Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'best of cc.com'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • General Discussion
    • Climber's Board
    • cc.news
    • Events Forum
    • Access Issues
    • Climbing Partners
    • Rock Climbing Forum
    • Ice Climbing Forum
    • the *freshiezone*
    • Newbies
    • Kids
    • Personal Climbing Web Pages
    • Author Request Forum
  • Route Reports
    • Alaska
    • British Columbia/Canada
    • North Cascades
    • Alpine Lakes
    • Southern WA Cascades
    • Mount Rainier NP
    • Olympic Peninsula
    • Central/Eastern Washington
    • Oregon Cascades
    • Columbia River Gorge
    • California
    • Idaho
    • Montana
    • The rest of the US and International.
  • The Rack
    • The Gear Critic
    • The Yard Sale
    • Lost and Found
    • Back Country Permit Exchange *no longer active*
  • The Yellow Pages
    • Local Gear Shops
    • Climbing Gyms
    • On-Line/Mail-Order Gear Shops
  • Fitness
    • Fitness Forum
  • Spray
    • Spray

Calendars

  • PNW Climbing/Skiing Event Calendar

Found 149 results

  1. Climb: 6 Days and 6 Routes in the Pasayten Wilderness-Part 2 Date of Climb: 7/28/2004 Trip Report: Part 1 Day 4 continued, Monday July 24th ...after passing through the strange clearing in the forest we wandered through more open meadows, huge larch trees and beautiful flowers. Good game trails made for fast hiking and with careful route finding we stood on the shore of Upper Cathedral Lake less than four hours after leaving Wall Creek. Cathedral Peak above Cathedral Lake This area is popular with horsepackers and we saw several such groups. The typical approaches are at least 20 miles and seem to keep out those who choose to walk. We observed only one backpacker and no other climbers during our stay. Camp was established in a larch tree and boulder strewn meadow on the east side of the lake and we celebrated our arrival by breaking out the horsecock sandwiches and Jaigermeister we had so carefully horded during the first half of the trip. While Cathedral Peak was the big draw to the area we were amazed by how close the north-facing buttresses of Amphitheatre Mountain stood above the lake. Unfortunately the rock had significant hues of red and stood above slopes of talus and dirt. Both indicated less than spectacular rock. We decided to at least scout the creatively named Left-Side Route of Middle Finger Buttress. At 3 PM we shouldered our gear and hiked around the lake and up to the route in about 10 minutes. What we found was no less than spectacular. Middle Finger Buttress - Left Side Route Owen standing at the base of Middle Finger Buttress – Left Side Route The climb starts in an obvious right-leaning chimney near the left side of the buttress. After our practice on Grimface I quickly led the classic chimney and established a belay on a nice grassy ledge. The rock was perfect. Owen climbed up, shoulder the rack and proceed to fire off the single best pitch of mid-5.10 crack climbing I have ever done - anywhere. It is that good. After 30 meters he established a belay on a sloping ledge and hauled the pack. As per the Red Beckey Guide, from the belay we moved left, then up a steep crack system to another ledge. Rather than move left again we stepped back right into the continuation of the crux dihedral and climbed a very nice hand crack to the upper low angle ridge. Described as 4th class we discovered that 1970’s 4th class rock is more like 5.5. Regardless the position was excellent, the rock was solid and a good time was had by all as we tossed the occasional perched block into the abyss. On the “4th class” ridgeline The route is CLASSIC and deserves far more attention. It alone is worth the long approach. Once on top make sure to hike to the north summit of Amphitheatre Mountain, it is as sublime a place as I have ever been. To descend head east until you can drop down the obvious scree gully below a wide col. With a little bit of scree surfing it is no more than 20 minutes back to camp. Day 5 July 27, 2004 Southeast Buttress of Cathedral We woke up early and headed out on the extremely tiring, essentially flat 20 minute approach to the Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak. The route looked stellar and proved not to disappoint. Using beta posted years ago on CC.com we started from the top of a table size bolder located in an alcove maybe 150 feet up the gully between Cathedral and the Monk. We climbed nine long pitches to the summit. All but one featured great crack climbing on steep solid rock. The headwall of pitch 7 and 8 was impeccable. We bypassed the crux offwidth by a perfect 5.10a finger crack just to it’s right. Approaching the Headwall On Pitch 2 of the Headwall A recently placed summit register recorded no other ascents in the previous three weeks. Slightly shorter and with a lower level of commitment it’s sort of the kid sister to the Beckey-Chouinard on South Howser Tower with perfect granite, steep moderate crack climbing and a white headwall to boot, except the climbing was higher quality. A confusing descent to the west and another long scree-surf brought us back to camp by early afternoon. Ka’aba Buttress “Pilgrimage to Mecca” After swimming and sunbathing for couple hours we still had a long chunk of the evening to kill. It wasn’t very hard to convince Owen that we should climb an obvious series of cracks and dihedrals on the left side of Ka’aba Buttress. It helped that the base of the route was no more than five minutes from camp. Owen starting up Pitch 1 Owen following Pitch 2 After climbing four pitches of great crack climbing on more perfect rock we were back in camp maybe three hours after we left. The third pitch was particularly good following a great finger crack up a solid dihedral before stepping left and climbing steep twin hand cracks. At any crag this would be an extremely popular **** pitch. There was no sign of previous ascents and to our surprise the description of the Doorish Route on the buttress did not match what we had done. On the other hand it’s hard to believe that such a stellar, obvious and accessible line has never been climbed. Regardless I claim the FSTA (First To Spray Ascent). If you’re in the area it makes a great half-day climb and a good warm-up for the Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak. Route Description Ka’aba Buttress “Pilgrimage to Mecca” Grade II 5.9 P1) Start from top of large block at buttress toe. Follow L-trending dihedral then cross low-angle slab split by triple cracks. Belay below L-side of obvious roof (170’ 5.7). P2) Traverse left then undercling obvious wide crack into L-facing dihedral. Climb a steep corner at the dihedrals top and step left to a large grassy belay ledge (130’ 5.9). P3) Climb the beautiful R-trending dihedral for 80’ then move left to steep, twin hand cracks. Stay with the right one to another large belay ledge, a **** pitch (160’ 5.8+). P4) Climb the L-facing corner just left of the obvious offwidth on the crest. Near the top move right to stemming moves and easier terrain (130’ 5.8). P2 var) A much better looking second pitch would layback the right side of the block vs underclinging it then follow a L-trending ramp/dihedral to the same belay (5.8?) That evening we ate our last supper by a small tarn and reflected on what an amazing trip we had experienced. The last day July 28, 2004 The hike out went far to quickly. More stunning meadows, beautiful vistas and a complete lack of human impact. We made it back to the car in less than six hours. In the last mile of hiking we met a stocky, powerfully built man of at least sixty years in age. He was excited to hear about where we had been and knew the area well. Turned out it was Bob Cuthbert! We had just climbed some of the routes he established thirty years prior. What a great way to end the trip, meeting one of the legends that first realized the area’s potential for climbing. Gear Notes: Medium Rack to 4" for everying. An extra 0.5 and 0.75 Camalot for MFB - L Side. An extra 2.5" piece for Ka'aba Buttress.
  2. Climb: 6 Days and 6 Routes in The Pasayten Wilderness -Part 1 Date of Climb: 7/28/2004 Trip Report: My best friend, and in 6 weeks - best man, is named Owen. He is as solid a person and climber as I have ever known. We use to climb most weekends together, now that he lives in Colorado, we still plan at least one big trip together each year. Together we’ve carried heavy loads into the Winds, the Sawtooths and the Cascades, climbed spires and descended canyons in the desert southwest, frozen our arses off on a bivi ledge or two. This year the plan was the Bugaboos. We were gonna go for it dude! Do a Grade VI on Howser man… or at least a mess of Grade V’s. But plans can change. Six days of cragging, that was the sum total of my climbing this year by mid-July. Of course breaking my ankle at the end of March had a lot to do with it. It didn’t change the fact that I was out of shape and the few day trips I had done on moderate routes left me hobbled and limping by the time I was headed back to the car. The Bugaboos were not happening, it would be too painful to get all the way in there and have to bail because my body was a POS. We needed a trip with less climbing and more importantly less expectations. As I had managed a fair bit of backpacking with my fiancé in the prior month we settled on a trip to Wall Creek, a remote valley just north of the border that lies below the granitic peaks of Grimface, Matriarch and Macrabe. As it turned out the ankle was healed, the weather was perfect, the wilderness exquisite and the climbing incredible. What follows are photos and notes on what might be the finest trip I’ve ever done. Getting There We left town on the evening of Thurday, July 22nd timing it perfectly with the heatwave that washed through the area. Projected highs in nearby towns were 102 degrees. From Bellingham it’s 234 miles and about 4.5 hours to the Centennial Trailhead. From Highway 3 the last 30.4 miles are on the Ashnola River Road, almost all of it an excellent 2wd gravel road. We pulled into the very obvious trailhead near midnight. Day 1 Friday, July 23rd In the morning we packed up….. Getting into the head of Wall Creek took less than five hours on an excellent trail. Follow the Centennial trail for about 4 miles to the obvious signed fork and take the right hand branch. All blow-down has been removed making for a moderate and enjoyable hike. The meadows are beautiful and pristine. Plans for climbing in the afternoon turned into a chilly swim in a nearby lake, a bit of bouldering and much swatting of mosquitoes. Day 2 Saturday, July 24th Matriarch - South Pillar “Good from far, but far from good!” Actually it’s not that bad, just not the classic one hopes it will be. The 3-pitch direct start is composed of the worst kitty-litter granite choss I’ve climbed. Immediately afterwards the rock becomes much better, in fact excellent, only to deteriorate once again on the final crux moves. With the recommended indirect start the route goes at 5.10b. Be prepared to pull the final roof on mediocre rock with fall potential onto a slab. A recommended line, though not one to center your trip around. We topped out by noon and decide to climb another route rather than eat bugs down in the meadows. We descended a loose gully next to the pillar, grabbed our shoes and hiked over to Grimface. Grimface – Southeast Chimneys Established by Bob Cuthbert and company in 1973 this is an intriguing route that ascends a long series of moderate chimneys on the southeast side of Grimface. In fact of the routes six pitches only one of them is not a chimney and it’s a wide crack! A trickle of water at the base of the route kept us from dieing of dehydration and a large shady cave sprinkled with goat droppings allowed for a long, cool midday siesta before we started the climb. The rock quality is excellent and the chimneying is sustained back-and-foot work. Though generally low-angle, gear is intermittent at best and a fall would have serious consequences. Not the best route for a 5.7 leader. I would however call the route a CLASSIC. There just aren’t many climbs where one can practice such a well-known and interesting technique. The neighboring “Mother of Invention” route looked excellent as well. Either route would make a great finish to the G-M-M traverse for a strong party. To descend we walked down the scenic NW ridge then enjoyed some amazing scree-surfing back into Wall Creek. We must have dropped 1500’ in ten minutes and made it back into camp after a thirteen hour day. Day 3 Sunday, July 25th The Deacon – The Nose Owen starting up Pitch 2 I’ve always been intrigued by the description of The Deacon in the Red Beckey Guide. A friend of mine, Steve Barnett, did the first ascent of the north face in 1973. Unfortunately he can’t remember doing it. Oh well! This is a beautiful formation in a very remote valley. The rock is generally excellent, though a bit vegetated and occasionally loose. The Nose, established by Peter Doorish in 1991, is a very good, albeit serious route that follows a cunning path up one of the only lines of weakness on the face. Maybe even a backcountry classic for the grade. From our camp in Wall Creek we hiked up to col with Ewart creek then traversed meadows and boulder fields to the base of The Nose. The route description in the Beckey Guide is concise but adequate, you won’t have a lot of other options. After starting on the nose for two pitches, the route moves onto the left side of the north face and remains there until almost the summit. It in fact joins the 1973 Barnett-Anderson route on top of the obvious pillar on the north face contrary to what is written in the Beckey Guide. Bring a medium rack to 4”. You will need micro nuts and tiny TCUs to build a good anchor between the 5.10 pitches. The wall is steep, the ledge is small, and the crux is right at the start. Thanks to Owen for leading both crux pitches in style. A brief, very exposed, downclimb into the first notch, followed by one 80’ rappel into the first SE gully, then a quick traverse into the next gully and a lot of scrambling led back to the base of the route in less than an hour. By the time we got back to camp we had been on the go for over twelve hours, our pace had been anything but fast. Day 4 Monday, July 26th Uninspired to slog back up the scree below Grimface, Matriarch and Macrabe we decided to head to the Cathedral Lakes area for the remainder of our trip. It was a very good decision. We found easy travel through meadows and boulder fields on the northwest side of the Deacon , climbing about 1400’ before reaching the top of the expansive ridgeline separating Wall Creek from Cathedral Creek. Owen with Cathedral and Amphitheatre Peaks in the background From here a steep descent led to more beautiful meadows and open forest in the head of Cathedral Creek. Within two hours of leaving camp we entered a strange clearing in the forest. More to follow later.....Part 2 - The Homeland Gear Notes: see report Approach Notes: see report
  3. Climb: Mt. Stuart-girth pillar Date of Climb: 7/3/2004 Trip Report: First things first: I debated posting this for a number of reasons - I have never personally posted a TR (unless you count this one). - I already chest beat way too much as it is. - Finally a few other cc users have climbed this route and opted to not post a TR (which I still kinda question why… I wonder if I am breaking some commandment with this TR). But… as you can see at the end of the day I decided too as I feel other possible pillar suitors would benefit from the beta I obtained from both climbing this route as well as the large amount that was offered to me from some truly kind, humble (something I could learn) users of this site (more on that below). I attempted to quarantine my self advertisement to the addendum (which appears below) such that one can quantify their own conclusions about gp without having to wade through lines of self promotion, slander, and NOLSe party lines (though I don’t know how successful I was). As this is my first official TR; please feel free to communicate feedback to me: publicly or privately. Finally, between Ron K. (Ron just joined the site yesterday as castlecrag) and myself; we took over 100 photos of the route, either on the pillar or from the N. Ridge. Of these almost all are either overview shots (the entire pillar, the ice cliff, etc.) which could be used for route finding or are close ups of individual landmarks on the route (belay stations ledges, bivy ledges, etc) so that one can easily recognize it once on the route. If you look at any of the current guide books that feature gp, you will find a (in my layman opinion) lack of specifics for the route. I’m not criticizing this decision; if anything I agree with it as it prevents gumpy punters (that’s for you ML) from bootin’ up on the route (“d00d… it’s only 5.11c… I onsited that at PRG last week… we can just rent some axes from REI”). However it will save those who do try some time and brain activity by avoiding the question “am I off route”? With that said: get a hold of me if you are planning on this route. I will try to help you as much as I can with photos and beta. So with out further ado: Approched from Teanaway River road (Cle Elum/South) side to Goat pass. Traversed Stuart Glacier and gained N. Ridge via the north ridge access couloir (on east side of ridge). Descended from almost the exact point where access couloir tops the ridge (where a few of the bivy sites are… no climbing on the actual ridge was done) via mostly 4th class rock (mostly solid) with the occasional 5th class move. If you try to reproduce this; chances are your mileage (difficulty) of downclimbing will vary as a number of options existed. Generally Ron and I traversed slightly to the right as we descended. I do have a number of photos from both the top of the ridge looking down, in the middle of the descent, and looking at it from the pillar that I can share. We opted to do a short 20 m rap (though it was not required) onto the ice cliff glacier as a healthy moat existed so this was the safest option to gain the glacier. This descent deposited us above the bulk of the ice cliff difficulties so that only mellow glacier travel (two crevasse end runs were all of the technicalities) separated us from the pillar access point (so mellow that Ron did the snow portion in sneakers with old skool smc strap on crampons…style points!). I should point out that where one gains the upper ice cliff cirque is right in the firing line of the north east slabs (they hold snow until late in the season… if you have ever been on the n. side and heard the cannon shot sounds… that’s them releasing). With that said; one can run through this debris field in under a minute (its small); just time it correctly. As I did not know what to expect from the ice cliff (many people were telling me I had already missed the window this year) I opted for two technical tools, crampons and boots (which matched with my shorts for the weekend earned some funny looks on the trail). I would encourage everyone else to do the same (be prepared for hard ice climbing); it would be a shame to walk all that way only to have to turn around because of one crevasse that one couldn’t climb through as one opted for sneakers. With that said Ron and I could have both done the ice cliff in sneakers and one tool each. In regards to others comments about the ice cliff season being out for the year; I would remind them that the ice cliff was a common hard man climb in Oct. back in the 70’s so if they could back then, anyone should be able to access the girth at any time with modern tools. Following the glacier portion we gained the rock and in 3 short pitches (could have been 2 but we broke it into 3 to reduce rope drag and rope contact with some looseness). Here we found the bivy site which is right below the pillar. Currently a 100 square meter snow patch exists and is available for melting snow. The pillar itself is both everything and nothing I expected. I could go on and on here but it wouldn’t do it any justice… it would be the equivalent of trying to verbalize what Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony sounds like to someone without letting them listen to it. I will say I concur with others impressions of the route: the best route in the cascades I have climbed. Minor details: I was able to run the 2nd and 3rd pitch together with a beal (I mention this only because I know 70 m lengths vary from vendor to vendor) 70 m rope. I wish I had brought doubles in orange alien, # 1 and 2 camalots. Pure granite pornography. Following the pillar top out; we simuled to the top: once again mileage (difficulty) will vary. Ron and I found low to mid 5th class terrain to the top. We sorted gear, giggled and descended via the standard Cascadian couloir to Longs and out. Upper cirque access from NR via downclimbing: It's gotta be the da shoes! Burritos + curry = warm (natural gas) and happy First pitch Ron tops the pillar: Gear Notes: - extra medium rock rack to 3 “ (largest piece we took was a 3.5 camalot which we used a couple times)… I would encourage one to err on the side of a larger rack - 8.1 mm 70 m half ropes - 2 technical tools, crampons (both for me… I could have gotten by with one standard axe) - 1 standard ice axe, strap ons (Ron) - 2 ice screws, 2 pickets (didn’t use either) - supervillain bandanas! Approach Notes: see above
  4. Found on second pitch attached to a # 7 BD stopper. Couldn't get the nut but I got your biner. Identify the taping scheme (colors & pattern) and I'll gladly return it.
  5. Climb: E! True Hollywood story at Washington Pass- Date of Climb: 5/14/2004 Trip Report: Dude, has anybody ever said you look like Val Kilmer? I pause for a second and think way back. “Yea, a few actually” laughing at the rather unorthodox answer, nick AKA Skyclimb, a rather well know Christian Slater impersonator, grinned ear to ear in the evening light. Minutes later after some soloing up to the top of the liberty bell we were watching the last of the evening light go. We headed up to the pass on Thursday night and slept in the parking lot, a far cry from our Hollywood mansions. After an alpine start at the crack of mid-afternoon, we were trucking up the very frozen wandering trail through the woods. Our objective for the day was to get all 5 towers in a day, something that is not really all that hard but I felt like doing it and actually persuaded another person into it. When we busted out of the trees I had a rumbling in my stomach most likely caused from the 7 trips to the buffet in an eating contest the day before. Knowing my previous days situation I grabbed a load of butt wipe beforehand. When the time was right and I found that perfect place, I mentioned I needed to drop the cosby’s off at the pool. Then he said it, the words nobody in the woods want to hear. “O, you got some papers, can I have some?” NOOOO, my rations have just been split in half, and I ate my body weight the day before and combined with the PBR,s on the drive up it wasn’t going to be pretty. As I leaned on the big rock (yes, the one the trail comes out at) I knew is was going to be about as pretty as Rosie O’Donnell in the morning. I once again looked at my meager rations and assessed the situation. The snow was bulletproof and the trees were spruce, I was going to have to tough it out. I thought I had her covered but I feel like ripping of my fingernails even now. Higher up the mountain we were at the base of the SW rib on SEWS freshies covered the ground and it was even slightly snowing a tad. Christian Slater led the sweet hand crack nicely considering how fucking cold it was out. Seconding it led to the same results, freezing hands, who would have figured that out? Higher up we top out and think about the new movie contract, hot shots part VI. We scoped the main route on NEWS on the way up and it had snow in the roof/dihedral and kind of didn’t want to play there. So we were going to rap off the north side of the SEWS into the notch and do a route there, sounds simple, ha. We rapped into the unknown abyss to a spot at the end of the rope. We found a horn and Christian Slater came down and pulled the rope, commitment level high, just like in my movie Heat. I spied 2 horns we could sling and as I was prepping it and set the rope on it I had a bad feeling. I tested it vigorously with no movement, just as I put weight on it, I tested it with an all out shoulder blow, at which the fat bitch broke and shifted. That sucks, we set another solid rap and I head on down. Over the edge was like looking into the depths of hell. Slightly overhung and smooth as that shit of mine from the morning. The rope hung in space about 60 feet off the deck and there was nothing to set up another rap. There was a horn about 30 feet left that would have required a huge penji but our anchor was VERY one directional, and that direction headed the same was as his career after his part in the movie robbing hood, straight DOWN. Anything sideways would have surely yanked her down. I hang out for a bit and make haste up back up to the anchor. We decided that we were fucked and climb out. The route was filled with everything for a fun adventure, snow, ice, overhangs, Richard Simmons, wet rock and bad acting. Nick was leading us out of the mighty frozen over hellhole with nothing between us but a yellow alien at my eyelevel and lots Bling-Bling between us. Just as he was stemming off some ice with some other ice and placing some 3.5 camalot in ice some ice gave away and he yelled “@#%$ ^%%$ #@#& @&@ &@@#%& ^%& !*&* @@!” followed by a lot of icy words. A little bit later we busted an icy move with some ice and froze our icy nutsies off, did I mention the route was cold? We busted the top basked in the sun and ate tuna with whale nut and nuttey bars. We said fuck the goal for today and let’s just do whatever is good for our movie star complexions and stay on the south sunny faces. We were soon on the south face of concord and busted a move to the final traverse pitch with the sweet top out. I had done this one before and knew it was fun as shit so I told Christian Slater to pump up the volume and hit her in the shitter. The shadows were getting long and we bounced down the raps to the Becky route start. Cold ass pitches led to the top and Val Kilmer and Christian Slater were soon at the top of the liberty bell. Just then, I got a message on my 2-way pager, it was my girlfriend Annabelle Bond. Coincidentally, she was on another peak halfway around the world called Everest, and closing in on the summit. She said she was tired of “all these dirty Mexicans” and can’t wait to feel my throbbing meat whistle again. She was feeling great about her trip though. She said with this one Mexican over there, sherpa Lopsang Nhiner Inshe’s she had a good chance at another summit and he can really throw his weight around. So looks like they will get more than Everest and he is a strong climber I guess. After that, we rapped down and descended to the car, passing this large rock that smelled like shit, must have been some deer or a bear there a moment ago. Soon after, a personal goal of mine was fulfilled and I am now able to sleep at night. We made it EXACTY to the parking lot, not 100 yards down the road like normal. We go to klipspun campground and make a fire with all the free wood. Make some chilly then feed the deer with the remains, then throw rocks at them for target practice. We were planning on doing the liberty crack the next day but after freezing our asses off we call our agents and they decided that it would be in our best interest to climb cutthroat peak. The next day we take off in the truck and we are heading the wrong way out, I mention this to the chauffer but he laughs, stops, and picks up a can of shit covered rags and gets back in the car. What the fuck I said as I try to breathe through my mouth so I don’t smell the shit. Turns out Christian Slater didn’t find the open shitter and shit next to it. Karma got even that day though because after laughing his ass of at me the previous day with the previous fate, he got his. But to improve his odds at an Emmy, he picked up his litter and transported it to a dumpster; unfortunately that transporter was in the cup holder between us. So we load up our dressing room once again at the crack of mid-afternoon and are soon slogging through waist deep slush for a ways and then some. With the Oscar awards coming soon we realized we had no idea where the routes were so we just looked for something obvious, like fake tits on Pamela Anderson, we were drawn to a sweet route. Nice choss pitch after nice choss pitch we make it to the headwall and sign contracts up that shit. After more tuna and nut we see how far you can flick ladybugs and we spy the obvious decent route which makes a sweet fast descent by sliding on our precious and insured Hollywood asses. Soon after we were drinking fine expensive PBR’s waiting for the screen actor’s gild to call for a movie deal. Last I heard, they wanted to make a movie about the experience. They were trying to get Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as our climbing doubles and it is going to be produced and directed by Michael Jackson. It will be called “Touching the Boys.” Gear Notes: Gay-tors Nutter Bars 2-way Guidebook Brains Approach Notes: up
  6. This is a carry-over from another thread. Let's see them pics. Really big housecats, no Photoshop cheating, unless it's really funny.
  7. best of cc.com The Nodder?

    Where is the nodder?
  8. Earlier this morning I took out the trash...something I should do more often. On my way back in the building I discovered a secret gem! I immediately called one of my climbing partners and told him to get over to my house with all his gear. We were going to climb some ice this afternoon! He arrived at my house about an hour later completely geared up (full pack and all), ready to go. Inquisitive, he kept pushing me for information on the climb I found. I explained that it was actually a very short approach and he didnt need his Das Parka today. I suprised him by offering to drive as well. We walked out the front door, loaded up the car and drove around to the back of my building. There it IS!!! We unloaded the gear from the car and got ready to go. I spent some time contemplating which route to take....drytooling up the stucco, the hanging curtains, or the attatched pillar (main line). Ice was falling everywhere from the warm sun, as well as being Afraid my neighbors were going to come out telling us how unsafe we were, I decided to make the long trek back inside my apartment to get my rope, helmet, and a few screws. Unfortunately, I forgot my draws and biners. Good thing I carry a biner on my keychain! That seemed to do the trick!!!! Oh, if you havent noticed, I forgot my harness as well. Didnt seem to think it would be too much of a problem to tie into my beltloop. I was a little worried after I couldnt get the first screw all the way in, tho I continued on... I realized how costly this adventure could be. Not so much for my physical being...but financially...as we heard my landlord next door start yelling out the window at us, I politely retreated. Until another day! Aaaaah Ice climbing in Minnesota! Its right outside your backdoor!
  9. best of cc.com Mounties Pics

    Can someone post the link to that thread with all the funny mountie pics from a couple months back? I couldn't find it when I searched, and I forgot who's pics they were.
  10. This past weekend Mark Bunker (Marko), Wayne Wallace (Wayne1112), and I finished off a long standing project of ours. Our goal was to enchain all of the peaks in the Southern Pickets East-to-West (the East ridges are generally steeper than the West ridges). Mark and I made our first attempt last summer, and got to the Terror-Blob col before being thwarted by weather. Wayne and Jens Klubberud made an attempt earlier this summer, and were defeated by weather after making it to the Inspiration-Pyramid col. The first day we hiked in, and climbed Little Mac, East McMillan, and West McMillan, to a bivy at the col between West McMillan and the gendarmes to its West. The second day we climbed Inspiration, Pyramid, Degenhardt, Terror, and the Blob, to a bivy on the West (lower) summit of the Blob. The third day we climbed East Twin Needle, West Twin Needle, the Himmelhorn, the Ottohorn, and the Frenzelspitz, and then descended to a bivy in Crescent Creek Basin. Along the way we also climbed the named but less significant Blip and Dusseldorfspitz. Today we climbed the Chopping Block as a bonus, descended the Barrier, and hiked out. We believe that the East ridges of the Blob, East Twin Needle, and Himmelhorn are all new routes. The Blob went at 5.9 and the East Twin Needle (on which we actually climbed more of a SE rib) at 5.9+. The East ridge of the Himmelhorn comprised the crux of the entire traverse, with a steep, exposed pitch of 5.10+ (bold lead by Wayne the ropegun). We all agree that it is one of the best climbs we have ever done, and highly reccomend it to those seeking a fantastic alpine adventure!
  11. 6:00 AM Myself and a first (and last) time climbing partner I'll call "Elmer" met up at the parking lot in Squamish to climb Diedre, a classic 5.7 on the Apron. He is a cc.com lurker who said he is a "safe, all around 5.10 leader" who's been dying to climb this route forever. I've climbed the route before and led all the pitches, so I agreed to let him do the leading. 7:00 AM We arrived at the base of Diedre. The approach took somewhat longer than usual because Elmer insisted we rope up for the steep approach through the trees. There was a festival-like atmosphere at the base of the climb, with people of all ages from around the world. We found ourselves waiting for the party ahead of us, which was waiting for the party ahead of them, who was waiting for the party above them, who was waiting for the party above them--who was apparently superglued to the rock. Or perhaps they were just a pair of immobile manniquins that some jokers hung from the anchors of the fifth pitch to create a traffic clusterfuck. 8:00 AM After an hour, nothing had changed, and I suggested we climb a different line up the Apron. "Hell no!" said Elmer, "I've wanted to climb this route forever!" 9:00 AM The top party showed some signs of movement, thus proving they were, in fact, not manniquins. Elmer started taping up (?) and racking his gear, which included a double set of nuts, a double set of cams to 4 inches, 4 tri-cams and 7 hexes. 10:00 AM The sun cleared the top of the Chief and the day turned HOT. Elmer set off on the first pitch up to the little tree. 11:00 AM Elmer arrived at the tree and put me on belay. I walked up to the tree. 1:00 PM We reached the belay at the base of the corner. Elmer was--as advertised--a very safe leader. I returned the 11 pieces of gear I cleaned on the pitch leading up to the corner where the fifth class climbing starts. 1:30 PM The parties ahead of us had moved up sufficiently that we were clear to climb with no one slowing us down. Elmer started up the dihedral. Judging by the severity of the sewing machine leg he had going, he appeared to be a little nervous. But he protected the pitch very well. 3:00 PM Elmer arrived at the belay. Shortly thereafter I arrived and handed him back the 19 (!) pieces of gear he placed on the pitch. The insufferably slow parties ahead of us had by now left us far behind. We had clear sailing ahead all the way up to Broadway! However, now we appeared to be slowing down the pack of anxious climbers below us. 4:00 PM The scorching day got hotter. We drunk all our water. Elmer was showing signs of physical and mental strain after leading the first three pitches of 5.6 or 5.7. A noticable tick has developed in his left eye. I offer to take a lead or two, but he responds with surprising vigor: "No fucking way, I've wanted to climb this climb forever!" 5:00 PM Elmer is still within spitting distance of the belay, swearing and sweating as he tried to fiddle in an RP, his 6th placement on the pitch thus far. There were approximatly 8 frustrated parties jammed up beneath us now. I was starting to feel like the stubborn turd that's clogging the toilet. 6:00 PM Elmer arrived at the fourth belay. The climbing was taking its toll on him. Our water long since gone, I started to wonder how long it takes an average person to die of thirst. After resting for a half hour, his twitching had subsided somewhat and Elmer started up the next pitch. 7:30 PM Inexplicably, Elmer was building a gear belay 3/4 of the way up the pitch instead of continuing on another 40 feet to the bolted station. Gently, I queried him about his intentions. All I heard is a stream of angry profanity echoing across the valley and something about running out of gear. "I'm fucking leading this fucking climb...blah...gear...blah...fucking forever blah...blah..." I wondered to myself how it would be physically possible to place all the gear he was carrying (enough to stock several small retail shops) on one 5.7 pitch. And as the sun cooked me like a worm on pavement, I wondered idly if he was afflicted with Tourette's or perhaps some sort of degenerative brain disorder like Mad Cow disease. 8:00 PM Elmer finishes building his anchor and brings me up. The tick in his eye has deteriorated noticably and his pupils are dialated in a worrisome way. I can't help myself and comment on his anchor, which is clearly a work of art--if you're a Celtic knotsmith or some sort of mad engineer. The anchor consisted of 4 cams and 3 nuts each qualized with double clove hitches and backed up with a secondary anchor composed of two tricams, a hex, two RPs, a cordellete and four slings. Granted, I'm a fan of bombproof anchors, but this one could have survived a direct napalm airstrike followed by a nuclear holocaust and still held a factor 5 fall. He didn't appreciate my kind comment. "Are you questioning my fucking abilities you goddamn pissant?" Judged by his full-body spasms and the way he kept grinding his teeth, he was physiologically unstable and psychologically unbalanced. 8:30 PM After his outburst, Elmer calmed down a bit and started apologizing profusely, weeping and blubbering like a schizophrenic on a bad acid trip. I didn't want to say the wrong thing, so I just wrung out my sweaty shirt into our empty nalgene bottle, took a swig and offered him a drink, which he accepted gratefully. 9:00 PM We were still hanging awkwardly from his armageddon-proof anchor. Elmer had stopped crying and appeared to be in some sort of meditative state, perhaps visualizing the sequences or protection on the pitch above. An angry mob of climbers hoping to get off the Apron before nightfall had gathered below us, wondering what the delay was. (I'm sure they were also curious about all the yelling and wailing.) While we hung stationary at his gear belay, several parties simply climbed by us, including a grandmother in flip flops who was soloing with her grandchild in one of those kiddie backpacks, two hikers who apparently got lost on the Stawamus Chief trail, and a surprisingly speedy team of quadriplegics who were aiding the climb by placing gear with their mouths. 9:35 PM I was hesitant to disturb Elmer while he was concentrating on preparing mentally for the next pitch. However I was getting concerned about our pace--we were only about halfway up the 7 pitch climb, and I had to be back in Washington by tomorrow afternoon. I nudged him and once again I casually offered to lead a few pitches for the sake of efficiency. This threw the previously-peaceful Elmer into a blind fury: "No fucking way, I've wanted to fucking lead this goddamn climb for fucking forever! What the fuck do you think I am, some sort of fucking incompetent?! If you ever again try to take one of my fucking leads on this fucking climb I will take this fucking knife (brandishing his Swiss Army knife), saw your fucking ears off, then cut you loose to plummet to your death you fucking miserable condescending piece of shit!!!!!!" He emphasizes each word by puching the rock until his knuckes bled. One of his eyes rolled eerily back in his head. He was foaming at the mouth. 9:36 PM Hmmm. Fight or flight? That was the question. I figured pacifying this maniac was perhaps the best approach to the situation--or at least preferable to brutal hand-to-hand combat while tied in to a common belay 500 feet off the ground. 9:37 PM I put on my most sincere smile and said "Sorry, Elmer--you're the leader, you're on belay, climb when ready!" I said as cheerily and nicely as possible. Meanwhile I casually repositioned my nut tool on my harness for easy access in case I needed to kill this raving lunatic before he killed me. 10:00 PM It was getting quite dark. Elmer was finally ready and headed up the next pitch of Dierdre. I breathed a sigh of relief as the rope ran out (very slowly) and he put some distance between us. 11:00 PM Elmer finally reached the next set of bolts. Once I saw he was safely anchored, I yelled up "You're off belay!" 11:01:30 PM In the fading twilight, I untied from the rope, tossed the free end into space, waved up at a perplexed Elmer, turned and ran down the Apron (roughly along the line of Sparrow) as fast as I could. 11:15 PM I reached the parking lot, quickly disabled the alternator on Elmer's car, gunned my van towards the border and never looked back. Epilogue: "Elmer" apparently survived, because he is back in the Partners Section looking for another poor sucker to attempt one of Washington's classic routes. The moral of the story? You never know what kind of psychotic you might get hooked up with when browsing for a climbing partner on cc.com...
  12. Here's the deal. I'm very tired and wired so my writing may not be that interesting. The Approach: I had my alarm set for 1:45 Tuesday night and awoke at 12:30 to the police knocking at my door. "Move your truck!" they shouted through my door. Weary from 4 hours of sleep I moved my truck and was wired by the time I picked up Matt at 2:00am. We drove to Big Four all the way to the parking lot and hiked in. The avy chutes to access the face were raging so we buskwacked and hangdogged up the cliff and trees to acces the face. It was full scale bushwacking. Instead of our hour estimate, it took 3 hours of fighting to get into the upper basin. It was light enough to see by then, and we saw that we could've done a sweet ice climb directly up the cliffs instead! Too bad! The Climb. We soloed up to the base of the 1st ice pitch on firm neve and deep powder sections. I took off and we simul-climbed for a 1,000 feet on very steep ice, snow and rock. It was hard, fun, and classic stuff. Good pickets and screws! I climbed to the base of the crux 1/2 way up the route and hammered in a picket and a screw for a belay. Matt's turn. Lucky bastard got the crux. It was a full 60m of near vertical to vertical ice with shitty ice and shittier snow. Matt did a great job on lead, slinging an icicle. I also slung an icicle on one of my turns, making it the route with the most icicle slinging I've ever done. I'd say the crux was WI5. It was not fat, but it wasn't super scary. Here's a photo: We swapped simul-climbing leads for what seemed like for ever on many long sections of steep ice and snow until I ran out of gear except for my belay picket just below the corniced ridge. Matt then saved both his pickets for right below the cornice (maybe 30-40 feet tall) and the snow like above the crux, was pretty shitty. Matt then spent the next 1.5-2 hours tunneling through the cornice in a tour de force of thrashing. He gave a cry of relief as sunlight poured through our escape hole! The climbing took around 8 hours. Here is Matt digging the hole, the summit ridge, and me on top: The Descent: On top we had about an hour of daylight left. We downclimbed the ridge climbers right until we saw a notch in the trees far below us (1000’). The ridge got very steep and we started rapping through awful rimmed up trees for ever. It got very very dark and we found a couloir that paralled the ridge on the south face. We took that couloir until we figured we were below the notch then climbed back up to what we thought was the ridge. Unlucky for us, we actually climbed a smaller satellite ridge that paralled the main ridge so when we topped out on it, it appeared we were on top of our descent route. What we really did was go down the satalite ridge and it funneled us into the south face again! We descended the entire south face into steep walled canyons getting cliffed out again and again climbing up down left right, and everywhere to get out into the woods finally. By this time we were in the valley basin following a wide braided river. We figured the couloir we went down put us out by Hall peak and we were headed toward the Stilguamish?? river and the road. Hours later (2am) we stopped in the woods and sat around shivering until it was light again (6:30am). We maybe hike between 4-7 miles down river by this point. We backtracked up river to get a lay of the land and after an hour we saw big four…the south face. Around this time the first helicopter sounds arrived. We were very surprised to have a rescue being mounted so early. I always figured give us a day to be late, then mount a rescue. Anyway we hiked forever and finally wound up on the shoulder of Hall peak. We wanted to get to our notch again, but over a mile of steep walled canyons, cliffs, and steep terrain blocked any possible route over. Hall peak looked like vertical slush on rock since it was so sunny out. Looking back, we could hike down river again and find a road. No, we knew the notch descent was the way down and didn’t know anything about the other ways. We had to get there. So we fucking forced a route across all the awful terrain doing raps and downclimbing and upclimbing and tree and root pulling. Our only food for this day was a Pemican bar split between us so we weren’t running. I kicked steeps and tree and bush pulled up the entire south face up to the notch with helicopters flying overhead all the time. I figured they saw us but I guess they didn’t. We got to the notch at 2:45, did a couple raps, and downclimbed to the top of the lower cliff band. We downclimbed and rapped through the trees again and met up with search and rescue at the very very last rapped to the ice caves trail. The Aftermath: The rescue operation was FANTASTIC. Thank you everyone for trying to help us. I would gladly do the same. The parking lot was crazy! There was even a food wagon with hot sandwiches and chili! Several of my friends were in the lot geared up and ready to climb to save us and many more took today (Friday) off to climb it today. The S&R folks were so nice and helpful. I almost wished we needed help to justify all the effort. Thank you all once again for caring. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. There were a million messages on my answering machine when I got home and tons of folks waiting for me in my apartment. I couldn’t believe it! I went to the Ranch Room and got a beer before I passed out from being up for 48 hours!!! I’m sure I missed a lot I wanted to say, but my memory is foggy and short-term right now. Basically it was an awesome climb with an awesome partner with a crappy descent. I read the B’ham herald this morning. Every word is wrong and they should be beaten for their horrible journalism. We were never rescued or “found.” But we are grateful that if we needed it, you guys were there. Thank you so much everyone who helped or was going to help today. -Mike
  13. Day 1 - Leithal the Lovely Lurker (LLL) and myself left the Greater Lake Wenatchee Metropolitan area at dark, and awoke the next morning along some red dirt road among the surreal spires near the Owyhee River Canyon in Eastern Oregon. The idea was to break up the drive to the City of Rocks with a detour to climb in the Leslie Gulch area. A morning spent lost on various dirt backroads left us with a flat tire. I read recently that guys need to listen better and be more emotionally supportive. So, as LLL changed the tire, crawling around in the dust and cow dung under the van, grunting and swearing like a sailor, I sat in the warm sun, listened intently and offered emotional support. One tire down, two others bulging, no spares to go, 60 mostly dirt miles from the nearest town, we abandoned the Leslie Gulch plan and headed to Caldwell for some new treads. Meanwhile my hound dog had developed a case of explosive diarrhea, perhaps related to his unofficial breakfast of coyote crap and deer entrails. Day 2 - After a night of rain, morning at the city was clear and cold. We climbed a couple climbs, including Rye Crisp, which is a really fun climb up fragile stacked flakes. LLL decided to lead a somewhat runout 5.9 (5 bolts in 110 feet) friction/face climb nearby. The sky grew dark. Halfway up, the rain came down, soaking the rock, the rope and her. Shivering and sketching high above her last bolt but below the wet crux, I was concerned that LLL might be exhibiting signs of hyothermia or Tourette's syndrome, given her incoherent mumbling and frequent outbursts of profanity. But then again, it's sometimes hard to tell with her! She eventually downclimbed some tough wet friction and lowered off. There was a short break in the rain, and we climbed and cleaned the route before retreating to the van to discuss options. It didn't look good. The rain had turned to hail with a little snow/slush mixed in. We decided to head South to Utah. However, it's hard to be southbound when your ride won't start. We managed to flag down the last person leaving the deserted City, who gave Leithal the Lovely Lurker a ride to Almo to call Triple A. The hound with explosive diarrhea and I sat in the cold van listening to country music on AM radio as the snow came down. Day 3 - After a late night powerdrive, we woke in Kane Springs Canyon, just outside of Moab. It had rained all night, but once again the morning was clear. A couple miles up the Red walled canyon is an area called the Ice Cream Parlour, which is a tall cliff of Neopolitan-like sandstone scooped hollow. Slabs down low led to vertical cliffs which lead to huge roofs high above. We climbed several fun slabby finger cracks, and then feeling masochistic, I decided to lead "The Coffin." At 5.9, this is wolf in sheep's clothing. I've climbed quite a few wide cracks, offwidths and chimneys of the same or higher grade, but nothing like this. In summary: I got worked, it was ugly and took forever. If you want the gory details, read on. The climbs starts off with a hand crack in the back of a chimney, then fist jamming and face holds over a steep roof. Having hardly climbed on sandstone outside Peshastin, at first I was spooked at relying on gear that I wouldn't question at all if if was placed in granite. As a result, I overprotected, tired myself out by climbing up halfway over the roof and back down numerous times, and eventually resorted to pulling on a piece to make it over the roof. So much for style. Above, a 30+ foot widening crack that became a lieback/OW flake led up to a dark squeeze chimney. I motored halfway up the flake, and got couple pieces in then placed the 5-inch yellow tri-cam just before the flake got too wide to protect, and then ran it up to the relative security of the chimney. "Secure" is an understatement. The Coffin was a deep squeeze chimney maybe 50 feet high, 15-20 feet deep, vertical, with parallel walls so narrow I could only fit in certain places. I was in a vice of smooth sandstone, tight enough I was unable to turn my helmeted head from side to side in most places. At 6-3, 195ish, I could barely fit, much less move once crammed into the Coffin. Had I eaten a big breakfast that morning, I would have been nothing more than bomber passive permanent pro. To make any progress in the chimney, I had to find slight wide spots that I could fit through. It was like a Chinese puzzle: If I wanted to go up, I first had to go down, then sideways, then diagonal, then sideways, then up. 15 feet of thrutching might yield me a few feet of vertical progress. It was too tight to generate any opposing force, so all I could do was breath deep to wedge my chest between the walls, inchworm up a little, then exhale. The widest spots were perhaps an inch deeper than my depth of my body back-to-chest. Progress was brutally slow. Several times I slid 5 or 6 feet down towards the bowels of the chimney until my body passively wedged in a narrow spot. This was dissapointing, because in addition to sanding off swaths of skin, I quickly lost hard-won ground that had taken me many minutes to gain. I've never been claustrophobic, not even when I was locked in a car trunk for 3 hours on my 21st birthday after consuming 10 beerverages when my friends lost the keys to the car. But in the Coffin, I was seriously freaked in spots--not because I was afraid of falling, (though my last gear was that tipped-out tri-cam 30 feet below below. As long as I was in the squeeze, all I could do was slowly grind down to a wedged stop, which I'd already experienced. What I feared was becoming literally stuck in this cold stone coffin. My body was wedged so tight between these two parallel walls that I had a hard time taking full breaths, which when compounded with the exertion of the climb, made me feel like I was suffocating. Several times I had to stop and focus on breathing and quell the panic of claustrophobia that I'd never felt before. I considered the question "how are they going to get me out of here? Explosive diarrhea?" Two thirds of the way up the squeeze, I finally got a few good pieces of gear in a thin crack in the back of the chimney. Now with gear, I felt OK about venturing out towards exposed, unprotectable and insecure edge of the Coffin. I traversed out towards the window of now-threatening sky some 20 feet to the right and up, and climbed up along the loose edge of the chimney. Difficult climbing up loose rock with viscious rope drag finally brought me to the top of the detached piller, where I sighed a sigh of relief. I sighed too soon. My hands could reach the top of the climb, but whereas previously the rope drag was merely like towing a spastic donkey through quicksand, now the rope had become completely stuck, totally immobilizing me. Runout above my last gear, stuck in a tenuous stance on flexible sandstone flakes and frictiony feet just below the top, I could peer over the top of the pillar at the chains 5 or 6 feet away, but I didn't have the rope to top out. Physically and emotionally exhausted, I considered my options. The sky looked like Something Evil This Way Comes, and I could smell the rain and electricity in the air. Far below, the hound with explosive diarrhea whined in sympathy with my situation. From my delicate stance, I reached back with one hand, unclipped and unknotted my cordellete from my harness. It took me a couple tries, but I was able to use the cordelette like a lasoo, throwing a loop blindly over the detached piller. I couldn't see exactly how it wrapped around the back side, but it seemed secure for a downward pull. I clipped into the cordelette, and still gripping the loose flakes, slowly weighted it. It shifted once with a frightening pop that sent some loose rock down the chimney, but held. Trusting my entire weight to the cordelette, I yarded on the rope like the anchor man in a tug or war contest where the loser would be executed. Finally I was able to pull enough slack up that I could pull a beached whale move up and over the edge. By the time I was on the ground, the storm hit. Pea-sized hail was accompanied by flashes of lightening that were followed almost immediately by crashes of thunder. Once again we took shelter in a cave. I'd left my cordelette and a few lockers up at the anchor, hoping that I would have a chance to watch LLL experience the Coffin. After all, at least half of the fun of climbing some desperate thrutchfest is getting to watch your partner suffer through it! There was a bit of a break, so LLL headed up. As she was tacking the roof low on the route, a good sized chunk of sandstone pulled off, hitting her in the cheek. That left a mark. The rain had started again. Sandstone and rain do not mix. I lowered her off and we left the anchor booty for somebody else. Well, those were the first three of our eleven days on the road. We had a great time climbing around Moab: Indian Creek (which force-fed us several more slices of humble pie), Potash Road, and the River Road. Self-flagellating offwidths, chimneys and tight corners seemed to be a theme. We went through a whole tube of Neosporin to heal our chapped, scraped and sanded hides. I took the Bloody Award, with several dozen open or oozing wounds on my knees, ankles, shoulders, back, elbows, hands and forearms, while LLL easily took the Combined Bruise Title--the coolest one being a clear imprint of a #4 Camalot. We hiked down wild canyons and never saw another person all day. We soaked our tired bones in beautiful wilderness hotsprings. We partied with the jack Mormon sinners in Moab. We returned to the City of Rocks, only to find it blizzarding there. We almost got stuck thirty miles from nowhere on a rough dirt road when we woke one morning to find it had snowed over half a foot. The hound's explosive diarrhea gave way to projectile vomiting which gave Leithal the Lovely Lurker's stuff a nice musky smell. Ahh, but climbing into - and back out of - the Coffin was the highlight of the trip for me! [ 11-03-2002, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Uncle Tricky ]
  14. i know this topic sux....but so do the books i am attempting to read please share....
  15. The recent threads about access, secret spots, and of course the never-ending clash between different forms of climbing got me thinking. Of all pursuits, in my opinion the culture of climbing and the culture of surfing are perhaps the closest. Both activities predate recorded history. There’s something innately attractive about climbing to the tops of things. Likewise people are drawn to messing around in the waves that form the dynamic border between land and ocean. Not surprisingly, these two activities became central to different cultures. For the Polynesians, surfing became central to the culture: entire breaks were set aside for royalty and only kings were allowed to ride boards made out of Wiliwili wood. Commoners had to ride smaller, heavier boards made from Koa. Death was the penalty if common folk were caught surfing the prime royalty-only spots. Similarly, climbing was a part of many ancient cultures, and was important for safety, recreation and religious purposes. The Anasazi were crazy good sandstone climbers, ascending scary routes to cliffside caves that provided them security. The aborigines of Australia left petroglyphs high on inaccessible rocky faces, the South American Indians left monuments at the top of many of the highest peaks, and who doubts that the Hueco Tanks locals of a thousand years ago had friendly bouldering competitions? In more modern times, both surfing and climbing have rich written and oral histories replete with colorful characters, famous spots and fantastic tales. Climbing has Sir Edmund, Royal Robbins, and Beckey. Surfing has Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau and Greg Noll. Climbing has Yosemite, the Alps and Everest. Surfing has the Pipeline, Mavericks and Uluwatu. Climbing has Lynn Hill’s FFA of the Nose, Joe Simpson’s epics, and Twight’s smashing of alpine precedent. Surfing has Big Wednesday, The Eddie, and Ken Bradshaw’s riding of the biggest wave in history: Both cultures are global and diverse, and also riven with internal conflicts, ethical debates, and competition for increasingly scarce resources. Climbing includes everything from bouldering to climbing 8k meter peaks and everything in between. In fact when you measure the whole never-ending sport vs. trad debate against the whole scope of the climbing "community" it's really a feud between two minority factions. Surfing includes long-boarding, short-boarding, boogie boarding, body-surfing and tow-in surfing. Longboarders vs. Shortboarders is the surfing equivalent of the sporto/trad divide. Ask a shortboarder about a longboarder, and they’ll probably say they are a bunch of fat old grumpy guys and beginner kooks who sit outside and hog all the waves. An old school longboarder will probably say shortboarders are a bunch of young punks with no respect who are always getting caught in the impact zone. And of course both short and longboarders look down on the lowly boogie boarders (AKA boogers, sponges or speed bumps) and everyone unanimously hates kayaks in the surf zone. And yes, there's all kinds of other "ethical" debates that rage within surfing, all of which seem utterly trivial to any outside observers. But perhaps the hottest issue in the surfing world is over “localism.” Dating back to the Polynesian Kings, localism has always been a big part of surfing. While there’s lots of ocean, there’s not a lot of really good surf breaks, and most of the time, those breaks don’t have good waves. So where the time comes where conditions come together and the waves are good there is intense competition and jockeying for position in the water. As chaotic as it looks, there is a whole code of behavior and conduct when it comes to surfing. Violate any of these unwritten rules and the shit storm will descend upon you. “NEVER DROP IN!” is the golden rule, and yet it is broken all the time, which often results in a dangerous situation and often verbal or physical confrontations. If you surf, you’ll run into localism at some point, so ingrained is it in the culture of surfing. Virtually every spot has certain locals that believe that their proximity to a place gives them special priority, and frankly they don’t want you there. Maybe you’ll get the stink-eye, maybe you'll get heckled, or maybe you’ll get dropped in on. If you don’t know what you’re doing and try to surf the corner at Westport on a good day, Big Al WILL tell you to go on down the beach. If you accidently drop in on Decker, (AKA The Brick Shithouse) he may well paddle up to you, shove you underwater and breaks the fins off you board. These guys have been surfing these spots for decades and in their minds they own them. While there’s many cool surfers in Port Angeles, some jokers there claim all the spots on the Olympic Peninsula for themselves, including the ones out on the Rez near Neah Bay. Some have bestowed a name upon themselves: the "OPC" or Olympic Peninsula Crew. Like the KTK, it's mostly a joke, but still represents a common underlying want for tribal identification. In my 7 or 8 years of surfing, I've seen maybe a half-dozen physical confrontations in the water or on shore. That's more fights than I've seen in any other context. Here in Washington and Oregon, many cars have been vandalized, tires slashed and in one incident a car was torched on the Olympic Peninsula. More than a few people have gone to jail in surfing-related assaults. There are places in Hawaii where NO visitors would dare surf. All in the name of waves. In surfing, threats, intimidation, property destruction and physical confrontation are fairly common methods used to scare away beginners, deter visitors, protect surf spots and gain choice position in the water. Lesser known spots, or beta about what combinations of tide, wind and waves that make certain spots fire are jealously guarded secrets. Beyond being common, such practices are generally accepted as part of the localism tradition of surfing culture. If you're a local, then you can get away with dropping in on somebody or snaking somebody's position in the lineup. The flip side is when you travel to a new place, you often have to contend with a certain degree of hostility, and you have to expect to defer to the locals. If your competent and respectful, most of the time in most places most people are good folks and you'll likely have no problems. Even though its not a defensible position to act as though where you live gives you a greater right to use public land or water than anyone else, that's absolutely the way it is. Fortunately there’s not (yet) the same degree of competition for rock as there is for waves, and there's not such a negative culture of territorial local tribalism in climbing. Despite the internal divisions, there's a greater degree of common identification among climbers. The climbing culture is generally more open, friendly and accepting of newbies or visitors. People are generally willing to share information about new climbs and cool places with others. The kind of localism I see in climbing is generally less selfish and more benevolent. Whether in relation to a crag or a break, localism can be a positive force when locals are trying to keep a place clean, or preserve access, or trying to maintain the unique character of a place. I truly appreciate those who take the time to care about a place, and I think that’s a great element of the climbing culture. Thanks to those who help work on trails, pick up garbage, replace dangerous anchors, work with land managers, and those who chop all those damn sport climbs squeezed between classic natural lines… OK, OK, so I’m kidding about the bolt choppers. Well sort of. The good news is that localism in climbing is still mostly of the positive kind. Let’s keep it that way. [ 09-08-2002, 02:56 AM: Message edited by: Uncle Tricky ]
  16. Once again looking for a partner to hit something this week. Doesn't matter when or where. 5.8 - 5.10. Trad, sport, crag, multi, alpine, snow, glacier. Only thing i ask is for you to be generally honest about your abilities. A bit unnerving to get up on the Apron and find that your partner can't place a cam. R.
  17. best of cc.com 5/24-25 Fuhrer Finger TR

    Damn, it is hard to type with frost nip on 2 of my fingers! Part one: I left the parking lot at 3:15 Friday afternoon. A small linticular cloud had formed to the east of the summit but otherwise the weather was perfect. One Gu consumed, I dropped down on to the lower Nisqually. My thoughts were already turning toward my planned breakfast at Paradise Inn the next morning. An 18 hour trip time seemed well within sights. My mood was extatic. This was my type of climbing. I had gotten my solo permit and was smug that my pack was only 17 pounds, I moved fast across the glacier, un-roped and un-encumbered by partners. I reached the ridge at 5:30 passing 3 climbers with serious packs that had left the parking lot at 11:00 and were heading for the Kautz. I moved as quickly as was prudent back across the glacier, scanning for the surprise cravasse. The recent avalanche debris from the serac that had swept the Wilson Head wall a week ago was abundantly clear. I turned and headed straight up toward the finger just when Rainier decided to say hello and dropped a half a dozen 5 gallon bucket sized rocks from the east wall. They bracketed me but passed harmlessly. It was just before 8 pm when I reached the middle rock outcropping derectly below the chute. I melted 4 quarts of water, drank 1 1/2 and stuffed the rest into my pack. I put tights and crampons on, traded one pole for an axe, reset my altimiter, and ate a hand full of pine nuts...half of my solid food for the trip. As I rested, I watched the mostly full moon slowly rise and Hood, and Adams turn pinkish orange. At 9:15, tired of the in-activity I headed up. The snow was already firming nicely and there wasn't even a diabatic wind coming down the chute. By the time I reached the hourglass the last of the twilight had left but the moon was so bright that a head light was silly. It was truly bucolic, my spirits were high and my focus was solid. If anything, I was wishing that the climbing was a bit more challenging. (Be careful what you wish for) The snow above the hourglass was softer but I put my head down and postholed another 1000 feet. By 11:00 my lunar friend was ducking in and out behind clouds. I used my light the first time to cross the little step just above where the thumb joined the route. A breeze picked up, clouds filled the sky and I said good by to the moon. I reached 12,500' by midnight, a bit ahead of schedule and feeling strong. At 12:15 I felt the first sting of driven snow on my face. Well, the weather report said to expect snow by morning; I guess it was morning. Part 2: By 1:30 it was a whole different ball game. The breeze had picked up significantly and the needle shaped snow was occluding any view beyond my head light. My movement had slowed considerably as I pushed on. I started veering right without really knowing where I was. I was above the last of the rocks but I could not tell when to start across the glacier and the thought of getting out the map in the wind was ridiculous. I pushed up along the left side of some small seracs hoping for a smooth opening but found none. I was worried about getting off track, so at 3:15 I jumped into a cravasse to get out of the weather and wait for first light. Breakfast was seeming less likely. Snowfall continued to increase and my little hole started feeling more like a tomb. I kept hopeing for a little break but it never came. At 5:00 I could take no more and decided to move rather than freeze. It was light but the visibility was even worse. I litterally could not see a delinitation between the snow and the sky. I tried to put on my googles but they occluded with snow so fast that they were useless. I am quite nearsighted but my glasses iced so badly that I was better off without them. The batteries froze in my GPS and died so fast that it would proved no help. It wouldn't aquire sattilites without holding it to the wind for a couple of minutes and by then the screen was to encrusted with ice to read and my ice encrusted gloves made a terrible wiper. I thought I was heading more or less directly up but as it turned out I must have traversed a fair amount left. I ended up at the top of the snow feild below an inverted U shaped band of looming seracs. ( Looking at photos later they must be the ones at the top of the Kautz, far west of where I thought I was) With out a horizon they seemed overhanging at first. I decided that up was the lesser of several evils. At the top the wind freshened further and visibility reduced. Any sort of real navigation was a joke so I just climbed on. I kept to a rising traverse, with the slope to my left. With the absolute lack of visibility I found that my balance was better with my eyes closed and would take ten steps or so before taking a look. On a rare occasion I would see a boulder in the distance, hoping that I could hide from my niemisis the wind, only to realize that it was just a rock in the snow. My addled mind refused to grasp distance. Simple functions became problimatic. Rime Ice built on my windward side. Fastic buckles on my pack were challanging to open and refused to close. I occasionally had to bang my left leg to break up the ice to lift my leg. At one point I tried to take off my pole and found 1/2 and inch of ice had welded the strap to my glove. Time slowed and the wind increased as I found a ridge with some rock. Strangly the slope up was to the left. Insanity started knocking on my forebrain. A hole in the snow appeared... one of those blessed steam vents. I climbed down into relative warmth and regrouped; ate double Gu's drank what water was liquid and put in a fresh plug of bourbon Copenhagen. My altimiter read 14,819 feet... Hmmm; must be close. I put fresh batteries into the GPS and taped a heat pack to the case. Heading back into it I was forced to walk crouching backwards, up hill, into the wind. I reached the summit minutes later at 7:45. I followed the GPS directly toward the top of the DC. The wind abated some, but visibility didn't improve until I reached 12'800. Until then, I had to watch the little arrow more than my footing or I would change direction without knowing it. From ingrahm flats it was easy walking and I shed layers. I got a kick out seeing trudging climbers with heavy packs heading up to muir. They kept asking if the weather was better farther up. At 2:15 I was drinking Makers and gingerale in the back of my truck. It is my understanding that a couple RMI guides made it to about 13,000 ft but turned back. So, my first time up Rainier I was the only person to summit. I have heard that you should expect serious crowds on Memorial day weekend. <img border="0" title="" alt="[big Grin]" src="images/icons/grin.gif" /> I got a bit of surface frostbite on my left cheek and two tinglely finger tips, but am not really any worse for wear. However, I look forward to climbing easier things in the near future. Cheers, Steve <small>[ 05-29-2002, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: Terminal Gravity ]</small>
  18. Well I'm totally wasted on tequilla from Casa Que Pasa from a despair/celebration of a succesful ascent of that E.Face Coulior on Cuthroat. I think it's called the Cauthorn Wilson or something. Since I'm totally fucking drunk, I'll give this TR from the perspective of my feces which I horded througout the day... ...I forced my master to awaken at 2am and hypnotically sugested that he quaff his regurgitated coffe vile that he brewed to coax me out of my early alpine start slumber. Cuthroat E.Face Coulior WI4 X, Alpine Slush 6, 4th. Car to car 10 hours (less if neve). This could be it for the season, cuz it was thin thin thin, and it got wicked hot. Each cruch of hard snow from the hard snow sent parastalisis waves of anger through me. I knew my time was near... ...Unforetunately as dawn broke below the route, my arch nemisis "Pinchy" kept me at bay as my master haphazardly climbed well above Necronomican, his so called "partner". Sending showeres of ice and snow onto his cursing belay bitch Pinchy held me from my destiny... ...Alas! My master hast forsaken me!! WI? XXX and thoughts of imentent death were all my master could think of as he manged to live through the crux pitch. Where was I during this insane fight with potential energy? Lurking in the bowels, biding my time... ...Master's so called "partner" Necronomican led a easy WI-4 pitch and belayed me and my carried from a shrub and sunken tool. I was begining to force my way into the concsciousness, but master's next lead all but destoyed my will... ...Master was looking at a 400' whipper as the sun's pulsing rays oscillated down upon the ever-softening snow pack. My master prayed to his god as he pinched Pinchy tighter and tighter as his death fall potential increased with ever hyper-Pan Dome step, slipping, gaining ground...60, 70, 80 degree slush and powder snow barely held his feet, nary his useless tools. Every inch was a mile, every step was a step toward the grave... ...At last, a cam, a pin! Such relaxation caused my power to become almost overwhelming as my noxios gas escaped from his churning bowels... The oppresive heat almost overcame, as master looked toward Colonial, and the sure death that would have taken us if we had huberusly decided to do that mountain today... "Fools!" my master thought as he saw climbers approaching the entrance gully. This late in the day would be foolish, even to a turd worming his way to freedom. He hoped they would turn around or perish. On the summit my master wondered about the 5.7 pitch, and where that was supposed to be since we were already on the summit. My will way strong. I will have my victory. Many horrid, stupid rappels led master to a 1,000' long down climb which he though he downclimbed just fine. His partner however, took about 45 minutes longer while cursing masters good name!!!! Master squatted and looked upon his downclimbing partner. The sun was blazing. The time was at HAND!!! I leaped from the little brown star from which my tribal leaders has told of in my rite of passages through the G.I. tract. I steams and coiled upon the snow, all the while Necronomicon downclimbed... I was buried this day upon the flanks of Cuthroat peak. I write through the drunkeness of the ages, and of the battles of man vs. mountain and my kin vs. Pinchy, gatekeeper of the underworld.
  19. There’s a sweet 5.9 granite handcrack in Renton. I saw some exposed rock near an elementary school and that tipped me off to the multi pitch crag beyond the fence. The best climb is a two pitch handcrack kind of like Classic Crack in Leavenworth. Someone had already established this and about three other similar climbs in the area. I’ve done it everyday that it’s been dry, since I live nearby, and I want to be the first to solo it. I can’t believe there’s such good granite on the Westside!
  20. A couple years back, a number of my friends gathered in Bend, Oregon. The occasion was the wedding of our good friend Eric, who was to be married the next day. He and his fiancée grew up a couple blocks from each other in Bend. They had been best friends since first grade, but it wasn't until a couple years after college that they finally acknowledged what was obvious to everyone else: they were a perfect match and deeply in love with each other. Anyway, the day before the Saturday wedding, we took Eric up to a cabin on Elk Lake, which is out near Mt. Bachelor, for the bachelor party. On the way there, my friend Dan and I noticed some cliffs along the road. Sure, they looked loose, shattered, and flaky, but hey, it was rock--or at least something that vaguely resembled rock. We drove on and arrived at the cabin at Elk Lake, where typical bachelor party festivities commenced: heavy drinking, smoking of strange aromatic substances, lighting each other on fire with lighter fluid, etc. After a couple hours of such fun, Dan and I got the brilliant idea of returning to the cliffs down the road to do some altered climbing. The two minute approach to the cliffs crossed a field of sharp, shattered talus that appeared fresh off the cliff. It seemed that the cliff was actively eroding at a very rapid rate. As we discussed whether or not we should hike around and set up a toprope, Dan amused himself by throwing rocks at the cliff face. Each rock he threw caused a small avalanche of rockfall, as plates of crumbly volcanic choss broke free from the face. By comparison, the rock at Frenchman's or Peshastin was bulletproof granite. We stopped at the base of the most obvious feature of the cliff: a wide dihedral 100+ feet high. The dihedral appeared slightly more solid than the flaky unprotectable faces nearby. It looked like there might be protection in the corner, but it was hard to tell, because there was a bulge at about 20 feet that prevented us from seeing what lay above. Since enough Obsidian Stout renders once absolutely 100%invincible, I decided to lead it. Dumb. I bouldered up easy ground to just below the bulge, where I found one uninspiring placement in fractured rock. Hoping there would be some real protection available above the bulge, I sketched up and over the slightly overhanging section. Bad idea. There were some positive holds, but I dared not touch them for they appeared to be attached by nothing more than cobwebs and chance. Once above the steep section, I found myself committed and in serious groundfall territory. The corner where I was hoping to find pro was nothing more than a shallow, flaring moss and grass filled groove. I smeared and stemmed in the slippery, insecure dihedral, my feet oozing down and out as I tried to excavate some pro. No luck. At this point, I started to feel a little less than invincible. Maybe I should have had another beer before beginning this venture. While I was only 25 or 30 feet up at this point, I was convinced that I couldn’t down climb the bulge—I didn’t trust the one piece of pro I had in below it any more than I trusted the absurdly loose rock I would have to downclimb. That option seemed like a guaranteed groundfall. Up seemed like the best and really the only option. Another 15 or 20 feet above it looked like there might be some gear. Like mirages in the desert, the apparent protection opportunities dissapeared as soon as I reached them. Down was not an option. Falling was not an option. Upward and onward! Climbing as conservatively and delicately as possible, ("light as a feather!") I was expecting the whole dihedral to spontaneously exfoliate at any moment, killing me and burying my belayer. At 70 feet, I finally got found a decent placement (the first and last one) that gave me confidence that I wouldn’t ground out. I doubled it up and continued. The last 35 feet was exciting. I moved out onto the right arête, which was like climbing a teetering stack of broken dishes. Nothing seemed to be attached to anything. The last move was a joy. Facing a 70 footer into a corner if I fell, I had to climb up and then through a dead, barely rooted pine tree. I flopped over the edge at the top, punctured and bleeding from the tree adventure. I was physically, emotionally, psychologically wrecked, and yet I was flying--perhaps even higher than when I started the climb! If the rock had been solid, the whole climb would have been easy—maybe 5.8 max. But given the incredible shittiness of the rock, I had climbed what felt like 5.10, because I was only willing to commit my existence to the few semi-solid holds hidden among a plethora of worthless ones. After a few minutes of recovering and rejoicing, I set up an anchor off a few trees and belayed Dan up. As he climbed it, pulling and kicking off rocks ever other move, all he could say was “holy shit” over and over. When he arrived at the top we just looked at each other, laughed and had the same thought—“let’s get back to the bachelor party and have a beer or eight!” As we walked down, we wondered if anyone else had ever been stupid enough to climb this line. I have no idea, but we took the liberty of naming the line anyway. In honor of Eric’s wedding the next day, we named it “To Death Do Us Part Dihedral” 5.8 R/X. Epilogue: The next day at the wedding we told Eric’s dad (a Bend local) of our adventure. He told us a story that made our name for the climb even more appropriate. Apparently a few years earlier, a guy killed his wife at this very same cliff. He told the police that he and his wife were climbing and had an accident which resulted in her death. But after the police brought in some climbers to help the police investigate the guy’s story, the police concluded that he’d murdered her, and tried to make it look like a climbing accident. I can only guess what the climbers helping the police investigate the incident might have said: “Nobody in their right mind would climb here—there’s no way to protect it, and the rock is so crappy it’d be suicidal!!!” I’d give the climb no stars, and recommend it to none but my mortal enemies, yet the experience was unforgettable! [ 02-18-2002: Message edited by: Uncle Tricky ]
  21. best of cc.com Muir on Saturday

    Just wanted to say "you suck" to the guys smoking in the climbers hut on Saturday. I (this is my opinion, and mine only) think it was very inconsiderate to ruin everyone else's experience on such a day to fill the hut with pot smoke. I really enjoyed sitting outside in the cold while you got your groove on. Real smart folks. I bet it's great to be buzzed up at 10,000 feet. Watch out for the Paradise & Nisqually Glacier on your way down. I know I will probably get slammed on this topic since I am sure a large amount of users on this board are potheads, etc, (only an assumption since there are many threads of the sort) but I have never been so pissed of at 10,000 feet. Plus I know this post will get picked apart since you must defend your right to enjoy "da kine".
  22. Saturday's weather is supposed to be great. Wondering if anyone would be up for doing a one day ascent, leaving Paradise at either 9pm Friday or 9pm Saturday? Obviously any queries will have to result in a real one-on-one meeting as there's no way to know who's got the skills/experience over the internet.
  23. best of cc.com Colonial Peak

    Here is a message (and trip report) my climbing partner Forrest wrote to Jim Nelson after we heeded his suggestion to make the second ascent of the N. Face of Colonial Peak. ------------------------------- Unfortunately for us, we did not heed your advice about hard snow conditions - the snow was hard in the trees and in the valley bottom, but as soon as we hit the snow slopes above the first rock band, we were postholing on every snowfield all the way up. Minimum of 4-5 kicks per step. We kept thinking it would get better, and it wasn't particularly slide prone, but it was very slow and tiring. Where there was ice, however, it was generally solid. Your description states 6-10 hours. I can only barely imagine anyone getting up the route in 10 hours from the road in perfect conditions, much 6. Twight and Bebie took 5 hours on hard snow from the upper basin (you could easily bivy as high as 5000-5500 feet) - and anyone who could get from the car to that point in less than 4 hours should be winning gold medals in the Olympics and not climbing mountains. Even in perfect conditions, its 3500 vertical feet and a circuitous route which includes bushwacking. I would say that 10 hours would be the absolute minimum, even if you soloed the lower ice. I think in good conditions, we could have done it a single continuous 14-15 hour push, and we're reasonably fast climbers. With a half-bivy and the crappy conditions we had, we took almost 31 hours from the car to the summit. If we were super fit we could have shaved some hours, and saved some more by not getting tired out by spending so much time ascending in tough conditions; but with the conditions last weekend, I don't think we could have cut that much off. Approach Parking: There is no plowed pullout, we excavated a ramp in the plow-wall at colonial creek campground and drove up off the highway. This took about 45 minutes with shovels and ice axes. If there is no new snow, there is a slow-vehicle lane just east of Colonial Creek where some skiers parked the same weekend, but I don't know what would have happened if they had had to plow. I guess a lot of years there is no snow here at all and you can park in the campground, which is officially open all year, though not plowed out. Approach: From about 50 feet south/east of the Bridge over Colonial Creek, head steeply up the slope, staying to the left of the sidehill that drops into the creek bed. After about 800 feet, after passing some small cliff bands, begin a gradual traverse parallel to the creek, breaking out of the trees at the base of the open slopes at around 2700 feet. Route: In between the valley bottom and the base of actual steep face is a long snowy basin and a band of cliffs at valley level. There are many ways through this cliff band. From the head of the valley, a gully that leads sharply left accesses the snow fields without ice; there are several gully systems that break the cliff bands in the middle, most of which look climbable. You could choose from WI 2 to WI 5, and if you wanted to, you could climb as many as 4 or 5 pitches, but you could also get up to low angled ground in 2 pitches or less in many spots. To us, the most appealing route up to the mid-valley snow slopes was an obvious narrow, rock lined gully snakes through the snowslopes to the upper basin. Unfortunately, it ended in a not-quite-touched-down ice pillar, so we did a short pitch up some rock and cornices on the right side, then traversed sideways into the gully. This was fun, 20 degree alpine ice and hard snow with occasional "cruxes" of 35 degs. This gully fades out into snow slopes after a few hundred feet. Three features form the primary landmarks on the face: an overhanging cascade of ice in the middle of the lower face, and two ice pillars, one directly above the other. These features were connected by a complex series of steep snowfields. We soloed snow up to 50 degrees to the base of the curtain. We bypassed this on the left, encountering snow of various depths, sometimes shallow, sometimes deep. We belayed one 20 foot section of mixed snow and rock, then made a long rightwards traverse back on snow up to 60 deg. to the base of the first pillar. The pillar is about 80 feet tall, consistently 80 degrees mixed alpine and water ice and quite sustained. We encountered relatively thin ice, especially at the bottom. Rock belay below and 15' left possible, but craftiness required. We placed one knifeblade here which we left fixed. Connect snowfields to the second pillar. 100' long, WI 3 or 3+, solid blue water ice. Traverse leftwards 400 feet to the base of a short (40') moderate-mixed chimney which leads up to another short snowfield. Many possibilities; we crossed leftwards over a fin into a gully, which led directly upwards for 300 feet of real-deal mixed climbing. I have no idea what to rate it, but it felt like climbing 5.10. Weave around the cornices at the top (some scary floundering inevitable) to reach the ridgeline. (We traversed right under one cornice until we could turn it by throwing a leg over and climbing it cowboy-style.) Follow the ridgeline another 30 feet of very tricky mixed climbing to pop out onto the exact summit. Descent: Rather than a "col" between Colonial and Pyramid, there is more of a high plateau formed by Pinnacle, Pyramid, Colonial and Paul Bunyon's Stump. This plateau is closed off from the lower basin by a terminal moraine. To reach the lower basin without rapelling, it is necessary to traverse the edge of this basin (or follow the top of the moraine)(or do a descending traverse along the slope facing the Colonial Creek basin) all the way around (northwest) to below Pyramid Peak, then descend avalanche slopes to the valley floor. As far as we could tell, there is no more direct route that would not require several rappels. This is pretty easy to scope out from the basin on the way up, but would be very hard to see in bad weather and is not visible from above. From here down is the more descriptive account, read only if you're interested... Colonial Peak, North Face (Watusi Rodeo) 2/12-1/23, 2000 After getting out of town pretty late Friday night, and the usual stops for gas, groceries, etc, we pulled up to the Colonial Creek campground around 10:30. Since there is no plowed pullout for several miles, we spend 45 minutes with shovels digging a ramp into the hard-packed snow so we could drive the car up and off the highway. It was beautifully clear, windless and cold, so we slept out next to the car. Though I was already sleepy, I slept poorly, continually woken up by vaguely menacing dreams. We got up at 4:15, but weren't ready to move until 5:30. We hiked up the road to Colonial Creek and prepared to head into the woods when I remembered that we hadn't packed the rope. It was still in Dan's ropebag, buried under our sleeping stuff. Dan went back to get it, and we headed into the brush on the northwest side of the creek. 10 minutes later, Dan realized that he had left his second ice tool at the car. Back to the road. By the time we were ready the third time, it was 6:30 and just getting light. We figured that if we realized that we'd forgotten a third thing, it was a sign to go home early. It actually worked to our advantage, though, because on second thought, we really wanted to be on the other side of the creek. We headed up steeply for about 800 feet through mostly open woods. Snow covered most of the brush, and was firm enough to generally support your weight without breaking through, except when it wasn't and you would break through into the air gap beside a log or under a bush. After gaining most of the altitude on the slope perpendicular to the road, we struck a long, mostly level traverse into the open basin, breaking out into the trees about two hours out of the car. A more avalanche-ridden valley I have never seen, the valley bottom filled with piles of avalanche debris that had been torn and worn away by other avalanches starting further up the valley. But the snow in the valley bottom was firm - we thought that might mean good, hard snow up high. After all, the higher you go, the colder it is, right? A line of cliffs rings the valley on the Colonial side, broken by a number of gullies. Only the ones at the farthest ends of the valley lead through to the upper slopes without technical ground. Frozen floes guard other gullies, enough that the basin could be a reasonable ice-cragging location in waterfall-deprived Washington. We punted - the most appealing route up to the mid-valley snow slopes was a narrow, rock lined gully that unfortunately ended in a not-quite-touched-down ice pillar, so we did a short pitch up some rock and cornices, then traversed sideways into the gully. This was fun, 20 degree alpine ice with occasional "cruxes" of 35 degs. After a few hundred feet, we were forced out of the gully onto the snow slopes and the work really began. Despite our hopes, the snow was soft. It didn't seem particularly slide prone - in fact we never saw any avalanche activity - but the going was slow, requiring 4 or 5 kicks for every step. So we slowly worked our way up towards the steep part of the north face proper. The bushwack approach from the highway to the open basin gains about 1500 feet. The cliff bands eat up perhaps 400 feet. The headwall itself is no more than 2000 feet tall, depending on where you start counting. Since the summit is 7800 feet, That leaves another 2500 feet of moderate angled snow that separates the steep slopes above from the basin below. Those 2500 feet killed our time. It was both slow and tiring, and in fact, the experience was extended onto the face itself. Hours crept by as we crept up steepening gullies and snowfields. We finally put the rope on around 5800 feet. Three prominent features are mentioned in the AAJ account of the climb and form the primary landmarks of the face: an overhanging cascade of ice in the middle of the lower face, and two ice pillars. The second pillar glowed blue even from the valley bottom, but the first pillar glinted a dull brown, foreboding thin ice. These features were connected by a complex series of steep snowfields. Above the second pillar was the least clear portion of the route. In Becky's guide, it is described as a "short mixed chimney, or a spectacular but scary pitch directly below the summit." Bypassing the ice curtain on the left, as had Twight & Co, the snowfields changed from the gullies we had been soloing to rock slabs covered (sometimes deeply, sometimes shallowly) with snow. So we tied in to pass a sketchy section, then continued simulclimbing back right and upwards towards the first ice pillar. We arrived at the base just at dark, having taken just one rest long enough to sit down in 12 hours. But we were less than halfway up the face. We were climbing very slowly - the first ascent party sent the entire wall from the upper basin in five hours. We had hoped to summit in 14 or 15 hours from the car, but given the snow conditions, that was not a possibility. We needed a break, so we flattened out a small snow ledge under an overhang, put on all our clothes, and hunkered down. We made hot milk, hot couscous and tried to sleep, with a predictable lack of success. Around midnight, we had had about as much "rest" as we could handle and started to stir. We melted snow and stared out into the night. Frequent spindrift avalanches poured over our overhang. It was snowing lightly and verging on whiteout conditions. I belayed Dan over to the base of the pillar, and we spent some time getting in a bomber anchor, a continual problem in the crappy rock of the north face. I have to say, psyching up to lead that pitch was the hardest part of the climb for me. My headlamp wasn't strong enough to see the top, so I wasn't sure how long it would be, but you could clearly see rock just below the surface in many spots. It wasn't vertical, perhaps 80 degrees, but it was constant - no low-angle bulges to place gear from. Add to that that it was 2 in the morning, snowing and in the middle of an alpine face, 80 feet of WI4 was not exactly what I was in the mood for. I placed a screw standing at the base that hit rock less than halfway in. It's a sickening feeling, because not only is it not all the way in, but unless you're lucky, you have to back it out half a turn to get the eye pointing downwards. I've read that if you can get all the threads in the ice, it's better to clip the eye than to tie it off short because the strength of the threads resisting pulling out is more important than the absolute shear strength of the screw itself. Whatever, either way its scary. Ten feet up I tried again, solid rock after 2 inches. Already too high up to easily climb down, so up again. Finally a solid screw at 25 feet. Whew. Climbing by headlamp is odd, because with a helmet and pack you can't direct the beam of your headlamp more than 10 feet above you. The climbing was good, plastic water ice, and by meandering from left to right on the 15 foot wide flow, you could generally avoid vertical ice. That is until the top, where a short vertical section was the only feasible option in between hollow pockets on one side and black rock visible just below the surface on the other. In the end, I placed six screws, the most ever on a pitch - but only two of them were worth anything I accidentally put in a final one just below the top because I couldn't see that I was just below the top. I was glad to have it, though, pulling off the face. The sketchiest move on the pitch was as the angle eased, from one tool placement it went from solid water ice to bottomless sugar snow. Well enough, as the angle was only 55 degrees, but trying to get my solidly-placed lower tool out, with front points in below on ice and the other tool wallowing in loose crystals was a little terrifying. I ran the rest of the rope out up snow to where some rocks emerged from the sidewall. After Dan came up, we continued on, simulclimbing up more gullies. Somehow, I managed to make my memory of the face match the terrain, and we navigated by the shortest possible route to the base of the second pillar. Again, the soft snow slowed us way down and it was fully light by the time we reached the second pillar. It looked a lot more mellow, steep sections broken by large bulges and lower angled sections. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as it appeared. True, there were lower angle sections, but since the first was larger than it appeared, the average angle was actually greater than it appeared from below, and the steep portions were steeper. But in its favor, it was solid, thick, fat ice and none of the steep sections was more than 20 feet before there was a lower angle bulge. Dan led it, his hardest ever ice lead at WI 3 or 3+, not too shabby at 7400 feet on an only-climbed-once north face. From the top, a long sideways traverse leftwards on very steep (60 degrees?) snow put us directly below the summit, which we reached in one long simulclimbing pitch. This was the coolest climbing on the face, continually hard, occasionally desperate, no-holds barred, mixed climbing. The most treacherous part was the constantly changing snow - sometimes it would be hard enough to sink a tool into and hang completely, other times it was loose and too unconsolidated to support any body weight at all. Rock moves, drytooling, it wal all legal on that pitch. At one point, you had to traverse under a small cornice on a subsidiary ridgelet. The problem was, there was only about three feet of snow below it, above the abyss. So you had to duck-traverse sideways and down, bumping the underside of the cornice with your helmet and pack, hoping it wasn't going to drop onto your head. The last few feet to the ridgeline were some of the hardest, gymnastic mixed moves on rock and completely untrustworthy cornices of bottomless sugar snow. Just like in the movies, literally as we stepped onto the summit, the clouds dissolved, revealing amazing views of seldom seen peaks like Snowfield and Paul Bunyon's Stump and the hidden Neve Glacier. It was 1:00. The descent was straightforward. Skis would have been nice as we slogged down beautiful slopes of shin-to-thigh deep powder. Everything suddenly seemed different. We were off the face, it was sunny and beautiful. We were warm, tired but no longer scared. Above 5000 feet, it had snowed more than 6 inches while we were on the route. Fortunately, it was snowing onto relatively low-avalanche-danger snowpack. Even so, we set off a few soft windslabs, although they were only the top 6 inches and so soft that they would stop running after about 30 feet. The descent takes you all the way around the basin under Pyramid peak (to avoid those cliff bands), then forces you to pick your way down 1000 feet of hard frozen avalanche debris. We slogged down the woods, tired and sore, arriving at the car at around 5. Dan performed a heroic feat of driving home without falling asleep; I tried to stay awake to keep up conversation, but I couldn't. The joy of sacking out in a warm bed? Indescribable.
×