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Everything posted by Alex

  1. 2500 calories seems pretty good start, but day-of probably needed more if all you had at the end of the day climbing was a snickers bar split between you two. Or maybe water? Hard to say without having been there, but if you are under-hydrated your body can't burn the calories you ingest anyway. I've totally been there and done the same thing, it's just my first thought. Also the cold weather/cold camping makes your body burn much more, so going off an urban based caloric regimen often underestimates the additional cold in the hills. Sounds like you know what's up there at any rate. 10 hours camp to camp seems like a really long time as well, I don't know maybe I am off base? I've soloed this route some years back and I remember vividly splitting with my buddy at the Lake, him taking the normal route (Colchuck Glacier), and me beating him to the summit, perhaps 2, or 2 and a half hours up? I think the couloir took me an hour and the face an hour and a half? I was kicking steps too as the climb fills in right away with spindrift, but at the very top where the couloir steepens, there were some buckets to follow for a bit. But it wasn't a wallow fest up the couloir, probably only knee deep max. The North Face was also sugar snow as you describe, and so in terrain like that I always solo anyway (and make sure that any partner I have is also comfortable soloing that kind of terrain), with shaft plunges and the tools attached to my harness via cord through their heads, and I move carefully with always "three points of contact". After watching Ueli Steck on the Eiger, I realize now that my snow climbing technique is ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE!! compared to that guy!! But I am still very fast.
  2. Nice effort, was it cold? Unreal that SCW is seeing attempts first week of March, with this weather.
  3. Echo what others have said, glad you made it ok. That's always the most important thing! As to the style points, you guys already know it was a bummer to hit the button. You did a good introspective post-mortem in this write up, good for you for being so publically self-critical. Nothing to add there except, The NBC on Colchuck is almost the easiest alpine route there is, or at least perhaps the easiest "full length" alpine trip, one I always recommend to all newbies looking for their first "real" alpine snow climb. But that assumes a few things: level of fitness and energy, and a certain element of preparedness, and being pretty good and fast at snow-climbing. Bottom line, one shouldn't be spending 12 hours round trip to camp, let alone to the summit. There just aren't that many hours in the day, in March. I am not sure where the hours went....it sounds like you guys already know all that, and *started* with completely the right mindframe, simul-soloing the first bit, foregoing the rope, all that was really good, but it seems to have spiraled down with some effort and fatigue, compounding into you not making it to the summit by dark. The walk down to Colchuck Col and back to your tent would have been tiring, but not very dangerous even at night (...* keep your crampons on!!). I would look very carefully at your energy replenishment scheme, actually count the calories you ingested Fri night: it sounds like neither of you probably ate or drank enough from the day before to be fully recovered for the climb, the day of. You needed thousands of calories Friday night, did you get them? Whatever you brought and ate, double it for next time. I am a chronic under-packer when it comes to food, so I know this first-hand from all-too-often bonking after under-eating/under-hydrating.
  4. Beginner Alpine Climbs

    (I kind of don't like recommending Cooper Spur because, while it is scenic, using it as a decent route is notorious for its run-out and history of accidents.)
  5. Team of two on the Ptarmigan??

    Dan, I think one could make an argument that lots of above-treeline experience in Colorado, Wyoming (Wind Rivers, Tetons), and Montana, etc could equate to legit alpine experience. The Sawtooths don't seem to have much glaciation but look a lot like the Stuart Range, for example.
  6. Index

    Yes. and in fact there is a good active Facebook group dedicated to Index climbing called "Climb Index!" which has a lot of great current info and stoke.
  7. Team of two on the Ptarmigan??

    My favorite was Dome. We did Sentinel? Old Guard? Junk rock but just an hour 3rd classing detour on the day from Yang Yang to White Rock Lakes.
  8. nice climb guys the Buck doesn't get as much attention as it deserves.
  9. [TR] Colonial Peak - Watusi Rodeo 2/23/2015

    nice job. re: how often it gets climbed, I believe somewhere buried on perhaps Dan's TR I think the understated rat climbed it in the 80's probably for its second ascent, so this might be #7 or so.
  10. Team of two on the Ptarmigan??

    re footwear: the Ptarmigan does have formidable terrain, incl a lot of sidehilling, scree, and snow with a pack on. The descent to White Rock Laks from S Cascade Glacier, and again the decent from Spire Point down to camp for Dome are extremely steep. Whatever works for you where your feet don't blister after 6-10 hard miles with a pack on will work fine for Ptarmigan. re crampons: You should take AL crampons. You aren't going to wear them on any rock, just hard snow. They will be fine.
  11. Team of two on the Ptarmigan??

    Great! If you rope up it will be for the last bit of the Middle Cascade Glacier, perhaps for the South Cascade Glacier but I doubt it, and finally perhaps for a short jaunt up and over by Dome Peak. Most of the travel is on non-glaciated pathways. I think you will find the routefinding a lot more challenging than the actual glacier travel. The glacier travel is extremely benign by almost any standard, but the routefinding is sometimes non-obvious if you are not used to the Cascades. Getting past Cache Col takes some navigation. Getting past Yang Yang lakes takes a little bit of navigation. Getting to White Rock Lakes takes a bit of navigation. I would say there are quite a few very steep snow slopes you traverse along the route, that have no crevasse danger but if you slipped you'd be in for a very dangerous fall, that are to be taken *much* more seriously than the few crevasses you might see. I'd say be expert at ice axe arrest with a pack on. The first slopes you traverse, from Cascade Pass to Cache Col, can be very steep and exposed and hard snow. The Ptarmigan traverse and the alpine glaciers it crosses are nothing like the glaciers on Mt Rainier, or the Columbia Icecap (now that shit is scary!!). You wont have to cross any snow bridges. The glacier navigation will be extremely obvious, and easy to do end runs if you see a lurking crevasse of some sort. When I did the traverse (once in July, once on Labor Day weekend), we rarely roped up, if ever? I am not trying to be blasé, but it's really not that big a deal. I think we might have roped up for the final couple hundred yards to Spider Formidible Col, but perhaps nothing besides.
  12. Its cold out there, but not that much colder at the passes than in town, during the day. But cool, its only mid-November! Anyone have any firsthand reports or pics of stuff coming in in advance of the weekend? Thx!
  13. I haven't sold any of my ice gear or my ski gear yet. I've gotten some amazing sailboat racing days in, and some mild weather cragging days for January. Best thing about WA is that whatever the weather is, you can usually craft a plan.
  14. This is lame

    I have no idea who Daniel Woods is. Should I? Yawn.
  15. to the best of my knowledge no one has yet completed the west face of sloan ice lines.
  16. 1) Name 3 to 5 climbs that you have climbed. Slesse NE Buttress The summer of 1995 at Smith Rock Triple Cs on the DTail prior to the Internet Hyperspace E Ridge of Wolfshead 2) Name 3 to 5 climbs that you could potentially climb but have not yet done so. Beckey-Chouinard E Ridge of Temple Polar Circus Nemesis 3) Name 3 to 5 climbs that you admire but will probably never climb for whatever reason. Lotus Flower Tower Grand Central Couloir on Kitchner N Face of Temple N Face of Robson
  17. Ski-moe in low snow years

    Your plans shouldn't change because the impact this mild winter is having is all going to be below 6000 ft. Adams will be just fine. If anything, the only thing you might have to change is instead of skinning up some road for miles, you'll have to boot up that same road for miles. Coleman and Easton on Baker would be fine objectives if you have weather/visibility. To your other question: 5 days for Ptarmigan Traverse with skis is like, almost too much. The thing has been done sub 24 hours with skis, 5 days would be like lollygagging pace. The skis will make the very long shallow decent from Spider-Formidible col to Yang Yang lakes like a 20-minute thing, and a lot of the scree would be simple shallow skinning for the most part. That said, finding 5 days of good weather that time of year will be the crux.
  18. I agree Bob. For both skiing and climbing!!
  19. Living in Anacortes?

    Ah. Well PT gives her access to what she wants and PT itself is a great small town however, the Olympic mountains are different from the Cascades and access to just about everything is harder from PT than from either Seattle, Anacortes, or Bellingham. None of these choices are bad, for either of you, if that is what you want....you could do far worse and live in Astoria or something... Anacortes and Bham have far more economy than PT. Bham has a college, and AAI, so there are always some young guns going to climb. Bellingham has the worst access to sailing of the three choices (PT and Anacortes each sport two very nice marinas), but its doable. there is one annual regatta in Bham, several in Anacortes and mostly wooden boat building oriented stuff in PT but thats cool. Me, i work for the Man and have kids so have made my choices mostly around high paying wages and good school districts, which are hard to come by in Washington. However mybe we can all agree Index is the bomb
  20. Living in Anacortes?

    So, the answers are kind of the same for Anacortes as they would be for Bellingham.... It's ok! It's a relatively small crag at the end of the day. But stays drier than most other West side crags during the rainy season. The drive to Baker is a haul. Even from Bellingham it's kind of a haul. Life in Anacortes is about the same as any small town with lots of darkness during the winter, lots of sunshine during the summer, and no jobs. There are a few good places to eat. There are some young people and some old young people. You can sail the San Juans at will, best access to San Juans in WA. You can hop a ferry anytime, too. The water life kind of is central to the town. The town runs on tourism. The industrial lights nearby rule the night, every night. Is there any work? Ah yes, the perpetual question.
  21. Strobach Conditions?

    happy birthday! I don't have any reports....
  22. That's pretty typical for Alpental Falls, especially if the top vert step is mostly unprotectable ice cubes I've lead that route in those conditions and it's often unprotected to the first tree belay on the right, then unprotected to the step, then you put in some stuff best you can and get to the top, where you can belay again from trees. After this coming weekend freezing goes to 7500 ft for a week so Alpental will become running water again. Raf, sorry about the long drive for nothing. This next week is looking warmer, so don't know what will happen now.
  23. Mixed at Mt. Baker?

    aka, "The Tool Shed", the info is online here: http://wastateice.net/Guide.aspx