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Everything posted by ilias

  1. Found 3 pitches of wi2/3 ice near milepost 72 off Steven's pass highway. Fun climbing, plenty fat for screws! 2nd pitch is wi3, 1st and 3rd are shorter and wi2. Anyone know what this route is called? See gps track for location.
  2. CC.com Traffic Decrease?

    Unfortunately I think most people post in the facebook group now. It's really too bad because whereas a forum like cc.com serves as a useful repository of information and trip reports for years/decades, on the Facebook group the posts that people make about their trips are essentially impossible to find after the first few days. I can't count the number of times I've found a key piece of information about some bit of navigation from some trip report here that is 5-10+ years old. Facebook is a terrible terrible medium for this kind of information, and yet people gravitate there because that's where they can get more "likes" on their reports. Sigh.
  3. This report and video really played at my emotions. I thought I was done after last year but now I kind of want to go back. Aaaah!!! Wanna go do it again?
  4. The risks of driving are definitely real and worth considering. When it comes to what kind of car you buy, it certainly affects my decision making. The drive home from a long day in the mountains can often be especially dangerous if the driver and passengers are tired, so for my last car I got one with the latest automated features for automatic collision prevention, lane departure warning, etc. Statistics show these features can significantly mitigate the risks of certain kinds of incidents. I chose those features over a car that would be more comfortable to sleep in at trailheads. I also generally avoid biking on the roads within Seattle more than occasionally as I find biking in Seattle traffic to be above my risk tolerance for something that I would do on a regular basis. I'll do it occasionally but not as a daily commute (that comes back to the number of trials that you do something risky).
  5. Neither will I but I think it is helpful to think about to try to assess what routes to do and when to do them. For example, for backcountry skiing with the avalanche forecast tools we now have available, it is relatively easy to minimize the worst of the risks... i.e. don't go out on red days, stay in protected / low consequence terrain on orange days. For alpine climbing, avalanche danger is still a consideration but there are many other risks that are not as well forecasted. But other objective hazards like falling ice on a certain route, probability of bad weather coming in during a difficult descent, hidden crevasses on a glacier crossing, etc, could at least in principle be estimated well enough to inform decision making. Some routes have enough statistics to start to make quantitatively informed decisions. Other aspects of risk assessment could be used to inform best practices while climbing. For example, a lot of data over the years has shown high accident rates during rappels, and today most new climbers learn to rappel with backup systems in place (such as an autoblock or auto-locking belay device), which did not used to be a common practice.
  6. Great discussion in this thread. I've done some thinking about the numbers regarding climbing risks and come to the conclusion that probably about a 1/10,000 chance of dying or being seriously injured on any given trip is a "reasonable" risk to take. How do I come to that conclusion? Let's say you climb every weekend of the year (50 times per year) and want to climb for basically your entire adult life while capable of doing so (for example, 40 years). 0.9999 chance of surviving each outing adds up to an 81% chance of surviving all 2000 outings you're going to do over that 40 year climbing career. A 1/5 chance of dying in the mountains over the course of your life is about the same chance as other "natural" causes so seems to be not unreasonable. In my mind, that's at least a way to start thinking quantitatively about risk. On the other hand, if you increase the risk per trip to 1/1,000 chance of dying, the chance you'll die in the mountains increases to 86.5% over that 40 year climbing career, or 40% just in the first 10 years, which is horribly more risky than anything else (the average person's chances of dying from the age of 25-35 are about 2.5%, so climbing at the 1/1000 risk per weekend level would be about 16 times more risky than everything else in life combined in that age range). Based on this, if I see something that I feel like has a 1% chance of going horribly wrong, I know that that's far outside my risk tolerance (by a factor of about 100). Of course, quantifying risk tolerance in this way is only helpful if you can quantify the risks meaningfully too. Are you gonna go up an avalanche gully that has a catastrophic slide once per 100 days, and you're gonna be in it all day? Probably way too high risk, then. Are you gonna be in it for 10 minutes? Maybe ok then based on the above risk tolerance because that's about a 1/14,400 chance of it sliding while you're in it. Are you gonna cross 10 such gullies on that 1 trip? Well, then the chances of dying in that 1 day are too high. But most often, no such statistics are available, and risk assessments of any given route, terrain feature, or move are rough guesses that can easily be orders of magnitude off. Based on this line of thinking, I think key questions in any risk analysis survey would have to include how often someone climbs, for how many years they plan to climb, and what their tolerance is for a % chance of dying as a result of climbing over that time span.
  7. Trip: Dragontail - Triple Couloirs Date: 4/23/2017 Trip Report: Jeff, Priti, Allie, and I climbed Triple Couloirs on Sunday car to car. Great day in the mountains with great friends! It was in fairly easy conditions and though we brought gear in case we needed it, we ended up free soloing the entire route. I had done this route two years ago and this time around it felt way faster and easier, a fun jaunt in the mountains instead of an exhausting and serious undertaking. Great to feel some progress! Trip timeline: 4:45am: Left Car at Icicle Creek Road 9:15am: Got to Colchuck Lake 11:00 am: Started up route 2:40 pm: Summit 4:00 pm: Back down at Colchuck Lake 8:15pm: Back at car The whole area is still very snowy for this time of year. The couloirs were full of snow that made for very secure walking up with your entire boot going in every step. The runnels were a mix of AI2 in some sections and steep snow over rock in others. I definitely swung into the snow only to have my tool bounce off the rock underneath a few times. North face conditions Asgard Pass looks like some nice skiing. Wouldn't want to have lugged skis all the way in here though! Although we did run into another party carrying skis up Triple Couloirs. Heading up the first couloir. The crux of the runnels. About 10m of AI2-3. Above the crux of the runnels looking down. Weather deteriorating. Coming up on the step from the 2nd into the 3rd couloir. Summit selfie. Photo credit: Priti Starting the descent down the back side of Dragontail. Started snowing pretty good on our way out. Fun times on the depproach. Approach Notes: No flotation needed. Microspikes would be nice. Road is dry for first ~1.5 miles, then increasing snow patches, fully covered in snow for the last ~1 mile.
  8. [TR] Colchuck Peak - NE couloir 4/2/2017

    Very cool. Tunneling through that cornice looks a bit terrifying!
  9. Trip: Mt Shuksan - North Face Date: 4/16/2016 Trip Report: On Saturday, Andrew and I climbed the North Face of Shuksan. Calling this climb the North Face of Shuksan is a bit of a misnomer... out of the 18.5 hour climb, 2 hours and 40 minutes were spent climbing the north face. What it really is is the circumnavigation of Mt Shuksan and the traverse of 5 of its glaciers. http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgICwkJOgCgw We started from the car at the White Salmon lodge gate at 12:45am and got back at 7:15pm. The approach to the base of the North Face included one interesting creek crossing but was generally snow-covered after that, with little/none of the bushwhacking I'd read about in other trip reports. We made it to the traverse that leads you out onto the face just before sunrise: Andrew started us up the face: The face was in great (though variable) conditions and we never took out the rope, soloing up the face in good time. We encountered everything from very firm snow where only the frontpoints of our crampons would go in, to soft snow where our legs went in up to the calf. Looking down and up the face at different points: We topped out of the face on the relatively flat upper part of the Hanging Glacier: From here, we traversed around the E face of the summit pyramid. We unfortunately picked a path that stayed too high, it would probably have saved us at least half an hour and a lot of energy to have dropped down lower onto the Crystal Glacier to traverse around the E face. After motoring up the N Face as quickly as we could and doing this traverse, we were pretty tired and took a long-ish break at the top of the Sulphide Glacier before heading up to tag the summit. We briefly considered skipping it on account of how tired we were by this point, but neither of us had been to the summit before and it was a beautiful day and snow stability had been very encouraging thus far, so we went for it. Andrew near the summit: The main gully up to the summit was surprisingly steep, on par with the North Face, and probably the steepest climbing we did on the whole trip was the last 20 ft to the summit up a narrow ~60 degree gully, just above Andrew in the above photo. The summit was windy and cold so we spent no more time than was needed to take this horrible summit selfie: On account of the surprisingly steep last bit of gully and being fairly tired, we decided to rappel off the summit off a picket we placed. We thought we'd be giving up the picket, but a party that had just skied up the Sulphide came up to the summit and downclimbed it, bringing down our picket with them. Thanks guys! After descending the summit pyramid, we walked down the Sulphide to the col where Hell's Highway comes up to meet it: Descending Hell's Highway onto the Upper Curtis Glacier, the snow conditions quickly changed from stable and confidence inspiring to a bit worrying. I started a small slab avalanche (~3 inch crown). Here's Andrew coming down after me and you can see the crown above him: We spotted several interesting iceflows above the Upper Curtis Glacier: Looks like that would be a fun climb (has it been climbed?) except for the giant scary cornice hanging above it. Also a crazy free-hanging ice dagger off to the right. After traversing the Upper Curtis Glacier, we were at the top of the White Salmon Glacier. Here, the snow conditions were even more worrying, with me sending down boulder sized pinwheels with every step. We down-climbed and ran down this slope as fast as possible to minimize our exposure time, at last returning to where we had stashed our snowshoes at the bottom on the approach. Overall, a very fun day and definitely one of my biggest 1-day pushes in the mountains so far. 8000 ft of elevation gain (and loss), of which probably half was with 2 ice tools in hand. Gear Notes: We brought 3 pickets and 2 ice screws. Used 1 picket to rappel off the summit but that's it. 2 tools are a must. Approach Notes: Going high as shown in our GPS track really makes the most sense even though you really don't want to gain/drop that extra elevation. The valley below is overgrown and the snow-slopes broken up by tree holes and glide avalanches. Staying at the elevation shown you mostly just traverse a nice uniform snow slope. We used snowshoes. Skis would have worked just as well. One of the two is definitely useful for the approach, the snow is soft and it would be a lot of postholing without.
  10. Trip: Slesse - Northeast Buttress (Attempt) Date: 9/24/2016 Trip Report: Devin and I tried to climb the NE buttress of Mount Slesse. The weather forecast was promising, and our biggest concern going into the climb was whether there would be enough water - we'd read there isn't any up there late in the season and so we hauled up 4 liters each with us. As it turned out, lack of water would not be our problem! Clouds swirled in and out all day, revealing tantalizing glimpses of the route one moment then shrouding the mountain in mystery the next. We had a hard time deciding if weather conditions were good enough to give it a try or not, continually putting off the decision as we hiked and scrambled upward, hoping it would become obvious if either the sun broke out or it started to rain. As we hiked up the slabs below the pocket glacier, we passed a party that was coming back down. They'd gone up to where the first 5.7 climbing of the route is, found it wet, and turned around, telling us that "discretion is the better part of valor". We decided that "valor is the better part of valor", and continued up. The rock was damp in places and dry in others at first, and the first pitches of the route had some fun climbing, but the rock got progressively wetter as we got higher. When we first started the route, I had been interested in climbing the 5.9/10a direct option straight up the buttress, but with wet rock it seemed obvious we should opt for the easier bypass right of the crest. The bypass was soaked and slowed our progress, and we arrived at the bivy ledge with only an hour of light to spare. The forecast for day two called for a 10% chance of 0.04 inches of rain. We got into our bivies hoping that Sunday would at least not be worse than Saturday had been, and thinking that even with the damp rock, we could methodically work our way up the upper pitches and descend, as we'd have all day to do it. But shortly after we crawled into our bivies and went to sleep, the rain started. It didn't stop all night, soaking us completely and causing the entire NE buttress to turn into a dripping wet mess. Day 1: "Valor is the better part of valor." Day 2: "Run away!" We woke up around what we could only assume was sunrise, somewhere far away beyond the clouds and mist and rain. With the rock running with little rivulets of water, it was obvious to both of us that climbing upward would be a bad idea, and we quickly made the decision to retreat back down the route. The rappels were surprisingly straightforward, though we left a number of slings, 2 nuts, and 1 cam to facilitate our descent down the buttress, which took over 10 rappels as the soaking wet rock, mud, and moss made us hesitant to downclimb. All in all, an adventurous end to summer alpine climbing season. Slesse, we'll be back! The photo uploader on cc.com is broken, so check out the photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/CdqNJJDvfPk2gUNb9
  11. Trip: Grand Teton - Complete Exum Ridge Date: 9/17/2016 Trip Report: Nathan and I climbed the Complete Exum Ridge on the Grand Teton. Great climbing with a great partner! We were there a bit late in the climbing season and encountered a lot of snow and some ice, especially on the descent. Lots of new experiences for me on this trip, first time climbing rock at higher altitude for one. With only one day of acclimatization, the 5.7 pitches on the Exum ridge posed a lot more difficulty to me than I would have expected! The upper ridge was easier, but some spiciness was thrown in by the presence of snow and ice which made trusting feet much more difficult. The weather, though cold, stayed great for us on the ascent, but started quickly turning worse as we descended. The Owen Spalding rappel route included a chimney full enough of ice that you could definitely have ice climbed it, and spindrift fell on us as we made the rappels. After two rappels, the rest of the descent was scrambling, and the conditions continued to worsen with severe winds and limited visibility. Wind gusts reached probably around 90mph and made staying attached to the mountain on the scramble down interesting at times! We arrived back at the lower saddle where we'd camped the night before only to find the bivy site we thought was relatively well sheltered from the wind still taking a beating. Luckily for us, some fellow climbers that were going to try to climb the next day had seen my firstlight tent starting to blow away and saved it, piling it full of rocks. It was unable to stand up to the storm, nor could we light our stove in that much wind, so we decided to hike out that night rather than trying to camp (which had been our original plan). With the late start to our hike out, we didn't arrive back at the trailhead until ~2:30 am. The photo uploader on cc.com is broken, so you can check out the photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/naoavYaT7zvdce3e7
  12. It's snowing in the Cascades, too.
  13. Nice! This is definitely on my list for this year! Now to find a partner...
  14. All that rockfall sounds scary! Nice work.
  15. [TR] Dorado Needle - SW Buttress 8/21/2016

    Nice work, looks sweet! You picked a great climb for your free weekend Devin
  16. Sweaty/Wet Feet

    Use fans:
  17. This is awesome! You guys are crushing!
  18. Trip: Valhallas - Gimli, Asgard, Niselheim - Date: 8/11/2016 Trip Report: Lisa and I spent 4 days in the Valhallas. A beautiful area and one I will have to come back to do more climbing in the future. Gimli is the classic everyone hears about, but there are like a hundred routes in here, ranging from moderate ridge climbs to hard 5.11 and aid big wall climbs. For the climbs we did, we mostly went by Steph Abegg's beta as well as a trip report from Supertopo, all linked here: http://www.stephabegg.com/home/tripreports/britishcolumbia/valhallas2 http://www.stephabegg.com/home/tripreports/britishcolumbia/gimli http://www.supertopo.com/tr/South-Ridge-of-Gimli-Peak-A-Lesser-Known-Canadian-Classic/t12165n.html On the first day (Aug 10), we hiked in to Gimli camp and hunkered down as the clouds and wind swirled around us and periodic showers came down. On the second day (Aug 11), we woke up to clearer skies and got up to climb Gimli (S Ridge, 5.10a, 7p). Clouds rolled in in the afternoon, and we climbed into the mists high on the S ridge until it cleared up again. We then returned to camp and packed everything up, and hiked over the Gimli-Niselheim col down into the Mulvey Lakes basin, where we set camp. This basin is absolutely beautiful, rivalling the Enchantments basin. The descent from Gimli is an extremely well cairned class 3 down scramble, luxury! Day three (Aug 12), we climbed the SW ridge of Asgard (5.7, 5p). Asgard has multiple climbs on solid rock on its south face, but the south ridge offered more of a rest day after doing Gimli the day before. The views from Asgard offer the best position to see the Valhallas range. We got back to camp early and enjoyed the lake. Beta on this route is limited so here's a bit: - Start by scrambling up slabs to the col below the SW ridge of Asgard. These are unprotectable near the beginning but fairly secure class 3-4 climbing. - Climb up the crest for a short bit (~10-20m) and then turn left of the crest into a deep dihedral / shallow gully that parallels the crest just on the left. Climb up this feature for ~ 2 pitches, then exit right onto the crest when it becomes easy to do so. - Climb 1 more easy pitch up the crest and then scramble to the summit. I'm not actually sure where the 5.7 climbing was on this route, it mostly felt 4th - low 5th. There might have been an occasional move that could be called 5.7 but there was definitely never any sustained 5.7 climbing. Day four (Aug 13), we packed up camp and headed back up to the Gimli-Niselheim col, from which we quickly climbed Niselheim NE Ridge (5.7, 4p). The first two pitches had some wickedly exposed 5.7 moves with adequate but not abundant protection. Heady! Descending the other ridge of Niselheim involved some careful class 4 downclimbing, and at one point we set a rappel for a section we didn't want to down climb. From there, we headed back to the car, a mere 1 hour down the trail from Gimli camp. See my entire set of photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/eRzNgW79v4QJUV617 Gimli highlights Route: About to head off to climb: Me belaying Lisa up P1, another party waiting to follow: Lisa leading up into the clouds on P5: Looking back down from P5: Following Lisa up the crest: Me after having just pulled the roof: Looking back down from above the roof as Lisa belays me on P6: Summit pano: Heading down into the basin, Gimli behind: Rainbows beside Gimli over basin: Asgard highlights View of Asgard as we descend into the basin: Start Asgard by scrambling up the slabs: Looking back at the basin from the start of the slabs: Looking down P1: Scruffy corner climbing up P3: Nice views from the top as we start the descent: View of Gladsheim and Dag: Back to camp early, time to practice our alpine urgency: Niselheim highlights Taking star photos that night, before we headed up Niselheim (right) in the morning: Stars over Asgard, even got one of the meteors from the Perseids: Exposed 5.7 climbing near start of Niselheim: Niselheim summit views: Gear Notes: Rock gear, all used extensively: Cams - Singles: 0.1-0.4, #3, Doubles: 0.5-2 Nuts - one set Slings - 13 We also brought ice axes and crampons. Never used the crampons, but we did take out the ice axes for the snow just below the Gimli-Niselheim col. It's low angle and we could definitely have done without them, but since we had them they were nice to have in hand. Approach shoes are sufficient. Approach Notes: Approaches are always so nice and easy in other places compared to the Cascades. 1.5 hours up beautiful trail to Gimli camp. A quick tromp across a well cairned boulder field up to the Gimli-Niselheim col. A steel cable is bolted to the mountain side for the couple barely exposed moves coming down from the col to get to the snow towards the Mulvey lakes basin. The basin is wide open, no bushwhacking to get around to anywhere.
  19. Nice view of Asgard! What a perfect looking pyramid.
  20. Trip: Mount Triumph - NE Ridge Date: 8/22/2016 Trip Report: For Mike and Evan's grad climb with the Boealps ICC, we climbed the NE Ridge of Mt Triumph. Tyler and I were there as instructors, but really we just stood back as Mike and Evan as they did all the hard work of planning, navigating, and leading the route. Nice work guys! Awesome climb. Here was our timeline... Friday 9:00 pm - leave trailhead 11:30pm - arrive at camp at lower Thornton Lake Saturday 6:00 am - leave camp 7:30 am - arrive at the saddle 9:00 am - arrive at the notch at the base of the NE ridge 12:00pm - climbing the 5.7 offwidth pitch 1:00 pm - summit 1:45 pm - leave summit 5:30 pm - back at notch 7:30 pm - back at camp at the saddle Sunday 6:30 am - leave camp 9:30 am - arrive at car Lot's of fun ridge climbing and great views. Best sights of the Pickets that I've seen from anywhere so far. Definitely gonna have to go there soon! More photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/dhyvV86dD7ozRvqD9 First view of Triumph: Coming down from the Saddle: Crossing the glacier towards the notch: Looking back across the glacier: Bushy climbing low on the NE ridge: Even on the knife edge: The 5.7 "offwidth" crux. It did not actually involve making any offwidth moves, it's a super featured corner that you could climb using just about any technique: Summit group shot: Tyler admiring the greatness of the Great Notch: Views of the pickets: Triumph at sunset with Google deciding to stylize the photo for me: Gear Notes: Single rack to #2 was plenty. Crampons and axes were nice for a short section of steepish snow near the saddle before you get onto the glacier.
  21. [TR] Mount Triumph - NE Ridge 8/22/2016

    Lots of water rushing off it this weekend too!
  22. Was open to the trailhead and in great shape. There's a boulder on the road not far from the end but anything besides an absurdly huge truck would make it around it fine.
  23. [TR] Mount Triumph - NE Ridge 8/22/2016

    Mondo really needs to be open 24/7
  24. [TR] Mount Triumph - NE Ridge 8/22/2016

    It was actually very close to climbable that way on this trip. We only had approach shoes, and the axe and crampons were only necessary for a ~100 ft section below the saddle going around left of that hump that's there. If we had cared to scramble down rocks a little ways and then back up, we could have avoided that one steeper snow bit and never put our crampons on. I could tell that those slabs were very recently covered in glacier, super smoothly polished. At the same time, I was actually surprised at the remaining size of the glacier, given it's aspect and elevation. I doubt there will be a glacier there at all in 10 years.
  25. [TR] Goode Mountain - NE Buttress 8/12/2016

    Nice work! Goode is a full value trip, that's for sure. I think the better descent to Park Creek is on the ridge to the right of the drainage, that's what we took anyway and it was pretty mellow and had traces of having been previously traveled.