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Michael Telstad

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Michael Telstad last won the day on November 26 2021

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About Michael Telstad

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    journeyman
  • Birthday 03/12/1998

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  1. Tonquin Valley / Mt Geikie

    Marlin Thorman and Duncan Ralph were planning to go out there a couple years ago. I think the border was closed due to COVID so they had to change plans. They would likely have all the beta.
  2. Trip: Posthole Peak - [FA?] North Face Right Side (WI3 M4) Trip Date: 01/16/2022 Trip Report: My motivation to spray has been dwindling lately, as such this trip report is a couple months late and will not be as detailed as past reports. In mid January Kurt Ross, Erik Richardson and I ventured into the WA Pass area with plans to repeat the Keena-Williams on Silverstar. While driving over on Saturday night, Kurt and I got word from Erik that the route wasn't in, and his recon informed us that both skiing, and booting conditions were far from ideal. We nearly turned the car around two or three times, but the prospect of a break from the W-side rain kept us on course. As we waffled over what to do, I remembered some cool N-facing walls behind Blue Lake that might hold some potential. The straightforward access and low commitment made this an easy decision. The next morning Erik towed us up the highway, and we skied from the blue lake TH up to the lake. Upon laying eyes on the faces, the main things we noticed was A: they look really cool in the winter, B: a distinct lack of ice (duh), and C: All of the coolest lines had big(enough to kill you) cornices hanging over them. The overhead hazard and warm temps gave us real pause, and we doddled around the base for a while trying to make a call. Eventually we decided on a mellow looking smear on the right side of the left wall (posthole peak). This route had the smallest cornice, and seemed like it would climb the fastest to limit our time in danger. The first third of the route consisted of good low angle ice that somehow wasn't covered in snow. I lead an 80+m pitch of mostly WI2 with a single vertical 12ft step to a screw belay. My next pitch started with some more easy water ice in a groove up to a snowfield. This pitch ended with some trenching to get to a bad rock belay (beaks and KB's). Kurt took over the lead here and lead us most of the way to the top in one ~140m pitch. The first half was snow with an easy mixed step up to 50M of fun albeit very snowy M4 to just below the ridge. I took over the sharp end again and lead a funky pitch of tree climbing and trenching in steep/deep snow up to the ridge crest. At this point we unroped and continued scrambling along the ridge with hopes of reaching the summit before sunset. About half way along the ridge, I fell in a hole while breaking trail, while Kurt was either coming over to laugh at me or help me out, he triggered a large cornice break presumably by just plunging his tool too far to the left. Luckily we had both stayed far enough to the side that we were both safe, but it was a great example of how far back cornices can break. There was roughly three feet of flat rock exposed by the now missing chunk of snow. Poor Erik was out of sight and likely assumed we were both gonezo. With the sun now fully set, and plenty more complex ridge ahead of us, we opted to turn around and investigate our descent options. The ridge took us down to an easy couloir that would be really fun to ski in better conditions. For us it was rather firm booting down to our skis at the base. Large chunks of cornice debris covered our skin track from earlier in the day, solidifying our choice to avoid the more threatened routes. The ski out was err... character building. To the best of my knowledge this was a new route. If anyone has info on previous winter ascents on these walls I'd love to hear about it. Kurt (left) & Erik (right) Following P1 Kurt Leading out on P3 Erik following the snowy mixed awesomeness Questing into the night. Goode in all it's winter glory above Erik's head. Gear Notes: Standard winter alpine rack w/ maybe a couple extra 10-13cm screws Approach Notes: Sled to the Blue Lake trailhead. Skin or boot up to and across the lake.
  3. That wall sees a lot of sun, so needs better temps. We hope to go back out there later this season.
  4. But then we would have missed out on the four mile moonlight hike down the road!
  5. They go by lots of different names. Beaks, birdbeaks, peckers, tomahawks. I think we're thinking of the same thing though.
  6. Trip: Esmeralda Peaks - [FA] Moonlight Serendipity (WI2 M5+ 1,200ft) Trip Date: 11/21/2021 Trip Report: Last Sunday @Kyle M, Kurt Ross and I set out to investigate rumors of early season ice in the Esmeralda Basin area. A couple sizable blowdowns stopped our drive early, diminishing any hopes of even making it to our intended climb. With zero expectations, we decided to go for a walk up the road and see if we could get eyes on anything cool. We took our sweet time walking up the road, stopping to look through binoculars at everything that vaguely resembled ice. We nearly dropped all our climbing gear at the trailhead, but decided to keep it for “training weight”. Luckily we did, as we shortly got eyes on the NE face of Esmeralda’s NE peak. A discontinuous series of ice smears, chimneys and ramps seemed to form a potential route up the face, but we figured it was still too early. Possibly against our better judgement, we decided to “go scout the approach” and soon found ourselves scrambling up fun WI2 smears on the lower flanks of the face. Our route followed easy terrain that angled left and then traversed hard back right to where the face steepens abruptly. A very convenient dike feature splits the face for almost its entire height, and proved to be the key to our success. I kept leading, and scratched my way up a fun albeit poorly protected section of chimney. From here I had my fill for a little bit, and let Kurt take over the sharp end. An easy connector pitch took us up to a decision point. The chimney/dike feature continued above us, but seemed to hold ever steepening iced up rock climbing. With the little amount of daylight we had left, we opted to bypass this to the left via a tricky and somewhat loose chimney that seemed like it would take us to easier terrain, and the summit. Kurt casually lead the pitch, seemingly unfazed by the toaster oven sized block he dropped on his head. The sun set on us as we were following this pitch, and brought us to another decision point. We hadn’t prepared for a day of this magnitude and were running out of food and water fast. We could either bail now and call it a good scouting mission, or keep going in hopes of the summit, and a quick walk off. We opted to push onward into the night. From this point the climbing was largely on snow, apart from the odd rock step, or awkward bit of shallowly buried slab. Two more pitches brought us to an imposing headwall we hadn't seen from below. I was starting to worry that our climb was done there. While we could have likely found a route up the steep dry rock, it was far too late in the evening to start such drytooling shenanigans. Our last option was to keep traversing right to search for a way around it. Much to our surprise, a perfect rock ramp cork screwed around the summit block, taking us to the top of the wall. Once atop our little summit, we saw a long complex rock ridge that unfolded in front of us. Continuing to the true summit would have taken us several long pitches, and more hours than we had. We had climbed to the top of the wall we intended, and were more than happy with how things unfolded. The descent involved a couple pitches of down leading and about six or seven double rope rappels off trees and bushes. We hiked out hungry under the almost full moon, and got back to Seattle at two in the morning the next day. Kyle will likely write a more in depth blog post in a couple days. While clearly not representative of the conditions we encountered, the topo below shows more of the wall than is visible from below. Gear Notes: Single rack .1-3, nuts, beaks, KB's and a Spectre came in handy. Screws were not required for the conditions we encountered. 10's and 13's would be best. Approach Notes: Walk, drive or sled to the Esmeralda Basin TH. Hike up the trail for a little under a half mile before crossing the creek and picking your way straight up to the face. If you can drive to the trailhead, this climb is VERY easily accessible.
  7. [TR] Stuart Range - Stuart Range Traverse 08/30/2021

    The high traverse I took was like 5.5/5.6 and didn't take all that long, but rapping would be SOOO much nicer.
  8. [TR] Stuart Range - Stuart Range Traverse 08/30/2021

    I actually didn't bring a rope, the rap kit mentioned in the gear notes is what I should have brought. I chose to bring a bivy kit in lieu of a rap line because my ride wasn't coming till the next day.
  9. [TR] Goode Mountain - Megalodon Ridge 08/29/2021

    This will be an invaluable resource for future parties! Nice job finding the better approach and 4th class bypass!
  10. Trip: Stuart Range - Stuart Range Traverse Trip Date: 08/30/2021 Trip Report: I was Initially a little hesitant to write this report as it was certainly nothing groundbreaking, I don’t really have any super helpful beta and it just kinda felt like I was stroking my ego. Anyhow, here is a short report of beta I wish I had for the traverse. I'd also like to echo that this is basically a long dry sidehill. If you are expecting a bunch a great climbing, think again. It felt like a dangerous hike. The other day I climbed the Stuart Range Traverse over about 31 hours, including a 7ish hour nap near Prusik. I decided to start on the W-ridge of Stuart via Ingalls and out to the Snow Lake Trail. This is the straightest line on the map, and that appealed to me for some reason. Thankfully my friend Alastair was generous enough to shuttle me back to my car the next day. Thanks bud! The first crux for me was getting over to the east side of Sherpa. It seemed that one with a rope could easily rap over the other side of the summit and continue on their way, unfortunately I didn’t have that luxury. I chose to down climb the S couloir a little ways, and then follow a ledge system around the mountain to the east. This worked out in the end, but was time consuming and a bit circuitous. The next crux for me came at Argonaut. In classic fashion, I had only gathered just enough beta (literally just a picture looking up the S-face) to not fully epic, but not quite enough to know where I was going. I opted for the first gully (pictured below) up to the ridge, hoping for straightforward traversing to the base of the S-face. I encountered anything but. This side of the mountain consists of an incredible grouping of gullies, towers and fins. While striking, it makes for slow arduous travel. I later learned that other solo travelers had dropped low down to approach the face straight on. This would probably be faster/less stressful, but not nearly as cool. I eventually got where I needed to go. Getting off of Argo was definitely the most stressful part, and the spot that I really wish I had a rope. I ended up walking down to a 2-bolt 1-pin rap anchor, and down climbed from there. This bit was loose, slabby and just no fun. While not necessary, a rope here would be really really nice, especially after all the terrain you’ve already covered for the day. This spot also seems to seep earlier in the season, so a rope might be required most of the year. I believe there is a rap/downclimb route to climbers left that may skip it. More downclimbing on better rock took me down to the basin. A small snow patch below Argo provided a tiny trickle of water for me to fill up with. If It wasn’t for this, I would have only had one liter for the rest of the traverse. The rest of the traverse is mostly walking unless you stick to the ridges. The snow free walk off of D-tail is chill and cairned right now. I’ll certainly be taking this route in the future for getting off D-tail late season. There is a small glacier at the pass between Boola Boola Buttress and Lil A. When I hiked by, there was standing water between the dirt and ice. This may be a spot to fill up, but I didn’t look too closely at how nasty it was. GPS track found HERE Here's a photo dump for inspiration Gear Notes: 60m 6mm tag line, Dyneema sling for harness, Reverso + Locker would be a perfect rap kit. Minimum 3L water storage. Good music to keep you company. Brought rock shoes but never used them. Trail gaiters are $$$! Approach Notes: Choose your own adventure
  11. Trip: Mount Goode - Megalodon Ridge Trip Date: 07/19/2021 Trip Report: “Hey bear!” I shout, followed by a convincing monkey call from Sean. We are only a couple hundred yards away from the trail, but swallowed deep in the eight foot tall slide alder of the North Fork of Bridge Creek. Maybe we’re off route, maybe there is no route. A couple days prior Sean and I had been throwing around ideas for the weekend. Sean was interested in something hard on CBR, while I was craving some choss and adventure. Being the great friend and partner that he is, Sean agreed to my idea of Goode, and adjusted his schedule to fit mine. Meeting at the parking lot on Sunday, I ask Sean how comfortable he is soloing most of the ridge. He’s psyched on the idea, and I’m psyched to slim down the rack. I ditch the 4 and a few other pieces. With that I grab a couple bubbly waters to stash in a creek along the way and we’re off. In classic fashion, Sean takes off jogging almost immediately, it feels so good to be moving. The hiking flies by and we soon find ourselves stumbling down an alder infested hillside down to Bridge Creek. With no obvious entry point on the other side, we start hiking upstream along the river bank until the alder overtakes us, and we’re forced to wade up stream in the biting glacier melt water. Just in time for my feet to go fully numb, I find a narrow tunnel through the brush and out of the river. After a brief bout of screaming barfies we’re off and moving again. From this point, things got a little weird. All previous reports of this route seemed intentionally vague about how to gain the ridge. The alpine basin that looked like steep meadows on the map proved to be alder choked waterfalls. After re-reading Dan’s TR, I’m pretty sure we cut up the hill too early and endured some hellish bushwacking. Following the waterfall a little further seems like a better idea. Once re-birthed from the thicket, we followed a loose low 5th class gully up to the ridge crest. Freedom at last! The trudge up the treed ridge felt like it went on for eternity. Every roll, followed by another buttress and so on. It was at this point in the day that the true enormity of Jens and Dan’s single push effort set in. We were tired, and the idea of continuing up the ridge did not appeal. Maybe with tiny packs and perfect approach beta, but even then... As we tucked in for the night, a small plane flew circles around the summit. I assumed it could only be John Scurlock. After a nice night nestled into a bed of heather, we woke with the sun and enjoyed a warm pot of coffee to start the day. The initial part of the ridge proper was phenomenal. Highly textured white stone flowed up the mountain in a stunning spine feature. This section up to the first point would be a classic route on it’s own. I can not overstate how good the rock was through this section. Just perfect scrambling. Now atop point 8200, a cold wind ripped from the shady south side, adding to the intimidation of the ominous drop off ahead. Rather than onsight down-solo into the abyss, we opted to rope up here and simul down to the notch. This section did not boast the same quality rock, but made for comfortable down climbing with adequate protection. Once down, we again unroped and began back up to SE peak. Scrambling across this ridge was an incredible experience. I found myself falling into a flow state unlike much other. The climbing isn’t too hard, nor very sustained, so you are really able to enjoy the movement. Finally below the headwall, we roped up again. I lead a long somewhat loose and scary pitch of 5.9 slightly to the right of the FA party’s route. It went, but I can’t say I recommend it. Sean then took the lead, and after bailing on a N-side option, led an incredible 55m pitch up and left through splitter corners and up a striking arete feature. This pitch onward is definitely the same route that the FA party took. The last ~70m pitch took me up a very poorly protected arete composed of brick sized loose blocks up onto the ridge. As Blake says, “no lifeguard on duty here”. Sean questing the wrong way. Now with the biggest obstacle behind us, we basked in the sun before unroping and scrambling down to the snow patch, and top of the ski line. Things had gone very smoothly up to this point, so we took our time hanging out and brewing up. Sitting there looking at the steep grey ice, and rotten gendarmes was making me nervous. We only had one chintzy light axe between the two of us and no crampons. If there wasn’t a way around, we would be in a pretty bad spot. As we scampered further up the ridge, I theorized how we could dead-man some rocks to rap down the snow and swing over to the other side. Once over the ridge, I was relieved to find a casual (albeit shitty) scree slope taking us around the back side. More scrambling took us through looser and more convoluted gendarmes up towards the Black Tooth notch. Roping up one last time, I lead down and around the final gendarme into black tooth notch. I found this pitch to be easier than the proposed 5.10 grade, probably 5.8 or 5.9 and truly well protected. Maybe after 11 hours of FA questing with big packs this could feel like 10-. A short simul block took us to the summit and nap time! Having mentally prepared for an epic 12+ hour day, I was pleasantly surprised to arrive on the summit in the early afternoon with plenty of day to spare. We had full water bottles and a full seven hours to nap and enjoy the views. Life is Goode! The descent sucked, and the hike out only sucked for the last hour. Too many good photos to share in this TR. Our full photo album can be found HERE Gear Notes: If Simuling/pitching out most of the ridge Double rack .1-2 Single 3&4. If scrambling all but the cruxes, a single rack .1-3 should be fine. Small cams in the .1-.2 range are most useful. Fish themed snacks. Approach Notes: IDK, try and gain the ridge as soon as possible? Follow the waterfall? Maybe someone who has done it right will chime in.
  12. [TR] North Early Winters Spire - Labor Pains (Retro Bolt) 06/21/2021

    I'm aware Steve passed away. I was also aware that it had some bolts replaced already. Regardless of the previous rebolt, consensus was still that the route was in unnecessarily dangerous condition. Both parties I know who have climbed it, Wayne Wallace and John Plotz both agreed that some pins should be replaced with bolts, and the anchor updated. It seems that I may have been off base adding the bolt above the P3 anchor. However I stand by my decision, and believe that it retains the character of the route. If I hear from enough people who have climbed the route that the bolt is not acceptable. I am happy to spin it out and mask the hole.
  13. [TR] North Early Winters Spire - Labor Pains (Retro Bolt) 06/21/2021

    I wasn't able to find contact info for them. I honestly didn't try too hard though...
  14. Trip: North Early Winters Spire - Labor Pains (Retro Bolt) Trip Date: 06/21/2021 Trip Report: I know, I know, I'm sure someone will be upset that retroed this hardman test piece but hear me out. Labor Pains has been on my to-do list for years, but I was just too intimidated by its reputation. I knew that when I did eventually climb it, I wanted to replace some of the hardware to make it less of a death route, all while retaining it's character. Since I wasn't able to get permission from the FA party, I committed to doing it in the best possible style I could manage. I self belayed every pitch in it's original state, then replaced the hardware I felt was warranted on the way back down to clean the pitch. I placed 3 bolts total, all hand drilled. As far as the climbing goes, I thought the grades listed on the topo were largely quite soft. The one exception being the 11a mantel on P4. If climbing this with a partner, rope drag would be a serious concern. I might actually consider climbing this with half ropes to mitigate the drag, but proper slingage should help considerably. P1 5.0: Start up Chockstone route, then traverse up and left, through a loose chimney system to the ledge just below P2. Confident parties should just solo this, however the looseness should be taken into account. P2 5.10: Climb the somewhat crumbly right facing corner system. This pitch protects well enough, and is the only pitch you really want the #3 and #4 on. The bulge is much easier than 5.11. Once above the bulge, slab left to a thin corner system and up onto the sloping ledge above. Looking down P2 from just above the bulge. P2+ 5.9?: I recommend moving the belay up to the ledge above. A horizontal overlap and sloping ledge will provide a good stance for the next pitch. You could even move all the way up to the base of the thin cracks if you wanted to. P3: 5.10+: Aim for the obvious thin crack above. This "mini west face" is actually a double crack, with the easier of the two being the right crack. Once through the seam, traverse left below the roof, and look for the bolt around the corner. I determined this bolt to be in good shape, and not yet in need of being replaced. I re-drove the piton above it, and it can be adequately backed up by a .1 cam just to the left of the pin. Replacing the pin with a bolt would be nice, but I determined the pin, supplementary cam, and proximity to the bolt to be safe enough. Continue over the bulge on cool flakes to where you will now find a new shiny bolt. This used to be a rusty pin behind a flake. The pin turned out the be pretty damn good, but certainly not sustainable. More somewhat runout climbing takes you to the right, then back left to the newly updated bolt anchor. Broke my tuning fork before I was able to remove the old button head. It now suits as a good spot to hang your shoes. The old pin, and the new protection bolt. P4 5.11a: From the bolted anchor, step up on good edges until you can reach the new bolt up and right. Slab your way hard right under the loose flakes to the sloping ledge. A thin crack which takes good pro will take you up and over a steep bulge. The topo calls out a "not so great fixed pin" which was gone before I got there. If you are already feeling some rope drag, I recommend belaying on the slab just above the mantel. The remainder of the route climbs flakes and cracks up and left on licheny but easy terrain. The previous runout straight off the P4 belay. The new bolt that protects you from falling straight onto the belay. Overall I thought this routes reputation was a bit overblown. In it's previous state, all the hardest climbing was well protected, but some falls could have been catastrophic. As it stands now, I truly believe I was able to retain the adventurous excitement of the route, while mitigating the danger. It is still PG13, as bolting all the runouts would be unreasonable. Get on this route, It's really fun! Gear Notes: Double rack from micro to #2. Single #3 & #4. Standard rack of nuts plus some brassies might come in handy. Many shoulder length slings. 70m rope to take advantage of the W-face raps. Approach Notes: Standard Blue Lake approach
  15. [TR] Mt. Index - Lake Serene photo trip 03/23/2021

    Those are incredible! Definitely the best picture I've seen of the north face. Would you ever consider taking close up photos certain faces upon request?
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