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Found 36 results

  1. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Lara Kellogg Memorial Route (FA) Date: 4/29/2007 Trip Report: Yesterday Dylan Johnson and I climbed a route on the NE Face of Stuart that I believe is a new variation. We had made an attempt last Saturday but bailed up the Ice Cliff Couloir after realizing we weren't prepared for the difficulties. The succesful ascent yesterday took about 19.5 hours car-to-car, using bikes for Mountaineers Creek Road. The route we took ascended various bits of previous routes, with what I believe were two new ice pitches. The lower portion of the face is comprised of horizontal bands of vertical to overhanging rock seperated by snow ledges. The first rock band we climbed via a short pitch of WI4. The second rock band had a spectacular free-standing ice pillar, but it looked very difficult (probably WI6) and at risk of collapsing, so we traversed right to join the original route (Mahre-Prater, August 1959) for one pitch. This had a move of aid, and there were 3 old pitons. From the top of the aid pitch we traversed back left to the ice line, and climbed the last rock band by a difficult waterfall pitch that I felt was WI6. It was not very long, but steep, narrow, and very chandeliered. Perhaps in some years it is nonexistant, and perhaps in some years it is WI4. Above the rock bands we joined the Nelson-Klewin May 1978 route for the middle snowfield and a short step of ice. We diverged from the 1978 route to the right for several hundred feet, and then joined back up with it for the finishing bowls and gullies to the ridge crest (this finish also established by Mahre-Prater, 1958). Although I think our route is only a new variation and not an independent route, it is an aesthetic line with challenging ice climbing on Stuart's cleanest face. We wanted to name it in honor of a wonderful friend and excellent climber who Dylan and I both were fortunate enough to know. Following the tradition from Mt. Index, we would like to call this route the Lara Kellogg Memorial Route in the hope that the name will help carry Lara's memory to future climbers in the Cascades.
  2. Trip: Abiel Peak - Spindrift Daze (FA) Date: 2/3/2007 Trip Report: Matt (NYC007), Bob (Tazman) and I established a new route on the north face of Abiel Peak yesterday. Thanks for making the slog guys, it was worth it. We were indecisive about where to go and what to climb, but Abiel held that "I have lots of unclimbed lines" appeal for us. We had also heard that lots of people were interested in Kent, so that added to our decision. The road to the trailhead was slicker than a skating rink, so we had to bivy in Bob's sweet camper at the Granite Mountain parking lot across I-90. Beers were swilled until too late in the night. A short night with inadequate sleep later found us tromping up the trail, sliding all over the place and falling on our asses, until we got to the valley. We reached the base around 10:00 and scoped out our options. Compared to last year, routes are very thin, but most will go with some work. approaching the route (with hanging daggers below the slab) we picked a line left of the North Face Direct, but right of the 1984 route. We tried the direct line up the hanging daggers, but it was unprotectable and just out of reach. ultimately, we went right a little ways and I took us up the first pitch (AI3X) to a semi-hanging belay under an overhang at about 30M. I think I used a couple of my nine lives on that pitch. it is one of the few where I almost puked upon reaching the belay. two more pitches of ice took us up to a steep snow couloir filled with mostly great neve. starting up the first pitch Somewhere in there it started snowing, then it turned into a freezing mist...Then the spindrift started. Bob cresting the difficulties into the couloir...happy to be out of the firing line Matt took us on a long simul pitch up the couloir; after which I took us up to the top. we gained the 1984 route for about 50' at the top of our route. Matt finishing up We skipped the half ropelength walk to the summit and walked off down the west ridge to the descent gully since it was getting dark and we were soaking wet. A long and dreamlike trudge out the valley brought us back to more beers in the early evening. FA: Abiel Peak, "Spindrift Daze" III, AI3+ Kurt Hicks, Matt Cusack, Bob Masasi blue - 1984 route orange - Spindrift Daze yellow - North Face Direct Green - North Face Couloir Only the lower half of the routes are visible. Gear Notes: Gear to 2" pins (mostly LAs, Angles) 10 screws Approach Notes: I-90, exit 47. Annette Lake Trailhead, go up the valley bottom to the face. 3 hours. no flotation needed.
  3. Climb: Boola Boola Buttress-Black Velvet (possibly new) Date of Climb: 8/16/2006 Trip Report: Last Wednesday Jens and I (Max) climbed Boola Boola Buttress up a possible new line. The 1000' plus formation is riddled with nebulous cracks and face features, making identification rather difficult. We, like parties before us, planned to climb the 1984 Yoder et al route, however, the supposed "bullet-shaped formation" was nowhere to be found. Possibly one of the worst descriptions I have ever encountered, Jens and I spent some quality time reviewing the face from far and near, but eventually decided the only logical course of action was to start ascending by whatever path looked pleasing. To back up a day, we began our little adventure on Tuesday afternoon, strolling up to Colchuck Lake and then up the ever pleasant Asgard Pass. My first time up the much talked about pass, I'd say it deserves some of its reputation, but is over sort of quickly and deposits you in a spectacular location. I certainly wouldn't reccomend the Snow Creek trail for objectives near dragontail. In either case, we paused for a brief bouldering session, and then proceeded on to lovely Brynhild Lake, finding an adequate bivouac in the slabs leading to the plateau. After a restful night, we ditched all but the climbing gear, trudged over the col, and began the descent to the base of Boola. It would be helpful if one could gain a better vantage to scour the cliff, however, it is rather difficult to gain such a perch. What is clear is a distinction between several darker formations to the left, and a clean, white slabby section to the right, where I believe many of the newer routes have gone. (view of buttress, with our climb taking the far right side, barely visible) (the fine canadian liqour which inspired the routes' name) After deciding that Yoder's line is completely impossible to identify, we decided to head for a striking, left-facing corner about 200 feet above the ramps found at the base. I led up a beautiful 5.9 corner crack, through a small undercling roof, and gained the large ledge below the aforementioned corner. (first pitch, i'm just above the small roof) Although striking, the dihedral looked a little thin and possibly quite difficult to exit, so Jens chose a splitter flake to the right. I believe the Thank You Baby Jesus route begins to the right of this crack, after reviewing the pictures in that TR. Jens had not planned very far ahead, and soon found the feature ran out, leading him a few feet right, into another, more tenuous crack which, alas, also petered out to nothing. This left him with a daunting slab traverse back left (.10c), gaining a large black knob. After mantling this it was about ten feet to an uncomfortable alcove belay. (jens heading into the unknown on pitch 2) The next pitch turned out rather short, after a 5.6 chimney section and some blocky cracks I made a belay under a thin looking, left-facing corner, which I was a little wary off attempting before consultation with Jens. After deciding that it was either up or down, Jens sacked up and attacked the corner, luckily finding just enough gear to make it feasible (.10+R). From here the rock quality deteriorated greatly, much like the description of the 1984 route. Four pitches of 5.4 chimneys would pretty much describe it, though of course it was a little more complicated than that. After 3 loose ropelengths I arrived at what, from below, had appeared to be the buttress' summit, however, it was clear that some climbing still lay ahead. Another chossy pitch took us to a large ledge below the final "headwall", topped with a distinct double pronged summit, from the base it had appeared much farther away. There we were, though, hoping to get off in a few pitches and back to the lake for more delicious water. Jens tackled a short but physical 5.7 chimney to another ledge, where I racked up for the last pitch. Though not the hardest, and certainly not the best, this pitch tested my skills with loose rock and left me more than a little frightened. Thankfully, it did turn out to be the end, depositing us on the ridge just below Dragontail Plateau. (jens striking a victory pose with stuart looming in the background) A short hike found us back at the col above our bivy, all in all a speedy descent once at the actual summit. All that was left was a ton of downhill hiking, sure to give our feet some long term damage. Back at the trailhead, we found our bikes conveniently stashed, along with a couple victory beers. We'd found a ride in, but with no phone reception, it was easier to hop on the bikes and roll down to leavenworth. Another victory beer at ducks, along with a giant burger, gave us just enough energy to pedal back to peshastin and crawl into bed. (mmm, victory beer) P.S. Oh yeah, anyone who has ventured to this formation please submit any info, pictures, etc. you have. The TYBJ TR is the only one I can find, but I know more of you have been out there. Let's consolidate boola boola beta! Gear Notes: doubles to one camalot 1 two camalot 1 three camalot small selection of wires Approach Notes: Pretty obvious approach, car would be nice.
  4. Climb: Sherpa N. Ridge & balanced rock 1st free ascent- Date of Climb: 7/11/2006 Trip Report: After recenly meeting Scott GG, we decided to climb the north ridge of sherpa peak in a day and along the way, try to make the first free ascent of the sherpa balanced rock. Scott picked me up early in the morning and we started up at the stuart lake trailhead at 4:45 am. Scott passed my litmus test for new climbing partners which states that they must like either coffee or beer-at least one of the two. People that dislike both scare me. We trodded in and eventually thrutched up a dirty chimney where Scott tied the rope around his waist and placed a piece on his way to the notch. Once on the north ridge, we put the rope away and soloed the entire route to the summit (The final steep rock above the final tower puts the climber in a spectacular position). After summiting, we went over to have a go at the balanced rock. I had climbed it several years ago and new how much fun it was. I climbed up on the east side of the balanced rock where a short section of overhang with very thin face climbing led to a small ledge. If you were to slip at this section, you'd break both your ankles for sure. You have to commit to the move. I traversed right and jumped for a small edge and managed to stick it. Scott followed the pitch. We descended down the east and decided to descend the NE couloir. We had tennis shoes with crampons strapped on so down climbing the thing was quite slow. We reached the basin and hit the creek and eventually reached the car that early evening. beta: The mosquitos are really bad right now. Hopefully Scott will post some pics. Summary: Sherpa- North Ridge & Sherpa Balanced Rock FFA 5.10c, Jens Klubberud & Scott Gg. - Gear Notes: Bug Spray Mosquito headnet red bull for the drive home
  5. Climb: Dragontail -TC ski descent Date of Climb: 4/4/2006 Trip Report: Skied the Triple Couloirs on Dragontail Peak yesterday. I had tried to get into Dragontail a few times already this year and had been turned back each time for various reasons. I had vowed not to go back until there was a more favorable forecast and potential for better conditions....well, the forecast wasn't great, but I had become somewhat obsessed so after a quick stop to grab coffee for the road and to fill my thermos with an excessive amount of caffeine I left Seattle at 11:30 on Mondy night. After a long and sleepy drive, my spirits were lifted as I got near Leavenworth as the stars began poking through the clouds. Mountaineers Creek road is still gated at the bridge so I started skinning up the road at 2:30am. Shortly I had to carry my skis because large sections of road are melted out, but soon enough there was continuous snow. I arrived at Colchuck Lake at 7 just before the sun began lighting up the upper ridges of Dragontail and Colchuck. -Object of my desire I had wanted to climb the route, but there was a considerable amount of new snow and I wanted to avoid an epic wallowfest as well as becoming a spindrift sandwich in the runnels, so I opted for skiining up to AssMaster Pass and up south side of dragontail. After endless swithchbacks I arrived at AssMaster. The sun was shining and warm and for once there was not hurricane force winds ripping through the pass, so I rested a bit and soaked up some rays. Skinning the snow creek glaciers was a bit of a chore as the sun had turned the snow to glop and an incredible amount began balling up on my skins, once on the south side of dragontail I was so tired of the snow balling that I carried my skis for the final couple hundred feet or so. -Stuart from the summit From the summit I skied back down the south side for a short bit then traversed a kind of sketchy exposed east facing slope to the top of the TC. -Looking down the upper couloir I was a bit nervous about dropping in blind, not knowing the snow conditions but these fears were alleviated in the first couple of turns as conditions were perfect. Snow was soft but not deep, just kind of chalky punchy powder. Each couloir is exposed in its own way. The fall line of the upper couloir actually funnels down to skiers left out over the north face, so stay right...I crossed a little wind lip about half way down the upper couloir and continued. -Turns in the upper couloir Between the upper and second couloirs there was an interesting rock/ice step that I negotiated somewhat gingerly before hopping the last few feet. The second couloir is dead straight and fairly steep and is perched directly above the ice runnels section. -Looking down the second couloir Again I found perfect snow conditions although I had to pay a bit more attention to the sluffs. At the edge of the runnels I anchored into a piton and made the first of three raps. I'm glad I didn't try to climb the route because the runnels were thin. Not much ice to be found, just a lot of snow over rock. -Close up of the climbers right side of the runnels Down in the hidden couloir more great turns led down to the entrance of the TC and a little exposed bit above a rock band led out to open slopes above Colchuck Lake...phew, I finally could breathe and relax. The ski down to the trail from the lake in the afternoon sun was an interesting mix of deep mushy glop, falling into holes, and generally trying just to stay on my feet. Down on the road I was suprised to see how much more snow had melted out just that day, but there is still a ton of snow on the upper 2 miles or so which will probably take a fair amount of time to melt out. Ross Gear Notes: Some pitons for rappel anchors Approach Notes: Road is an annoying mix of skiining and walking then finally continuous skinning.
  6. Climb: Abiel Peak-It's All-Der Date of Climb: 3/25/2006 Trip Report: After changing plans at the last minute, Keith, Pax and I decided to check out Abiel Peak on Saturday. The approach trail is popular with day hikers, and was packed down so well that we didn't need our snowshoes at all. Having hiked up in here this past fall with Keith, we sagely knew not to follow the picknic-table-nature-trail loop trail out of the parking lot. If you're coming in on skis, I would just go up the valley which is to the right once you reach the railroad grade (as Ade mentioned in his TR). As it has been mentioned, there are a ton of lines up there. The rock is like the sourrounding peaks: compact and fairly crackless. mixed lines could be bold. (big topo in the gallery) Fun climbing with two pitches of AI3 and one of AI4 on the right side of the face. We easily walked off right and down a wide gully to the west. more pics/details on my website Gear Notes: 4 screws, short and medium length lots of slings #1 camalot Approach Notes: Exit 47 off I-90. Take the Annette lake trail
  7. Climb: Abiel Peak-North Face Direct (First Ascent) Date of Climb: 3/19/2006 Trip Report: So Kurt (wazzumountaineer) and I decided to check out Abiel Peak this weekend. This seemed like a good idea given the snow conditions and good reports from another TR a few weeks back. Fantastic weather, good times all around! Route Description: This route is easily identified by large hanging icicles just left of the North Face Couloir (topo to follow). Pitch 1: From a small rock outcrop, climb left up 45 degree snow to the base of the waterfall. Screw belay. 50M Pitch 2: Climb the waterfall (WI3) to a belay under the overhang on the left. Rock belay (use the crack up and right of overhang with small cams). 35m Pitch 3: From the overhang, traverse right onto the pillar. Continue up good WI4 that eases to AI3 after 30m. Tree belay on the right at 60m. Pitches 4-6: Climb up the gully on snow to 60 degrees (near top), trending left when it splits. Tree belays. Once on the ridgecrest, unrope and walk easy slopes to the summit (~2 ropelengths) Grade: III, WI4 Descent: Rappel the route from trees. From the head of the gully, do 2 60m rappels down the gully. On the 3rd rappel, traverse towards climber’s right, descending into the North Face Couloir. One more 60m rap and downclimbing brings you to the bottom. (2 60m ropes recommended/required). Retrace ski tracks back to the car. Gear Notes: 8-10 screws & screamers, KBs, LAs, green - orange aliens, double length slings, 2x 60m ropes. Approach Notes: From the Annette Lake TH (exit 47), hike up the summer trail until it intercepts the railroad grade. Turn right (west) and ski a few hundred yards to the valley bottom. Turn left (south) and ski up the valley bottom to its end. Abiel’s North Face will be visible to the southeast. Ski to the base of the route. 4 hours. (We actually skied/hiked the summer trail on the approach and descended as described above. On balance skiing the valley bottom is much easier)
  8. Climb: Dragontail Peak-Puff the Inflatable Sex Dragon Date of Climb: 8/23/2005 Trip Report: With Sharma and Davey G bailing on us to go on their summer European tour, our plans to burn incense and grid bolt super top-secret Renton granite were dashed. It appeared Eric (Lunger) and I would have to make other plans. It was a good thing gas was cheap, because we dream big. The Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, the Sierra, it was all within the grasp of our greasy claws and my gas slurping ’91 F150. Since our country invaded and occupies one of the world’s largest oil producers, we can afford to go anywhere we want! Not so fast, son, said Eric. Petrol is at a record high and according to my calculations it will cost us approximately 1.2 million dollars to drive to Banff and back. It’s a good thing my climbing partner has a PHD in international finance. In reformulating plans, our long term goal of adding a sit start to Liberty Crack and renaming the route “Enumclaw Sex Farm,” just didn’t sound prudent as neither of us had really been bouldering much and everyone I know who owns a boulder pad sleeps on it in the back of their truck every night. Eventually, after drinking way too much coffee, consulting the oracle at Delphi and slaughtering lamb or two, we settled on making another attempt at the abstruse and phantom Dragonfly route on Dragontail. Eric and I had attempted the route late last year on a blustery late summer day. Unfortunately, our lazy 9 A.M. start from the trailhead didn’t prove effective as Eric repeatedly peeled off the kitty litter 5.11 funky undercling crux pitch. With the unknown still above us and only couple hours of daylight left we reluctantly fixed a couple nuts and bailed. We had, on the first attempt, gone a bit left (we think) of the original ascentionists line, adding a powerful 10+ variation pitch to the lower section. This year, when we got there, Eric, intended to find an easier line by going even further left. Unfortunately, he ended having to power through not only the 10+ section from the prior year, but groveling up another dirty 10+ finger crack to finish up the pitch. In the middle of this section, Eric took the BIGGEST WHIPPER I have ever seen in the mountains. I’m talking a rolling down the windows, calling the tower up to come in for a landing whipper. Some serious air time. Good thing the wall was steep, because Eric only ended up with some minor flesh wounds on his arm from the fall. Of course, Eric got back on the horse and finished up the pitch. All in all, a burly 5.11 affair indeed. Eric and I regrouped on the big ledge where the two crux pitches of Dragonfly begin. Even though the rock on the buttress is a bit dirty and flaky, some of the most beautiful splitters I’ve seen in the Cascades emanate from that ledge. I noticed a choice splitter starting on the far left side of the ledge, and since Eric and I were justifiably feeling a bit worked after the burly pitch and whipper, I suggested we climb it and try to take an independent line to the ridge. Eric concurred. The steep splitter would have been a four star classic at any crag if it was clean. I had to throw down a substantial amount of soil and vegetation to the belay, but I enjoyed the moves in between the plant matter. The splitter continued up a beautiful and featured steep hand crack with two roofs, but was dripping with black lichen and flaky rock, so I made some face moves and took a cool undercling around left to an easier crack with led to a small ledge and another undercling. Here I had to pull on some gear as the undercling turned into a blunt and smooth super awkward layback. Eric and I felt it would be solid .11 free. From there a 5.8 off width and some easier climbing led the ridge, where we simul-climbed on the northwest side of the ridge all the way to the notch at the top of the northwest colior. From there, we descended on some shitty kitty litter rock to the east to easy slabs and a short walk to the top off Asgard pass. All or some of our route may have been climbed before, so feel free to call us on that if you know. We did decide to claim a FA and name the route though, because the route was real dirty and we didn’t see any tat or fixed gear. Also, I guess it technically is a variation to the Northeast Buttress since it shares the same finish along the ridge more or less. Gear Notes: Standard Rack some extra small shit, but no pins this time. Approach Notes: Easy. I didn't whine once.
  9. Climb: FRA-Acid Baby III+ 5.10 approx 1000' climbing-Dan Cappellini, Rolf Larson, Mike Layton Date of Climb: 7/31/2005 Trip Report: "Now that we've climbed together, I think you're ready to meet Dan," Rolf stated at 6am in Leavenworth. The three of us had a blast doing a fantastic climb up on Asguard Pass across from the NE face of D-tail. All three of us knew of the line, although they tried to get me to do d-tail madness or the boving route instead. i made lies why we needed to do this route. We get to the base. Crap, this is gonna be quick. What looked like a 4-5 pitch climb now looked like 3 pitches max. At least it'll be over quickly...We got back to the car at 10:30pm. I posted a topo (too big for here) in my gallery. I'll add the link on my next post when i put up the photos. Anyway, our climb ACID BABY turned out to be unrelently steep, quality, and a clean line. I pegged out the contrive-o-meter when my pitch came up by trying to go directly up the roof in the center of the face. After an hour-long battle with gear and fear I backed off. I had a 1/2way in nut, a grey tcu that kept pulling out when i moved, an RP between two removeable stones, and a belayer-slayer i was standing on trying to make the impossibe (for me) reach up over and aroudn the roof. I fell and nearly shat myself in the process. The nut pulled, but came to a stop when the remain metal that was touching the rock somehow held. My RP and TCU blew out. I got real bloody! After a lot of "gosh mike, you're retarded" Rolf slung his balls over his shoulder and gave the roof a go. Much swearing and "careful" grumbling later, Rolf downclimbed my horror show, not as excited to be lowered off my nut as I was. "Well if Rolf couldn't do it," I though.... Anyway, I got the seat of SHAME while Rolf took the obvious and way better way to go up super exposed cracks, ridges, and traversing. Dan and I got stellar pitches, and more stellar pitches led to the top. Turned out to be about 1,000' of climbing all pitches very physical and almost every pitch in the 5.10 range, two being very sustained 5.10. Maybe my photos will do it more justice then my not so good TR (i'm tired and don't have time to post this later). We topped out on top of Enchantment peak after fully burying the CONTRIVE-O-METER on top by doing a sweet pitch of climbing on a large steep slab covered in cracks. We just couldn't stop climbing....well actually we all we bitching pussies by the summitt. If I think of anything else important to the actual route, i'll post it. Rolf and Dan are free to call bullshit, i don't care. feel free to downgrade it to I+ 5.6 55meters. anyone know the name of this tower? if it has one that is. Gear Notes: set and a half cams up to 4", nuts Approach Notes: can't see the tower till you're almost there
  10. Climb: Summit Chief Mountain-North FAce Date of Climb: 4/18/2004 Trip Report: Dave and I climbed the North Face of Summit Chief Mtn today after hiking into the base of it (via the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie) on Saturday. The conditions were fantastic, and we encountered more actual ice than I have ever before seen on a Cascades alpine-ice route. I think that the route took use about 5.5 hours and then about 2 hours to descend via a couloir on the west side. Joe Catellani, ever generous, clued Dave and I into the face a while back, and mentioned that it was probably unclimbed. Whether it had been climbed or not, it was a fantastic route, very similar in character and difficulty to the 1971 route on the North Face of Dragontail. We chose a line just right of the central rib, but many different routes would be possible on this face - generally harder to the right and easier to the left. Dave had a digital camera, so some pictures should probably surface fairly soon. Gear Notes: We had only 2 ice screws, but wished we had 3-4. The rock is quite compact (although not very loose), so knifeblades were useful. Approach Notes: Bikes, hiking, snowshoeing.
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