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Everything posted by CascadeClimber

  1. Bob! That was fast. The original man behind the classic quote that so well defines the Johannesberg experience. I still contend that this mountain may well have the highest "Epic Rate" in the Cascades. So close, and yet so far away is that parking lot...
  2. Dredging up an old TR here, but I was looking for the original TR from 1999, which I think was titled "My Kingdom for a Cell Phone." It includes the background on the wive's calls to state senators to initiate a rescue, etc. Anyone have a link?
  3. Just curious how crowded the hut might be Saturday night and whether there might be some other folks to help break trail to the Ledges Sunday morning
  4. This conversation is starting to remind me of the "(fill in the blank) is aid" thing that went through this site years ago. I still truck that line out on partners every once in a while, usually to a bewildered silent stare: "What? You have boots? Boots are aid!" Hey, when we first crawled out of the ocean we didn't have legs. Legs are cheating!
  5. Took a while to get this one done. Lots of pics and lots of prose, enjoy either or both. http://www.cascadeclimber.com/blog/2013/01/28/mt-rainier-gibraltar-ledges-january-18-19-2013/
  6. Twight is the Madonna of the climbing world. He's done a lot of amazing things over a long period of time, but he's also willing to do or say just about anything for some attention. So bottled oxygen is cheating, but he sprayed all over about how after climbing the Czech Direct in a single push, he was too tired to carry his stove down the mountain, so he left it when he ran out of fuel. Whatever, Mark.
  7. Yep. I don't go back that far in the Cascades, but my first route on Rainier was the Kautz in 1995. We walked up and down what is now several pitches of alpine ice. The exit chute at the end of the Ledges has exposed rock now, too, including a couple giant boulders that I thought would tumble down Gib Chute last summer. The places Jens and I used to serac on the Nisqually in October just ten years ago are now just piles of dirt.
  8. I'm working on a full-blown TR for my web site. In the meantime, my partner posted some pics over on TAY: http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=27095.0 We did ski the ID, but chose to downclimb the bottom 1/3 of it; through most of the icefall. It was skiable, but a fall would likely have had severe consequences, so we put the pons back on and downclimbed. It was windy on Columbia Crest, but we were able to tuck out of it just below. We also had some significant gusting down on the Ingraham.
  9. The small sign currently riveted to the side of it is particularly classy. Great way to impress non-locals out to get a taste of the Cascades.
  10. Summited Saturday. Windy but manageable. Great route conditions (Gib Ledges). Returned to the hut to find it overrun with people. Really, really glad to have had the upper mountain to ourselves and had a quiet Friday night in the hut with just two others. Surreal January weather.
  11. Glad to hear a full recovery is expected. As usual there's a good bit of conflicting info floating around. It would be educational for all of us perhaps if the person was willing to share a short description of what happened.
  12. Scheming for a 1.5 day climb/ski sometime later this week, any time for Wednesday afternoon/Thursday to Friday/Saturday, depending on weather and whether the park management opens the park on Wednesday. I'd like to simul-solo Gib Ledges and ski the Ingraham Direct. On this trip I'm not interested in a winter or Rainier newbie, someone who doesn't ski well, or isn't in shape (3-ish hours to Muir). Sorry! I have a long-standing goal to summit in each calendar month and January is one I've yet to tick.
  13. Any chance we could get a bigger version of this? I can't quite make out the brand of ice screw placed halfway up the pitch. Glad some folks got on it today, and that I had it to myself yesterday
  14. It was really thin when I drove back from the Pass yesterday afternoon, not nearly as much ice as I expected.
  15. I soloed the North Face of Chair today. It's in excellent shape and the approach is as easy as I've seen it (I was 60 minutes lot to Thumbtack). A windless, sunny day and the only other climbers I saw were going up the descent gully. Where is everyone?? Notes: The first pitch, which is the crux, is in great shape and will take some short screws. Most of the rest of the route is neve, so pickets would work better. The upper part of the NE Buttress route looked to have a good bit of unconsolidated snow on it and no tracks at all. I was able to downclimb the entire descent- no rap required. Important: The schrund that forms at the start of the first pitch was entirely covered with just a little sag to note its location. The bridge isn't strong enough to hold a person, so use caution crossing. Go get on it!
  16. Guided climbers have died on Rainier and I've had poor experiences with guides on the mountain. These are not, perhaps, likely things, but they are not out of the question, either. For my first Rainier climb in 1995 we used a non-sanctioned guide. For us it was the best choice for reasons of cost and personalized experience. The situation has changed in the intervening years, as the park now nets a huge amount of cash from the guide contracts (the park Sup. solely sets the fee and the percentage that the park keeps) and uses this cash to subsidize other things all over the park (the new visitor center at Paradise and the park radio network to name two). Park management has become much more protective of the sanctioned companies in order to protect their money pile. When massive floods closed the park for months a few years back, they let the guide services use the back entrance to Longmire to get paying clients onto the mountain, while the park remained closed to the public. They went out of their way to keep this information from the public as well. I'm not saying the arrangement is all bad, just that it isn't altruistically setup to provide the best possible situation for guided climbers.
  17. "Thank you for you input. We're going to do whatever the hell we want anyway." Wilderness loses, guide services win. I certainly hope this means they stop erecting that damn tent in the wilderness area.
  18. http://www.cascadeclimber.com/blog/2012/06/25/little-tahoma-south-face-may-13-14-2012/ Probably not Grade III, but an FA of a large unclimbed face on one of the higher Cascade peaks.
  19. The loss of the pictures is awful (I have no doubt you climbed the route). I have a bunch I've taken over the last few years from both the north and south sides and can see my way all the way to that last headwall where you bivvied. From there it looks like a whole lot of hard. Here are two I took from near the top (we actually finished on the West Ridge) after Gator and I climbed the south face. I wonder how much of the rock you climbed has peeled off in the intervening 33 years...
  20. Climbing this route in mid-winter in 1980 with an on-route bivy stands, in my book, as one of the most significant mountaineering accomplishments in the Cascades. The climbing difficulty, route finding, length of route, logistics issues, short days, and cold combine to make this route...well, it's unrepeated for a reason. I've studied it pretty extensively, as it's the kind of route I really like. I've always wondered whether you used snowshoes to approach and return, and how you descended and returned to Muir. Props to you for having to vision, skill, and courage to send this thing. And thanks for posting this TR.
  21. Easy: Don't. Erosion is a natural process. Let it proceed naturally. If it causes issues with buildings, remove them. If the tent platforms erode, people can camp on snow. There is no real necessity for any permanent structures at Muir. I am against adding more structure (gravel, rock, buildings, antenna, etc) in the name of preserving what's already there (see above post about more leading to more leading to more). I do respect and appreciate and understand your positions. I just don't agree. It's nice to be able to disagree respectfully.
  22. I'm pretty certain that crowds on the Muir Snowfield during three summer months are not sufficient reason to deem it a non-Wilderness area contrary to a Congressional declaration. I have mixed feelings about efforts to reduce use of the Muir Snowfield (the easiest way to minimize impact), though it's worth noting that park management has chosen to effectively concentrate use there by abandoning the West Side and Carbon River roads. Camping on snow in tents that stay in place for only a day or two seems much less impactful that permanent structures that require maintenance and whose foundations are being used as a reason to fly loads of non-native crushed rock to the site. The problem with infrastructure is that it's almost always used to justify more. Which attracts more people, who are used to justify more infrastructure. Ad nauseum. The guide services operate everywhere else on the mountain without a building or semi-permanent tents, so I'm pretty sure it can be done at Muir, too. Bonus points for using the word 'specious' on a climbing board. I agree with concentrating use. I don't believe that concentrated use calls for more staff and buildings and other stuff that is contrary to Wilderness. Good conversation.
  23. Cogent analysis, and I agree with your suggestions. The saddles on which the Muir and Schurman structures exist are inside small slivers excluded from the Wilderness designation, but that does not mean it shouldn't be managed to wilderness guidelines as much as possible. The large semi-permanent tents the guide services have been allowed to erect each summer are IN the wilderness area and are, I believe, illegal. My fear is that this, like most of what is done at MORA, is just checking a box (public comment period) before they proceed to do whatever they want (again). There is now talk of cell phone boosters and Internet access for park staff at Schurman. It seems that current management is all about more staff, more structure, more fees. Despite my cynicism, I did submit feedback and urge others to do the same, regardless of your position. The direct link to the online comment form is: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=48847
  24. Cogent analysis, and I agree with your suggestions. The saddle on which the Muir (and Schurman) structures exist is technically outside the wilderness, but that does not mean it shouldn't be managed to wilderness guidelines as much as possible. The large semi-permanent tents the guide services have been allowed to erect each summer are IN the wilderness area and are illegal. My fear is that this, like most of what is done at MORA, is just checking a box (public comment period) before they proceed to do whatever they want (again). There is now talk of cell phone boosters and Internet access for park staff at Schurman. It seems that current management is all about more staff, more structure, more fees.
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