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Ian Lauder

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Ian Lauder last won the day on July 27

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About Ian Lauder

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  • Birthday 08/31/1966

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    Washington
  1. [TR] Mount Challenger - Standard Route 07/25/2020

    Thanks. I think since we had never done it and only read about how bad the bushwhacking can be we figured we could push through it both ways. If we had done it once before as an exit I'm sure we never would have done it this way. We have no intention of ever setting foot on Eiley Wiley ridge again. As fun and scenic as the rest of the ridge was. If anyone ever winds up there keep an eye out for a perl and gold earring Rodica lost somewhere in the brush. There's also bits and pieces of skin on the branches.
  2. [TR] Mount Buckner - North Face 07/19/2020

    Right on. That's pretty much how we felt climbing through it and how we did it. Although with just a little more coverage thru that spot.
  3. Trip: Mount Challenger - via Eiley Wiley Ridge Trip Date: 07/25/2020 Trip Report: YouTube Video (so the video does have a couple clips out of sequence in the rock climb section and it ended abruptly due to all the GoPro batteries and chargers having run dry at the last clip). Hot off the NF of Buckner and barely recovered we had a weather window for Mount Challenger but only for a 4-day trip. Our full Pickets traverse we have had planned the last couple seasons keeps either getting weathered out or life gets in the way. So, to do it in 4 days we planned on doing it from the Big Beaver trailhead with a boat shuttle then via the Eiley Wiley Ridge knowing that this was also going to be the harder approach option. Day 1 - Thursday Got to the Marblemount ranger station at 6:30am to get permits which was good timing, the crowds showed up shortly after. Picked up the boat shuttle which dropped us off at the Big Beaver trailhead saving an extra 7-mile walk from the Ross Lake parking lot. From there an uneventful 13 mile and 3000ft gain hike to the Big Beaver campground. In bed around 8pm for an early start. Day 2 – Friday This was going to be the hard day. Up around 3:30am and a leisurely 5am start. We knew from beta to expect some awful bushwhacking to gain the ridge. While we did pickup the odd climbers trail in key places throughout the trip where anyone who goes through the ridge seems to funnel through the same few spots there always peter out shortly and you are left to your own navigation for 95% of the ridge. So, we started out full-on dense brush bushwhacking from camp and I think we picked more or less a fairly good line. But as you get higher there seems to be no way around hand over fist veggie belay climbing and bushwhacking through about 500ft worth of the 2000ft gain. Its all steep and virtually no sign of any climbers’ trails till you hit the very top. That took about 2+ hours and our clothes were full of pine needles inside and out. From there we spent another 6 hours getting across to the end of the ridge which was about 3 more miles after the 2 miles of bushwhacking. Mainly because we kept a middle line across the ridge until getting close to Eiley Lake. From there it looked like you could gain the ridge and do a high traverse over a large wide ridge. The topo map showed a relatively flat and wide ridge as well with only a single contour line and large bump. So, we gained that ridge only to find it ended in about 200ft cliff and wide chasm that was more than a few contour lines deep that did not show on the topo map. But from there looking back could spot what looked like a gulley down to the lake. That gulley was very steep, loose dirt/scree/boulders but it got us down to Eiley Lake. We blew a couple extra hours here. Had to exit that basin then took a line around another slope heading towards Wiley Lake. Once we popped over the boulder field looking down at Wiley Lake and across to the last half-mile of where we wanted to be it was getting late and very windy and the rest of the approach to our planned camp was in a whiteout so we found a small sheltered ledge in the boulder field with a great view of Luna Peak and setup camp. The weather was supposed to be clearing by late evening but had gotten worse. By the time we had camp setup and ready to turn in the clouds started lifting enough we could get some views of Mount Challenger in the distance. Day 3 – Saturday Another 3:30am wakeup call to calm weather and blue skies just as forecast. We figured we had a shot at it if the route was in. Dropped down the boulder field and up the knoll on the other side of Wiley Lake and started to decide our options for getting around Big Beaver Peak. The right-hand side was supposed to be a horrible traverse, so we ruled that out. The topo showed that a notch just to the left of the peak may be doable, but we did not want to get suckered into another cliff. Poking around the top of the knoll we spotted a heather gulley that looked like a wider and longer version of the descent gulley getting to Eldorado so we headed down that which was about 1000ft loss taking us down a large snow field and around the buttress to the base of the Challenger Arm. The route looked like a straightforward walkup, but the summit block and bergschrund are hidden from view, so we roped up and headed up. No issues all the way and the bergschrund had not started to open. Once we got close to the summit rocks there was a steep snow slope with a large moat. We had beta that showed you could scramble the first set of rocks or go around them. So, we split the difference and scrambled up a bit to clear the first part of the moat and then dropped back down into the moat and traversed around and found the base of the rock climb. The 5.7 rock climb was straight forward. We’ve read reports pegging this move at between 5.5 and 5.7. After doing it I think the rating depends on how long your arms are. Only 50ft long and 4 rusty pitons. And brought a .5 cam to backup the crux move. Past that the rap slings are a couple easy moves up and another 30-foot scramble to the summit block which we belayed and set a handline. The 40m rope was long enough for the rappel with just a few feet to spare. Easy scramble and walk back down from there then the 1000ft slog back up the gulley and back to camp. We wanted to get back down to the Big Beaver camp before dark so we took a more straight forward line back which still was a lot of mini-navigation stops and a lot of little meandering through the terrain and a bit of solid bushwhacking through the trees in a couple places. Camp is about halfway up the right side of the boulder field in the pic above of Wiley Lake. Tucked into a little ledge looking out at Luna Peak. We did not hit the ledges at the far end of the ridge till about 9pm and there was no way we wanted to navigate the descent in the dark. So, we pitched camp on a snow patch at the ledges. Day 4 – Sunday Another early start and picked up the bit of climbers trail at the very top of the Eiley Wiley Ridge. There were climbers trails heading both left and right here so we went right and that trail stopped in about 40 feet. We then checked the left trail and figured we had found something that we missed on the way up. It probably descended a couple hundred feet as it got fainter and fainter till it stopped at a cliff. And then began the hand over fist veggie belay bushwhacking and tree climbing again. Having to move back left, up 100ft over a rock band, more bushwhacking and side hilling for maybe a tenth of a mile. Eventually we were able to start moving back down and found lines that keep us more or less moving straight back towards the Big Beaver camp doing our best to navigate around fields of devils club. Still took just as long to descend as it did to go up. Once down took some navigation and finally realizing that the GPS was not matching up with what was on the topo map. Turns out the GPS was putting us accurately on the map but the trail and shelter locations on the topo maps are not correct. Our GPS was showing us on one side of the trail then the other in multiple places we checked where we took long hikes in both directions crisscrossing where the trail was on the map. We finally gave up trying to pinpoint the trail by GPS and topo and found the large stream we knew intersected the trail and passed by the Big Beaver camp and followed the stream back uphill. Turned out the GPS and topo had us going in the opposite direction. So, word of caution, have your navigation skills through dense brush where you cannot see any reference points down and you can only see 50 feet in any direction. The 2nd topo screenshot below shows where we were looking for the trail and stream crossing and where they are actually located. Once we got back to the Big Beaver Camp, we had to calculate how fast we had to move to make the boat pickup. So, for 13 miles out with short water/snack breaks we had to do about a 3mph pace with the heat going up to at least 80 to make the boat. At one-point Rodica thought she was hallucinating seeing things jumping all over the trail. I looked down and at first glance though we were standing in a swarm of spiders. Looking closer the trail for about 100ft was full of tiny frogs jumping all over the place. We made it at 3pm on the dot in 5 hours. Thankfully, the boat was about a half hour late so we could soak in the lake for a while. With all the camera and phone batteries dead by Day 4 didn't have any more pics or video. It was just a mad dash to the finish line. Overall, some of the most rugged, remote, and scenic wilderness we have been though. Awesome trip at times brutal and almost demoralizing gaining and descending the Eiley Wiley Ridge (and we had a high bar already for horrid bushwhacking). Even with a lot of preplanning, gathering beta on the ridge and getting some tracks from others it was a lot of navigation work and on-the-fly decision making doing the ridge approach. ~11,000ft gain and 46 miles over 4 days. Gear Notes: 4 alpine draws, .5 cam, 40m rope, basic glacier gear Approach Notes: The climb itself was easy. The bulk of the work and trip report are on the Eiley Wiley Ridge approach.
  4. [TR] Mount Buckner - North Face 07/19/2020

    We were out the last 4 days so might be too late to have responded to this. I think our temps were mid 30s in the morning and went up to the 60s on our way down with a lot of sun exposure since it was a blue sky day. The lower route was in shade and was in good condition, the upper slopes were just starting to soften up to the point bootsteps were getting sloppy at the very top by 10:30am. If you made it up there how was that constriction point where you have to transition to rock?
  5. [TR] Mount Buckner - North Face 07/19/2020

    I wasn't taking it as a critique, just explaining how we did the route deciding on more simulclimbing to speed it up. Lots of ways it can be done.
  6. [TR] Mount Buckner - North Face 07/19/2020

    Its only 4 pickets for about a 1300ft of climbing. Simulclimbing with 1 picket in at any time between us on a 37m rope, with some simulclimbing at the beginning and end. Did the whole thing in 4 pitches. Not much in the way of any other kind of pro (rock or ice screws) so pickets were the only way to protect it. Which I think only 1 picket at a time if you really think about it you might as well just be soloing it since the snow was on the softer side. But it was nice to have a couple pieces in around the constriction point having to move onto the loose and wet rock section.
  7. Trip: Mount Buckner - North Face Trip Date: 07/19/2020 Trip Report: The North Face of Buckner has eluded us the last couple seasons getting weathered out every time we planned it. Last year hunkering down in a whiteout at the Boston/Sahale Col overnight hoping for a break in the weather that didn’t happen. YouTube Video This weekend everything came together with a clear weather, not too high of temps and the route conditions appeared promising. Although we didn’t know what the route itself was going to be like we had seen a photo of the Boston Glacier from the summit of Bucker from the weekend before which made the transition to the glacier look easy (from a distance). I drove up to Marblemount on Friday to pickup a Boston Glacier permit not wanting to wait in a long line on Sat morning which worked out. Still arriving at 2:30pm there were 9 parties waiting for the 1 ranger helping with permits and the first 2 parties took at least 20 minutes each apparently doing their vacation planning at the permit window. Around 3:30 with about 6 parties ahead of me a ranger came out to announce they were closing in 30 minutes and they wouldn’t get to everyone and some would have to come back in the morning. No way I’m driving 6 hours on Friday for nothing. Then a ranger came out and gave a guy on the side his permit who was behind me. Then they had a couple extra rangers come out last minute to expedite things and got our Boston Glacier permit just before they closed. Back home and finished packing and a 3:30am wakeup Sat morning for the drive back to the Boston Basin trailhead and was able to get one of the last parking spots and were on the trail by 7:15am. About 5.5 hours up to the Boston/Sahale Col and met up with another party of two doing the same route. Lunch break on the col which is the furthest we had ever been on either of the Buckner routes. Scrambled over to the base of Boston Peak which is a very exposed thin ridge with steep drops on both sides and a lot of loose rock. Found a nice flat rock and took a long nap looking at the route and views for a while. Once we got around the corner saw that the Boston Glacier snow came all the way up and it was as expected, an easy walk onto the glacier and down to where we would setup camp. No sketchy downclimb transition. The other party kept going and dropped further down towards the rocks closer to the base of the climb. All of us had gotten up around 3:30am and took our time getting ready. By 5am we had camp packed. For us was more of a 1 mile walk staying high and closer to the ridge navigating around some big crevasses while the other party had about a 1000ft gain up to the base from below and we all converged about the same time. Rodica lead off doing the lower portion of the route. We stuck close to the rocks on the right-hand side and weaved around some bergschrunds at the start and had to step over one starting to form. Once we approached the middle of the climb the other party took the lead and I took our lead through the middle sections. It was mostly steep snow from that point placing 1 picket between us until it constricted to the point, we had to transition right over some rocks which was loose, wet, muddy, kitty litter but not terribly hard. Not much in the way of rock pro but I did find a spot for one cam before moving into the rocks. Above the rocks it was a snow traverse back left where I brought Rodica up and I was able to make a marginal rock anchor. North Face route has a lot of bergshrunds opening up but were able to zigzag around them at the start and step across one starting to open up. Left side variation may be the way to go within a week. There is no continuous snow from bottom to top. It narrows to a constriction near the top and requires a transition across some rock. Loose, wet, muddy, kitty litter rock with little to no pro. Possible variation to the left but not sure how easy that rock scramble would be that would put you onto the upper slope a bit further down. Once above the constriction move left over the edge and its the last 300ft of steep snow straight to the summit. From here it was maybe another 300ft to the summit and Rodica took lead following the other pair and it was just a long steep snow slope up to the summit. It took about 4.5 hours for the climb itself which put us there around 10:30 and we took a long break on the summit. On the way down we had considered doing Horseshoe but we took too long a break and with the other party doing it ahead of us figured that would put us home past midnight so we opted to head back which was around noon by then. By 2:30 we were partway up the route back to Sahale camp and at the rock scramble portion of the way back up. Since we had never been here before we got a little off track where the obvious footpath stops. We had looked right and just saw a steep cliff with a narrow couple foot path but that didn’t look traveled (it turned out the route is a rock scramble straight up from that point and the patch gets lost in the rocks). We saw a lot of boot prints and well-traveled trail going left so we followed that well around the corner the other way which also petered out at rocks. So, we figured it was a rock scramble up. But where we went up started turning into 4th/5th class rock climbing and we wound up stuck at someone else’s bailout slings. So instead of exploring with full packs and hot and exhausted we decided to rappel down and backtrack to that first cliff and ledge. After some poking around we found the rock scramble up and on the path. That pretty much blew the couple hours we saved by not doing Horseshoe peak. In hindsight now looking at our gps tracks where we blew our time doing the 4th/low 5th climbing and bailing back down at the bailing slings if we had continued up climbing another 40 to 60 feet would have reconnected with the route. After that it was just a long straight forward slog back to the Sahale camp, down Sahale Arm to Cascade Pass back to the parking lot then down the road to the car by 9pm. Of course, everything was closed on the way out, so it was dinner at Taco Bell pushing midnight on the way home in Marysville. Gear Notes: 4 pickets, 2 screws (didn't use), light alpine rack (4 cams, 6 nuts) - only used a small cam a couple times. Approach Notes: Transition onto Boston Glacier is in great shape, easy walk onto the glacier from the ledge leading to the base of the Boston Peak summit block. Kept a high line from camp as near to the ridge line as possible skirting the large crevasses nearing the route.
  8. [TR] Mount Formidable - South Route 07/05/2020

    Thanks. The lower cornice wasn't an issue as we went all the way to the top then dropped down next to the rock. Shown here on our return you can see the tracks heading up close to the rocks on the left. At that point it was just a steep slope down without any cornice.
  9. [TR] Mount Formidable - South Route 07/05/2020

    This is the best I got through the clouds. Tim, Albert or Sean may have gotten something clearer if you check with them.
  10. [TR] Mount Formidable - South Route 07/05/2020

    Thanks, after a few months of lockdown and easy outings it felt good to get out and get this one. None of us had done the route before but we figured the snow coverage made some parts of getting there and some parts of the route easier but also made other parts that would be the easy parts the hardest parts.
  11. Trip: Mount Formidable - South Route Trip Date: 07/05/2020 Trip Report: YouTube video (FYI - mistyped the date in the video splash screen - its July 4-6, not June) We had a Fri-Sun trip planned but switched to Sat-Mon due to the weather. Good call as one day either way would have been a no-go. We lucked out with the one day with sunny and calm weather for the summit day. Overall it was about 26 miles and pushing 10,000ft gain for the whole thing car to car. About 7 hours to camp, 19 hours for the climb day and 6 hours hike out. The climb day broke down to about 2.5 hours from camp to the col looking at Formidable. 5 hours col to summit, 8 hours summit to col (extra time due to an additional handline, softer snow coming down and rappels for 5 people), 3.5 hours col to camp. 5 of us took off from the gate 2 miles back from the Cascade Pass trailhead adding an extra 4 miles and 1000ft gain to the trip starting around 8:30am. From Cascade Pass 99% of the rest of the trip was on snow with only an occasional bit of trail or rock islands to cross. Steep snow with bad runout in places along the way to Cache Glacier but not bad. There is a huge cornice forming across the entire width of Cache Col. That will not be pretty when it collapses. We had to hit it on the far right and traverse under the cornice to the rocks on the other side and a loose scree/rock scramble up to the top of the col. From there its an easy snow walk to Kool-aid lake which is still under feet of snow. But the water is running at the stream there. The traverse around to Red Ledges is also an easy snow walk the entire way. The Red Ledges were a bit tricky. Getting onto them is straightforward traversing on steep snow but the last bit is a runout over the moat. Around the corner out of sight was another steep now patch about 20ft across covering the ledge with runout into the chasm that had to be side traversed. Then a steep snow climb out of the ledges, again with runout into the chasm. Everyone soloed it okay but its 3 no-fall steep snow sections to get through the ledges. We setup camp just around the corner near Arts Knoll and turned in early. 3:30am wakeup and walking around 4:45. We woke up to clear blue sky and calm weather. Made quick work of the Cascade Glacier, down Formidable/Spider col and across the basin to the final col in just over 2 hours. The drop from there was on a steep snow finger that was easy to get down. From there a walk across and backup to the rock ledge where we found a couple different paths to scramble up the ledges to the next snowfield. From there we went up to where the ledges scramble option starts but looking at our options figured there were too many snow patches on the ledges but it looked like snow went all the way up the chasm. So we decided to go straight up the middle of the chasm hoping to intersect the 4th class step across the chasm. Halfway up we hit a moat starting to form but was still enough left we were able to get around it and all the way to where we could step onto the other side of the chasm. The ledges had a layer of snow and ice but was easy to get into and made it to the cairn. From there the next trick was getting across the face which was mostly steep snow. We started going up about 40ft before starting to traverse over. (Photo of Albert, Rodica and I by Tim) One person was far enough out they soloed across to the rock island. The rest of us decided to run a handline so we got one anchored to rocks on both ends tying our twin 37m ropes together. Once across the first half we had a 2nd snow slope to get the rest of the way over so we repeated with a 2nd handline between two rock islands. The snow was firm enough on the way across we sped it up having more than one go across the handline at the same time. On the return trip with softer snow things slowed down when we only sent one person at a time across the handlines. Once over we had the last 300ft most of which was another steep snow slope which was starting to soften up. (Photo of Sean, myself, Rodica and Albert coming up the last 250ft snowfield from the base of the traverse to just below the summit block by Tim). We were able to all solo up and then the last 50 feet or so to the summit block was mixed snow and loose rock. On the way down we scrambled the rocks about half way down till we found a horn that seemed like it would hold a handline and backed it up with a cam and dropped down the rope as a handline for everyone to prussic down to the start of the traverse. Last person cleaned the gear and downclimbed with a couple pickets left in to protect the last person down. To get across the face we repeated the 2 handlines to the cairn at the top of the chasm. With the softer snow on the way back only one at a time went a cross each handline. That and dropping a line to prussic down part of the upper snowfield from the summit block and the rappel added a few extra hours to the trip down. Here we couldn’t find any rappel slings from other videos we’ve seen. Maybe they were still buried under the snow. So we tied 3 cordelletes together and slung the giant block the cairn is sitting on as a backup to rappel slings put around 2 smaller boulders. We rappelled off the smaller boulders with the backup in place in case they moved. The last person down retrieved the cordelletes and just left a sling behind. So, if anyone ever sees that sling wondering if someone rapped off the small boulders – it was backed up for the first 4 people. That rappel put us down past the moat forming in the middle. And had to jump across the side moat to get back onto the snow. From there a short face in downclimb and then back to the scramble down the ledges. By the time we hit Formidable/Spider col the sun was going down and headlamps came out. One person had a headlamp bulb go out so we had to slow down on the descent of the glacier and back to camp which added the extra hour on the return to camp. Great climb with a great group that worked well together figuring out some tricky options to protecting the climb in ways that are not normally done there that way. Signing the summit register the last people to have signed it were almost a year ago last August. Memorable Quotes Gathered by Sean: "We're crazy" ~ Rodica "Is that the Spider/Formidable col?" ~ Albert, deliriously pointing toward a snow finger nowhere near our exit col "I have some cord that I found and don't know the history of so we should rap off it because i'm tired of thinking about it, I just want to get rid of it" ~ Tim "Guys, we should really be protecting this. Right???" ~ Rodica "I don't mind if we bail on this picket because it's Albert's anyway...." ~ Ian "If I hike all night and go straight to work I probably still won't make it on time" ~ Sean "I'd love to come up here in tennis shoes sometime" ~ Tim "Would you consider this an intermediate climb?" ~ Albert "These are all the cams left?" ~ Ian "[ice axe falls down cliff]" ~ Ian "[glove falls down cliff]" ~ Sean [Blue Skies by Ella Fitzgerald comes on the radio when we're in a whiteout at camp] "I think the radio is taunting us" ~ Tim "I'm already committed." ~ Sean, as everyone else decides to stop and rope up. Gear Notes: Twin 37m ropes, light alpine rack (cams/nuts), 5 pickets, ice axes + 2nd tool
  12. [TR] The Tooth - NE Slabs 02/27/2020

    I did really enjoy it overall despite feeling really hung out there by the time I was halfway across the traverse with only small footholds in a thin crust. I was eyeing that dihedral but wasn't sure about it, and once I started across the traverse I didn't want to backtrack.
  13. Nah, just expressing some concern that they would get back okay without knowing enough about them.
  14. Damn, you two are fast then, we knew we were only going camp to camp that day so didn't rush. One of the guys with us remembered your daughter from the basic climbing course and didn't think you two would be fast enough to get back down before dark from what he remembered, that and another guy we passed hours ahead (the day before) going solo had turned back. Too bad we didn't talk longer and get names, my wife you passed by is Romanian - she's just been looking up some of you past climbing. Yea, you kicked our butts Interesting you didn't pass anyone else because 2 other guys headed up that way from the lake around 7:30 (maybe 1.5hrs ahead of you) we figured they were on their way up as well, perhaps they took a different route. Definitely a place I wouldn't want anyone above or below us in many places.
  15. No worries, nobody is drifting around the corners. Just don't need to drive the FJ at a crawl behind a minivan on the straightaways. I'm always going slow around corners with one foot on the brake. And that brings me to another pet peeve, while I do appreciate when someone pulls over its nice when they use the pullouts. I had multiple people this trip decide to "pull over" by just stopping in the road at a blind corner to wave me by. At least they weren't as bad as the time I had someone driving in the oncoming side around a blind corner because they were too scared of the edge. And there wasn't an edge.
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