philip lead up the 30m placing some pro and building an ice screw and picket anchor then belayed us up. From there we figured it would take at least 2 or maybe 3 more short pitches like that so we opted to switch to simul climbing for the rest of it. I took off with the rest of the pickets and ice screws and placed a couple pickets, then a few screws and finally topped out at the 12,000ft mark placing the final picket. From there we soon were in the sun and it wasn’t too difficult route finding working our way around crevasses. Up to Wapowety Cleaver at 13,100, then up to the left around the seracs which put us out on the side of the Saddle at 14,000 then to the summit rim at 14,400 about 11:30am. By now only skiers were hanging out on the crater rim waiting for snow to soften up on the Emmons. All the climbers had long left the summit to get down before things starting softening up and potential rockfall and slides. So we had the DC Cleaver route all to ourselves as well. Snow was getting soft on the way down and there were some rock fall areas that had a lot of recent slide and rock through them throughout the day that we moved through quickly. Made it back to Paradise just an hour and a half past our estimate (which was pretty much a wash because we had stopped to relax at Camp Muir for almost an hour). Kautz-6-24-2018.gpx Gear Notes: single 60m 7.5 rope, standard glacier gear, 1 technical tool (bd venom) and 1 ice tool each, 6 screws (only used 4), 4 pickets. Approach Notes: Easy crossing of the Nisqually, up the Fan, running water at the Upper Castle. Also found a trickle of running water a couple hundred feet up from 10,800 Camp Hazard. The Rock Step is covered in block of ice. 1st Ice Step is more of a walk up, 2nd Ice Step had a good pitch of ice that we used a few screws on.
  12. Kautz Conditions?

    I've got a track from our climb of the Kautz yesterday. Not sure if you were up there. We did see a party of 3 below us when we were up above the ice steps. Kautz-6-24-2018.gpx
  13. [TR] Mount Redoubt - South Face 8/5/2017

    Thanks, that was a fun weekend that kept us on our toes.
  14. Trip: Mount Redoubt - South Face Date: 8/5/2017 Trip Report: Mt Redoubt - 8/3 - 8/6 The 4 of us were planning on Redoubt and Easy Mox initially. With the smoke from the forest fires and heat wave we shortened up the trip to just do Redoubt. Being our 2nd trip into the area we knew the drill getting up there. All the trip beta regarding crossing the border talks about just "sneaking" in and not dealing with getting permits. This time I decided to just check and see what was involved ahead of time instead of going by all the years of trip reports with varying degrees of "don't ask/don't tell". After calling the Seattle border patrol field office and leaving a message I never got a call back. Later I called the Peach Arch border patrol office and got a lady in the billing department who transferred me to some young sounding guy who was an agent. The agent had no clue how to deal with a trail border crossing and transferred me to a supervisor. This older guy didn't seem to care or really know. I think he was just winging his answer. He said nobody would bother some hikers and when crossing the border at a trail all you have to do is check into the nearest official border crossing. Since this was an out and back and we were already doing an official border crossing he said at most we could just declare that we had crossed on our way back home. This doesn't exactly match up with the sign on the trail register at the border that says you need to get permission first. I'll just leave it at that. Instead of a 4-day trip hiking in the heat of the day we shortened up the trip to car camp on Day 1 at the trailhead and get an early start on Day 2. This worked out great. No need to take an extra day off to drive up to Sedro Wooley to get the permit. We got the camping permit on the drive up on Day 1 leaving Seattle around 1:30pm. Got across the border at Sumas and had an early dinner at TractorGrease (highly recommended, live music and great food). Knowing how bad the road all the way to the end of the "drivable" road was from last trip and having a Toyota FJ decided to drive all the way to the end of the road this time which was an adventure but it handled the rocky road all the way and saved us an extra mile. Up at 4:30am on Day 2 and hiking by 5:30. It took us 7.5 hours to get to Lake Ouzel. It was pretty straight forward other than running across a bear just over the border. And members of the party getting stung by hornets on occasion. And losing the trail a couple times. And going a bit too high in the slide alder just before final push up to the lake. Had plenty of time to relax for the rest of the day. Saw a party of 2 from Canada come in at evening who were heading off to Spickard or Silver Lake and didn't see them again. Up at 4:30am on Day 3 and hiking by 5:30 again for our summit day. Walked over to the river crossing from camp and it was looking pretty high water and not easy to cross without wading. So we walked around the lake instead which added about a half hour to the day crossing a few smaller streams along the way. Navigated up the slabs easily and to the base of the Redoubt glacier. Roped up and pretty much when straight up. I recall beta saying its just got lots of small cracks, not heavily crevassed. Not sure if they all missed the gaping cavern of a crevasse we passed that looked to be about a hundred feet deep. Straight across the glacier to the low notch. This was a straight forward few moves up and over. Back on snow again and we passed the first snow gulley and headed to the next one. It had taken us maybe 4 hours to get this far. From here things got steeper and slower. 1300ft up and all steep snow and loose rock. After some easy rock scrambling and the first short gulley got on a snow finger that took us three quarters of the way up. Here one of our party tapped out being uncomfortable with the steep snow and we were okay leaving them to enjoy the day on the rocks to the side of the snow finger till our return which was a good idea as it only got steeper and harder. A few hundred more feet up we hit the crux of the day. The gulley narrowed and the snow finger had melted out a moat on both sides with top being just a couple inches across of soft snow which couldn't be crossed. I dropped into the left side of the moat and went up a bit. It was about 8ft high and overhung a bit with no good features on the rock and snow too soft to hold an ice pick. Wasn't able easily even get off the ground. Got out of the left moat and went over to the right moat which was about 8ft high as well but just couple feet wide with some nice features on the rock. Was able to chimney against the rock kicking foot holds into the snow and pushing up to the lip. The snow was soft enough on top to get the full shaft of the axe in for a self belay to haul up on and regain the snow finger where it got wider. Got all 3 of up that with some coaching and encouragement. We'd figure out how to get down it later. From there another 100ft up to the last bit of snow patch and dropped our ice gear. We figured out the gulleys and ramps from the beta pretty well and made our way up to the rap station with the cannon hole in sight. One person led up just clipping the cannon hole slings and placing 2 cams and made short work of the rock pitch in about 5 minutes. All 3 of us were on the summit within 7 hours of starting. Spent about 20 minutes on the summit then started down doing 3 rappels which got us down all the hardest of the scrambly bits and made our way back to the last patch of snow. From here we had to figure out how to best get down the moat. We figured the distance was probably reachable from here with a twin 37m rappel. Not wanting to leave gear the last snow patch made a perfect bollard using some rocks to pad the edges to not get the rope stuck. And it worked perfectly, our first member down reached the bottom of the larger left side moat with about a foot of rope to spare. Got everyone down and pulled the ropes. Here is where our big time suck happened that took us from a possible 13 hour climb day to a 16 hour climb day. The steep snow was soft on the top to the point it wasn't soft enough for plunge stepping but soft enough it would just clog up the crampons and you would slide out. I slowly side stepped down but the others were too uncomfortable with that and decided to setup another rappel off another snow bollard. This added a considerable amount of time and since they didn't get the edges padded they got the rope stuck and probably spent an hour just getting down one short pitch that could have been slowly downclimbed face in faster. Once we got everyone off the steep snow a couple were uncomfortable with the steep loose rock scrambling which took considerable amount of time. We had left the summit around 1:30pm and didn't get off the base of the steep section till around 6:30pm. Once down we went as fast as possible and got off the slabs at the lake around 9pm just as it got dark and had to turn headlamps on. Back to the tents by 9:30 making it a 16 hour round trip from camp. Day 4 we slept in and left camp around 8:30am and took 6 hours to get back to the cars. Met another party of 3 at the waterfall coming up to do all the peaks in a 5 day outing. Back at the truck made the descent down the rocky road and passed a few cars a mile or so later. And just some ways before the exit of that branch of road up comes a middle aged guy in a beater atv smoking a cigarette and wearing a white t-shirt and motorcycle helmet driving up toward the trailhead. He looked annoyed he had to get off the road to let us by. Not sure what he was going up there for. Nothing that way except for other climbers cars and a long trail to the border. In the end a successful trip with 3 of 4 of the party reaching the summit. All 4 making it out safe and sound. The smoke from the forest fires made for a surreal effect and helped keep the temperature down from the heat wave that was predicted. Bugs were pretty annoying all along the hike but not bad at camp and only 4 or 5 hornet stings between us. Gear Notes: 2 small cams and a couple slings. Approach Notes: Only issue was with a section of snow finger that had melted out to the point of having to climb into and back out of a moat.
  15. 7/1/16-7/4/16 4 day 4th of July trip to Spickard and Redoubt. Turned into a 3-day trip with just Spickard. I've read that you can get a permit by just calling in the day before to the Marblemount Ranger Station. And the trail register when you get to the trailhead start at the US border says the same. But when I called the day before they said we had to show up in person at Sedro Woolley to get the permit. So I wound up taking off early on Thur before the trip and driving there to get the permit. The rangers at Sedro Woolley didn't know what I was talking about and had to call somewhere else. Finally, someone somewhere else put a permit into the system and they printed it out. Everyone else we've been hearing from who've done Spickard and Redoubt haven't even bothered with permits. Since you are driving into Canada then hiking back across the border into the US you are supposed to get permission from customs (you don't find that out till you have actually hiked an hour or so into the climb to the US border crossing). The rangers didn't care that we were crossing back into the US and didn't say anything about getting customs permission. Wouldn't surprise me if nobody has ever bothered to do so. Weather forecast was looking marginal as we met at the park and ride at 5:30am and we considered if we should cancel or not. Decided to make a go at it as we thought we would have a 50/50 chance at good weather. Took us 5 hours (with a 20min border crossing stop, a Subway stop and gas stop) to get parked at the trailhead. We stopped at the main parking spot where the road splits off and there is just enough room to turn around and park 2 vehicles as one couldn't make it up the rest of the way that requires a high clearance vehicle. Good thing too as there was a fallen tree across the trail halfway to the end of the drivable road and another party of 2 ahead of us parked on the side of the road up there. When we returned though a road crew had come through and cut through the downed tree so you can make it now all the way to the end of the drivable road. With all the branches hanging over that last stretch of road I'm going to have to get the scratches buffed out. Starting off we had a slight bit of rain but that didn't last long. We also went a little too far down the trail and wound up doing some bushwhacking to get uphill about 150ft to the main trail. There a couple paths up from the trail you first start hiking in on to get to the overgrown old road trail. If you see some pink flagging take that path, or there's another path further up in a flat rocky area of the trail you might spot a tiny cairn, take a left there and bushwhack a bit to hit a trail going uphill that intersects the upper trail. If you are on an old abandoned road that's a bit overgrown heading toward the US border you are on the right track. Old beta we read said something about the trail on the US side being much better. Not so anymore. Once you get to the US side it doesn't look like there's been any trail maintenance done in years. From the trail register and the summit register on Spickard we only saw one other party of 2 that had signed anything since Sept last year. That explained how much the overgrowth had come in and the bushwhacking that was to follow. Lots of blowdowns to navigate over, under and around and you have to keep picking up the trail, easy to lose it in places. Also the trail was pretty overgrown in places requiring full body bushwhacking to plow through. And usually involved nettles and devils club. We looked like we had been through a catfight by the end and stinging from head to toe. Crossing the first creek involved walking along a branch over the water then getting up the waterfall was pretty straightforward, the rope handline and anchor looked in good shape, a rain shell or poncho helps keep you dry from the spray. On the descent we did setup a rappel considering how slick the rock was. The rest of the route was pretty straightforward. Once you get to the final approach to the lake you can take a couple paths. Either hug the creek and go up the boulders or another path can take you higher up which involves a lot more bushwhacking. Take the lower path, but either will get you there. It took us 9 hours from car to camp. We decided to sleep in and do the easier Spickard the next morning. Got rolling around 9am the next morning and took the late season route up a snow field and traversed over and up the other side. The soft snow took some work kicking steps all the way up but it's a straight forward walk up. Took a lunch break at the top of the snowfields before popping over the col. One of the party got pretty excited seeing a large wolf pack running around the slopes below us - sorry man, those are just goats. Traversed over the other side to the final snowfield and went up, then had to move further right to the top right of the snowfield to gain the rock for the scramble. We had taken up a rope, pickets and some light gear after reading about parties setting up a handline for an exposed section. We never found any need or place for a handline, it was a straight up easy rock scramble to the summit. If the snow was hard and arresting would be difficult pickets may help in a couple spots where its steeper, but except for the very last section of the last snowfield before the rocks the runout was safe. We didn't use any and didn't rope up. There were a few places on the way up with running water including up the final summit blocks if you need to refill. After returning to camp we decided to get up at 4:30am for a 6am start for Redoubt. But when we got up it was raining, windy and socked in. Slept in a couple more hours and the rain had stopped but the summits were still socked in and pretty windy so we decided to break camp and get out a day early. We figured the return trip would go faster but it still took us 8.5 hours out. We made better time in the flats but the bushwhacking, blowdowns and setting up a rappel down the wet rock at the falls took some time. Took us only 4 hours return trip home (1 stop for dinner and no wait at the border crossing). The 'day use only' marked road is still pothole hell. FYI - the locals were driving on the theory that if you go fast enough you will float above the potholes. One caught some air on a pothole passing one of our vehicles and landed off the road close to the dropoff into the lake. On the way out hit the TractorGrease, the first restaurant you run into on the lake road out coming out. Awesome food, even if we hadn't spent 3 days in the alpine. Highly recommended.
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