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About benman

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  1. Olympus questions....

    Nice work. Those last few miles are though on the feet and those mile markers are most annoying. I found myself saying never again but after a couple weeks I can't stop thinking about Wonderland in 24. One positive is that most other approaches seem insignificant after something like this.
  2. Olympus questions....

    I'm probably not the best person to ask but I'd say go for it. Jason and I wore tennis shoes the entire way. We crossed nothing that I would consider a snowbridge, just end runs around a few crevasses on slopes of less than 30 degrees. We carried a rope but didn't use it on the glacier. If you're comfortable downclimbing a couple low 5th moves or exposed 3rd class you could do without. The path is obvious but watch out for puddles on the lower Blue Glacier. Our shoes got wet on the descent but they dried out quickly with a couple change of socks. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Do yourself a favor and stay a night at the trailhead. We left at 4am and got back at 10pm.
  3. Olympus questions....

    Jason and I climbed Olympus on Saturday in 18 hours car to car. We didn’t run and spent a good 2 hours resting and taking photos. I could have done 14-16 hours by setting my own pace and trimming a few items from my ~20lb pack. Jason dealt with a sporadic fever and brand new shoes with “not enough arch support” and “too much room up front” so he was pleased with his off the couch time. The route is in good shape and I saw no end to the snowbridges that are rumored to be melting out. We had no support and carried no GU. The crux was the drive home because neither of us had slept in over 40 hours.
  4. 50 degree scree? Bologna. The greatest angle of repose that I’ve seen on unconstrained metamorphic rock is 46.3 degrees. Seriously though, I too can’t understand everyone’s disdain the North Ridge. I find it quite pleasant with tennis shoes and it’s by far the quickest access from the north. Forget those crampons and glunky boots. Shorts and t-shirt all the way. I recommend camping at the High Camp because that’s where you’ll find the best water and views. The lake is ~30 minutes above there. Look for wands along the ridge because some of the crossings aren’t obvious. If you feel the need for a rope you’re most likely off route. There are some bivies above the lake but plan on melting water. Check out my website for more info on this steep skiing amusement park. I can vouch for steep scree on both Stormy and Lava. It may be possible to avoid on Stormy but there isn’t much you can do about rockfall, which I consider to be the primary hazard on both.
  5. Cascade ski mountaineering, 2003

    Ok, three ways. Actually, I'm thinking about going back to school, most likely in another state.
  6. Cascade ski mountaineering, 2003

    I can think of two ways. One involves death but the other is starting to tempt me.
  7. Willis wall beta

    Specialed and Pencil Pusher, There are many things I'd like to say to you guys but I'd rather not do it here because it's somewhat personal. Basically, I think your comments are pretty thoughtless.
  8. Willis wall beta

    On a recent climb of the Coleman/Deming I met a Canadian who was confident that the Coleman Headwall had been skied. I passed him again on my way down, having ditched his skis near the saddle because the Roman Headwall was too icy. It’s a common perception that anything with snow on it under 60 degrees can be skied. I know from experience that this is not the case. I’m not sure what the Whistler crew is skiing but if it has any resemblance to the Alaskan-type lines I see in ski films, it’s a far cry from what they’ll find on Thermogenesis. In any case, I feel the locals have the advantage because timing of the snowpack and weather is much more important than your ability to ski steeps.
  9. North Twin approach?

    quote: Originally posted by Dru: When I did W R NTS I found that the gate was open at the bridge over N Fork Nuttsack River for hunting season and we drove right to the quarry. No hunters shot at us either. That's the M Fork Nooksack River. Great kayaking by the way. I climbed the West Ridge of North Twin on saturday in 2:35 from the bridge w/bike. I'm assuming Layton's round trip time of 3:30 involved a glisade down the North Face. My round trip time wasn't even close but it involved a downclimb of the ridge and 30 minutes on top chilling in the sun. Saw some deer tracks but no hunters. The middle section of road has been tidied up and you can now bike all but a couple hundred feet of boulder blocks. I intended to climb the West Ridge of South Twin but the route looked sketchy with a couple inches of fresh snow. Wearing tennis shoes without a rope, I had a few snow slow downs but most of the south facing slopes were melted. I imagine all of this has changed with the recent storms. This place is becoming one of my favorites and I look forward to spending more time exploring it with skis this winter and spring. Does anybody know how far you can drive up FR38 (the left fork before the bridge)?
  10. Wonderland Trail?

    You don't 'run' the Wonderland Trail. The record of 28 hours works out to ~3.4mph which, by my definition, is a brisk walk. Earlier this year I did ~30 miles from Mowich Lake to White River in 7 hours by jogging most of the downhills. My pace slowed from there and by the time I got to Skyscraper Pass, my feet were begging to go up. The downhills were killing me so I decided to backtrack to Fryingpan Creek where I caught a ride to my truck. I carried ~10lbs and was hoping to make it around the mountain in under 24 hours. Hee, hee, lesson learned. For those looking to do the Wonderland nonstop, I would suggest a steady pace just short of jogging. That works out to ~3mph on the uphills and ~4mph on the downhills for myself. Regardless of your average, the closer you stick to it, the better.
  11. Emmons-Winthrop? Mowich? Kautz?

    The icy suncup, pentientes, fin like things in the corridor were, at most, 1-2ft high. New snow filled in some of the gaps but it was far from skiable. It seemed like we found nearly every dead end so for those who care... Starting out right and working your way up the center of the Inter glacier works best. We avoided Camp Shurman by heading straight for the corridor but that involved at least one sketcy crevasse crossing. I think passing through Camp Shurman would be better. Go left as soon as possible above the window of packed powder around 12,500ft. You'll traverse off the Emmons and climb a bit to an obvious path that joins the DC route. Finally, be prepared for a long and painful descent. I recall lots of lock-knees through the corridor and descending the Inter glacier in the dark was no fun.
  12. Emmons-Winthrop? Mowich? Kautz?

    A friend and I climbed the Emmons on sunday. Overall, the route is in great shape although snow conditions are less than optimal. We encountered a fair amount of water ice on the lower Inter Glacier and between 10,000 and 12,000ft on the Emmons. The later was quite rough and slow going. We carried skis hoping for some freshies but ended up ditching them at around 11,000ft due to frustrations with the snow conditions and wind. There was a window of packed powder between 12,000 and 13,000ft that would have been worthwhile, given more time and energy. We left the parking lot at 4am, summited at 4pm and got back around midnight. Salbrecher, I wouldn't worry about crowds. There were no cars in the parking lot when we got there and leftover tracks were hard to come by. Let me know if you'd like more info on key turns and dead ends. Also, check with NPS about the gate because I've heard White River is scheduled to close soon.
  13. Who's been in the C-J Couloir??

    I climbed C-J about two weeks ago. There were several cracks we had to cross. The lowest was on a snow sliver that is probably melted by now. The middle was avoided by climbing rock on the right. The upper was on a typical snowbridge. There were also quite a few smaller ones that may have opened up. The blue ice near the top was avoided on the right but there was a good 500 vertical feet of firm snow below that. Firm as in too firm to ski. I'll have the photos back within the next few days. Let me know if you'd like to see them because it will be awhile before I have them posted on my website.
  14. NF Maude Ski Descent

    Actually, not even the Hummels could stomach this one. They turned around near the end of the traverse so I ended up climbing and skiing it solo. Not that I blame them. Our only views came Saturday from the summit of 7 Finger Jack. Quite intimidating. Clouds moved in Sunday morning along with wind and rain. We each caught a few rocks during the traverse. That was enough for the Hummels and Bill Frans to call it quits. They waited in a moat above a short, exposed 55 degree slope. I skied it and continued to the summit with visibilities of a couple hundred feet near the top. There are a lot of good skiers out there but few of them are willing to endure the pain.