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dberdinka

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Everything posted by dberdinka

  1. Slesse Crossover Descent Landslide

    The crossover descent has always sucked compared to just bombing down the south side to your pre-stashed bike. Not a popular opinion though.
  2. Trip: Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge Date: 8/18/2013 Trip Report: Back in August Gene Pires and I wandered up to the north face of Vesper Peak to check out the steeper and much neglected eastern half of the face. We managed to climb the obvious exposed edge along its right-hand side. The position and the underlying rock quality were generally fantastic but the climbing itself was horrible due to a thick layer of lichen, heather and dirt that covered the face. Rock cruxes were protected by beaks, belays tended to be marginal and the actual crux involved mantling across a series of quivering hummocks. A good time was had by all (I think) but it sure as hell wasn’t anything you’d recommend to a friend. So when I finally finagled two days to myself rather than hang out with friends, or go somewhere new or actually get in some pitches I carried a 70 pound pack of bolting, cleaning and bivi gear back to the summit of Vesper Peak. A dozen retro-bolts and fifteen hours of scrubbing later the end result is a potentially enjoyable six-pitch 5.6 or 5.7 rock climb in a stellar setting. The rock is excellent, the climbing is sustained at a very moderate grade, the position is spectacular and the protection and belays are solid and well situated. It’s pretty easy to overestimate the quality of your own routes but this has to be one of the better moderate and accessible alpine rock climbs on the west side of the Cascades. I should point out that what we did was essentially a series of major variations to the “Center Route” established in 1969. The fourth pitch was shared in common and probably the first pitch of the original start otherwise we had stayed further right near the edge. Pretty bold climbing they did back in the day. Until nature gives it a solid pressure washing the grit left behind from cleaning will inevitably collect in some of the cracks and edges I scrubbed. If someone heads up there this year consider bringing a small stiff bristled brush or at least a nut tool to clean off some holds. Would be psyched to hear feedback if anyone climbs it. Click image for larger version Approach Description The trail fades out as you enter the basin between Vesper and Sperry Peaks. Cross the outlet of the lake and follow an obvious talus ridgeline up to a col between the peaks. The climb is accessed by a ledge system that cuts across the north face of Vesper at about 5800’ elevation and begins at a small notch overlooking the Vesper Glacier. Allow 3+ hours for the approach. Walk out the ledge on steep exposed heather (snow until mid-late summer?). When you can’t walk any further either (A) scramble up over an obvious chockstone formed by a large, thin flake to a belay ledge or (B) as a variation backtrack a bit and figure out an exposed 3rd class traverse down and around the toe of a buttress before scrambling back up to an obvious and clean 5.6 layback crack (better start). The 3rd class slabs at mid-height on the first pitch could easily be accessed after climbing the lower half of the north face as well. Route Description: The ratings below are potentially soft. Bring a full set of nuts small to large and a single set of cams from #0 TCU to #3 Camalot with extra #0.75 and #1. Original Start - Red Line P1) Climb approximately 60’ of low-5th terrain to 3rd class slabs. Continue up the obvious flaky gully and arrange a gear belay just below a short overhanging wall (low-5th 170’). P2) Traverse right on a long, thin ledge then a short gully to a fixed belay on the skyline (4th 60’). Slightly contrived variation start with better climbing - Blue Line P1) Climb a nice layback flake then a low-angle groove to 3rd class slabs. Traverse hard right then follow the highest grassy ledge system approximately 40’ to a gear belay below a faint white dyke splitting a slab (5.6 160’). Note that you can also reach this belay from the original start as well. P2) Climb the dyke past three bolts to a thin ledge. Traverse right and up a short gully to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 90’). P3) Step right then traverse back left on positive edges towards the skyline. Find a bolt then continue up a nice arête protected by fixed pins. Arrange a gear belay atop a heather ledge (5.7 95’). P4) Step right and climb steep, stacked blocks. Easy zig-zag cracks above lead to a fixed anchor. I aggressively trundled loose and semi-loose blocks off this pitch but some caution is still advised (5.7 95’). P5) Step right again and climb straight up in an exposed position. At the second bolt traverse right 50’ to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 80’). P6) Follow the nice arête to a final touch of heather and the summit. (5.5 130’). Walk off to the southeast. A lot of the greenery in the following three photos is now gone. Never heard good things about the lower wall. Maybe a direct starts needs a scrub-down next year.
  3. I'm not sure I would have done what I did if I had realized how popular those routes would become. The trail is noticeably being pounded into dust and I've become old enough to feel an intrinsic need to kick over the preponderance of unnecessary cairns. How many hundreds of pounds of fecal matter are now hiding under rocks in that gorgeous basin? Whatever you do don't drink the water without (heavily) treating it. Of course Vesper seems to have blown up with hikers/instagram crowd about the same time, so maybe that area would have been hammered rock climbs or not. Jason, I just spent Friday night at Image Lake with my family. No one else until early evening when a very chatty party of two showed up. Saw only a handful of folks heading that direction over the weekend as we hiked out the Suiattle. Talking to the volunteer manning the Miners Ridge lookout, in the 1960's over 200 people would be at Image Lake on summer weekends. He said that in the early 1970's over 1,200 people were recorded at Capa Lava/Sand Point on a a single day. So crowds and heavy use are nothing new. Maybe just the location du jour changes or it all just ebbs or flows. Ultimately it falls back on managing the individual impact which clearly a lot of current backcountry recreationists are falling short on. BTW kmfoerster what did you think of Fish & Whistle? I really liked it, thought it was the best route up there, but apparently some have not been so impressed.
  4. question HMG 4400 ice pack vs Osprey Aether Pro

    IMO the whole lack of a top pocket sucks. I bought an HMG 3400 Porter and just can get use to the crinkly fabric, bottomless tube and lack of top pocket. If you're a hard ore alpinist or whatever, great, get the stripped down newest greatest thing. But since you're "a backpacker the majority of your life" I would stick to Osprey.
  5. Ride of the Valkyries @ Purina

    dick cilley......when I was 17 years old in the ancient year of 1990...you were living out of your van selling gear in Icicle Creek...no one around....plenty of camping......those were the best of days......
  6. So looks like no log for a river crossing? I don’t feel like I’ve ever seen it in wadeable condition. The couple people I know who have done the central arete raved about it, but with multiple options the choss had to be somewhere. The left arete was a little too easy, I still need to get back in there for the central.
  7. Last Ascents in the Cascades

    So with the north face of Joffre spontaneously collapsing, Supertopo shutting down and CC.com slowly withering on the vine my mood shifts to considering the impermanence of everything. What other peaks and routes have seen their last ascent in our lifetimes? Gene Pires and I once made the possibly second and possibly last ascent of the IV 5.10+ east-north buttress of Castle Peak in the Pasayten wilderness. A year or two ago someone posted pics where at least the first 5 pitches of the route had collapsed. Off the top of my head Anything on St Helens 1980 East face of main Gunsight. A III 5.9 established in the early 1990s that had disappeared without a trace (except for a fixed stopper just below the summit) by the time interest in the area renewed. East-north buttress of Castle Peak. A good but flaky route on clean granite that fell off during the winter of 2016/2017. Trigger Finger in Peshastin Pinnacles. Someone on this site had a good story about recreating a clown-car on the summit shortly, as in day of or before, it collapsed. An impressive looking pillar on the east side of Mt Rexford just over the Canadian Border, with an unrepeated V on it, had a major rockfall event that erased the route. What else peeps?
  8. Climber killed, others injured at Thumb Rock

    Well with the weather crapping out through at least Friday with significant precipitation it's going to be a bit more than 3 days.
  9. Last Ascents in the Cascades

    I didn’t realize those were in the Cascades. Stay on topic dammit!
  10. ice climbing 2018/2019 OR/WA Ice Conditions

    Backside of hemispheres. Have I seen it fatter? Not sure. Definitely seen it thinner and the ice somehow looked not quite so sn-icy as usual. By modern standards it certainly looks doable.
  11. Little Big Chief

    This is very cool. Where is the TR Mr. OlympicMtnBoy.
  12. Vesper Peak question

    But.... The idea that she was taking a selfie and fell off the standard north face route seems entirely plausible. No way that red thing is still there by spring. Too bad, hard to believe no one checked it out. Could be clothing, back pack something else that got hung up.
  13. Vesper Peak question

    Dude!!! Have you been doused in ketamine for the last six month? I wish I had never gone anywhere near Vesper Peak and helped in my own little way into turning that corner of the Cadcades into a total shit show.
  14. So.....that’s a great fucking trip report......Jesus.....tell us more about the car! Insurance going to cover it? A now permanent fixture? Or are you in the hook to get it removed? glad you made it home safely, that gully approach is NOT daddy terrain.
  15. As it gets more popular I hope people work to keep it as pristine as they found it. Unfortunately in that sterile an environment it seems pretty easy to leave a lasting mess behind, witness the desicration I nearly stepped in on the “grassy benches” last weekend. Dig a hole! WTF!
  16. Trip: Watson - North Ridge Trip Date: 08/07/2018 Trip Report: Obscure, short and slabby with one of the mellowest approaches you’ll find in the North Cascades. Gloriously beautiful as well. Maybe not the highlight of your summer but possibly of your Tuesday evening. From the buttress toe a 150’ of 3rd or maybe 4th class rock leads to a more pronounced buttress. The original route climbs the obvious corner system on the north side (5.4 Kloke 1970’s). It’s also possible to move up left to the very crest and climb a full rope length of 5.6 on ridiculously clean and solid rock. A bit runout but gear (and/or fixed pins) show up where you need it. Continue on the crest, slightly dirtier rock, to the summit in one more pitch or wander off to either side. We descended east which involved some downclimbing, a rappel, a loose gully, a moat and some moderate snow. Supposedly a more straightforward descent might exist to the west if you carry over. Gear Notes: Small rack to 2.5”. 60m rope. Ice axe and possibly crampons. Approach Notes: Find you way to Upper Anderson Lake then faint path up gully at east side of first lake.
  17. I like you're TR a lot but before others follow you down the gully of doom I recall it being fairly straightforward to follow your "second option". Climb some broken rock to near Marble Needle where a couple short rappels put you on the Mccallister Glacier near the standard route on Dorado Needle.
  18. Maybe your epic was a result of all that photo taking. Great pics, looks like an awesome climb, wish I could remember it.
  19. Safety in 4th Class Terrain

    Another significant injury on forbidden. Climbed slipped and got wedged in moat. Broken back. Two hikers have fallen off bridges on Wonderland Trail and been swept away (dead). and of course the woman lost on Vesper Peak. 7 fatalities and 1 serious injury is a lot in one summer. probably still missing a couple.
  20. Smoke Conditions in Stuart Range?

    Probably varies considerably by day. But check this for current conditions http://www.iciclechalet.com/webcam.html
  21. Mount Baker Speed Record

    With all the interest on speed records in the mountains this summer I thought I'd point out this amazing story from 1913, 105 years ago!. The worlds changed, the trail is gone and this ascent could no longer be replicated but I'm just curious if people think there's really been any advancement in the sport. The following comes from an excellent read, published locally in Bellingham, called Komo Kulshan- The Story of Mount Baker by John C. Miles (2010). The original Mount Baker Marathon was a balls out race to the summit and back from Bellingham using cars or trains to access trailheads and back. Due to bad weather the third and final race ended in confusion and near disaster. A disgruntled local name A.M. Burnside challenged the winner Paul Westerlund to a rematch starting in the town of Glacier to the summit and back. At the time there was no road up Glacier Creek, only a roughly hewn trail that had been built two years earlier by locals as part of the first Mount Baker Marathon. The round trip distance was 28 miles. Here's the quote from the book "The rematch was run in early September, Burnside leading most of the way, only to be overtaken by Westerlund with just three miles to go. Westerlunds winning time was six hours and two minutes over the twenty-eight mile course with it's 9,700 foot elevation gain (and loss). He certainly dispelled any doubts about his strength, though Burnside later claimed to have had such a bad ankle that his doctor had advised him not to race." That's an average rate of just under 13 minutes per mile. Shitty trail, talus, presumably late season ice and hard snow. If modern speed freaks had to add 16 miles of trail and 3000' of gain/descent what would times look like now? For that matter what is the current non-ski C2C (so sad we base it off cars) record for Mt Baker from the Heliotrope TH?
  22. Mount Baker Speed Record

    We all were.
  23. Three O'Clock Rock

    Ginsu? Thats a really good climb!
  24. Latok I North Ridge Rescue?

    So is it true they were using dulfersitz because a rappel device was too heavy to carry? Seems a bit unreasonable to expect someone to risk their neck to save you when you cut your margins that thin. And then to leave yourself anchored to both chopper and wall. Yikes.
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