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Michael Telstad

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Michael Telstad last won the day on February 11

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About Michael Telstad

  • Birthday 03/12/1998

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  1. The horrifying thing is we hiked on the "summer" trail for 2 miles before putting skis on. There was more snow on the road in October this year... Great year for access to the alpine if you can look past everything else.
  2. I'll keep the beta spray brief since there is sufficient info out there on both routes involved in this climb. On Sunday the 4th, Eli Spitulnik and I hiked then skied out to Colfax with an idea I had schemed up the week before. We planned to climb the first ~80meters of the Polish route (Link, Link), then traverse a snow band left to the pitch 4 chimney of Colin's route Kimchi Suicide Volcano which we would then take to the summit. The combo worked out better than we could have imagined, and we both think this is one of the most quality alpine mixed routes we've climbed in the cascades. The nature of this route allows it to go in normal conditions, where the Polish or KSV would not be in. We hope that it'll become a popular way to climb this face as it has much more actual climbing than the Cosley-Houston, for a slightly harder grade. Here's some pretty pictures. Blurry, but you get the gist Eli about to cross the bergschrund Following P1 Myself taking the spindrift straight to the face starting pitch 2 Eli traversing over to the KSV chimney. Entering the squeeze Eli carried the pack like a champ through the rime tunnel Wild rime daggers threatening to collapse on our heads while we tunneled Eli after exiting the tunnel into the sunlight Pleased to be on the summit and in the sun. Tagged the East summit on our descent Rack: 9-12 screws, single rack .2-2, nuts, selection of kb's and beaks (very helpful for anchors). If you don't like long sections of unprotected snow climbing, a picket or two may come in handy for the upper slopes. In less rimed up conditions more rock gear should be available. In our conditions cams from .4-1 would have been sufficient. You may be able to climb all the way up to the ledge traverse in one pitch with a 70M rope, otherwise we had a single 60.
  3. I'm definitely planning to come back to AK next season. However not to the Kichatnas most likely. Some of the harder routes on Hunter and Huntington are calling my name.
  4. Trip: Augustin Peak - Trident Glacier - Kichatna Mountains - [FA] North Buttress (Alaska Grade V, AI4, 4,600ft) Trip Date: 04/21/2023 Trip Report: I will likely continue to update this TR with pictures, history and info about this part of the range. So stay tuned. On April 19th Kurt Ross, Nelson Neirinck and I flew into the Kichatna Mountains of Alaska with three weeks of food and hopes to climb a couple new routes if weather allowed. We got dropped off on the Trident, a tri-forked glacier on the east edge of the range. Our primary objective was to attempt the unclimbed N-Buttress of Augustin Peak up to the north ridge, which we would then follow to the summit. We arrived right at the end of a stellar weather window, allowing us no time to explore or get a feel for conditions. We crossed our fingers hoping for good neve, but accepted that sugar snow wallowing was entirely possible. While Kurt finished setting up our hasty basecamp, and Nelson slept off his jet lag (he had just flown in from Norway), I skied over to get photos of our route and choose a line as the sun fell behind the neighboring peaks. My alarm went off at 4am the next morning. Nerves were high as we ate a hefty breakfast and discussed our planned route. With so many question marks, we almost bailed on our plan in favor of poking around to get more info on the snowpack. Thankfully we stuck with plan A, but in turn got a somewhat comfortable start at 6am with two and a half days of food and fuel. We expected to bivy somewhere on the north ridge that night, hopefully summiting and descending the next day. Following my skin track over to the base, we trudged up the snow cone to the start of the route which boasted nice looking water ice to start the day. Nelson took the first block, leading us up the ice steps in a fun ~100m pitch of AI3. From there he led up another 250m pitch up through some more easy ice and up the lower snowfield to the base of the runnels I had spotted the day prior. This was the last time we used the Ice screws for the remainder of the route. This part of the buttress was one of the bigger question marks. From below we could see a series of narrow runnels cutting perfectly through the face, but whether it was Ice, neve or sugar snow was what we were scared of. As Kurt took off, we were delighted to find almost perfect neve plastered to the walls, and just enough rock gear to keep it reasonable. These two long pitches were by far the best climbing on the route. I wished it would go on forever. A small cornice crux led us out of the runnels and into the upper snowfield. Here we unroped and trudged for around 350 meters up to where the buttress met the ridge. It was only 3pm at this point, and with 8 hours of daylight remaining, we hoped we could make it up and over to the east ridge where we could chop out a bivy to spend the night. Based on the conditions up to that point, we decided to skip the crux of the ridge, and traverse lower along the exposed NE face to surpass the corniced knife edge above. After brewing up in the sun, I took over the lead for the ridge ahead. The middle gendarme provided sunbaked rotten slush climbing to get up and over. Once on the NE face I tried to make a shortcut through a rock band, but encountered vertical facets over rock, so backed off and descended around instead on the easier but faster terrain below. Once the pro ran out, we unroped and continued to the summit simul soloing the same steep snow to AI2 conditions we had been on for the past several hours. We reached the summit around 9pm as the evening sun began to set. Despite being pretty tuckered out, the increasing winds and rapidly dropping temps encouraged us to keep moving. Chopping out a platform for our two person tent while being hammered by wind did not seem appealing. Down climbing to flatter, less exposed terrain did. Still unroped, we began our slow trudge down the east ridge toward the NE face. 2,500ft and two and a half hours of face in down climbing later, we reached the glacier. Now roped up for glacier travel, Kurt led the way down over numerous schrunds and through the jumbled mess of the icefall in the dark with impressive accuracy. The only hiccups being myself punching through a fairly inconsequential schrund, and Kurt nearly being eaten by a crevasse. Once back on the SE fork of the trident, we wallowed our way out of serac danger and collapsed into the snow to brew up some more water and eat dinner. We were safe at this point, so it felt like a good time to celebrate with some warm food. It was 1:30 in the morning. The incoming storm had filled the sky with clouds, cutting off all ambient star/moon light, making for the darkest night I have ever experienced. We arrived back at our skis at 2:40am, and I crawled back into my tent at 4am. Exactly 24 hours after waking up the day prior. The next 8 days involved a lot of lounging, eating, a little bit of skiing, and no climbing. A series of storms dumped nearly four feet of snow on us. Our bathroom area was buried and required a grid search, Nelson's tent was almost completely buried, and all chances of more climbing were buried along with it. On Saturday, May 29th we got picked up by TAT before another endless series of storms came in. If we hadn’t come out the day we did, we would surely still be trapped in the Kichatnas right now, running out of food, missing flights and being generally really bummed. While quite moderate, I believe the North Buttress of Augustin Peak is now the longest route in the Kichatna Mountains. To the best of our knowledge this was the third ascent of the mountain Gear Notes: Single rack to #3, maybe doubles in middle sizes. Medium selection of iron including NB's a small angle or two and all sizes of beaks. Full rack of nuts from brass to big. 5-8 screws 70m ropes We brought a picket, but didn't use. Different conditions or a different party may find these very useful. Approach Notes: Charter a flight through TAT. Ski 25 minutes to the base.
  5. @CascadeClimber To my understanding, and the way we went, the standard route goes further up the corner then cuts right higher. I've marked up your picture with the what we climbed, and what has fallen off to the best of my memory. Could be wrong. We were in a cloud...
  6. I'm always watching that thing. I think it's been too cold and snowy still. IMO you want a solid warmup and refreeze to form good neve for most of those routes. Wait for a bulletproof crust and go for it!
  7. Climbed Death Picnic yesterday with @PorterM. Found deceivingly steep climbing and sorta tricky pro (lotsa hollow bits). Wanna say WI5+ conditions, but it was my first day on ice this season so IDK. Looking up on the way out. Mickey and Jeff rolled up as we rapped. Perfect timing! Porter following the steep and blobby first pitch. Myself leading P2. It started out with this vertical pillar then rounded off to WI 3/4
  8. Trip: Mount Triumph - Memento Mori Trip Date: 08/29/2022 Trip Report: On Sunday, Duncan and I hiked out to Triumph with an open mind, and not quite enough food. We planned to repeat @rat & @lunger's east face route Memento Mori, but were open to more adventure if another line spoke to us. Turns out those jerks swiped the good one. The route was overall pretty high quality, with a good ratio of solid to portable holds. As far as we can tell, we followed their existing route except for pitch 5. Duncan build his belay at Tom's frayed rope (a single pink tricam girth hitched to a sling with the remains of a rope clove hitched to a non locker... yikes dude), which set me up for the hanging corner above. This roof went at probably 10- R due to an enormous moss clump that I had to face climb around on good, but unprotecable rock. The rest of the pitch offered little for pro, but enjoyable face climbing when the rock was good. My understanding is that Eric and Rolf belayed lower and face climbed up and right? Having pins made this belay feel comfortable, but are not necessary. Pitches six and seven are easy to follow and fun! Again, I used a beak to beef up the pitch six belay, but it was probably not necessary. Pitch Eight is the only one that didn't quite make sense. The FA description said to "Step left to a strenuous boulder move gaining another ledge". I walked left and scrambled around to said ledge at fourth class. However to the right is a short corner that looks like it goes at 5.9ish. I'm assuming that was just a typo, but would love to hear if we missed something. We chose to skip the alpine experience and descend the NE ridge sans shiver bivy, getting back to the car around 9pm for a full day out in the mountains. Approaching up P1 4th/low5th It's a big imposing wall! Pitch 2 is pretty spectacular Starting up P3 Starting up our P5 "Bet ya can get a turf stick with the alpine hammer" -Duncan Ralph I climbed hard right, up the face and back left into the corner. Can't say I recommend this variation. Duncan cleaned Tom's remaining gear. Future parties shouldn't rely on this for routefinding. Pitch 6 low angle corner P7 is straight up fun climbing! @rat & @lunger, did you climb this corner to the right? What a wall! Gear Notes: Double rack very small to #1 and single #2-#4, Full range of nuts incl. brass We used a long knife blade and #2 beak. I was glad to have them, but Duncan was indifferent. 70M rope would give you more anchor flexibility Crampons Approach Notes: Standard NE ridge approach. Access the glacier from top left and traverse over to the base of the route.
  9. Oh no! That woulda been a dream. As you can maybe see from my last picture on day two, we were pretty strung out and racing the fading light to get to the base of Terror. Probably walked (stumbled?) right by it!
  10. Saw this over Stuart two springs ago before I knew what it was. Gave me the chills. I was pretty sure the aliens were here and it was all over.
  11. That route looks really enjoyable! Wish it had been part of the traverse. We downclimbed a ways down the choss gully on the N side to the Frenzelspitz access ramp. It wasn't all too bad, and we passed one or two good looking rap anchors. I can't really imagine committing down that in a cloud though...That would be scary. Climbing Stoddard into the traverse would be so much fun! I agree here. We barely touched our axes on the traverse. It wasn't until descending the H/O col that they were truly needed. I bet if you climb it late enough in the year with a low enough snowpack, you could get away with no axes. However you'd also have no water soooooo.
  12. Saw your van on our way up to Newhalem Thursday morning! Had a hunch you'd be doing something cool out there. Nice work!
  13. Trip: Picket Range - Southern Pickets Enchainment Trip Date: 8/4-7/2022 Trip Report: It's Pickets season folks! Kurt and I were supposed to be in the Bugaboos last week, but unstable weather encouraged us to stay local and sample a little bit of what the Pickets have to offer. Between weather and work on Monday, we had a pretty tight schedule that was surely going to be a challenge. On Thursday we slept in and got a casual start. AM rain was forecasted, and "all" we had to do was hike in to the base of little Mac spire. As we drove north, the rain poured down. By the time we reached the trailhead there was blue sky poking through, but all the brush was thoroughly soaked. The hike up went on for an eternity, and I was beginning to understand why the Pickets see so little traffic. By the time we made it to the alpine, we were drenched from head to toe, and the cold wind made for some rather uncomfortable slogging up to camp. Thankfully by the time we arrived, we were mostly dried out apart from our feet, which wouldn't fully dry out for another day. Day 2: Little Mac, East Mac, West Mac, Tower 1, Tower 5, Inspiration, Pyramid, Degenhardt. A cold and windy night brought us to a cold and windy morning, but the clouds had finally cleared and we could see our first peak. The brush and soil on little mac was still wet from the day before which made for some pretty unnerving scrambling up the first half of the mountain, but once the sun hit things began to dry out. Little Mac and East Mac went pretty smoothly with mostly scrambling and a couple pitches of roped climbing to the summits. West Mac however provided a little more adventure as Kurt tried to quest up some roofs in the middle of the east face but was thwarted and had to downclimb half a pitch. Thankfully we found the easy way and were off to the races. The East Towers sucked up so much time, and honestly I don't remember what we did to get through them. Huge props to Jeff Wright for remembering all the beta and writing such a detailed trip report. I wish I had that good of a memory.... or maybe I'd rather forget. Surfin' the East Towers Inspiration was Classic! By far the best climbing on route. Super straightforward, fun and engaging crack climbing. A large panel of the west face of Inspiration fell off some time recently, taking one or more of the rap anchors with it. This involved some downclimbing between stations and lots of loose rock on the rappels. At least one new station would be needed to fully rap the face. Rapping through the rock scar "Hey Kurt, I found the anchor!" Low on water, we brewed up below Pyramid and rested for the rest of the climbing ahead. Kurt took the leads up Pyramid and quested us up into some hard 5.10 roofs that ended up bring the crux of the entire traverse. We still have no idea where that 5.8 chimney is. Or where we were for that matter. We forgot to take a picture on top of Pyramid, so here's number 7! Summit 8! Having lost a fair bit of time, we raged up Degenhardt at sunset. Racing the fading light, we traversed along the ridge over to the base of Terror and the supposed "excellent" bivy. We didn't have to climb with headlamps! A cold wind howled up the north side, sending morale plummeting. The only somewhat flat spots were on the frigid windy side of the ridge so after an unsuccessful attempt to rig up my tarp to block the wind, we opted to engineer our own spots to the south. We were both somewhat successful in digging out our own bivys, and went to bed late and exhausted. Day 3: Terror, The Rake, The Blip, East Twin Needle, West Twin Needle, Dusseldorfspitz, Himmelhorn The next morning came too soon and we started with Terror for breakfast. The east ridge went quickly and the mountain most definitely didn't live up to the name. Summit of Terror for the actual ninth summit. The Rake, similar to the East towers sucked up an incredible amount of time. We went too high on the first gendarme and had to downclimb the ridge to get to the 5.7 traverse. The rest was just slow route finding up along over and below the ridge. Low on water and with a lot of climbing still ahead of us. We brewed up again below The Blip, four more towers standing between us and camp, two of which being the 5.10 cruxes of the route. Summit 10! Wonderful rap anchor off The Rake. We cruised over the Blip and up the lower pitches of East Twin Needle. A little intimidated by the 5.10 crux, I took the lead up the spectacular knife edge ridge to where it kicks back to a slight overhang. With my pack feeling heavy, I sized up the moves above me, poked my head around to the left and balanced my way around the corner. Skipping the crux. With that out of the way, we raced down up and over West Twin Needle and over to the base of the intimidating East ridge of Himmelhorn. As the only one who brought rock shoes, I took this crux pitch as well. Pulling around the corner I was greeted by a fixed nut, and wild face climbing on hollow sounding rock. It wasn't all too hard, but by feet and calves were pumping out from the heavy pack and everything we had done up to that point. Thankfully I pulled it off without a hitch, and all the hard climbing was behind us. This pitch is probably only around 10a/b, but I absolutely would have called it 10+ if I had climbed it as an onsight first ascent. The overnight pack certainly doesn't help. Summit 13 and the east ridge of Himmelhorn trying to intimidate us. Dusseldorfspitz! Gipfel 14! Day 4: Ottohorn & Frenzelspitz The next morning at the Himmelhorn-Ottohorn col I woke up to sunlight casting off the mountains around us. I must have turned off my alarm at some point and fallen back asleep without realizing it. Kurt forgot to set one as well. Neither of us were upset by the extra half hour of sleep, but knew we needed to get things moving if we wanted to get out at a reasonable hour. Don't roll over! A quick jaunt up and down Ottohorn started day four. The effort of the last three days weighted on our legs, but the lack of overnight packs made it feel less like a chore. We carried a rope and rack up for the supposed 5.6 summit block, but they never saw any use. Once back down at the col, we scrambled down to the north and around the east face of Ottohorn to reach Frenzelspitz. I don’t think we took the same route as Priti and Jeff, but regardless it got us where we needed to go at loose 4th class with tiny bits of low 5th. Continuing this trend, we scrambled up to the base of the last pitch of Frenzelspitz where Kurt took the sharp end and led us up a short pitch to our final summit. We have a serious problem. This was summit 16. Someone teach us how to count. The descent went pretty much as expected. Lots of knee pain and schwacking took us around Crescent Basin, down stump hollow and out along Goodell creek. Huge thanks to Wayne, Jeff and Priti for all the beta. I can’t imagine how much longer everything would have taken without those detailed topos for every climb and descent. Both Kurt and I were blown away that the FA team of three did it in almost the same timeframe as us, and even tacked on the Chopping Block! Gear Notes: Single rack .1-2 doubles .4-1, One rack "nice" nuts and a half rack leaver nuts, 10 single runners & 4 doubles, 30 feet 5mm cord for rap anchors, 60m 8.5mm rope, Light Axe and Crampons Approach Notes: Over the river and through the woods, then up up up and some more up through more forest until you're finally in the alpine oh god.
  14. Trip: Guye Peak - A slightly more improbable than usual ascent of the Improbable Traverse Trip Date: 07/22/2022 Trip Report: Late last Thursday Joe and I made the questionable decision to try and dawn patrol the Improbable Traverse. Neither of us had climbed the route before, nor did we do much research, which in hindsight may have saved us a headache or two. At the time we were blissfully unaware of the massive rockfall event that happened last November. A quick search here would have informed us. However lately CC isn't the place I go for up to date condition reports, being that i'm often one of three users logged on at any time . A quick mountain project browse provided no info other than it hadn't been climbed this year. Long story short the route has been obliterated, and it would take a heroic amount of trundling and sweeping to revive it. All the pitches up to the traverse got bombed and are absolutely plastered in dirt and loose rock. We'd heard it the route was loose, but this seemed a little extreme. The flexing pin at the start of the traverse is still there, and the only reason I knew where to go. The pictures and beta I had weren't quite lining up. It was at this point that I realized what had happened, and made the decision to try and top out rather than bail with our short 40m rope. Traversing out I came across a large 40x40ft rock scar where the routes 5.8R crux used to be. Already 20ft out, I snaked my way over and down some insecure sloping edges which provided the routes new crux at somewhere around 5.9+ downclimbing. Once on a larger foot ledge I was able to keep traversing to the end of the rock scar and onto the original route. All told it was somewhere around a 50+ foot mandatory runout off the old tied off flexing pin. If it was R before, it's likely X now. The worst part by far was the top of the left trending ramp that exits the main face. This section cuts straight through the middle of the main rockfall zone and is now composed of the loosest unstable blocks held in by dirt I have ever climbed. It's hard to state exactly how nasty it was without sounding terribly dramatic, but It was bad. I was worried the entire slope was going to fall away around me. This pitch had no acceptable protection. Basically what I'm trying to say here is don't be dumb and climb this like we did. The lower pitches are right beneath an active rockfall zone and we are lucky we didn't get taken out. We were both late for work. Gear Notes: Just don't. But if you do, a few KB's might be useful on the new traverse. Approach Notes: Same as is ever was
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