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kmfoerster

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kmfoerster last won the day on November 11

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About kmfoerster

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  1. Just put some photos up, having trouble with the drag n' drop method. Got a few more to put up!
  2. Trip: North Six Shooter & South Six Shooter - Lightning Bolt Cracks & South Face Direct Trip Date: 11/03/2020 Trip Report: I've been down in Utah/Colorado since the beginning of the month on a climbing trip and vacation. Managed to climb two towers that have been on my mind for some time via some pretty quality routes. I had become enchanted with desert towers when myself and some friends climbed the North Chimney of Castleton Tower two years ago. Desert towers seem to give me the same high that climbing in the Cascades does. Anyway, I figure I'd drop off a TR here since it gets pretty quiet around these parts this time of year. Maybe it'll inspire some Cascade Crushers to take a trip down to the desert. Beta will be minimal, since theres plenty info. Heres the thought/photo dump: 11/5 North Six Shooter - Lightning Bolt Cracks My friend Tyler and I made our way down the double track and sandy wash to the well cairned trail up the mesa. The hike up to the base of the climb took us about an hour. We got our stuff sorted and Tyler headed up the first pitch (11a). It starts as a tips crack and gradually widens to a steep OW slot before and airy traverse to the pitch 2 options. I had to take once on this pitch at the OW section as I'm pretty lacking in that skill set. I racked up and headed up the second pitch right option which is solid 5.10 wide hands and fists up and over a bulge. I plugged a .4 and a .5 in the finger crack low on the right option and after a few steps of chimneying in the left option, reached over to a perfect hand jam and made a really fun swing into the right. Above the bulge an easy traverse and a couple feet up thin blocky climbing brought me to the base of the bomb bay chimney where I made my belay. Tyler led the third pitch, linking the bomb bay and the squeeze chimneys. The squeeze chimney was at my limit for what I'd personally call a squeeze chimney. A mix of emotion of feeling secure and worried about being stuck the entire time. I ended up switchbacking through it finding the widest parts. I took off my helmet midway through. Soon enough we were on top and joined by a cow skull that someone brought up some time in the past. Took some photos and rigged the rappel. Two raps with a 70m rope got us down to the opposite side of the tower and a quick walk around to the base of the route to pack up. This was probably the best rock route I've ever been on. I wouldn't shut up about how good the climbing was at the top. Paired with a classic desert tower made this an absolute dream trip. Tyler leading pitch 1 Me following the traverse at the end of pitch 1 Me leading Pitch 2 Tyler coming up the upper part of pitch 2 Tyler leading through the bomb bay, approaching the upper roof South Six from the North Six 11/3 South Six Shooter - South Face Direct (Right) Will and I made our way up this popular desert tower by a slightly obscure route. The masses tend to climb the 5.7 Trade Route. We chose the South Face Direct (5.9) which involves two vertical hand and fist cracks broken up by a large ledge for the first pitch. The second pitch started with steep loose blocky climbing, followed by a quick scramble traverse joining the Trade Route and then the heady mantle up to the summit. We thought the climbing was fun, although short. There was a bit of a traffic jam getting down as there were a few parties coming up the Trade Route and other South Face options. We ended up doing a short two raps with a 70m rope. We rapped off the summit to a tat nest on the big ledge splitting the first pitch of the South Face Direct. Will coming up pitch 1 Will just above the awkward mantel before the summit North six from the South Six Bridger Jacks in the distance Camp Gear Notes: Both routes used a double rack from .3-3, a #4 would've been handy on SFD as I had to sling a worthless chockstone through the fist section. We brought a #5 for LBC and didn't find it all that essential, a #4 would've been more welcome. Set of stoppers. Alpine draws and double length runners. 70m rope Approach Notes: Cairned trails up the mesas and talus cones. High clearance and 4wd helpful to get to the parking, but maybe not essential. 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  3. I forget the beat down when I see tall pokey things.
  4. Trip: Himmelhorn - Wild Hair Crack and NE Ridge of The Chopping Block Trip Date: 10/04/2020 Trip Report: This last weekend @willgovus and I returned to the southern pickets for Himmelhorn's Wild Hair Crack and the NE Ridge of The Chopping Block. This was my third trip to the region in the last two months. Not sure why but I've been enchanted with the Southern Pickets this year. Met Will at the Goodell trailhead around 9am Saturday morning and began hiking up the old road bed. Not long we came up to the Terror Basin turnoff and I got to say, "Not this time!" We continued straight and came up to the crossing for Terror Creek. Will stashed a couple of beers for the way out. The big log in older approach beta is gone, but the creek is easily crossed with a bit of log palming, rock hopping and branch grabbing. Found the climbers path and made out way up to the ridge, which felt like it went quick with the aid of consistent hilarious conversation. The trail is easy to follow on the steep but when you get on the ridge it tends to fade in and out. But it never took too long to find it again and keep plugging away. The hike through stump hollow is mostly a pleasant slab approach. We got up to the pass and dropped some stuff of at camp on the ridge and then started making our way to The Chopping Block. We ended up climbing it in one simul block, taking a bit less than an hour from our camp to the summit. The NE ridge is quite good and definitely worth while if you're in the area. Both Will and I remarked on the quality of the rock and thought the climbing was pretty fun too. Ate, took photos and hung out on the summit for a bit and then got ready to head down. I think we got down with one 30m and two 60m rappels? The rap line on it is kind of funky. I ended up removing and replacing most of the anchors on the way down with fresh cord. Ended the Night with a great sunset, whiskey and dinner. Was a full-ish moon and clear sky. Never sleep that well with a full moon, too light sensitive I guess. Got up Sunday at 5am and started making our way over to Himmelhorn around 6. Travel to the Otto-Himmel Col through the cirque is pretty quick and pleasant. Spooked a black bear and sent it running. Not too much herbaceous side-hilling and the talus is pretty damn settled. The Otto-Himmel Col was nearly snow free as one would assume. Upward progress was slowed due to the shear amount of choss in that rig. Careful pitching out from safety zone to safety zone was crucial. We scrambled out of it on the left under a couple of smaller chockstones, the large one was still a ways up the gully. Again much care was needed making our way through the upper lefthand ledges. Arriving at the col we dropped off our axes and crampons which just came along for the ride for the whole trip and suited up for the climb. Wild Hair Crack is an amazing route on mostly solid rock, awesome holds and occasional looseness to keep you engaged. We ended up doing it in three pitches to the subpoint, With the third turning to simuling once on the ridge. The first two pitches are awesome crack and face climbing. The second is about an 8-10" crack, but doesn't require much chimney or OW technique to keep it at the grade. Plent of great holds all around it. It was nice to be able to throw a butt cheek in there when placing pro or taking a rest though. The first 20' or so is run out, the first pro I placed was a nest of two small stoppers on a thin crack on the right. Never found the #2 crack mentioned previously. From there the pro remained small, not sure I placed anything bigger than .75? The third pitch is much easier and the scrambling on the ridge is well featured for simuling and didn't find much need to place anything until the summit block. Theres an exposed flat catwalk before the last pitch to the summit. The summit is quite narrow, theres a few good spots to sit and take in the view. We did a single rope rap off the summit block and simuled back to the subpoint. We did 3 double rope raps down the route to get down to the col, two of which were pretty close to a full 60m. Be careful with your ropes on the way down, most of the rock is solid but theres pockets of chossy-ness. We had some rocks come whizzing overhead on the second rap. The last rap required a hair of scrambling to get to the col. We packed up our crap and started making our way down the upper ledges in the gulley, accidentally overshooting where we came up before. That was fine because that section sucked and we got back into the gulley with a rappel off a bomber horn. We had a nice fin of snow to hide behind when we pulled the rope but nothing came down. We ended up leaving a few runners behind on the raps. Every single piece of tat on route and in the gulley was either very old or had succumbed to snaffle damage. It was a relief to get out of the anus that was the late season Otto-Himmel Col. We reversed ur steps back to camp on the pass above stump hollow. We ran into that same bear on the way back and watched it gorge on berries with reckless abandon. We just sat and watched it for a while because the light was hitting the cirque perfectly and it was just a cool sight to see. I ended up rolling my ankle something good on a mossy slab on the way back. Didn't hurt too bad to walk on but got some good swelling and bruising. Got back to camp just at another glorious sunset. It got kind of foggy around dinner time and stayed that way until the middle of the night when it cleared again. Woke up at sunset and popped some ibuprofen with breakfast. My ankle was feeling alright but, what the hell. We headed out Monday morning and getting down to the creek crossing was a wet brushy car wash but felt really quick. Stopped to eat and drink the previously stashed beers for a bit. Between the ibuprofen and the beer my ankle was feeling great (still does, but a bit of swelling remains) and the trail back down to the car was a breeze. This was another great trip in this sea of choss and perfect alpine season ender!! And of course the photo dump: The Chopping Block Chopping Block summit Rapping off The Chopping Block First night sunset Triumph and Despair at sunrise Himmelhorn Late season Otto-Himmel Col Wild Hair crack, we took the right crack on the first pitch. Himmelhorn summit Will making his way down the exposed catwalk Rapping into the gulley from the upper ledges Second night sunset Current Terror Creek Crossing Gear Notes: Single set of cams .3 to 2. Set of stoppers. Six alpine draws, four double length runners. Half/twin 60m ropes Approach Notes: Crescent creek approach
  5. @CascadEagan I dont think any of us dropped any camera stuff. Where you the party behind us that camped just up the hill from us the first night on Stetattle?
  6. Trip: West Mcmillan Spire/Elephant Butte - West ridges via Stetattle Ridge Trip Date: 09/06/2020 Trip Report: Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of getting back into the Southern Pickets with @JasonG and @Trent. We took the eastern high route/approach via Stetattle Ridge. I outlined the route in the approach notes, this will be more for a general itinerary/thoughts/photo dump. Hiking along Stetattle was extremely panoramic and quite pleasant. We setup camp the first night just north of North Stetattle (pt. 6728). There were abundant tarns for water and flat spots to setup at. Not long after unpacking the guys pulled out the whisky and chocolate, a ritual I'm not familiar with having spent most of my time trying to be as ultralight as possible. We shot the shit for hours and listened to tunes on Steve's little speakers. I'm sure now that theres a little room in my pack for some whiskey. I slept really well until the (full?) moon was dead center over the sky and woke me up with its brightness. We got up decently early for the big day of tagging Elephant Butte and and a plan of making it to the summit of West Mac for the nights bivy. We were a bit above an awesome sea of clouds down in the valley. The drop down to the notch above Torrent creek is fairly straight forward and to get up out of it toward the benches at 6200' above the small lake east of Elephant Butte is just a bit more involved, but not too bad. We dropped packs at the notch at the base of the west ridge of Elephant Butte. Was a quick romp to the summit and we were surprised how many entries in the register there were as of late. We toyed with the idea of staying on the ridge crest and tagging the next two high points west of the Butte (Hippo, Rhino). But some hairy climbing/scrambling, lack of inspiration to tag them, and a concern for having enough time to deal with the ridge to get into Terror basin pushed that idea to the side. I'm glad we spent the effort on the more important task of getting into Terror Basin safely and efficiently. We stayed more or less at 6200' from Elephant Butte until we got to the notch just west of pt 6455. From there it was staying very close to the ridge crest. At this point, the route gets very exposed, serious and committing. Scrambling on 4th class rock, heather benches, veggie pulling. It was not too far removed from what you'd experience on the NEB of Jburg. It finally eases off just before Little Mac. A small sandy notch allows entry into Terror Basin. From there we traversed down across snow to get to the base of West Mac, we were able to go up a dry mossy waterfall on the rib extending down from West Mac which cut out quite a bit of travel. We scrambled up the west ridge and made our way up to the summit. Theres now currently three one-person bivy spots up there now. We made dinner, drank whiskey and waited for the sunset. It was an awesome sunset, highlight of the trip for sure. But after every calm, comes a storm. We settled in for the night in really pleasant weather. At some point the winds picked up dramatically and Steve and I got sand blasted all night. Meanwhile Jason was locked in mortal combat with the snaffles. He said they were trying to take his headlamp off his head. They had told me the night prior that the snaffles really like him. I think the wind that Steve and I were experiencing were keeping the snaffles at bay, leaving Jason as easy prey. Didn't sleep a much that night as you'd guess. Got up and made breakfast and a big pot of coffee in a spot on the summit mostly out of the wind. The sunrise was fantastic and made up for the night we had. Packed up and made out way down West Mac and out Terror basin without issue. This was an incredible trip and thanks to Jason for inviting me on this, I cant say I would've thought to do this kind of trip myself. It was the kind of trip I have been meaning to have for some time now though. And big thanks to Jason and Steve for being SOLID partners. It was really cool being around two guys that have been climbing with each other for as long as you both have. I won't be caught without whiskey on the next Choss Dawgs trip. Myself as we make our way up Sourdough Creek. Jason Photo. Jason and Steve looking at the next two days. North Stetattle. Sunset, Elephant Butte and The Southern Pickets Sunrise, Snowfield group and Davis Peak Sea of Fog. Jason up on Elephant Butte About to make our way into the business end of the traverse. Steve Photo. Steve with the veggie belays. End of the hairy stuff. Jason photo. Into Terror Basin. Headed up West Mac. Up on West Mac preparing for battle with snaffles and wind. Steve photo. Dinner time. Jason photo. Sunset on Mt. Fury Morning light on Inspiration, The Pyramid, Degenhardt and Terror. Kulshan in the distance. Ray of light on Azure Lake. Hopefully Jason and Steve will drop off more of their photos! Gear Notes: Ice Axe, Crampons, Whiskey, Chocolate, Van Halen Approach Notes: Start at Sourdough Lookout Trail, go up along Sourdough creek, Stay on the crest of Stetattle Ridge. From pt. 6154 follow game trails down ramps and ledges to the notch above Torrent Creek. Ascend more ramps and ledges with a bit of steep schwacking up to ~6200'. Traverse westward around that elevation, Elephant Butte is a quick jaunt from the notch west of it. Gain the ridge proper from a notch just west of pt. 6455 (just east of the Mcmillan Spires). This is where the scrambling gets extremely exposed. Traverse mostly solid rock and heather benches toward East Mcmillan, occasional goat trails and veggie belays. Aim for a small notch to the left of where the ridge meets Little Mac.
  7. current song in your head

  8. current song in your head

  9. review Footwear in the Cascades

    With work postponed due to smoke I thought I'd toss up a photo of my Chevro-legs that get regular use in the alpine. I've got a pair of G5's that I bought this winter. Haven't used em yet, bought them for a trip to Chamonix and to have a bit warmer boot as an option. I love the Sportiva Trango Ice Cubes and think that that class of a 4 season boot is all you really need in the Cascades. I size mine a half size bigger than my normal street shoe and wear a thick sock, helps with blood circulation. I love the old style of Vertical K (second from bottom right) and would buy ten pairs right now if I could. Note that there isn't a 3 season boot in the line up. Haven't used a 3 season boot for the last 2 years, and haven't felt a need to buy a new pair lately. Thats probably mostly based on the objectives I've been choosing.
  10. review Footwear in the Cascades

    Good article Kyle. I'm more or less on board with what you said. I almost always do the approach in trail runners or skis. The exception being that I've spent a lot of time/miles in approach shoes this season and have found them useful and not terrible to hike in. Obviously their usefulness depends on the objective and whether or not someone finds them good to hike long distances has too many factors to mention. I used to think they are a silly addition to a footwear quiver and that most people bought them to wear them around town. I've been reconsidering and appreciate the extra room in my pack or ability to use a smaller pack for carry over style climbs. Or even objectives that would require a bunch of change overs between footwear, i.e. circuits or link ups. They're way more grippy than any trail runner I use and allow me to move over slabby approaches quickly and confidently. I do still agree they are more so a jack of all trades and don't do one thing well, but I've found good use of them for me lately. I've been using the Scarpa Crux (normally a Sportiva guy). Good durability to weight ratio I think and not too bulky. Can usually find them dirt cheap every now and then too.
  11. [TR] Forbidden - E Ridge Direct 08/26/2020

    A super fun and scenic route! I agree with you on the east ledges, they have a way nastier reputation than they deserve.
  12. [TR] Johannesburg - 1957 NE Rib 08/01/2020

    Wow, if I'm counting right, that means that there were five parties to do NEB this year???
  13. Trip: Inspiration Peak - East Ridge Trip Date: 08/16/2020 Trip Report: This weekend @willgovus and I climbed Inspiration Peak's East Ridge. We got started hiking from the trailhead around 11:30 or so Saturday. The trail up to terror basin is very straight forward, but boy is it steep. That coupled with the heat had me cramping quite bad towards the end and had to just lay down for a bit with my legs elevated. I was soaked with sweat for almost all of the way up the ridge before the trail starts traversing. Made it over to Terror Basin camp late afternoon. What a pleasant place to camp. Many flat spots, running water and an incredible view. We woke up around 3am Sunday morning and picked our way across the climbers path and slabs in the dark. Travel across the glacier was very straight forward with no complications. Reaching the start of the route up to the ridge was just a small hop down from snow to the base of the route, no problem. We did a mix of pitching out and simuling to gain the ridge, staying just climbers right of the major rightward trending ramp and gulley. After three-ish pitches we did a leftward traversing pitch that started off with just bit of down climbing to the East Ridge notch. A vertical step followed by some easy ridge scrambling gets you to the base of the lie back pitch and then the crux pitch. The crux pitch was pretty damn awesome! After that it was a few simul blocks on the north side of the ridge crest to the summit. The decent went well and ended up doing 7 double rope rappels with a bit of crazy exposed scrambling between the West Ridge and South Face. That first rap onto the south face is wild! Was very glad to be done rappelling and back onto the glacier to start the hike out. The hike down the Terror Basin trail is punishing but it goes quick, its really just controlled stumbling and running. At first I was glad to reach the part of the trail on the old road bed, but quickly found it miserable for some reason. Overall I'd say this is a good route in and incredible setting. Some great climbing sandwiched between some loose, forgettable climbing. Gear Notes: Single rack from .3 to 3, double 1 & 2. Some stoppers, useful for anchors before and after crux pitch. 6 alpine draws, 5 double length runners. 60m twin/half ropes. Ice axe, crampons. Bringing rap tat is a good idea. Approach Notes: Terror basin trail
  14. [TR] Johannesburg - 1957 NE Rib 08/01/2020

    Hell yeah Nick! Another great write up!
  15. [TR] Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress 08/01/2020

    Perhaps next time, it'll be a while... Thanks for the recommendation, that part of the face is intriguing.
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