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Ian Lauder

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Everything posted by Ian Lauder

  1. 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.
  2. [TR] The Brothers - South Couloir 5/7/2016

    Yea, we had 2 pickets, not a ton of them. And left them at camp. But we did need crampons since it was frozen solid the last 700+ feet. We did a 5am start (from the 3000ft camp).
  3. Trip: Ruth Peak & Icy Peak - Ruth/Icy Traverse Date: 8/23/2014 Trip Report: We climbed Ruth/Icy Aug 23-24. Approach was in good shape and the gulley at Hannegan Pass wasn't difficult. Watch for knocking rocks down here. There was only about 600 vertical feet of gain roped up on Ruth which was a straight forward climb up. At the rock summit go to the left of the summit block to find the climbers trail vs trying to go up it directly which would be a more difficult loose rock scramble. Descended Ruth's West ridge (some parties did descend the south ridge which is just slightly more exposed, both routes work). Once at the camp area right at the head of the gulley we found plenty of running water and scouted out the descent route down the gulley. There are cairns marking the path more or less, you can take multiple paths down but stay out of the main gulley, go down just skiers left of the gully. We left at first light around 5:15am. Also make sure to find the paths down to the Ruth/Icy saddle which are to the left. If you follow a path to the right it can cliff out. Once on the saddle we worked out way along the boulder fields to the bottom of the glacier and roped up. Ascended the standard route (staying left near the ridge) and to the right of the bergschrund, then an ascending traverse right and zigzagged between a couple crevasses to reach the notch. Unroped at the notch and followed the climbers trail to the main gulley on the north face of Icy. With another party just coming down we used their rappel line to get a quick belay up to speed our ascent and setup our own handline. Got everyone up to the top by 11am and got back to camp by 2pm. With some clouds and potential rain coming in we started out right away but luckily missed a rainshower that headed up the pass ahead of us and were back at the cars by 9:30pm. Route was in great shape. Gear Notes: Standard glacier travel gear one 60m or two 40m ropes to rappel the Icy summit gully Icy gulley can be scrambled, there are also a few spots to place some pro so a light rack may be used, take gear to rappel back down Approach Notes: Easy approach, clear trails all the way to base of Ruth, running water at the camp area just ahead of the Ruth/Icy gulley. Also a few bivy spots right at the top of Ruth as well as just down the Ruth/Icy gulley. Gulley up to Ruth from Hannegan Pass was a little slippery (would be harder if it was wet and muddy).
  4. Trip: Mount Shuksan - Sulphide Glacier / South East Rib Date: 8/10/2014 Trip Report: Our party of 2 attempted our first serious solo alpine summit and multi-pitch rock climb Aug 9/10 of Mount Shuksan via the Sulphide Glacier and climbing the South East Rib. We got our permits a day ahead of time, it paid to go a day early to get permits on Friday so we would have time to get up higher to a high camp away from the weekend crowds. We started up around 8:30am and got to the lower camps (3500+ gain) in just under 4 hours). Took a long lunch break and refilled water just below the lower camps at the only place we found running water (at about 6000ft). Stopped for a break at one of the worlds most scenic toilets looking out over Mount Baker and chatted with a guided group camped out there. We roped up here at around 6400ft and climbed up to around 7800 to make our high camp just across the flats from the summit block. We figured this would give us a head start on everyone else in the morning and would make for an easier summit day. Camping out at the high camp turned out to be incredible sunset, moonrise and sunrise views, especially with the glow coming from the haze of the (unfortunate) forest fires. We were treated to an golden sunset with a full moon (almost super moon) rising at the same time. We got up around 4am and being up well ahead of the weekend crowds took our time getting ready and were off to the summit around 5am. Just as we were approaching the top of Hells Highway two groups of 4 appeared from the Fisher Chimney route. They were all heading to the central gully luckily. When we looked back, over the horizon came a freight train of about 15 climbers (one group of 11 and looked like a party of 4) - all heading to the central gully as well. We got to the rock island just below the rock climb and dropped a pack and geared up for the rock climb waiting until the sun had a little time to warm up the rocks. The approach to the South East Rib was pretty straight forward but a bit trickier to get over up the chockstone in climbing boots so I switched to rock shoes which made it an easy walk up. Not having ever been to Shuksan or able to see pics of the whole rib and being the only ones there we did get off route for a moment and wound up near the gully so had to hop back up onto the rib (which was probably a 5.8 move from what someone else there said). It was easy to get off route seeing footprints in the dirt heading that direction (and ran into someone else there who had done the same thing their first time). Basically stay in the sun on the rib the whole way. We did it in 4 pitches (not counting the short hop up to get back on track). You can run out sections on scramble class rock no problem, most of the time there were large horns and blocks to throw slings over. The few 5.4 moves along the way sometimes were easy to protect otherwise just find the hand and finger holds and go up a few feet to find more lower 5th class climbing. Pretty straightforward. Due to so many people heading to the central gully we were concerned there would be a huge clusterf#@k getting down. And there was but thankfully we missed the bulk of it. Met some cool guys on the summit who had done an insane approach from the Nooksack/Price approach and on their way out the Fisher Chimneys. That was impressive to read about later. We did listen to constant calls of "rock" crashing down the central gully as we were heading up the rib and while we were waiting to rap down which was disconcerting. I wouldn't want to be in the middle of the gulley further down with anyone up above. There was a huge cluster of people at the last rap station and the two guys ahead of us did one rap and then downclimbed the rest of the gulley to not get stuck behind the large group. We waited for them to get out of the gully before starting our descent. We did 4 rappels and used shoulder slings to feed out the rope instead of throwing ropes down to help avoid rock fall. Most of the rap route was clean but there are sections where there is a bunch of loose rock, so gingerly took our time getting down and avoided knocking anything down. By the time we got to the last rap station the last person of the large group rapped off and we got off without having to deal with the bottleneck. Huffing full packs all the way up to 7800ft also meant that much extra hiking out but only took half an hour to get all the way down to the lower camp and was an easy walk out. All in all the climb went great, weather cooperated and were able to mostly avoid issues with the crowded gulley. Gear Notes: standard alpine and glacier travel gear for rock climbing the rib - used one small nut and a few small cam placements (cams probably not even necessary but were nice to have a handful), 8-10 double slings. 60m glacier rope. Approach Notes: Trail crews had cut through all of the blowdowns on the trail within the week or two before our trip. Made for a more pleasant approach. Snow was in great conditions all the way to our high camp at 7900 feet.
  5. Likewise, that was a great summit pic you took of us. Feel free to snag them off my FB page. I can send full size ones as well. Now that I think about it, that person leading the group of 11 up Shuksan this weekend caused us a safety issue months ago on another climb. On a great weather day on a popular rock on a 3-day holiday weekend. Our first outing on our own learning trad leading on Midway in Leavenworth we started up early on cold rock, hands numb, they show up after us and while we are waiting for the rock and our hands to warm up a bit and we had a new leader on her way up first time after recovering from a broken wrist in a fall last year, he got her flustered with his badgering wanting a couple routes all day for his group of students and she opted out. Left us with 3 on the top of the 1st pitch and we had to bail out.
  6. Hey Dave - my wife and I were the twosome on Shuksan. Got a few pics of you (links below). By the time we waited for you two to get down the gulley so we didn't knock anything down the party of 11 was thinning out. By the time we got to the rap station the last of them just pitched off when we got there. Thanks for tapping that nut out Mt Shuksan pics Mt Shuksan pics Mt Shuksan pics