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Everything posted by David_Parker

  1. Climb: Mt. Stuart: (winter ascent)-Complete North Ridge Date of Climb: 12/24/2004 Trip Report: Mt. Stuart: Attempted Winter ascent of the complete North Ridge. Wayne called me 2 weeks before Christmas and said we had a good weather window coming up the few days before Christmas. So on Tuesday, December 21, the official start of winter, we made the drive over to Leavenworth and bivied in the parking lot at the Ranger’s station. We arose early and organized our gear under the lights in the McDonalds parking lot and then headed up Icicle Creek. We crossed our fingers that the gate at Eight Mile Creek would be open. It was, but within ¾ of a mile the difficulties began. As the road became steeper it became apparent my 4-runner was not going to make it up the pure ice road. We came to a stop, tires spinning and it was all we could do to keep from sliding backwards. Wayne got out to help push against the side of the car to keep it from sliding over the edge and down into the abyss and immediately fell down. We nursed the 4-runner down to a dry patch on the side of a switchback and then proceeded to give it another shot by trying to keep two tires in the slightly softer crunchy snow on the inside shoulder. We didn’t make it past the original high point and had to nurse the car back down to the dry spot, Wayne donned crampons for better traction the second time. The only way we were going to get up this road was to put crampons on the tires, so back to Leavenworth we went. $175 and an hour later we were back at the road and this time we had no problems with 4 new chains on the tires. It was probably close to 11:00 by the time we finally started the hike on the Stuart Lake trail and up Mountaineers Creek. We carried snowshoes, but ditched them on the knoll right after crossing the creek on a log. We were following a fairly fresh set of boot tracks on top of an older set of snowshoe tracks for a while, but when they headed off in the “wrong” direction, we abandoned them. We made camp behind a large boulder just past the small bench and proceeded to decorate a small tree with our cams, picket and ropes. We wanted to have some sense of a Christmas spirit in this desolate, moonlike landscape. Laying in the tent that night, it almost seemed like day. The almost full moon was so bright I could have read a book outside. I have a difficult time falling asleep before 11:00 so while Wayne snored, the demons danced in my mind. Looming above us in plain view was the complete north ridge and so far nobody had been successful in making a winter ascent of the lower portion. The upper section had been done in winter. We hoped to connect the entire route. But who was I to think I was up to this task. I felt significantly small and unqualified. I had never even been on the lower ridge in summer and it was 1986 when I did the upper. It was also 1986 the last time I jumarred and Wayne said I would be doing quite a bit. We waited until daylight to make breakfast and gear up for the day. We hiked up onto the moraine below the Ice Cliff glacier and followed its sweeping curve around to the base of the North Ridge. Sheltered from the wind behind a large boulder, we donned harnesses and racked up and Wayne started up some 4th class rock which proved more difficult then it looked. Not wanting to place gear yet, we searched further left for a better access and found a steep snow gully which brought us to the base of the first pitch. Our plan was to fix two rope lengths and return to camp for the night. Wayne actually aid climbs quite fast, and after some difficulty with a squeeze slot where he had to take off his pack, he tied off the rope. I jugged and off Wayne went for pitch 2. This section is steep and surmounts a small overhang. I worked out the bugs of jumarring, and joined Wayne at a stance by a small tree. Above loomed a long thin crack, not vertical, but steep. The going was slower here because there was ice in the crack. Wayne informed me he actually used his breath to melt some ice for a few placements. He watched cams shift on ice. When a loop of rope hanging down caught on something, I had to untie my end and drop it down in an attempt to free it. It barely gave Wayne enough rope to reach the top where he made an anchor of one pin, one ice screw and 2 cams. He then rapped and cleaned while I pulled out our second rope and readied it for the rap to the ground. It was extremely windy, but we got down with out any issues and descended back to camp. We chose an easier route than going back down the moraine by following a snow gully and skirting the lower boulder field on the far side. This set us up for an easier ascent in the morning. It was about 4:00 by the time we got back. Fixing 3 pitches had taken o lot longer than we thought. The moon and demons were in full effect that night. I knew tomorrow would be a big day and we had no idea what conditions would be like on the ridge. I questioned myself why I did this. I knew once on the ridge, retreat would be difficult until we reached the notch where the regular route joined. Thank god for sleeping pills. We awoke at 2:30 and were off by 3:45. We carried no bivy gear. We geared up at the large boulder. It was my first time jumarring by headlamp, but by the time we were up the second rope, it was just beginning to dawn. Above we could see the summit shrouded in clouds, and it was extremely windy. Weather was moving in. We debated going down, but talked ourselves out of it. The ridge looked incredibly steep and exposed. The demons came back and I pushed them away as Wayne headed up the next pitch in the early morning light. He was aiding again, but informed me it was only a short section and I should just aid myself and not mess with the ascenders. Once I began climbing again, things calmed down for me. My focus was only at each small task or move at hand and my concentration kept the elements at bay. For the first time since leaving Seattle, I actually felt settled. It was just me and the mountain and my focus on climbing. Nothing else penetrated to mess with my head. I don’t remember each pitch, just different sections. As we moved up, dry rock became more iced with verglass. We each had one regular ice tool and a small Grivel third tool. I carried etriers and the jumars bundled on my gear loops on my left side. Wayne lead all the pitches for speed. The ice runnel pitch should have been my lead, but Wayne was cold and wanted to move again. It was a fabulous pitch of thin ice that snaked up through the rocks. “Super Alpine” I called it and I secretly imagined myself climbing in Chamonix. An easier snow slope brought us up into an alcove with only one way out, a traverse across polished slab. Wayne tensioned and then climbed with his tools in verglass and boots on slab, then up over a small roof. Above the terrain became more blocky with much more ice filling the voids and the climbing became true mixed. We donned crampons and climbed with both tools. Many moves consisted of moving across a bulge of rock onto thin ice. Unconsolidated snow filled the cracks and crevasses and needed clearing. At one point we abandoned the true ridge and climbed on the face to the right for 4 or 5 pitches before we could regain it. Finally, I lead a short section of rotten snow that required much clearing to regain the ridge. It was steep and there was about an inch crust and underneath, loose granular snow. The crust would break in large slabs and slide down, and the 18 inches of snow underneath was not bonded to the rock and wouldn’t accept any weight. I was afraid of the whole thing sliding. I excavated to rock for the last few moves and flopped onto the ridge. It was 4:00. One more tricky traverse brought us to the notch and there was no question as to which way to go. We were out of time and the entire upper ridge, although bathed in moonlight, would be another full day. We rigged a rap and headed down. The gully was much steeper and longer than I remembered and we ended up making 4 rappels combined with steep down climbing. The Stuart Glacier was awash in moonlight. We packed the ropes and gear and began our long walk back to camp. I don’t think I’ll have a more memorable Christmas Eve. This high alpine environment was almost surreal in the bright moonlight. I was warm and content with what we had done. We hadn’t made the summit, but had climbed the often attempted lower section. We never stopped the whole time and we got to the tent by 8:15. Wayne immediately crawled in, while I made hot drinks. We were too tired to eat, but I lingered outside for another hour enjoying the view. The demons were gone and I was content. Later, I would have the uncanny feeling that it was someone else who did the climb. The next day, Christmas, we hiked out in deteriorating weather. The drive over Stevens Pass was in a full snowstorm. At least for a while, we had a white Christmas. Gear Notes: full rack, one ice screw, ascenders, 2 ropes Approach Notes: Chains required for Eight Mile road if still open. We did not need snowshoes for Mountaineer Creek approach, but maybe neccessary now.
  2. Looking at the guys shoes and the fact he appears to be standing in aiders, that pitch was probably done on aid. The 2 biner system is common on aid. The leader probably back cleaned the empty bolt.
  3. David_Parker

    Name My Dog

    A ski patroler at Park City with an avalanche dog told me that a dog's name should be two distinct syllables. They respond better and know when you are calling them. Their dog was "heyduke". Mine was Triglav (higest mountain in Yugoslavia). A lot of suggestions made so far meet this theory. Just my $.02. "Alpine" would cover a lot, but Kurt might get confused! I notice you live in PDX. What about Yocum or Cooper?
  4. Yo, technophobes...does this shit mean that much to you. How many of you are actually falling on your screws? Ice climbers should not be falling period. Your tools and what's in your head are your pro. If you fall on a screw in good ice, it will probably hold. If it's in shitty ice, well it probably won't matter if it's a BD or a Grivel. If you're mixed climbing, use the bolts. If you want to analyze torque and moment in something we actually experience on a regular basis, lets start a thread in the freshies thread about risers for ski bindings. later......
  5. I was comparing the two stoves and Giga actually seems to fold up smaller with same output and basic specs. But Someone said the msr pocket works with hnging stove for sure. Does Giga work for hanging. Do you have any other preference between the 2?
  6. The Dolomites are really nice and generally better weather. Or you could go to Canada and save $ and get better conditions! A lot of brits ski Whistler instead of the alps for that reason.
  7. I used to think chains were not necessary for 4x4. But when my Toyota Tercell slid sideways under a semi on Snoqualmie Pass, I reconsidered. I heard Les Schwab will buy back your chains at the end of the season if they are unused. I drove a Subaru Forester with 4 people into the Ghost using chains on all 4 tires. I saw other vehicles struggling in spots we rallied right through. With a pickup, you are light in the rear anyway. Buy real chains even if for just the weight in the back!
  8. This is why it is good to always have a knife handy as well!
  9. To add to the fine advice from the chicks with picks.... I think one mistake common to many ice climbers is using TOO warm gloves. The extra padding makes it harder to grip the tools and the harder you grip the more restrictive blood flow. Climb in thinner gloves and carry warm mittens or gloves for the belay. Often I find my first lead still gives me the barflies, but thereafter I'm fine for the rest of the day. After you get your tool in, you barely need to grip if you are using leashes. With experience, you will also learn you don't need to bury that tip for it to be secure. Then you don't have to struggle to get it out which also takes more grip. All climbing is really with your feet, so unless it is vertical to overhanging, you shouldn't need to be hanging much on your leashes. Keep your heels low, and (as they say in windsurfing) "fuck the ice" aka push your hips in. I guess what I'm saying is that good technique will help too!
  10. Heels down 4-sure. The idea is the front points AND the secondary point work better and cause less fatigue on your legs. The kick you use should be swinging your leg more from the hip than the knee. Ever hear of climbers complaining of burning calf muscles. This tends to happen on lower angle stuff because they get stretched more and it's more difficult to engage secondary points. What the hell book were you reading anyway?
  11. perfect chance to KILL YOUR TV! nothing beats an imploding tv tube....have fun with it while you're at the dump!
  12. At Discount tire: Bridgestone Dueler a/t revo- $730 (best rated tire) BF goodrich a/t, t/a ko- $637 Michelin atx a/t-$790 Yokahama geolander a/t plus II- $594 guy says Yoko is a great tire for price and best "value". Any one have these?
  13. Need new tires for my 4-runner. What store or particular tire is good? Typical to our varied conditions of extreme wet and snow.
  14. The best ice gloves are the ones having the most fun!
  15. Dru, nobody refers to his books by volume #. It's red, green or tan (formerly brown). The green book is the latest new edition that came out this summer and Goode is in the green book. I don't have a clue what Vol. III is!
  16. I think he was refering to what ones says 1/2 way down the bedwyn (sp?) couloir on Goode.
  17. I agree with Matt. That gulley is the key and close to the summit. I've skiied it!
  18. I usually try to orient the screws vertically too. If they are bomber, 2 should be fine. Tools should not be considered valid belay anchors. Try loading one and see what happens. In the Alpine I might use a tool to help equalize, but not in a hanging belay. When using a tool. don't clip your leash, but the hole in th end of the shaft. I will belay the follower off the anchor and tie him off when he arrives. I like being able to have him locked off by using a reverso while I belay while I shake out my hands, put on a jacket or find food in my pack. I would not like my belayer fuzing around like this if he was belaying me off his harness! If he leads the next pitch, then I'll belay off my harness while he leads.
  19. Unfortunately fellow New Englander, this aint New England where you can go out to the cliffs and ice climb on a reliable schedule. The best tool for ice climbing around here is a decent car and gas! However if you liked winter alpine climbing in the White Mountains, prepare to have even more fun around here. Take a drive over the North Cascades Hwy before it closes and then pray for some cold weather so we get ice in either eastern WA or Lillooet, Canada.
  20. They should make a scary movie with this "weapon". Hey, lets buy it and give it to glassgowkiss. That would be scary!
  21. My son and I are headed to Bend for TG weekend. Want to leave Seattle Wed afternoon. I Would like to stay somewhere past Gresham like Sandy or even up in Gov camp. Any cheap hotels. Of course we'd take a floor/couch too somewhere! Anyone with a kid who wants to meet in Smith on Friday or Saturday pm me!
  22. Leashless climbing must have begun way back in the 50's when the hardmen were first learning steep ice climbing. Here's proof! On ebay.....
  23. Hurricane Ridge and you can hike out towards Hurricane Hill on rented snowshoes and have hot chocolate in the lodge. Just make sure it's open. It was closed all this weekend due to ice on the road. Wew, that pesky ice! North Cascades hwy is a winner no matter what. Do the whole loop. Go through Darrington, if it's open, take the Mountain Loop hwy to get to Darrington. Both these offer short little hikes to see a waterfall, or some other side attraction. Pick something that is new to you too!
  24. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=1299&item=7114628252&rd=1
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