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Found 150 results

  1. Climb: Baron Falls Tower – Carpal Tunnel (FA) Date of Climb: 8/19/2006 Trip Report: Summary: Baron Falls Tower – Carpal Tunnel. 5.11- A0 grade IV. John Frieh and Bryan Schmitz August 19th 2006. SW Face of Baron Falls Tower: Note:Due to foreshortening upper pitches appear to be shorter than lower pitches. All pitches with the exception of 4.5 and 6 were a full 60 meters and in most cases 70 meters. We would recommend (and used) a 70 though a 60 is adequate. Pitch 1: Start in the right of the two chimneys on the sw face. Climb to the top of the chimney and exit left into the left hand chimney. Continue to the top of the chimney until roof flakes force one right and up. Belay at a tree. Pitch 2: Aim for RF dihedral that turns into wide flake. Continue up open book. Belay when rope runs out. Pitch 3: Move up through series of roof to a slab move right into a left facing corner finger crack. Follow up to ledge. Pitch 4: Angle up and right until able to turn corner and down climb 20’ to ledge next to dyke below large chock stone. Pitch 4.5 Walk up dyke until a point where one can find a way to climb up onto the top of the chock stone. Belay here. Pitch 5: Climb onto top of chock stone. Exit chock stone on right and continue up and right. Belay when rope runs out. Pitch 6: Climb short finger crack in left facing dihedral. Top out. Gear Notes: Approach Notes:
  2. Climb: Gunsight Peaks-West Face & South Ridge Date of Climb: 7/10/2006 Trip Report: Just The facts: July 8-10 saw myself and John Frieh climb the North, middle, and South Gunsight Peaks. We did the 2nd ascent of the North Peak's W. Face (new route or variation of the 1986 route), and we believe our route on the South Peak was a new line entirely. It was a great trip to a very remote spot. The Narrative: On the morning of the 8th, we set out from the Agnes Creek trail, and climbed to the Chickamin Glacier where we set up camp for a few days in the "Patagonia of the North Cascades." We were really hot, tired, and dehydrated from the approach, but decided to give the 1986 Nelson/Dietrich route a try, on the towering West face. I led a 40m pitch of sustained 5.9 on awesome granite. I climbed past two sets of bail gear, one of which we believe belonged to Forest Murphy's attempt a few years ago. (He had previously told John that they were off-route). After stopping at a saucer-sized belay perch and bringing up John, he lead up about 20' to where a wide roof intersected our line and all cracks thinned out. I was nervously trying to balance on my one-foot belay ledge when I heard a sasquatch-like scream and saw John flying through the air. He had taken a ~20' fall and was luckily caught by a 1/2" cam he'd placed below the roof. We decided to call that our "recon" attempt and go back to the shade of our tent and re-hydrate. On the 9th we braved the 5 minute approach back to the route, climbed back up to the first day's belay spot, and John led out again. We were able to work together to ID a likely looking crack to get past our prior high spot, and some A1/A2 moves on hand-tied aiders got us past the roof and into a set of good looking flakes. The next pitch (#3) was my lead, and I started out with some free moves up to 5.10ish before resorting to A0 cam-hanging as the crack widened and flared. With a mix of aid and free moves I lead to the next belay and John got the security of a top-rope on a beautiful fist-jam flake pitch. Too much fun... For pitch four, the flake/corner system went through a couple of small roofs and continued to be fairly vertical the whole way. John was grateful for the #5 camalot as he climbed up more vertical granite to a belay at the first moderately comfy ledge on the face. I followed mostly free, but with some definite rope-tugging on sections as well. From here I grabbed, the rack, and led straight up into P.5, a dark corner straight over our heads. This was a really fun free lead for me, as I knew we were getting close, and the climbing was a good mix of stemming, face features, and crack jams. The top of the corner visible from the belay spot is the top of the route. You literally mantle up from the corner onto the flat summit terrace. From the exit move atop P.5, you could easily flick a rock out a few feet and it would free-fall to the base of the wall. We didn't see any of the three bolts used by the 1986 party, we climbed the wall in 5 pitches (as opposed to their 7) and we encountered bail gear of other climbers who felt that they were NOT on the previously established route. We don't know how much is shared between the two lines, but maybe Jim Nelson could add some input. It's rad to consider that the only other ascent of that face was done the year I was born. After looking at the old summit register and reading the autograph of some guy named Fred Beckey, we scrambled to the North/Middle peak notch, and climbed a solid pitch of low-5th class to that summit as well. On the 10th, John and I decided to try to climb the South Peak as well. From the Gunsight-Blizzard Col we climbed North along the ridge crest, before dropping off the ridge to the right. It would be best just to stay to the right of the ridge on easy snow and slab. Eventually we reached a clean right-facing corner and began the route. The corner went at 5.7, and I led up and continued to the ridge crest on cool chickenheads and face features and belayed up John. From here John took the lead on a balancy and memorable traverse pitch across a giant cannonhole, and into the last notch before the South Peak. From here, one more pitch of mid-fifth class led to the south summit. From this summit, you can rappel the last pitch, and then make one overhanging 90' rappel onto the snow down the east side. We're calling this the South Ridge - South Gunsight (Grade II, 5.7, 3 pitches) Overall this was an amazing few days in the mountains. Thanks John Scurlock for the really inspirational photos! (Scurlock's shot of the 3 summits) Gear Notes: glacier gear, full set of nuts, full set of cams, pink tricam. Approach Notes: Should have been a week or two later for ripe huckleberries.
  3. Climb: Finger of Fate – Open Book Date of Climb: 9/2/2006 Trip Report: Charades: East: rally hike climb rap hike rally: Birthday Boy: [Cartman]Eh, eh. Sweet. Check me out, I'm such a beefcake I can't even get through the Cave. Eh.[/Cartman] Cruel tricks to play on your partners #37: If climb in a group of 3 or 2 teams of 2 and you are first to follow wait for the climber behind just above the crux or any other location on the pitch where they might stall out and then drop it like it’s hot: West: Gear Notes: 3 sigma never looked so good Approach Notes: Misc: - Danielle’s first Idaho summit - McKenzie’s 30th birthday! Mac: Even though every time we have climbed on your birthday a rope has gotten stuck on rappel I’ll still climb with you on your birthday Happy Birthday d00d! - One in Six: more FoF p0rn here:
  4. Climb: Spectre Peak-Haunted Wall. FA. IV 5.9+ 2100' Date of Climb: 8/14/2006 Trip Report: Wayne and I had a big adventure and then I got home with the pre-spray all rigged up. Then I went to sleep and woke up tired and had to wait to type the real trip report until I finished eating breakfast and getting some shit done aroudn the house goddamnit
  5. Climb: Gunsight Range-Various Date of Climb: 8/7/2006 Trip Report: My good friend Martins Putelis and I spent Aug 1-8 in the fabled Gunsight Range. We spent the first couple days slogging our way up through Bachelor Creek and over to the Dome/Chickamin col with some pretty monstrous loads. We climbed Dome, and then traversed the Chickamin Glacier to an immaculate bivy on the nunatak directly beneath the W Face of the North Gunsight Pk. The Chickamin had a few thin bridges, and was gained via a sketchy downhill leap across a five-foot gap in a broken snowbridge. Near the summit of Dome: Tower of Babel Bivy: We gave the W Face of the North Pk. a shot on our first day. P1 went fine, but we had a hard time locating the line to pull the roof and access the prominent cracks above on P2. Figuring we had plenty of time we bailed off with intentions to return. With plenty of time left in the day we scoped a different line in the cirque and gave it a whirl. The first pitch lived up to everything we had heard about the range, splitter fingers on perfect, clean, well protected granite, it clocked in at about 9+. P2 was a differnt deal a loose yet fun 10a chimney we dubbed the Hall of Hollows: We rapped from the top of p2, stoked on an adventerous and fun first day in the range. Day 2 saw us traversing onto the Blue Glacier to see if this hook-em-dook-em about the top of the 1979 Skoog/Brill line on the E face of the Main pk. falling off was really true. Well, it was, its gone. Not wanting to waste the day, we looked to the right of the line onto the NE face to see if anything else would go. We spotted a few nice looking cracks that lead to a prominent flake breaking the headwall above. what the hell, lets do this. The climb couldn't have gone any better, splitter, mostly well-protected, onsight, and all free at 10c. FA: NE Face Main Gunsight Pk. III 5.10c Sol Wertkin and Martins Putelis August 7, 2006 P1: from the moat crossing at the very bottom of the face work left on ledges and ramps to the base of two prominent hand-sized cracks to the right of the 1979 line, just left of a dark corner 5.6 P2: Climb the twin hand cracks to a ledge, move just right and climb wild eroded out dyke fist crack, move left, mantle, and continue via face holds to a good belay 5.10b Martins getting ready to mantle: Looking up the twin cracks from the base: P3: Traverse right via prominent flake, mantle and continue up, look left around corner to perfect splitter, climb splitter to arete belay 5.10a. Martins seconding P3: P4. Work up thin corner on right, move left to prominent flake seen from below. Pull bulge on left-hand side of flake into mind blowing splitter in amazing position. Continue up to slab of E face and climb left via runouts to good belay on base of the SE ridge. A long pitch 5.10c Beginning of P4: Pulling into the splitter: P5: Continue up moderate and airy ridge to summit. 5.7 SE ridge with Sinister in the background: The next day we woke up late and climbed the unique and fun South Cannonhole Ridge on the S Gunsight Pk. Its a super fun ridge that besides the memorable traverse is quite easy. Martins starting the traverse: Myself contemplating the Cannonhole: Stoked, we bowed down to the Gunisight gods and thanked them for the great time. Gear Notes: NE Face: Glacier gear, double set of cams to #3,one #4. Double ropes. Cannonhole ridge: single set to #3, nuts, single rope. Approach Notes: just pm if you really want this stuff.
  6. Climb: Back of Beyond Buttress 2nd Ascent-Original Route Date of Climb: 8/19/2005 Trip Report: Longpause and I did the much coveted 2nd ascent of Back of Beyond Buttress last friday. She said she'd write the TR, if I posted the photos and wrote a little, so here i go. I'll be boring so she'll have to fill in the details with lies and hyperbole. After 3 years of multiple failed attempts by other parties on Jordan Peters and my route which we wholeheartedly attest to be one of the best alpine rock climbs anywhere (forest fires, road issues, lost, broken bones, as has been reported to us) Longpause and I serendipitously strolled in and out and had a wonderful time. Better than I remember actually. Here is the original TR http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/threadz/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/61928/page/0/fpart/all/vc/1 have fun cutting and pasting that link Anyway...what can i say. Longpause was SOLID. She fucking soared up her pitches, and ran it out a little to boot. Made me feel like a total pussy. I'd belay at the end of the 5.8 section just above the fun overlap move on the 1st pitch. 2nd pitch is long and steep with a spicy traverse. Go straight up from the belay on p.1, go up for a long time until you are bear hugging a detached flake and traverse left into the next crack on face holds. go up a few feet (10 feet?) and do an even scarier traverse left into the 3rd crack system. you'll see a white cleaned out crack that takes a blind #1 camalot. this is your belay too. save two #1's and a .75 for this belay. go straight up again on pitch 3 until a thin sharp ledge is reached just below the top of the enduracne slab. good place for a belay. the rock is whitish yellow here. there's a tree to the right (don't go there to belay, bad rock) and above are bottoming grooves you need to pinch. the 4th pitch is short. after the slab you'll see a bunch of dead snags. go left past the one directly above the slab, and into a corner system with the next dead snag. amazingly fun and steep cracks and jugs. a 5.9 pitch (finally!) 6th pitch goes up and right into a hopefully obvious thin 10b corner that is super pumpy and technical. after that it's a 5.8-4th class ridge for a while on great rock and fun exposure and cracks. walk off...go down and right hugging the edge. avoid the 1st gully, it blanks out into a cliff, go down to the 2nd in a grove of trees and you should easily see the ground. walk out. no raps. stash your crap at the base of this so you don't have to go back to he base of the climb. take a compass bearing on the hike out b/c the valley bottom gets confusing in the dark if you left the car at noon and screwed around on the summit. The Playa's Longpause on the 1st pitch. Purrrfect! Looking down atop pitch 2 on the only rest i could find. Longpause follows the most amazing of pitches Longpause 1/2 way through the traverse yup, she hogged the camera time... Longpause on top, scopin' routes. And, rounding out the exerience with some mellow squamish craggin! so any camera tilt was unintentional, i was busy belaying or climbing at the same time. i did rotate the photos as best i could, but had to crop some after doing so. it's way steeper than it looks from a distance or the base especially so before you go screaming "camera tilt" go climb it 1st. you'll never complain about tilt or soft grades or crappy rock on any inch of this climb. Gear Notes: tripple set of camalots .5 to 1, double set of cams yellow alien or metolius tcu and #2 camalot. single set blue alien, green alien, red alien (or grey tcu, blue and orange tcu), and a #3 and #3.5 camalot. small selection of nuts, 10-14 slings and draws. one rope cuz bailing isn't much of an option until the top of the slab (one rope rap off to climbs left atop the slab to bail into gully)...it's straight in hand for most of the route with few constrictions...pumpy! water year round in the talus if you want to camp, great bivy spots, lots of bouldering proj's too. lake at top of cirque. many many 1-3 pitch climbs everywhere. amazing bivy opps on summit! lots of mountains to climb everywhere. B.O.B. is about 9 pitches III 10b..should take a solid party 6-7 hours up from base. the slab is ultra sustained jamming on pure granite joy. the upper ridge is super fun. Jordans topo isn't that great. The 10b pitch on the ridge is on the crest as is the rest of the climb, not to the left. p1 5.8 1/2 rope legnth p2 sustained and long 10b, most of the rope. best single pitch in the alpine i've ever come across p3 same p4 1/2 rope 10b p5 full rope 5.9-10a var p6. 10b corner full rope p7. 5.8 steep but ledgy cracks on ridge crest full rope p8-9 sections of short steep cracks on mostly easy ridge. simul or solo if you got this far without freaking out. the summit is a ways from here, but well worth the hike. great bouldering proj's on white sierra granite. BRING BIKES JUST IN CASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hint hint hint hint hint Approach Notes: 1.5 no more to base. 45 min schwack, 45 min talus. Boston Bar on Hwy 1, left to North Bend. Cross Fraser River. Go N, left on Nahatlich (sp?) FSR for a while, Left on Kooapi creek FSR just after crossing the creek, drive a bit, right off spur road after 10-15min that crosses river and has a yellow gate, cross bridge with yellow gate and turn right (head north) road wraps around into the valley, you'll see a double summit mountain. park car. walk road across massive cross ditch (impassible) for 1/2 mile, BOB should become clear within minutes from car. Go directly across from mtn. Sorry again for the boring TR. I wanted to spray more, but it's your turn damnit! Found jordan's original TR from Bivouac.com...a bit less harrowing than the story goes... "With the summer drawing to a close I was still itching to get out and do some nice rock routes. I had some nice trips here and there but had mostly wasted my time wandering around looking for elusive stone, becoming quite proficient at bushwacking and "terrain finding" but also not doing very much climbing. I was also wearing thin the patience of my partners and my typical "bushwacks to nowhere" were beginning to earn me a bit of a reputation among my friends! So it was that I called on Mike in the hope that his ability and energy would get us up something. We had originally planned to head into a corner of the Chehalis for a poke around but weren't all that blown away with the bushwacking involved. After stopping way up a spur off the Harrison West FSR, Mike noticed that his water bladder had exploded during the rough drive and had completely drenched all his belongings in his duffel bag, clothes, guidebooks, everything. So we resigned ourselves to driving around looking at possible routes to do, one by one finding something wrong with each of them until I was starting to wonder if the trip wasn't destined to turn into one of those drinking tours of far flung southwest BC rec sites. We then decided to find some rec site for the night, check out one last area in the morning, and then likely head into the Anderson Range in the afternoon, hike up to a bivy below Springbok Arete in the evening, and then flail up it as fast as we could the next day, and since the daylight was down to about 13 hours, probably end up bivying on the summit to avoid doing the notoriously bad descent off of Les Cornes in the dark. Well when we awoke at 5:30 near the Nahatlatch River the next day, we decided that it was getting a bit cold to try to bivy without gear on the summit of Les Cornes. So without any real plan, we headed up the Kookipi Creek FSR to have a look at a modest peak which Drew had needled me about previously. It looked okay, but not spectacular. The cracks looked dirty, but since we were out of ideas, we thought we would go for it anyway. Well then we rounded the corner of the road and saw this sweeping buttress of beautiful proportions. We were blown away at the beauty of the line. We stopped short though at the blank and hard-looking slab at the base of the ridge. It looked hard, but through binoculars from the road it looked as if there might be cracks somewhere on it. We quickly packed up food and bivy gear in case we ended up spending the night and headed off down to the end of Kookipi West, passing a old guy working on the tree harvesting equipment who seemed humbly non-plussed at our plans but offered to "send some boys in" if we weren't out by the next night. We struck down to the river through open forest, crossed the river and plunged into some pretty physical bush, emerging at a boulder field after about an hour to discover blueberries and wild raspberries growing all over the place. Fearful of the "berry runs", we had to stop ourselves from gorging and promised to feast on the way back. We headed up easy boulder fields towards the base, trying not to look up because we feared we would vomit instantly if we looked directly at what we could feel in our peripheral senses to be breathtaking. Strange, guttural sounds (mountain orgasms?) soon came from our mouths as we looked up and drooled. Here was a slab, 400 feet high, that if transported to Squamish would be the centre stage. Brilliant finger and tip cracks darted out here and there, but none appeared to be continuous or go the full height of the slab to gain the buttress crest. Blank roofs blocked passage at the right end of the slab. After half an hour of sussing and "what ifing", we found the line. A perfect crack at the left end of the slab went straight up and just when it died out a second opened up to its left. The second crack died out in ten feet and a third continued for a rope length where it looked as if we would be forced right to the edge of the roofs to gain the crest. Getting across the crack systems was my greatest fear, so I quickly offered to do the first pitch to leave Mike with the traverse! I started up the Yosemite quality hand and fist crack which led out left where a small roof is passed on bomber jugs to gain the "real crack". It had been some time since I had climbed hard, probably two months since I had been on a crack this imposing, so I set off jamming as hard as I could, Mike below me yelling encouragement as I "shit" and "fuck"ed my way up, throwing cams in everywhere, just wanting to get to the belay before I died. I got to the end of the first crack, threw a cam in, yelled "take" and spent a good fifteen minutes gasping and shaking my arms out. One of the finest pitches I have ever done or seen. Seeing that the crack was the same size for the entire slab, I knew that we would need to be creative with the belays to save the gear for the leads. I banged and bent two shallow knifeblades into a seam, equalized them with the cam, tied off, and belayed Mike up. Belays on steep slabs with no ledges are always cozy affairs with elbows in teeth, farts in the face; sorta like two cats with their tails tied together strung over a clothes line! Now the crux began. Mike heads off left on a blank undercling to try the next crack over -- no gear and I'm watching my knifeblades bounce, lookin down at the air and thinking, "man, please don't fall!" The second crack bottoms and has no gear, so Mike gingerly reverses back to the belay and sets off up the main one for another twenty feet, more 10b grunting at the limit, stuffs in a cam, rests on edges, and then begins one of the hairiest looking traverses I've witnessed in the mountains. Ten feet to the second crack, shit, it's still thin and discontinuous. Ten more feet to the third crack and it's good. Mike gets fifteen feet up it, runs out of gear and dies. A short pitch, but you'd need lots of gear, long slings (falls!) and cojones grandes to go much further. I follow, crapping myself on the traverse -- good feet but no hands so you're leaning into the wall, milkin it -- to another "cat fight" belay. We feel like we're on a miniature Lotus Flower headwall but without the chickenheads to save you from jamming! By taking the first pitch, I was hoping to leave the brunt of the hard stuff for Mike, but with the short second pitch I was once again contemplating the battle ahead. I set off and my mind starts trying to shut me down, corrupting me into yelling at Mike, "shit, man, this crack's gonna end, we're screwed," and him yelling back words that were less encouragement than threats! I felt like I was some fourteen-year-old Eastern Bloc gymnast training for the Olympics, the coach constantly reminding me of the consequences if I failed! At least if I were a gymnast then I would be able to get some shady performance-enhancing drugs! I'm hanging there from slipping jams on stuff that would be my crux at a road-side crag, with nary a belt of Scotch or a pull of "special" to ease the mind. I can only go about twenty-five metres and I'm done. Arms and gear give out. Luckily the crack has eased off a bit and I can get some nuts into the belay. Mike pulls out the guns to finish the crack and is forced to head right on a nice traverse over to meet the left edge of the roof that cuts across the slab, finishing up rough and licheny flakes to belay from a boulder on the crest. Seconding from a hanging belay is always stirring: I pulled the gear and had to go straight into the jams, zero-to-sixty! Up I go, thankful that this was Mike's lead cause it's just as hard as everything before. We flop down in the sun, heads spinning and thankful to get off what we could only call "The Endurance Slab". It would look possible to retreat from this point down the shrubby east face, but you won't want to. We agreed that if the rest of the route was fourth class crap, it would still be a classic. Well, it wasn't. Crap, that is. I take what is now the fifth pitch and head up fun corners, grooves, and flakes, pulling on stuff that should by all means be death blocks, but here in candy land are completely solid. Features everywhere, I just chose the most direct and appealing line, aiming for the crest of the buttress. I set up a good, three piece anchor and admire the view. A full 50m, 5.7 with 5.9 near the end. Mike dislodges a block seconding and we watch it sail down in one swoop to the boulders below, emitting a large, thundering crack. We hoped the guy across the valley didn't hear that and send in some boys! The sixth pitch was more fun 5.7 up to a corner (right of an off-width) so imposing that Mike just had to try it. He shook and swore but made it up about thirty feet of solid 10b, too thin to get a good foot in, and then rode the exposed arete with edges to a belay. Seconding was a challenge as the pack wedged against the right wall and kept me from getting onto the arete. The seventh pitch relented to mid-fifth on nice features, with some loose stuff on ledges now, but was cut short by rope drag. But we had now gained the crest and knew that the battle was over. One last, almost trivial, obstacle remained. From the seventh belay ledge rose a mean, vertical hand crack, only about 12 feet high, but to be sporting we tried it anyway. Mike threw himself at it, fell once and then jumped for the rounded lip. Probably 10c, but it looks like you can avoid this on either side. The last two pitches were both fourth class with some minor fifth class steps, easy all the way. We unroped and scrambled up to the top of the buttress, placing a small cairn before we began the heather and dirt descent back down. We gained a notch at the top of a rock gully that in 45 minutes led back to the base where we picked up our unnecessary bivy gear, pausing to admire the purity of the line and only then noticing that in nine hours we had only eaten about two energy bars with one litre of water each! We walked back out down the boulder field, missing the berry bushes entirely and encountering some bad bush, but it didn't matter, we were too out of it to care! In fact, when we hit the Kookipi mainline, we were so disoriented that we had to get out of the truck to find the sun setting in the west to figure out where we were. This was a beautiful climb, one of the finest I can remember doing. It took us eleven hours round trip from the car and could easily be done in a day from Vancouver. A great way to end the summer; I'd been swinging for a while, it was nice to finally hit one! "
  7. Climb: Dragontail -TC ski descent Date of Climb: 4/4/2006 Trip Report: Skied the Triple Couloirs on Dragontail Peak yesterday. I had tried to get into Dragontail a few times already this year and had been turned back each time for various reasons. I had vowed not to go back until there was a more favorable forecast and potential for better conditions....well, the forecast wasn't great, but I had become somewhat obsessed so after a quick stop to grab coffee for the road and to fill my thermos with an excessive amount of caffeine I left Seattle at 11:30 on Mondy night. After a long and sleepy drive, my spirits were lifted as I got near Leavenworth as the stars began poking through the clouds. Mountaineers Creek road is still gated at the bridge so I started skinning up the road at 2:30am. Shortly I had to carry my skis because large sections of road are melted out, but soon enough there was continuous snow. I arrived at Colchuck Lake at 7 just before the sun began lighting up the upper ridges of Dragontail and Colchuck. -Object of my desire I had wanted to climb the route, but there was a considerable amount of new snow and I wanted to avoid an epic wallowfest as well as becoming a spindrift sandwich in the runnels, so I opted for skiining up to AssMaster Pass and up south side of dragontail. After endless swithchbacks I arrived at AssMaster. The sun was shining and warm and for once there was not hurricane force winds ripping through the pass, so I rested a bit and soaked up some rays. Skinning the snow creek glaciers was a bit of a chore as the sun had turned the snow to glop and an incredible amount began balling up on my skins, once on the south side of dragontail I was so tired of the snow balling that I carried my skis for the final couple hundred feet or so. -Stuart from the summit From the summit I skied back down the south side for a short bit then traversed a kind of sketchy exposed east facing slope to the top of the TC. -Looking down the upper couloir I was a bit nervous about dropping in blind, not knowing the snow conditions but these fears were alleviated in the first couple of turns as conditions were perfect. Snow was soft but not deep, just kind of chalky punchy powder. Each couloir is exposed in its own way. The fall line of the upper couloir actually funnels down to skiers left out over the north face, so stay right...I crossed a little wind lip about half way down the upper couloir and continued. -Turns in the upper couloir Between the upper and second couloirs there was an interesting rock/ice step that I negotiated somewhat gingerly before hopping the last few feet. The second couloir is dead straight and fairly steep and is perched directly above the ice runnels section. -Looking down the second couloir Again I found perfect snow conditions although I had to pay a bit more attention to the sluffs. At the edge of the runnels I anchored into a piton and made the first of three raps. I'm glad I didn't try to climb the route because the runnels were thin. Not much ice to be found, just a lot of snow over rock. -Close up of the climbers right side of the runnels Down in the hidden couloir more great turns led down to the entrance of the TC and a little exposed bit above a rock band led out to open slopes above Colchuck Lake...phew, I finally could breathe and relax. The ski down to the trail from the lake in the afternoon sun was an interesting mix of deep mushy glop, falling into holes, and generally trying just to stay on my feet. Down on the road I was suprised to see how much more snow had melted out just that day, but there is still a ton of snow on the upper 2 miles or so which will probably take a fair amount of time to melt out. Ross Gear Notes: Some pitons for rappel anchors Approach Notes: Road is an annoying mix of skiining and walking then finally continuous skinning.
  8. best of cc.com Fun when it's done

    Fun when it’s done Methow Valley News Dec. 7, 2005 Adventures don’t always have to be "fun" to be fun. For example: # A few years back, three friends and I decided to attempt "The Inferno," a rarely climbed route on South Early Winters Spire. Still suffering from the previous night’s debauchery, we trudged upward toward the spire, our brains baking under the July sun like slugs on blacktop. Soon, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring the water, didn’t. We were so thirsty we simply wrung out our sweat-soaked T-shirts to get a drink. At the base of the route, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring lunch, didn’t. All we had was a pound of beef jerky which, when you are dying of thirst, is as appealing as a sand sandwich after crossing the Kalahari Desert. The first part of the route was steep and loose enough to qualify as exciting. Imagine climbing a teetering stack of refrigerators as tall as the Space Needle. Then we arrived at the hard part: a "5.10c overhanging, flaring five-inch crack." Translated into regular language, that means, "Run screaming in the other direction." There, already 500 feet off the ground, we discovered whoever was supposed to bring the big gear necessary to climb this section, didn’t. Covering oneself in bacon grease and throwing slices of Spam at a starving grizzly bear seemed like a sane idea compared to continuing upward. Fortunately, we brought along a madman – I’ll call him Mr. Peru – who volunteered to lead the pitch. Grunting like a constipated wildebeest while screaming self-motivational profanities creative enough to make the saltiest of sailors blush, Mr. Peru climbed. Although more dehydrated than our beef jerky, we survived and now laugh about the time we got singed by The Inferno. # The first couple of backhoe operators I approached to dig a waterline up the extremely steep hill behind my place looked at the job, laughed, and told me it was impossible. Finally, I found someone willing to dig the trench. But, he cautioned me, it was much too steep to backfill – I’d have to do that by hand. No problem, I thought. "Help wanted backfilling the Infinite Ditch of Woe," said the signs I posted on bulletin boards around the Methow. I figured it was truth in advertising: 500 cubic yards – or 50 dump trucks worth of dirt – would need to be moved by hand. By the next morning I had assembled a crew of seven people eager to make some money. Upon seeing the Ditch of Woe, one person quit before even picking up a shovel. By lunch, the crew had shrunk to five. The next morning, only four people showed up for work. At noon on the second day, two more workers suddenly remembered a bunch of other pressing commitments they had to attend to, and left. Some four days later, when the last shovelful of dirt was thrown into the trench, only one woman and I remained. The Infinite Ditch of Woe broke some spirits, but also created a lasting friendship. # As the rains of last January pounded down, our dreams of snowboarding powder melted faster than an ice cube in a hot tub. But we were determined to make the best of our weeklong trip to British Columbia’s Kootenay Mountains. Sure, the area has a bunch of fancy commercial hot springs – but who wants to pay 10 bucks to soak amongst a crowd of blubbery Canadians and screaming kids? We decided to hike in to a backcountry hot spring, which was why we were now lost in a forest in a heavy downpour, wallowing through chest-deep snow. After wading two waist-deep creeks, we finally found the hot spring. We shed our soaking clothes and plunged our hypothermic bodies into the hot pool. The hot sensation lasted only three seconds. A torrent of icy melt water pouring into the hot spring made the pool about as warm as the Methow River in March. The soggy, snowy trek back to the car was a character building experience. "O-o-o-one, p-p-p-please," I said. Shivering uncontrollably, I handed my 10 dollars to the cashier back at the fancy commercial hot spring. "Pretty nice, eh?" said a well-fed Canadian as I eased into the steaming hot pool amongst a crowd of shrieking children. "H-h-h-heaven," I replied. # Looking back, it’s often the worst of times that make the best of memories.
  9. Climb: South East Mox Peak-The Devil's Club, First Ascent of the East Face Date of Climb: 9/1/2005 Trip Report: THE DEVIL’S CLUB -First Ascent, East Face of "Hardest Mox", sub peak of SE Mox*. Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe 8/31-9/1, 2005. 2,400' climbing, approx 25 pitches. Grade V+ 5.9+ A2-** *According to John Roper, the E Face of SE Mox is on what is known as "Hardest Mox" and the summit still remains unclimbed. **what the heck is V+, 5.9+, A2-??? Not a clue. It took 18 hours of climbing, so a bit longer than any of the grade V’s with the extreme seriousness of the situation factored in The 5.9+ is a "conservative" free grade. The small amounts of aid we all freed by the leader or the 2nd, but due to the poor pro and funky placements, we felt it a bit harder than A1, but a bit easier than A2. We wanted to make sure there was plenty of room for squabble and speculation by giving this route our plus and minus ridden rating. Go climb it and make up your own grade if you want. The following trip report is written by both Mike and Erik, but under my screen name. Any direct quote or use of Erik’s voice will be in italics. We both enjoy writing about climbing very much, so this is going to be long. In fact, this is less a trip report and more of a short story about the grand adventure we had. If your as ADHD as I am, we included a TON of photos and maybe some bold font if you can’t read this whole thing. I know I wouldn’t be able to.. Blue is our line, red is the descent. Sunday. Pre-Trip Briefing . "Why does every alpine climb I do involve someone puking before the climb?" My question remains unanswered while Erik is in the bathroom of the Waterfront Tavern vomiting up the remains of his rotten halibut during a "logistical briefing" of our upcoming climb we had been meticulously planning for weeks. Monday. Bellingham to Perry Creek. 12 hours on the go. "Are we really epicing this early in the trip?" Yes is the answer to this question, fully realized only partway into the approach! 4am. I’ve gotten 2 hours of sleep and I’m driving through pouring sheets of rain. Erik sits in the front seat, mowing down on his Jack-in-the-Box Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, desperately trying to tune out my crapulent vocalizations of Carly Simon’s, "Nobody Does it Better." "No, but somebody is doing it a lot worse." Boy scouts on a canoe trip ruin a perfectly good rainbow while we patiently wait in the drizzle for our water taxi to take us up from Ross Lake Dam and into the heart of darkness. Will, the ship’s captain, told us that Fred Beckey had taken a few trips on his boat, and that "he was the one who always wears polyester dress pants because they never wear out, and a backpack that looked like it had been through a war." Erik tells Will some pirate jokes I'm ready for my Tom Collins now, Buffy We had packs loaded for six days in the backcountry with every piece of technical equipment and clothing known to modern man...and 2.5 liters of Canadian whiskey to boot. The heavy packs ruined a perfectly good and flat 4.5 mile trail up Little Beaver Creek to Perry Creek. Luckily for us, huckleberries abound and we gorged ourselves to the full capacity of our stomachs. 2 hours, 4.5 miles. We were makin’ some pretty good time! ....until.... Without pause or exaggeration the Perry Creek drainage remains the worst approach we have been a part of. We were raped and sodomized by the forest. We tried to go up the steep riverbed only to by shoved around and bullied by the slippery rocks. It was drizzling on and off the whole time. One mile. Four Hours. Enough said. We made camp only 1.75 miles from leaving the main trail after 7 hours of intense slogging and stumbling on a soggy gravel bar, utterly worked over. I will need years of therapy to deal with the dehumanizing, savage, brutal beating we received. The forest seemed to mock foreward progress and took delight at fucking us over almost every slow horrid step of the way. But and evening in my betalite tarp all but dispensed our emotional trauma and physical abuse that day had ruthlessly dealt. Erik dealt in his own way: a deck of cards and game of cribbage. While we sipped our whiskey from cups and cereal bowls the evening’s activities took an intellectual nose dive when the game turned to crazy 8's and we decided to build a fire. This is when the notion of the "Devil’s Club" came into our heads. We were both initiated by cuts and splinters, and the plant seemed to rule the land. Erik played DJ on the walkman speakers as I used our machete to cut and sacrifice the plant to the gods. Things get weird...really weird Tuesday. Perry Creek to Mox Peak basin. 8.5 hours on the go. "Erik, put em on, it’s GREAT! They’re kinda like a pre-moistened towelette!" We cringe as we dawn our cold wet socks and shoes. We were immediately back in the river after a rainy night. The sky was thick with clouds and our only sun break oddly occurred at the exact same time it started to rain again. By 2pm we were hypothermic and drenched. Our path took us in and out of the ice cold river and the car wash of sopping wet slide alder, devil’s club, and blueberry bushes. We were making better time than yesterday’s 1/4 mile an hour - today we were up to a full ½ mile an hour. We stopped to build a fire, dry out, and have some hot coffee and whiskey to ease the soul. Things went from shitty to wretched in the forest. It just went on and on and on in an endless valley of tangled vegetation. Spirits we so low the trip would have probably ended if we weren’t so far back there and the easiest way now was to keep going into the unknown. We cut out of the river and headed up to a more open forest when the devil’s club finally let us through (with a little help from the machete). "It’s getting better already, and I’m going straight uphill," Erik sighed as we grabbed roots and vines to claw our way up the dirt slope. Erik voiced concern about fallen trees in the forest to which I relied, "Who cares about deadfall? I just want my dignity back!" We were able to try and keep some levity by joking and screwing around. We invented a whole new sport, Log Walkin’, and constantly exclaimed, "Oh! There’s the trail." Going under logs we exclaimed, "I hate me some underlogging," and over them, "I’ve loves me some log walking!" Finally, when an entire tree was pulled through our crotches, we’d call it "Arbor Birthing." "I love me some log walkin !!" We could finally make out the lower 1/3 of the peaks in the cirque and camp seemed just a stone’s throw away when the suffering downshifted into Dante’s 9th circle of hell. The thickest bush I’ve ever encountered (worse than a hike from Talkeetena to Denali in Alaska I’ve done) slowed us to a soul crushing crawl. I inhaled a mosquito and doubled over in a seizure of coughing spasms. My eyes ran with tears. I wasn’t sure if I was crying from the cough or from being so fully beaten down. I let the tears flow as I uttered the most violent string of expletives to ever pass my lips. I managed to curse every rock, tree, bush, tree, river, mountain, and valley in this godforsaken hole. "GOD HAS NO PLACE IN THIS VALLEY!" I was in my own personal hell. We made camp in the Alaskan bush with Mox and a dizzying array of walls, buttresses, and glaciers encircling us, but never getting a good view of anything. We went to sleep just as the rain once again began to fall. We were exhausted from the 16 hours of approaching. Never again, we both said. Never again. We were joking about route names that night, and a few good one that captured the approach were, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and SUCK," and "Kingdom of Sodomy." Wednesday. Mox basin to 7200' bivy on East Face. 9hours on the go. The clouds were breaking up as we headed off, terrified, sore and beaten with our smaller, considerable lighter packs, ready for 2 days on the wall. We reached the base of the wall at 10:30 to clearing weather and got our first look at the immensity of our project: 1000 feet of steep slab to 1500 feet of undulating vertical gneiss. Holy Shit. The entire approach from the trail had taken roughly 16 hours of hiking. If a team went the fastest way possible, it would be hard to get to the base of the wall in under 14 hours. It could be possible to come in from the West on better trails, but it would be a big risk to get to the Mox Peaks col, and not know the condition of the glacier below. It was quite broken and descending down in heavy packs was out of the question. We put 50 feet of rope between us and stared simul-climbing from the center of the base of the wall for the 1st 400 feet of climbing up to 5.9. The rock was solid, but protection and route finding was the biggest challenge. This would prove to be a consistent element of the rest of the climb. Erik proudly led the next 600 feet and I led the next 400 feet. We passed a rap sling around a tree and a button head bolt, the final high point of the last party to attempt the wall - 37 years ago by a party from Portland, according to Harry Majors from his post on cascadeclimbers.com. We (and the Portland party) found that the best rock and easiest route finding was on the far right side of the east face. spider on the route Erik on route Thankfully there was a small ledge to bivy on. We cleared a small space, barely big enough for both of us to lay squeezed up next to each other. The wall above got drastically steeper for the final 1,500 feet, and the way looked pretty improbable. To get a head start on the next day, I led a pitch up the vertical wall, and took forever trying to get the courage to run it out on very hard terrain while fighting for gear. My placements got increasingly creative, but a solid pin halfway up the pitch eased my mind. When I rapped back down to the bivy, the pin came out with two easy whacks from my ice tool and two pieces popped from the tight rope. We sipped on our small bivy flask to wash down the sleeping pills and hunkered down to a cold and windy night. The wind didn’t let up the whole night, coming in large gusts to remove any gathered warmth from our bags and ½ bags. Thursday. 7200' back to Mox Basin camp. 17.5 hours on the go . "is it gonna go?" Instead being warmed by the sun on an east facing wall in the morning, we woke to cloudy skies and threatening rain. We had better get a move on! Pitch after pitch ate the day away, many of the pitches zig-zagging across tiny run-out ledges to find ways through overlaps and overhangs. Protection continued to be a battle of nerve and creativity, the run-out got worse, and loose rock threatened to end the climb and our lives like missiles from the wall. Mike on route "Fatigue, hard climbing, and the commitment level were taking a toll on my energy and mind set, and after a while I told Mike I couldn’t lead any more. He grabbed the rack without hesitation, and proceeded to tear up pitch after scary pitch. At one point, I poked my head over onto the belay and said, ‘Mike? Honestly. You are my Hero." Mike on route At some point during both days of climbing John Scurlock flew over us several times. I told John to look for a red emergency flare to shoot from the wall if we were in trouble. Not for a rescue, that would be impossible, but more to have John NOT see a flare and ease his mind. Thank you John. You provided me the inspiration to do this, I never would have had the psych to go do this wall unless I got a bird’s eye view from your plane with my own eyes. And thank you for flying by both days to check on us. It was a sight for sore eyes to see your familiar yellow plane circling overhead. Erik on route When Erik gave me the sharp end for my extended lead session I kept saying, "Okay. One more pitch and I’m calling it." The climbing got out of control and Erik told me later that he knew I must have really wanted this thing the way I was climbing, "So much sketchy shit, the mind boggles." My mind did boggle. We were now fully committed. Every pitch of the upper headwall felt like I was playing Russian roulette with the rack. The pressure of forcing a way up, constantly trying to dig for gear and getting very little, worrying about poor belay anchors, not knowing if I’m gonna totally blank out, and just the whole enormity of the situation almost got to me. I cried on one of my leads. I tried to seize control of my mind and calm down before Erik got to the anchor so he wouldn’t see how fucked up I was. Mike finding a way We both pushed and pushed until we were spread to the limit of our physical and mental capacity. Erik ran out of food and water hours earlier and I was hoarding the last few sips I had left to get us up and down alive. It was full on until the very last pitch. Our route stuck to the right edge of the east face and I could see the summit up ahead. Above the rock was devoid of cracks and solid rock, so we traversed over to the NE ridge to get a look at the decent. A short scramble to the summit of "Hardest Mox" led to a heartbreaking fully day’s climb over ridges and gendarmes to the summit of SE mox, an unknown amount of rappels into the extremely broken glacier. One more easy pitch to the summit would have committed us to another full day of trying to get off the peak. John Scurlock told me later that he saw this on his flight and hoped to God that we wouldn’t try going that way to get down. Mike totally committed We had to regain control of the situation and get off this mountain. We had completed the East Face and were so close to topping out, but we felt that if we summited we would have climbed past the point of no return. So we put a Joker playing card in a plastic bag to mark our ascent, shook hands, and decided to rappel the entire route! Joker on top Erik did the most amazing job of getting us off the headwall. I honestly cannot believe how he pulled out all the stops to do full rappels in the dark through overhangs and unknown gear for anchors. Of course, the ropes got stuck immediately after our 1st 200 foot vertical rappel. I tried to jug up on Tiblocs on single line and just got totally cluster fucked and was taking forever. Erik has way more experience jugging, and he proudly and courageously began the shitty jug up the 200 feet of rope, completely exhausted and dehydrated. Shadow of Mox and the Perry Creek approach "The ropes got stuck within 10 feet and I felt a twang of THE FEAR. I started to jug the line, and after about 20 feet, I looked at Mike and said, ‘I can’t do this, Mike!’ He replied, ‘You HAVE to. There is NO OTHER WAY. We will die up here.’ The seriousness of the situation really sunk in then, and with that understanding, I found the reserve to do the rest of the ascent. We were not going to die on the wall. When I got to the top, I was tripping hard from the effort, the world seemed to take on a surreal quality. When I pulled up the ropes to re-toss them, they were horribly tangled and I almost began to cry. It seemed as if the mountain was unwilling to let us descend." Erik giving it all he's got The first rappel took an hour and a half. Not a good start. Fortunately that was our only stuck rope in the 13 rappels down the east face, and tree ridden NE ridge. We had many near misses of rocks bombing down from above, and one chopped the lead rope. It was pitch black and the both ropes were tangled in a pile on a thin ledge on my rap. I saw an almost complete cut in the lead rope in the tangle, so I had no way of knowing how far into the rap the rope was cut. To make matters worse, the rope looped around a horn 30 feet above me when I wasn’t paying attention on my way down. The question was, when I pull my way up to get the rope unstuck, will the chopped section appear during my ascent? I got the rope unstuck and began my search for the core-shot. We were both so relieved when the rope was cut only 5 feet from the end. It was fortunate too, since we were now out of rappel slings, so we used the chopped end to rap off of. Future Routes I told Erik he was my hero for jugging the line when he had nothing left already, and for setting such amazing anchors so quickly with nuts and pins, and stretching the raps to the full lengths of the rope in the complete darkness. Nobody could ask for a better climbing partner. Our relief was overwhelming when the ropes made familiar "whoomp" sound when they hit the talus at the base of the mountain. We had finally finished our $200 rappel. Future Routes We were forced to bushwack through intense alder in the middle of the stream, because we could not find our tent in the darkness! We knew it was in the talus right next to the river. Cold and wet, and this time tired to the limits of our endurance, we found the tent at 3:30 am and collapsed inside. Erik and I chillin after the climb Friday. Mox Basin to Little Beaver trailhead. 10 hours on the go . Since our boat pick-up was on Saturday, we had no time to rest. We were pretty sure it wasn’t going to take us the 14 hours it had coming in, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat. That day was agonizing, as was every day, but we were so numb to misery by this point, we just kept plodding away. Final Goodbye to Mox...maybe? As we were traversing a ridge, I crushed a bee’s nest in the ground, and Erik, being right behind me, took 3 stings. The descent out took only 10 hours, with better weather, drier less slippery rocks, 20-20 hindsight of the best way to go, lighter packs, and going downhill. As well, we had stashed a 6-pack of Rainier Ale at the launch, with some salmon and crackers. We just kept thinking about the beer. We put batteries into the mini-speakers, and the Beastie Boys brought us back a little, setting a good rhythm. Erik’s foot and hand were swelling considerably, as well as the "sting in the tail." The descent had a sting in the tail as well, two actually. The last mile to the launch crosses up a 500' switchback, and the word "suck" came up a lot. Time slowed to a crawl on the last two hours. It's tiring being a supermodel We finally reached camp at 7:30 to much celebration, put off only a little by the absence of one of our beers. We still had ourselves an fine Irish drunk, finishing the remaining whiskey as well. Mike somehow found the energy to "house-party" dance on the bear box and grill. An unbelievable amount of shit was talked from climbing to the low quality of Bellingham radio stations before we both passed out. Psycho Dance Party 8:00AM Saturday. The Last Mile. The inevitable hangover was supposed to be tempered by a swim in the lake, but the clouds were rolling in fast and heavy and it was too cold, so we nursed our coffees and packed leisurely. The boat ride dumped us off to a crowded launch of people out-bound. We totally forgot it was the start of Labor Day weekend. Erik bummed some ibuprofen from a hiker for the swelling and hangover. When it kicked in he exclaimed, "Now I be profen!" The final sting in the tail awaited us, as the last mile to the highway was another 500' grind. Constant calls of "take!" and threats of bivying just before the car, or setting of the red flare were uttered during the final bit. We popped some music in the stereo, and ignored the disdainful looks from passing hikers. At 11:00, The General 2000 was a sight for sore eyes. Erik looked at me with tired eyes and summed it all up by saying, "Mike, if you ever do this to me again, I’ll fucking kill you!" Our Serious Moment For Pause and Reflection (b.s.) Not so dashing on the ride out Final Thoughts. As for the climb, there are numerous walls and buttresses in the Perry Creek basin. Adventure awaits on these, and on the left and middle sections of the East face of our peak. Our packs weighed about 65 pounds for six days worth of food, and a free rack with two ropes. The other parts of the East face have way less cracks and more bulging sections, and substantial aid climbing far exceeding our ability await. It would be a monestrous task getting extra aid gear and the inevitable extra amount of food for a much longer stay on the wall. There are few, if any, ledges to bivy on. I want to take a moment to thank Erik Wolfe for being such an outstanding and competent partner. There were hundreds of times our hearts sank and we should have given in, but he remained determined to finish the job...regardless of the fact that he knew nothing about the approach or true magnitude of climb. I only provided him with enough detail to fuel his imagination and get him excited about the trip. And even though the suffering scale peaked into the red zone many a time, he never blew up at me, instead he stoically took the abuse, or yelled at the ropes and trees instead of me. I am amazed at his skills as a climber, and he absolutely knocked my socks off with his amazing job on the descent. We would have spent another night out for sure if he didn’t did deeper than he ever had before and pull off such an amazing job. Thank you so much Erik! I also want to thank John Scurlock for taking time to send me photos on his slow connection, asking me to fly with him even though I had never met the guy or annoyed him with requests for photos. Thanks for believing in me John. Darin Berdinka was one of the few people that said, "I bet you guys pull it off" when everyone else I told about my plan scoffed or said it wouldn’t go. Thanks to Justin Thibault for letting me borrow your crampons and pins when I was too broke to buy any gear for this. And thanks to Pete Herst for letting me borrow your haul bag in case my 3500cu pack couldn’t manage 6 days worth of crap. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone who actualized this long term goal of mine. Wonder what’s next? (note. erik's quote got cut off at a very bad point. i re-included it. sorry erik) "I have to start off by saying I shouldn’t have done this off the couch. Too much work and not enough climbing this summer have left me heavy and out of shape. It seems that more our unwillingness to accept defeat, and our inexhaustible positive attitude were what got us up this approach and wall. Mike is an amazing partner. He seems, like Shackelton, to know when to stare fear in the face and smile back at his troops. His patience about my slower pace was inexhaustible, and route-finding ability sterling. I would have brought about a 100 lb pack if Mike hadn’t walked me through the essentials. This was my first multi-day back-country trip, you see. Also: Thank you Darin Berdinka for having faith in our abilities, John Scurlock for making us feel not so quite alone. Thanks, Justin, for the pins: they were invaluable. This was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will not soon be forgotten. I’ll never do it again. One’s life expectancy become severely foreshortened by too much of this foolishness. Oh, and to all of you that said I was a sport-climber, go get the second ascent, Fools." Gear Notes: Alpenglock for possible partner bailure, or for taking the easy way out. Deadly nightshade berries are growing on the approach just in case you forget the alpenglock. Approach Notes: Dante's tour of nine circles of hell I took this from John's Plane Last Month. Can you name all the peaks? I knew you could.
  10. Climb: Northern Picket Range-Surviving the Fence (N Picket full ridge traverse) Date of Climb: 7/16/2005 Trip Report: FOR IMMEDIATE AND PREMATURE RELEASE Seattle, WA - On July 16, 2005 Wayne Wallace and Josh Kaplan completed the Northern Picket Range summit ridge traverse, also known as the "Cascade Nonfecta." Sponsering and recording the event was their chief sponsor, "Uncage the Bowels." UTB coordinated the timing effort, hiring experts from Mountaineering Inc. to make sure the effort was "official." The final time came in shortly less than 6 days. In the highest standard of UTB productions and mountainspeedclimbing.org records it must be disclosed that the two elite alpine mountain endurance speed climbers did not operate the speedboat used to travel ross lake. For additional information please contact Uncage the Bowels productions. Summits: Luna -> E Fury -> W Fury -> Swiss -> Spectre -> Phantom -> Ghost -> Crooked Thumb -> Challenger Gear Notes: Used: 60m 8.1mm half rope 50m 7mm perlon rap line BD firstlight tent ghetto-rigged with skipoles instead of real poles super light bivy gear 1 akpine hammer each medium alpine rack Should have had: I should have had rain gear like Wayne did. Approach Notes: Used Access Creek for approach and Eiely-Wiley Ridge for the deproach.
  11. Climb: Northern Pickets-Old Guys On Vacation Date of Climb: 8/3-10/2005 Trip Report: This TR got a bit long (hey, it was a long trip), so here's the short version for those that aren't interested in the novel below. An old climbing partner and I just got back from 8 days in the Northern Pickets. We went up Little Beaver trail to Whatcom Pass, over Whatcom Peak to Perfect Pass, across the Challenger Glacier and up Challenger, down around into Luna Cirque, up the North Buttress of Fury, down and across to Luna Col, up Luna, and finally down Access Creek to Big Beaver and to Ross Lake. Awesome trip in every respect! We just couldn't have had a better time. Details, nostalgic ramblings and photos follow. My longtime partner Mike and I did our first climb together, the NR of Stuart, back in '77, when we were 29 and 27, respectively. I'd been climbing for several years by then. It was Mike's first climb. Since then, we've done a ton of alpine climbs together, but somehow never got into the Pickets. In particular, we never got to Fury. I've had the North Buttress on my list for (literally) decades. And even though I plan on climbing for many more years, once you're well into your fifties you have to start to realize that there are some climbs on that tick list that you better get to soon if you're going to get to them at all. Something like the NB of Fury is going to eventually become not only too difficult as a climb, but also just too damn hard to get to! For various reasons, Mike hadn't done much climbing at all since 1999, but he always stays in shape, his rock skills have stayed intact, and he was up for a big trip into an area he'd never been. We actually went in to do Fury's NB last year, but I took care of that attempt by busting up my ankle on the second day (some details here). The trip immediately got put onto the schedule for this year. We were all set to go in on July 6. I was packed and had driven up to Seattle the day before. But the deteriorating weather forecast finally hit rock bottom, so we bailed. A good thing, since the forecast held and it rained a lot that week. We would have been miserable. Mike's next window was August 3-10, so we rescheduled for then. My original thinking was to schedule 8 days for a trip that should take us about 6 solid climbing days, giving ourselves 2 days to either sit out weather or tackle some extra objectives. Maybe Crooked Thumb, and maybe a traverse to Fury's west summit. Or, we could blow through it in 6 days and come out early. As departure day arrived, though, it was apparent that we would probably not have any bad weather days. We were definitely in shape to make this a 6-day trip but, as Mike reminded me a few times, we were Old Guys on Vacation and should concentrate less on trying to accomplish everything in sight and more on enjoying the adventure. So we decided to ease up our pace, drop any thoughts of adding other peaks, and just take all 8 days to do Whatcom, Challenger, Fury and Luna. Definitely a big enough job in itself. So that's exactly what we did and it turned out to be the right choice. Every day was completely manageable, we never got beat up, we typically started our days late and finished early, slept 8 or 9 hours every night, stayed well hydrated, and had plenty of time to relax and read and just enjoy where we were. We paid the extra bucks for the boat ride to Little Beaver trail, both to save a few trail miles and because we'd never hiked that trail. We both started the 8 days with packs at just over 40 pounds w/o water. We spent our first night 14 miles in at Twin Rocks camp. The next day started with the grind up to Whatcom Pass, where we headed up the north side of Whatcom. We were only headed as far as Perfect Pass, so we spent an hour or so on top of Whatcom before running the 15 minutes down the snow to the pass. Challenger Glacier from summit of Whatcom Peak Baker and Shuksan from our camp at Perfect Pass The next morning we decided to head up the ridge a ways before getting onto the Challenger Glacier. I was curious about what was up there for future camping possibilities (plenty of flat ground and great views if you can find water) and, while dropping directly onto the glacier from the pass would still go, the lower glacier is getting pretty broken up. We eventually got onto the glacier near 7000' and made a more or less level traverse, with no crevasse issues, to Challenger Arm. We dropped our packs there and ran up to the top, again spending an hour or so on the summit. We eventually headed back down, grabbed our gear, and moved down the eastern end of the glacier and just around the corner to a knoll at 6000' overlooking Luna Cirque. Great camping, water nearby, and wonderful views of Fury. A great place to obsess about the North Buttress and worry about just how bad the lower section would be. The North Buttress of Fury from the summit of Challenger The North Buttress of Fury from campsite at 6000' knoll below Challenger Glacier Day 4 was by far our easiest. Even though I'd read that dropping into the cirque from here was pretty straightforward, you almost have to do it to believe it since it looks incredibly imposing from across the way at Luna Col. It was, in fact, no problem at all, and in under 3 hours at an easy pace we were down at a huge flat sandy area that makes a great campsite. I took a hike over onto the rock-covered glacier and up to the base of the North Buttress, just to get a better idea of what we were up against the next day. Mike found water about 10 minutes away. It was very early in the day, so we headed over to the stream with water containers, books, and all of our sweaty, dirty clothes. We had a very relaxing afternoon, reading, rehydrating, and rinsing out all of our clothes and drying them on the rocks in the sun. Oddly, our shirts still smelled really bad afterwards. Go figure. The next day was really why we were here. Last year we came in via Access Creek and, before I trashed my ankle, our plan was to do the NB as a day trip from a camp at Luna Lake, then continue across to do Challenger before heading out Wiley Ridge. This year we decided to come in from the north and do the climb with full packs. I was really inspired by the trip last year done by the trio of mvs, Der_Wanderer and highclimb. Definitely one of the most impressive trips I've seen written up on this board (TR here). I had a copy of their photo of their right (west) side approach to the buttress (found here on mvs's website) and we totally adopted their very apt terminology of key points on the route. The Ramp, the Swan, the Mudslide, etc. (my mantra for the scary lower section was that everything will be just fine once we reach New Zealand). Their experience on that approach was very helpful for our routefinding. Thanks guys! [While I'm at it, I know I've PM'd iain, wayne w, colin, mvs and I think a few others for info on this route. Thanks to all for the beta!] The morning of the Fury climb was the only time we even pretended to get an early start. Although we'd be carrying full packs and were planning on camping on Fury's summit, we still wanted to get underway fairly early. We slept fairly well, even though we were hearing lots of stuff coming down the walls of the cirque. Kinda disconcerting when you're heading up one of those walls the next day. We were up by 5:15 and moving in just under an hour. After grabbing water along the way (we started with 3 liters each and, of course, found we could have tanked up much higher on the route) and gearing up at the base of the route, we were climbing by a bit after 7. We were well rested, well fed, well hydrated, and had that spring in our step that only comes from sporting freshly laundered underwear. With clean clothes, we were lookin' damn spiffy and we knew it! I just re-read The Trio's TR thread and we clearly had very similar feelings about the lower section you have to climb before reaching the ridge crest. It's scary and has some real objective danger. You just have to hope you aren't in the wrong place when the peak decides to unload a random fusillade of rock or ice. It's enough of a crapshoot to have you asking what level of objective danger you're willing to accept. I'm sure it's safer at other times in other conditions. On our day it wasn't necessarily an easy call, but the risk level seemed acceptable and we felt we could stay out of the firing line most of the way. We followed pretty much the same line The Trio did, with a few changes. There was less snow, so we exited the lower Ramp earlier and climbed more directly up to the base of the next Snowfinger. We climbed easy rock on the left side of the Snowfinger, both because the snow was discontinuous, and because staying farther left kept us farther away from any rockfall from above. It was between the Ramp and the Snowfinger that we witnessed our only bad rockfall, as several volleyball-size missiles sailed past us on the right at a velocity that was absolutely chilling. It was one of those times you realize that, if you're in the wrong place, it wouldn't matter in the slightest that you were wearing a helmet. We moved up in relative safety, hugging the left side as much as possible, until we were at a last protected nook and had to move out right, much more into the danger zone, and deal with the Mudslide. Again, there was less snow for us than in mvs's photo, so we had to more or less climb a couple hundred feet of the Mudslide itself. The Mudslide is a lovely streak of hard remnant ice that is totally infused with black coarse sand. Maybe 35-40 degrees. Very hard and very dirty and very much exposed to rock and ice from above. After very carefully discussing and analyzing all the variables of rockfall, icefall, temperature, slope gradient, snowcover, etc., we decided that our best option would be to use the next few hundred feet as an opportunity to get a feel for our VO2 Max and probe the limits of our anaerobic threshold. In other words, we felt we should run like hell. So off we went at top speed onto the black grit highway. I could just feel my aluminum pons dulling with every step. We moved as fast as we could and soon arrived, gasping, at a slightly protected spot just left of the top of the highest snow. We just seemed to have black wet sand all over us. We took off our filthy crampons with our filthy hands and stowed our filthy axes. Did I mention we had rinsed out all of our clothes the day before? We weren't looking so spiffy anymore. We quickly moved up and left on fairly easy rock, moving further out of danger, and were soon at New Zealand. As I had been assuring myself, everything was indeed just fine now that we were here. New Zealand is a pair of snow patches that kinda mark the place where you are out of serious danger, above the Mudslide, and ready to actually get on with climbing the buttress proper. I liked New Zealand a lot. This is on our last clean snow. That dark streak ahead is The Mudslide. Mike de-cramponing after the sprint up the Mudslide We kept moving up and left through a fair amount of loose rock and soon arrived at the crest. This was probably exactly where The Trio hit the crest. They reported a 5.8 pitch here. I'd almost be tempted to bump it up to 5.9, but maybe that's my pack and boots talking (we didn't bring rock shoes). Above that we simulclimbed at a pretty good clip until we arrived at a comfortable, sunny flat spot at about 7000', just before you either do a short rap or downclimb to a notch. At this point we were clearly looking great for time and would summit fairly early in the day, so we quit trying to hurry at all. We took a long break here, eating and enjoying the sun and the views. Mike took the lead for a couple pitches, we did a lot more simulclimbing, and we eventually found ourselves at the final snow arete to the summit ridge. What a great way to finish this climb! Mike coming around a very cool and exposed blind corner pitch about mid-buttress. I remember this same pic from The Trio's slide show. Mike on the final snow arete below summit of Fury. Pure fun climbing this with the summit now so close. We arrived at the summit at about 3:30, 9 1/2 hours after leaving camp and about 8 1/2 hours from the bottom of the buttress. Carrying full packs up a big route like this is definitely a chore, but it was great to arrive at such a cool summit, after all that work, and not have to think at all about leaving. A few clouds were moving in and it was definitely cooler than it had been. Nothing threatening. Just some marine stuff moving through to enhance the view a bit. We set up our tent on the highest snow, just a few feet from the summit rocks, melted snow, had dinner and enjoyed a great sunset. Our camp on Fury's summit. Any middle-of-the-night excursions were done carefully. The fall to the left is a couple hundred feet to rocks. The fall to the right is about 4000 feet down the NE Face to the base of the buttress. Sunset from Fury with clouds rolling over the Luna Cirque crest. Slesse in the distance. The next day we got an aggressive alpine start of 11:15 AM and started the trek across to Luna Col, our destination for the day. I had done the SE route before and we had no descent issues. We took our time, as usual drinking tons of water at every opportunity. We found far less snow at Luna Col itself than the last 2 years, but water was only 2 minutes down the west side. We spent the rest of yet another lazy afternoon and evening reading and relaxing and enjoying looking back into the cirque. The next morning we actually got up early enough to start hiking up Luna at about 6:30 AM. We settled for the false summit, since we had a ways to go today, and since we wanted to continue our very rewarding habit of just doing nothing on the summit for about an hour. We eventually headed back down, packed up, and were headed down by about 10. We had a permit for 39 Mile camp, which gave us about 5 miles of trail to cover once down Access Creek. We again weren't in a big hurry. We'd both been down Access Creek before. All I can say about the trip down is that the upper basin was a nice place to stop and soak our feet before the brushfest, and the huckleberries are great right now. At Big Beaver we didn't take even a second to look for a log, being quite happy to grab another opportunity to get our feet wet. We traded boots for Aquasocks and easily forded the stream. Four miles later we were setting up for our last night at 39 Mile camp. This day was actually a pretty long one, and we were asleep pretty quickly. The next morning we had only 5 miles to the boat dock and it was a really pleasant cruise with what were by now very light packs. I arrived at the dock with not one ounce of food left and a pack down to 33 pounds. When I was thinking about how this trip would go if everything fell into place, there were 4 moments in particular I was looking forward to and that I knew would be especially satisfying. One was sitting on top of Fury with the NB a done deal and not having to go anywhere right away. Then there was sitting at Luna Col, the Fury descent out of the way, on our last night up high, looking back at most of our recent few days of travel. Third was the pleasure of hitting the Big Beaver trail after getting down Access Creek. And, the last moment I was really looking forward to was this: Our boat was scheduled for 11:30. We arrived at just after 10 to find 4 hikers from Hannegan trailhead waiting for a boat they said was on its way. We'd been thinking about swimming for too long to miss it, so off went the boots and in went we. We probably only lost the slightest fraction of the accumulated sweat and bug juice and sunscreen, but it felt great and allowed us to drive home feeling something less than totally gross. The boat was there within 10 minutes, had room for us, and since we had prepaid, the other party gave us $15 cash to cover half the fare. The trip was wrapping up just great! We hit the store at Newhalem positively craving some instant ramen and Clif Bars, but somehow walked out with beer and potato chips instead. Signed out at the ranger station, grabbed burgers at Good Food, and hit the road for home. We felt incredibly lucky to have an 8 day trip into the Pickets turn out so well. The weather was perfect. Every day went just as planned. We accomplished everything we were after. It was hard to not smile all the way from the top of Fury (well, okay, the smile went away for a while coming down Access Creek). It was our first serious climbing adventure together in several years, but all the alpine teamwork clicked like it always had. Taking the extra time allowed us to stay energetic the whole time and to really avoid ever feeling trashed. We covered lots of new terrain for both of us, managed to do a long sought after route on Fury, and simply had fun every day. I didn't even break my ankle this time. It was a really gratifying trip with a great partner and old friend. Good times! Old guys on vacation. Gear Notes: Rack of 11 pieces - A few pieces more than enough. Kinda depends on how often you want to stop and rerack. No ice or snow pro and none needed. 30m single rope - This worked really well for us. I had a 50m that I just wasn't using, so I chopped it to save weight on this trip. Fine for glacier travel, and long enough by at least 20' for the Challenger rappel. On Fury it was fine for the 2-3 short sections that we pitched out, and better than a longer rope for all of the simulclimbing. Betalight with betabug - Just bringing groundsheets for under the Betalite would have been at least a pound lighter, but bringing the bug insert was worth the extra weight. We spent most nights with just the bug net up, and there were enough flies and mosquitoes that it made it far easier for us to get in our critical 9 hours of slumber each night. Boots - i.e. no rock shoes. There was only the one 5.8ish pitch early on the crest of Fury where it would have been nice to have rock shoes. For everything else on the route, I was much happier in boots. Ice Axe - no second tool needed Crampons - Aluminums worked great for me. Fuel - We took 2 large MSR canisters for my GigaPower. We boiled about 4 cups each of 7 evenings, and about 3-4 cups for 5 mornings, and melted about 5-6 liters worth on top of Fury. We came out with about 1/2 ounce left in one of the canisters. Cell phone - I tossed this in after reading about others getting cell reception up high in the Pickets, and I got a good signal a week before from West MacMillan Spire. We checked and got a signal on Challenger, Fury and a great signal on Luna. If we had this last year, Mike would have had to only hike from Luna Lake to Luna summit instead of all the way out to Ross Lake when I got injured. We did use ours to change our boat pickup and to make sure we'd find room at 39 Mile camp. Ibuprofen - The staff of life. Approach Notes: Little Beaver trail had a few easy to follow detours and some minor brush. No complaints at all. The whole area is very dry up there. Water was always somewhere, but I'm sure less available than in normal years. The SE Glacier route on Fury is far drier than it was in late August 2 years ago, as is Luna Col and the route down to Access Creek. The stream at 39 Mile camp which was raging at the end of July last year is now dry. We saw no one at all from just below Whatcom Pass on the Little Beaver Trail the morning of day 2, until we reached Luna Camp on the Big Beaver Trail the afternoon of day 7.
  12. During my misdirected youth I was so entirely focused on climbing the hardest routes I could, and putting up first ascents or first free ascents, that I often relegated the choice of partner to whoever was willing or able to work on the projects I wanted to work on. This was often to the detriment of enjoying friendships. In 1982 I made a climb that impacted me more than any other, for it really brought home to me the total enjoyment of climbing with someone that brings an element of joy and energy to the sport. I speak of Russell Erickson, aka Russell Machine. Those of you who climbed during that time will know Russell. He was a gifted climber, totally excited about the sport and very humble and unassuming. A perfect day for Russell was to hang out and work on difficult top rope problems or belay for those of us who were working on hard single pitch climbs. As a belayer he was like a personal psychology coach, constantly giving encouragement, "You can do it! Go for it! You got it!". He was unconditionally supportive and I can never recall a hint of upset or anger in him. Like many of us, he spent a month or two in Yosemite each spring. In 1982 I had it in my head to free climb the West Face of El Capitan. Wayne Kamera and I trained on several multipitch free climbs to prepare for our attempt. Russell helped us haul our gear to the base of the West Face and departed to leave Wayne and I to free climb the first 4 pitches and fix ropes for a fast start the next morning. Unfortunately the next day Wayne develop a viral flu as he was attempting one of the 5.11 pitches about 8 or 9 pitches up the climb and we had to abort. We were both very disappointed. Wayne was out of commission and I had no partner to do the West Face. I immediately asked Russell, but he declined because he had never done a multi pitch route before!? In all the time I had known him I never understood the fact that he had only done short climbs. Wow! After letting this sink in I realized that his entire joyful being was happy to hang out and do the most ridiculous problems of the day. But he always tried to shun attention to his accomplishments. Earlier that Spring someone came up to me and told me that he had just fired off A Separate Reality on sight! When I asked Russell about it he was embarrassed, "Oh I just did a little climbing today". That was his character. In desparation I started asking anyone I knew or met in the Valley to do the West Face with me, even if they couldn't climb at that level I just needed a belayer! Each evening I would share with Russell my frustrations and ask him again to do it with me. Finally, after about a week of trying to find someone Russell came up to me and said he would do it on one condition, that I could not tell anybody that he was going to do the climb! We snuck out of Camp IV (Sunnyside) early one morning and hiked to the base of the West Face with a new plan. This time we went very light, with one small daypack. We fixed the first 4 pitches (meandering and giving you two full ropes to jug) and settled in for a bivouac at the base. In those days, before Fire's or other ultra sticky soles, and before RP's, the opening pitches had some dicey 5.11 runouts over old aid terrain. The next morning we started jugging at first light, and were underway with climbing by 7:00 am. The rest of the day was a flow of beautiful climbing, very efficient leader changes, and a no fall no aid point free climb of the West Face. We finished at about 5:00 pm. The extra liters of cool aid and snacks in case of a forced bivy were consumed to gluttony as we watched the evening grow in the valley. The memories I have of that climb are centered around the pure joy I felt, the privelege to be able to share this outstanding climb with Russell. I also remember with laughter the intensity of his desire to climb FAST so we wouldn't be forced to bivy, and how he would look at the smallest cloud in a perfect sky with great concern for a gathering storm. There was also the most amazing 20' tall band of pure quartz crystals that stretched across the wall as far as I could see, crystals so big that I tied one off for protection as a joke. Mostly I felt pride to be able to share with Russell the first big wall he had ever done. After this climb I determined that I would never again allow my ambitions to get in the way of making sure that the climb was an extension of friendship. The reward is so much greater than the climb itself. If any of you know Russell, please have him get in touch with me.
  13. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cascade Trifecta Completed in Record 28 Hours Back-to-back climbs of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood, dubbed the Cascade Trifecta, were accomplished in a record 28 hours and 1 minute by two endurance athletes from Boulder, Colorado. Buzz Burrell, 53, and Peter Bakwin, 43, departed the Paradise parking lot at Mt. Rainier at 2:42 AM, June 9th, and arrived at the Timberline Lodge parking lot at Mt. Hood at 6:43 AM, June 10th, after climbing the standard routes of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood, and driving by car between each of the three volcanoes. Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft.), Mt. Adams (12,281 ft.) and Mt. Hood (11,249 ft.) are the three highest volcanoes in the Oregon/Washington Cascade range. Accomplishing the feat required Burrell and Bakwin to traverse 42,000 vertical feet of elevation change (21,000 feet of ascending) over 36 miles. A link-up of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood in a single effort has never before been documented. The effort by Burrell and Bakwin is a newly established mountaineering speed record. Adverse weather and snow conditions on Rainier and Adams slowed the climbers considerably from their planned schedule. In one instance, Burrell fell into a crevasse on Mt Rainier upon the collapse of a snow bridge. Burrell was able to extract himself from the crevasse while belayed by Bakwin. Both climbers were well-equipped and are skilled mountaineers. “We had hoped to go under 24 hours,” said Bakwin, “but we know that would be very hard, and conditions were not optimal, especially on Rainier where we had to move slowly to stay safe.” He added, “The trip was especially rewarding for me, since I had never set foot on any of these beautiful mountains before.” The Cascade Trifecta was documented and verified by Uncage the Soul Productions, a video and photography production company based in Portland, Oregon. The Uncage the Soul team consisted of 11 videographers and photographers staged in advance of the climbers on each of the three peaks. The team verified departure and summit times, took over 700 photographs, 8 hours of video footage, and assisted the climbers with route finding, but offered no additional climbing or transportation support. John Waller, organizer of the Uncage the Soul Productions documentary team, was not only impressed with their athletic accomplishment, but the attitude with which the climbers approached the Trifecta. “Even though they had this goal of doing the Trifecta as fast as they could, you never got the impression that this was their top priority. It was to have fun, and enjoy the experience. These two things would not be compromised for the sake of shaving off a couple of minutes from their overall time. They were very interactive and social with our team, stopping frequently to talk, snap photos, and express their appreciation for our efforts.” Additional information about the Cascade Trifecta, including video, photographs, and a detailed written description are available from Uncage the Soul Productions. Contact Information: John Waller, Uncage the Soul Productions Tele: 503-970-9357 Email: jq_waller@mac.com URL: www.uncagethesoul.com ###
  14. 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>
  15. A day after Highway 20 opened a friend and I went up to climb something at WaPass. "Slowshoes? Who needs them?" I said, starting up the shady, north facing heavily treed slope. .5 seconds later I postholed thigh deep with both feet and resorted to crawling. (Alpine Tip #1: there is nothing undignified about crawling when necessary.) Unfortunatly we'd left the slowshoes back in town and I forgot my roll of ducktape, which is helpful in constructing redneck gaiters. (Alpine Tip #2: simply tape the legs of your acid washed jeans to you boots and you are good to go.) We postholed for another half hour. Given as how we were still within pissing distance of the car, my partner started expressing doubts that we could make it back to Twisp in time for work that afternoon. Blood seeped from my shins and knees where the ice crust hit at each sinking step. I counted my blessings that great white sharks are rare in these parts. (Alpine Tip #3: beware of potentially voracious wildlife.) I promised my pardner that as soon as we reached the steep part, or the open part, or the sunny part or the rock part that everything would be better. However, my partner appeared to be suffering from some sort of posthole-inspired lunacy and began laughing hysterically until fully horizontally incapacitated in the snow and either unwilling and/or unable to get back up. I suggested a five-minute break. (Alpine Tip# 4: A PhD in psychology--or equivalent independent study thereof—can be helpful in sandbagging others and/or yourself. Ten minutes later, we lowered our already very modest expectations and proceeded back to the road. (Alpine Tip #5: Retreat can be a noble cause.) Two miles up valley of Silver Star creek, on the other side of the highway (the south facing slope) there is a clearing and a waterfall next to a small rock crag. Higher on the slope there is another cliff with a prominent right facing corner. It looked interesting. (Alpine Tip #6: When in doubt, lower expectations and proceed to lower elevations.) We hiked up to the waterfall in open, snow-free forest. Invisible from the road, there is a rock grotto off to the right of the waterfall. There is a beautiful looking arete, although the rock appears somewhat kittylitteresque. It would probably make a nice sport pitch or TR. (Alpine Tip #7: Theoreticals infuse even the most mundane with boundless possibility.) Instead, we harnessed up and I headed up the chimney/corner to the left of the arete and right of the waterfall. It starts off with a short boulder problem up a dead tree wedged in the corner, then moves into a very nice hand crack/stem box over some more dead trees and debris. Then come two different chimneys--also short, but quite fun, solid and exciting. (Alpine Tip #8: “Exciting” means treading thru the land of fight or flight where loss of bowel control is often associated with survival efficiency.) The crux is moving out of the second chimney onto the face--accomplished by pulling on an anemic little shrub of questionable vigor. It's an exciting move: the last gear is quite a ways below and the vegetative state of the tiny twiggy bush is not particularly inspiring. (Alpine Tip #9: When recollecting an experience, imagined reality and real reality merge and become one indistinguishable truth.) Once you commit to the shrub, there is another crack for gear, and a lieback/stem move to reach the dirt slopes above. We called this pitch Posthole Redemption, 5.7. Not destined for destination or classic status, but a nice surprise. (Alpine Tip #10: Good surprises are nice; bad surprises should not be all that surprising.) At the top of the pitch, we put our boots back on and continued uphill, traversing to the right and eventually coming to the other crag we'd seen from the road. This is a nice chunk of solid granite. The most obvious natural line is a huge right facing corner leading up to a big roof. In that corner is a nice hand and finger crack—filled with Bluebunch Wheatgrass. For a gardening aficionado such as an ice-axe-wielding Martha Stewart on meth, it would be probably be protectable all the way. Since time was a factor; we opted to toprope the pitch. (Alpine Tips #11: Time is a timeless excuse for moral and/or ethical failures.) The beginning of the right variation is an awkward mantle and traverse left to the crack--unfortunatly not significantly protectable. The left variation is easier and probably the way to go on lead as you could get some gear in. We called this pitch "Posthole in One." (Alpine Tip#12: The option of toproping a pitch means you are not alpine climbing and invalidates all previous eleven Alpine Tips.) Once in the corner, it’s easy stemming and likely good gear if gardened. Gear on the roof traverse would be possible and desirable to avoid a pendulum back into the corner. The final fingercrack/stem problem would be better on lead than toprope given the slabby corner splat factor. (Apline Tip #13: see Alpine tip #7) I ended up rapping off my dog’s leash, which still exists as fixed gear around the big pine 100 feet up this pitch. (Alpine Tip #14: Don’t believe anything you’ve heard until it’s a matter of necessity--and even then be skeptical.)
  16. Climb: Mt. Snoqualmie, NW Face-Pineapple Express Date of Climb: 2/9/2005 Trip Report: On my third attempt this year, Roger Strong and I finally climbed the line going up the longest part of the NW Face of Mt. Snoqualmie. It starts just left of the lowest point of the face in a hidden right facing corner. 7 long mixed pitches lead up and then right to an intersection with New York Gully. Follow last 2 pitches of NYG to the top. 1000' of primo Snoqualmie pass mixed climbing. We dubbed the route Pineapple Express, grade IV, 5.8, M6, WI3+ R. Gear Notes: 60M rope,pins,nuts, cams, and lots of slings Approach Notes: Straight up Phanthom Slide, then drop into Thunder Creek basin and traverse to lowest point of face.
  17. best of cc.com cascade Mt. Poetry

    Let's hear your rhymes for a Cascade Mountain. Here's one to start it off. Luna Peak from Ruth Mt. Luna seems so far away It glides in the mist, It sleeps in East, It silently sits, In its realm it will stay. Within the sea of peaks and valleys, No other can compare. It’s spine a stairway, To the faraway air. Someday I will meet you, Someday I will hear, The rivers roar below From atop your perch from over there.
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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!
  21. i know this topic sux....but so do the books i am attempting to read please share....
  22. 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 ]
  23. 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.
  24. 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.