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kmfoerster

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Everything posted by kmfoerster

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. I forget the beat down when I see tall pokey things.
  4. @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?
  5. current song in your head

  6. current song in your head

  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Just curious what everyones taking with them on winter or spring routes in the cascades. Here's my usual glove selection ill bring with me on day and over night trips: https://www.showagloves.com/showa-406?gi=7qbtt5a51oeoh1fpv7l3d8okb1#.XeAUVS2ZPow These are my main lead gloves. They are kind of in the same vain as those blue things that are all the rage now. I would be more inclined to use the blue fisherman gloves if I didn't dislike the feel of them so much. These provide a good warmth to dexterity ratio, but aren't very durable. I'm usually able to keep them on the entire day and have my hands stay warm. Towards the end of the day they do get kind of clammy on the inside. Pros: warm, waterproof, long snug cuff, very grippy, very dextrous, touch screen compatible. Cons: Don't breath that well, grip wears out after 1-3 routes which leaves them not water proof anymore, rappelling in them wears them out even faster. https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/direct-contact-gloves-268048?cat=68,15,4 A back up mid-weight glove, haven't done too much climbing in them. I like the feel and fit of them, but I just like climbing in the Showa-406's that much more. https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/vitaly-gloves-268049?cat=68,15,4 https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en/stance-mitts-BD801736_cfg.html#start=1 I usually pack either one of those to have as an extra or camp glove for overnight trips. I size the BD stance mitts a few sizes up to fit over a thicker pair of liner gloves.
  10. [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.
  11. 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
  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. [TR] Johannesburg - 1957 NE Rib 08/01/2020

    Hell yeah Nick! Another great write up!
  14. Trip: Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress Trip Date: 08/01/2020 Trip Report: Over the weekend my friend Matt and I climbed the NE Buttress of Jburg. I won't add too much beta-wise since theres a decent amount out there, and I wouldn't want to take any adventure out of it for those of you wanting to climb it. I'll just emphasize some key points and warnings, but Steph Abegg's write up is as comprehensive as it gets (as usual). I'll try and keep this chronological but expect some tangents and pauses for reflecting. We left Seattle around 5:30 and got to the Cascade Pass trailhead around 8am and started walking to the base of the route. We followed the slabs to the left of the left most waterfall at the constriction of the CJ couloir, per Steph's write up. Solid secure scrambling with a step of sketchy 5th class gets you up to the first snow patch. We then downward traversed over to a brushy bench to start the vertical schwack. We more or less found a route through the trees that felt relatively well traveled. It stayed More or less on the left side of the '51 rib. If you can see the CJ couloir faintly through the trees, you're doing fine. Some interesting moves through chimneys formed by krummholz. At any point you find yourself getting pissed off through the trees, just remember it the density of the brush thats your protection from tumbling off the mountain. We busted through the trees and into the steep heather and then finally onto the rock. Luckily it was all dry, I couldn't imagine doing this route a day after a rain. The initial scrambling was very secure and kind of steepened, became a bit more loose as we did a upward traverse to the '57 rib. We encountered nothing harder than 5.6 but simul soloed all of the rock. This being said, we didn't regret bringing the rock rack. We got up to the 7100' bivy a bit after 1pm and just decided to keep moving. I know, I can feel some of your rolling your eyes. We had perfectly soft snow through the ridge and headwall, which was nice since we were in trail runners/ approach shoes and universal crampons. We summited around 3pm and took some photos, signed the register (I don't always, but felt like I needed to on this one). The descent down the E ridge went smoothly thanks to the occasional cairn. We stayed about 40-50' below the crest the whole time until we got to the first rap station. We did about 5 or 6 raps with some down climbing to get us to the top of CJ couloir. The rap stations were looking a bit weathered and tired so we backed them up with gear on the first rap off of them or added slings. We were making great time so we thought to just try and c2c even though we had bivy gear. This would prove to be a bad idea. The traverse to Doug's Direct went a lot slower than expected. Side hilling through herbs. In the fading light we mis-identified the wrong location for DD. I was going off Steph's map, which I think has DD a bit too far up the ridge. Go off her photo/overlay, its spot on. The steep heather and loose scrambling up to the ridge is very time consuming as well. We got up to where we thought DD was and it was getting dark. I pulled my pack off to get my head lamp and I forgot I had my ice axe quick stowed through my pack shoulder strap. I heard one clink and I knew exactly what had just happened. I turned around to watch my ice axe tomahawk down the north side of Mixup. I was so angry at myself. We didn't feel we were at the right location so we investigated some near by notches. It was only getting darker. At one point a hold I was grabbing dislodged and sent me sliding down heather. I thought I was going to go for a long ride. Somehow while keeping the block off my head as I was sliding I was able to grab a fistful of heather and arrest my fall. I was okay. Things we spiraling out of control and we decided to just descend down to the lower angle heather and just bivy like we had planned. I consider myself a pretty calculated person, fatigue can strip that away from you no problem. We found a decent spot to bivy around 6300' directly under the actual DD late into the night. I mostly tossed and turned under a very bright moon and just thought about how I got a relatively cheap lesson on sticking to a plan and not forcing descent in the dark. Other thoughts were, "This trip was supposed to be about climbing a new mountain in a familiar place and get back to why you started getting out into the alpine in the first place." "Why were you trying to blast through it and force a car to car?" "How are you going to get out of here without an ice axe?" When I awoke I looked at the photo/overlay I had saved to my phone and saw the exact point for Doug's Direct. I felt so dumb. We ate and packed up and started heading up to DD. Miraculously, Matt found an old rusty pick axe head for me to use as an ice axe. Going down Dougs direct is mostly secure but I ABSOLUTELY wouldn't have wanted to do it in the dark. Then you're on the snow below Mixup and then the Ptarmigan Traverse route. Luckily the snow was low enough angle that I didn't have to use my trusty new axe. I was looking for my lost ice axe the entire time. It was so nice to be on low angle snow and then a trail finally. This was an incredible trip on an impressive mountain. Just enough asterisks/ near misses to have it permanently seared into my memory. Very humbling. Scrambling low on the route. Downward traverse to the trees. Shwacking. East ridge descent. Rapping towards CJ. Looks like "Sound of Music" but all I can hear is my feet sliding and ankles twisting. Gear Notes: Ice axe, Crampons, Approach shoes. 60m rope. Small rock rack. Work Gloves. Approach Notes: Spitting distance from the Cascade Pass trailhead.
  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.
  16. [TR] Mt Triumph - NE Ridge 07/17/2020

    Awesome! Incredible route/mountain. Using one 60m rope will involve just a small bit of down climbing.
  17. [TR] Johannesburg Mountain - NE Buttress 08/01/2020

    My new ice axe.
  18. [TR] Three O'Clock Rock - Silent Running 07/25/2020

    Wasn’t too busy on the south buttress. Just one other party rapping off the big tree as we were getting started. They were with the barking dog cooped up in a tent on the trail...
  19. [TR] Three O'Clock Rock - Silent Running 07/25/2020

    An awesome route! Was my first in Darrington. Was actually there later in the day on Saturday and climbed The Kone, fun knobby climbing!
  20. [TR] Mt. Goode - NE Buttress 07/18/2020

    Sweet. An amazing mountain and route. Great photos!
  21. [TR] Prusik Peak - Der Sportsman 06/23/2020

    Sweet! Yeah, I've switched to TikTok for all my trip reports now.
  22. High Ice movie

    This was just brought to my attention. Why has the climbing community kept this secret from me!?
  23. Liberty Ridge - Ski descent accident

    Its like every year I have a reason to put LR on the back burner. I appreciate the honest sentiment OlegV and DPS.
  24. High Ice movie

    I should have noted the full movie is on YouTube!
  25. I've noticed it makes links for the photos for me if I use the "Choose Files..." link. It will embed them normally for me when I drag them from my photo software.
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