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Found 154 results

  1. Trip: Cutthroat Wall - Easy Getaway (F.A. III 5.10-) Date: 8/29/2007 Trip Report: This TR is going to read like the boring blow-by-blow climb description that it is, but that's in hopes of providing adequate info for folks to go get on it and have some fun. Upon climbing one route on the Cutthroat Wall, I was eager to go back and investigate the clean looking roofs and corners to the left of what we'd done in early August. Last weekend, Dan Hilden and I headed up to check it out. Bryan Burdo was a late scratch on the roster for this climb as well, after he dropped his tennis shoes off a new route on SEWS and was left with just rock shoes and sandals. His Methow valley cragging guide should be out within a month, and his North Cascades Rock (WA Pass Area) guide by next spring... Anyhow, we braved the 45 minute approach from the car and began the climb ~40' to the left of The Perfect Crime on a perfectly flat granite patio. From the base, one can locate a series of clean L-Facing corners which serve as good landmarks for the route. A vertically striped dihedral (the Zebra corner) is especially obvious. The climb went very well, with fun moves, some nice challenges, and a few spots where the cliff seemed made for climbing. Pitch 1 (5.10-) Up left on a slab to a clean crack and obvious overlap/roof. This roof move can be protected from above with a blue alien. From here, climb up and left (easy slab), past another steepface, to beneath a large roof. Pitch 2 (5.9) Start up the R-Facing Corner with stemming and finger cracks. Past tree, move left (delicate undercling) into the clean orange corner. Move right out of the corner and belay. Pitch 3 (5.9) Face climb up and right, then follow clean cracks (layback, mantle) back up and left to a short splitter finger crack, ledge, and belay below short overhung RFC. pitch 4 (5.9) This pitch leads to the base of the striped corner visible from below. Power up the short overhung corner and face climb up and left into a crack. (Don't get tempted rightward into the blank corner) Follow this crack up to a tree at the base of the corner Pitch 5 (5.9) Again begin by fun moves up another overhung corner, then follow the beautiful/clean Zebra Corner crack upward. The top of the corner was seeping from the prior day's rain, so we "walked the plank" rightward across a solid/safe block and along the ledge to the right. If dry, consider following the corner to the top and doing an undercling out right for the directissima. Pitch 6 (5.10-) This pitch looks imporbable but works out great. Face climb up to the base of a L-facing corner below roofs. Jam the corner, climb left through the roofs, and continue jamming and laybacking up into the granite chimney. Follow the chimney to a large pine at the base of an obvious long corner. Pitch 7 (5.10-) Jam or layback the perfect hand crack up past a tree to some roofs. Undercling/jam through the roofs to the very top of the corner, step right, belay. (From here, one can downclimb rightward ~30 to get to the belay ledge before the last pitch of The Perfect Crime, whish is a *** pitch featuring splitter cracks on the far right edge of the buttress.) Pitch 8 (5.9) Head up the obvious chimney straight above. Good pro can be placed deep inside, and one can then move to the outside edge to climb though. I found this great fun. Dan, with a pack on, had a differing opinion. Follow the lower-angle stemming slot to a 5.5 hand crack on a slab, and belay above. From here, unrope or belay one more pitch (low 5th) to the flat summit. The rock quality on this climb is as good as Rebel Yell and better than anything else I have climbed on in the Washington Pass area, but the climb is only an hour from your car. All the cruxy bits are well protected and could be A0ed. I think it'd take a strange climber to not enjoy this route quite a bit. The only drawback is the pine needeles on ledges, but maybe with some traffic this would change. We also found an OLD rusty, and completely unmarked bent piton on p2, so maybe someone did the whole route back in the 60s and didn't tell anyone... who knows. I'd enjoy re-climbing it and leading the pitches Dan took as well, so if you are looking for a partner, send me and email. From the top, you can scramble up to the ridge and look down on the Hwy 20 hairpin, and of course see much of the North Cascades as well. Descent: walk across the flat summit terrace (cairn) to where the crest narrows before you'd need to scramble up again. Look for a pine tree on the right with a yellow runner. Make one 20m rappel down to the right, then contour at that elevation, skier's left around the head of a gulley and walk down/left on timbered rib to the base of the wall. Mini Topo - Big Version Linked Below http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/503/Complete_topo.JPG Green Writing goes with Green Topo, pitch-by-pitch Gear Notes: One set of nuts Cams from finger tips to #4 camalot (only needed if you avoid the chimney and do the last pitch of The Perfect Crime) Doubles in finger-hand sizes Approach Notes: From the Cutthroat Lake TH, walk up the old road bed for ~5 minutes, then head left up the hill into the brush. The brush is moderate at first, then the forest is pretty open and easy until moderate brush for the last couple hundred feet. The route begins at the far right (west) side of the wall. From the base of this route, the toe of the "Snout" is a ~10 minute level traverse across open ground, so one could combine a climb of those routes as well.
  2. Trip: Mount Shuksan - Northwest Arayete III 5.9 Date: 8/6/2007 Trip Report: On August 6th Matt Alford and I climbed an enjoyable rock route on the northwest side of Mount Shuksan. The route follows the crest of a fine arete on good rock for nine pitches to the summit of a prominent horn above the White Salmon Glacier. Though dirty at times, the position is incredible, the rock is solid and every pitch is sustained for it's grade. I had first seen this arete at least twelve years ago while descending the glacier and thought it both beautiful and improbable due to a lack of features. Ever since the idea of climbing it has been knocking about in my head. I'm not sure what took so long but it was great to turn that idea into a reality! As it worked out the rock here (Green Schist) is horizontally banded and the rock is just littered with positive jugs and pockets that allow moderate climbing up imposing walls. We left the car at first light and reached the base of Winnies Slide four hours later. From here a short descent led to the base of the arete. There was significant shrund that made accessing the rock a bit problematic. We end up rappelling off a bollard to reach a ramp on the left side of the arete. A good ledge system on the right side could probably have been used as well. Matt takes the first pitch. Fun, juggy face climbing was followed by a 100' of 5.8 friction right up the crest of the low angle arete. The gear grew increasingly sparse until he had to run it out maybe 40' to the belay. A second short easy pitch led to a much steeper wall. P1 Frictioning up the crest of the Arete The third pitch exemplified what makes establishing new routes such an amazing experience. We're at the base of a steep blank wall. On the left is a filthy corner system full of grass. Out right a few weaknesses lead towards a steep arete and the possibility of good climbing around it's edge. The grassy corner will go, but the climbing will suck. The traverse out right is a total mystery. Will it go? Is there any gear? Whats on the other side? What if I can't make it? P3 Working things out on the crux traverse Intending to head up the corner I find myself heading out right instead. Focusing on protection I find that the apparently blank wall has a few narrow seams obscured by lichen that allow me to place several solid pins. Soon I'm at an obvious crux move. Cleaning some loose blocks off a small ledge I watch them freefall to the glacier. Hesitating I close my eyes, focus on my breathing, feel the chill in the cool shade, listen to the ice creaking and groaning below. Eventually I just run out of reasons to stand still so I commit, stemming wide, finding a small uncling, shifting over and reaching for the crest of the arete. Grabbing solid jugs I pull over the corner and find myself on a beautiful wall of clean, orange rock. IT GOES! P3 Matt pulling around onto the beautiful orange wall So many intense experiences tend to just slide away. Things no longer "stick" like they once did. But this one is different, this one set deep. I'm going to remember exactly how wonderful it felt to pull around that corner for a long time. The fourth pitch was the best of the climb, awesome juggy 5.7 climbing on near vertical rock with great gear. Soon we're at the base of the imposing upper arete. The climbing looks improbable but once again the rock turned out to be covered in positive holds. Staying about 40 feet left of the arete Matt is able to climb more or less straight up the wall on 5.7 rock to a belay in an alcove. P4 More Arete P6 Starting up the steep upper wall Climbing through a grungy 5.8 roof I find super featured 5.6 rock on the crest of the steep arete for a full ropelength. Matt quickly leads another long pitch of fun corners to a fixed pin belay at a small roof. A final short pitch up clean slabs ending with an easy arete brings us directly to the summit. Unreal, the route unfolded far better than we could have imagined! P7 Stellar climbing on the crest of the Arete P9 It Ends like it Begins…. It's late in the day so we snap a quick summit shot and get moving. An easy scramble down the backside gets us to the Upper Curtis Glacier. After following some mountain goat tracks we picked up the boot track leading back down the mountain. In my exhausted state the entire descent seemed somehow timeless as if it took no more than half-an-hour. Yet many hours and a beautiful sunset later we reached the car with the last of the dieing light. Well there's already a Northwest Arete and a Northwest Rib on the mountain so Matt (grudgingly) agreed to name our route the Northwest Arayete after someone I know. Gear Notes: Rack to 3.5" with a double set of very small to medium nuts and small to 1” cams. A few short knifeblades and bugaboos recommended. Approach Notes: Follow Fisher Chimneys Rt to edge of White Salmon Glacier (bivi sites) then descend a few minutes on steep snow or ice to the base of the arete. Potential Shrund problems getting on the rock.
  3. Trip: Index, Vesper, Sperry, Big 4 MadManMisAdventure - Date: 7/30/2007 Trip Report: the omens were bad to begin with - a wedding full of fat people the night before - bad booze and mind numbing conversation - a few hours of sleep, plagued by half images of Being Behind the Cue Ball again - rain on the road in the dark up to seattle and layton's place - a total lack of mind-altering medications to salve the soul woken up by a querolous layton in my red devil, parked halfway up on the curb at a non-dmv approved angle outside his swankish new abode - an hour of desperately needed sleep on a couch exactly half my height, a cigarette, a coffee, and an uncomfortable elevator ride w/ a complete stranger later we were on the road to methadonia for steep granite - the spitting rain shoulda been a warning to stay at home - good thing we went though, as quite the adventure unfolded: 1. the rock being completely cluster-fucked for free-climbing, mike and i lucked into discovering a secret project area, just a 30 second walk away from a beer n' tobaco vendor - we dreamed wistfully of the day when the weather would clear and we could take our keenly honed sick-skills back to the wall! mike near the top of our new crag - the mist enshrouded and verdant town walls beckoning us beyond SEND MOTHERFUCKER! 2. the second and greater adventure came when layton left his mithril-woven jacket and sacred cell-phone behind on a park bench - we did not discover this till returning to the traffic paradise of seattle and after hours of showing folks at the uw rock how to Get It Done - finally discovered that a hobo named charles had picked it up - only took the 30th call to the phone for him to figure out how to answer - his english was pretty poor even by 13th century standards, but eventually we got to the heart of the issue, which was he'd give us the phone back if we got him some beer, as after all "it's near the end of the month, man, you know?" - getting directions was another affair altogether, and as his last ride in a motorized carriage was probably back during the hoover administration, almost more useless than if we'd just driven in circles around index screaming his name my cornhole, worried that we might be walking into a deliverance-style situation, which i've done enough times in my life now to know better, admonished me to procure a butter-knife from a fashionable bavarian eatery before the drive out to index - niether of us had planned on what unfolded - charles had been evicted from a derilict trailer by the charming gay couple that had bought all the local land, but they'd been gracious enough to let him keep squatting in a tent in the woods, guarded by 2 ill-tempered horses, which laughed at my wannabe-bowie knife and proceeded to nip layton a couple of times - i tell you, that man has an uncanny, almost animal, allure to him! a whole caste of motley characters enabled this ultimate, and succesful, adventure - the applachian americans who assisted in decephiring our directions despite the fact that mike used the phrase "retarded redneck" within the first 3 seconds of meeting them, the meth-addled teenage redskin standing point on the corner of 2 dirt roads in the woods who, in the time honored tradition of his people, necesitated we barter his useless directions in exchange for our cigarettes, the entire household of budweiser drinking, hungry-man/pot-pie eating folks that somehow seduced mike into their hovel before descending upon him with forks and spoons intent on consuming him raw and screaming, "ger," the land-owning, cocktail-swigging gentleman who was so crestfallen at our refusal of his invitation to come on up to the a-frame for some drinks and a hot-shower, etc. a night i shall not forget until i also forget the lyrics to "karma chameleon" on the climbing end of things, and for anyone who's still reading, i recommend as a fun solo outing - linking up the n face of vesper, to a walk/scramble over to the south summit of big 4, then back to a scramble up to sperry - did this over the next 2 days, when my squamish partner went AWOL - my first trip into the monte cristo area and fun to be mostly alone in - the climbing on vesper's quite sane and enjoyable as a solo (the benefit of not taking all that heavy gear being that you can instead carry the same weight in booze and not skimp on the training while pumping-up the party-tude) - bivying in the swirling clouds of the summit while listening to brain-candy only to awake to Rage and a lumiscent moon was ethereal i'm out of creative things to say Gear Notes: Total Consciousness not required Approach Notes: many moons, paleface, many moons
  4. Trip: Les Cornes - Springbok Arete Date: 8/1/2007 Trip Report: Last week we climbed the celebrated Sprinbok Arete in the Anderson River Valley of BC. What a route! It was my second attempt after adventureboy and I failed to even find the river valley last year. We left bham in the early afternoon on wednesday figuring to have plenty of time to make the approach and bivy near the base. Unfortunatly it was like a waking re-occuring nightmare, and we spent many hours wandering around on the wrong logging roads, lost, trying to make sense of it all. Luckily it all came together, and we made it to the roadside, bug-infested bivy around sunset, intent on now climbing car to car. A 5 am start saw us alder-ing our way up to the base which wasn't nearly as bad as others have made it sound. A little schwacky but its short, there is a path to follow, and you gain very little elevation. The Arete from the base: I started us off on the first block. Four mediocre pitches and a bit of simul-climbing brought us to the base of the fierce fingercrack of pitch 7 (McLane), where we swapped blocks. Scenic: Tyree lead on up the hard 5.9 fingercrack and the off-width, but whoops, ended up on the wrong wide crack. We climbed a clean long off-width to the right of where we were supposed to be. After fucking around for a little bit we rapped off a nut back to the route. Ty smoked the orange head wall pitch hooting and hollering, having a good ol' time. Awesome and steep. Flakes, fists, and hands: The quality of the rock kept on improving as we continued on via a fun flake traverse. I took over for the 10c fingercrack, and the immaculate 5.9 layback and elegant slab above. Quality: Ty took us to the summit from there via never-ending finger locks. A quick pound and we moved on to the au cheval. "Gut-churning" Compared to Gato Negro the descent was casual. The worst rap was prolly the first one. And the running water was well appreciated. 4 raps and some downclimbing brought us back to the base. Overall we did the route in 10 pitches with some simulclimbing. Car to car in 15 hours. Its the best route i've climbed in BC and lies somewhere in my top 5 favorite alpine rock routes. The grades are nice and stout. Highly recommended. Because you can never get enough Steinbok: Gear Notes: Twin 60's. Rack of doubles to #2, singles through new #5. Couple RP's. Approach Notes: Dont ask me.
  5. Trip: Gunsight range - West face-north peak Date: 7/25/2007 Trip Report: Inspired by CC.com trip reports Jens (Holsten) and I got on a boat last week and headed towards the fabled gunsight range. Though this website can sometimes be a waste of time, even a repository for spray and slander (mine own included) I feel sort of obligated to return the favor, as without the info gleaned here our trip may have never been. Anyway, enough bullshit. The trail up Agnes creek was uneventful right up to five mile camp, where the trail crew had stopped. Immediately after this we encountered the aforementioned hundreds of blow-downs and developed a cowboy like posture after so much straddling. A light cloud cover didn't do a whole lot to abate the heat, but it was better than nothing. We had hoped (foolishly) to knock off the approach in a marathon afternoon, but after reaching the spruce creek turn off decided to bivy. This was a smart decision, as darkness would have found us stranded on a 50 degree hillside suffering in the rain. Instead we camped on the river and ducked in the tent when the light showers hit. Not a whole lot to say about the next day, just some straight suffering up a hill. Blake and company humbly understated this phase of the journey, we were just glad to find the mountain. Several hours later we hopped onto the blue glacier in the afternoon heat, hoping not to get creamed by an ice fall. We walked right by what was to be our basecamp, intent on making it over to the chikamin. After some sketchy recon we discovered our mistake and settled in to one of the most amazing bivies ever. Wednesday morning we ambled over the pass above our camp and roped up for the super loose step down onto the gigantor chikamin glacier. A mellow crampon session found us at the base of the west face, I only fell into one talus hole where I nearly lost control of my bowels. The route is gained off a rad traversing ledge which beats the hell out of some ungainly moat. As almost everyone else has said the rock quality is superb, if a bit grainy the higher you get. If this wall was a little closer to the road I don't think this would be the case. Anyway, I headed up just to the right of Blake's cairn and wound my way towards the fabled crux pitch. It seems like Nelson and Dietrich (I think that's his name) veered right on the second pitch and climbed a very thin corner before moving back left to the belay which supposedly needs bolts. Again, no bolts were found in situ, leading us to conclude that Jim Nelson had a bad memory. The second belay would be more comfortable with bolts, but they certainly aren't necessary. Jens tentatively made his way upwards, made a tenuous move left of thin flakes and was still unconvinced that the pitch would succumb to our assault. However, move by move, he found unanticipated decent holds, good gear, more positive flakes (a trademark of this wild wall) and uncanny knobs, all of which took him past the crux to a well deserved victory whoop. Here he is crushing. I also managed to scrap my way up this stellar pitch, which left us exhilarated but also a little nervous about the rest of the climb, which wasn't quite over yet. The next crack system looks sort of like a hand crack off the belay, unfortunately its a shallow flaring flake. It does accept gear however, and after a little bit of pansying around I commited to the steep lieback. Another flake follows the first, and I did a little more pansying, unsure if our relatively light alpine rack would get me to the next stance. Luckily the crack finally turns into hands, where I was able to recover enough to run it out to a little knob belay where I plugged in the last of my gear, the four camalot and a blue alien. Here's Jens following. The final bit of steepness supposedly contained some crux wideness, which Jens so graciously allowed me to lead, but it ended up being a little less difficult than the third pitch, which didn't dissapoint me in the least. Jens led one more shorty to "flat ground" and we eventually found a way up onto the crazy summit blocks. The library is about to close so I'm just going to leave it at that for now. I'll give everybody some time to slander and wrap it up when I get the chance. Suffice to say, the rock is good, almost as good as Index. Maybe even better than Mt. Stuart.
  6. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Girth Pillar via lower N Ridge Date: 7/27/2007 Trip Report: A couple days ago, Kevin N. and I found this route in great shape. Seems a bit has been written here before; I'll echo the general sentiment that the Pillar features some of the finest rock climbing in the Cascades. 3 pitches of steep, sustained, and thought-provoking climbing in stupendous position--words and pictures fail. Go climb it. Left Mountaineers Cr to climb the lower N Ridge (fun rock by itself), then gained the Ice Cliff Gl above the calving seracs. Surmounted minor firn/neve difficulties to make good time to the pillar (hit the base of the business mid-morning, and Stuart greeted us w/ an impressive clamor of snow shedding from the NE Face slabs). I drew the first pitch, which had negligible wetness, fun moves and a good wake-up call for the steepness above. Kevin sent the p.2 crux on-sight, and I followed cleanly--we were stoked. The third and last pillar-pitch rocks--high mountain woody time. The Sherpa Glacier descent is probably past its prime, but we had the glacier gear along, and 'twas nice to get our dried husks out of the sun. Currently the descent--fairly technical with hard snow and loose rock--was probably more taxing for me than the ascent (fatigue?). Rapped once to clear a 'shrund, burning some of our booty. (We netted 8 stoppers and 2 'biners, one a bitchin'...neutrino! On the Girth Pillar! Imagine that.) I'd be curious if anybody can corroborate AlpineDave's posting in another thread: " I'm surprised no one has mentioned rapping one of the buttresses further East from the Sherpa glacier. I've read a report of people climbing close to the base of the West Ridge of Sherpa, and then rapping down to the basin below. Sounded pretty strait forward, with maybe 8-10 single rope rapps at existing stations. " I've not done the NW Buttress descent, but am casting about for the best option this time of year. The Teanaway/Ingall's approach would've been WAY hot late last week, and didn't fit well w/ our plans. We didn't see any humans on the N side. For several hours during the climb, a hummingbird accompanied us with its sound effects--cool. Hiked down in the cool of the early evening. Encountered a porcupine, and a beautiful, resident buck both on way up and down. On the wildlife topic, the friendly bugs also embraced us with open mandibles and proboscises, always spurring action. Arrived in der hamlet w/ a flat tire to fix, just past kitchen closings. Contented w/ the Champagne of Beers and chips for the tired drive home. Kevin passed out in the passenger seat; I only passed out once (Chevy Chase style), luckily while stopped at a Monroe traffic light. Some pics, a few more in the gallery: leaving rock for the glacier: step of vertical snow: Pillar shots were challenging, with sunlit glaciers and shadowed climbers. You photog's out there please chime in w/ advice on how to get a good shot in these conditions, sans flash. One attempt yielded an impressionistic result--the blur appropriately connoting K's speed (and steeze): K following p1: This pic's for the special edifier (caption = "not exit 38"): sendbot: a more chill portion of the descent: go that way: Gear Notes: medium large rack was good to have.
  7. Trip: Forbidden - NW Face, with a near disastrous descent. Date: 7/26/2007 Trip Report: On July 25 Blake, AJScott, and I headed up to the Boston Basin with our sights set on the NW Face (really a ridge) of Forbidden. This was my third trip up to the basin, and I had been telling Aaron and Blake how easy the trail was all morning, but somehow I managed to lose the trail in the first avy path, forcing us to shwack straight up for an hour to get to the basin. We were planning on bivying at the west ridge notch, but the prospect of lounging in the sun for the rest of the day and not having to carry bivy gear any higher stopped us at the high camp. Boston and Sahale Forbidden. To get to the notch we climbed the rightmost "catscratch" just left of the couloir. The next morning Aaron and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:33 for coffee and tea, and got Blake up when our breakfast burritos were ready. At about 5 we were on our way up the glacier. We were told that the couloir was out (on a side note, someone left a rope sitting at the base of the couloir), so we decided to go up one of the gullies to the left. One mid 5th pitch lead to easier ground, and before long we were at the base of the west ridge. We downclimbed to skiers left for a while, then made a couple of 60m raps down to the snow. From the top of the glacier we belayed a traverse down and to skiers right to a 2 pin rap anchor that would get us over the gaping shrund. I went first, and ended up having to do a free hanging rappel down to the knots in the end of the rope, and a swing and quick axe placement to get over to other side of the shrund; I was then able to direct the other guys to a better spot to come down. From there it was an easy walk down to a ramp that put us on the ridge. Aaron rapping the huge icecliff. The ridge is pretty much amazing. The first half was class 4 with a little loose rock here and there, but fun climbing. A short simul pitch up an arete just past a neat ridge top sidewalk took us to the crux, which was a short but steep 5.8 fistcrack (could be bypassed to the left), and a pitch of fun 5.7 face climbing. From there we simul climbed 2 long low class 5 pitches on spectacularly clean and solid rock to the summit. This route deserves far more attention than I think it gets. It is like the west ridge in terms of rock quality, but a little steeper and about 3 times longer. I would say that it is the best moderate climb that I have ever done. Aaron called it a mini north ridge of Stuart. If you are up for the alpine shenanigans on the approach, seriously climb this route. After relaxing for a while on the summit we quickly downclimbed the west ridge, and once at the notch I told Aaron that we should be at the car by 8 or 9. I spoke too soon. Aaron found a reasonable way to downclimb all the way to the snow in one of the gullies and was way ahead of us, but Blake and I went a different way and decided to do a rappel because of all of the loose rock. At the base of the gully I started to pull our ropes, and a few rocks came down. Blake suggested that we get out of the line of fire, so he moved to the left of the gully, and I to the right. As I continued to pull the rope we heard the terrifying sound of a big rock coming down, and at the last moment I decided that Blake's spot looked more protected, and ran in that direction. The next few seconds happened slowly. I felt a horrible pain in my leg, saw a big rock and my shoe flying down the slope out of the corner of my eye, and gave a loud yell. I think we both knew in an instant that things had just gotten bad. I lifted my pant leg and a stream of blood squirted out a ways. I sat in shock holding pressure on the deep gash while Blake clipped me into a #2 Camalot anchor, grabbed my medical bag (which happened to be in my coat pocket because we had decided to leave my pack at camp), and went down to get my shoe. I quickly decided that my leg was not broken, which put my mind at ease because it meant that I would get to climb more this summer. I managed to stop the bleeding and bandage myself up, and somewhere along the line slid down a few inches to put my weight on the anchor. I suddenly heard a huge crack behind me. Blake yelled something and shoved me aside and in my numb state of shock I watched a several hundred pound block roll past where I had just been sitting. “Wow, things just aren't going well.” It turns out my weight on the anchor had caused the Camalot (which was destroyed in the process) to tear the flake off, just as Blake was working on setting up a better anchor. Without much discussion we decided that it was time to go. Blake found a crack to place the only nut that we had left (Aaron had the rack, and was way below us at this point) to lower me down to the glacier. Once on the glacier I glissaded and limped down to camp as Blake ran ahead to start packing up. Once I got back to camp we ate some dinner donated by our friendly neighbors (if you read this, thanks again), and Blake and Aaron packed up our packs, dividing up most of the weight between themselves as the marmots watched curiously. Under normal conditions it is reasonable to get to the trailhead in about an hour. We left a little after 8 and got down there at about 1. The walk out went pretty much as one might expect: a lot of swearing, some clenching of teeth, and a snail's pace. By 4am I was doped up in the Skagit Valley Hospital, chatting with the doctor about how great the mountains are. I got 6 stitches and can't really walk all that well for now, but things could have been a whole lot worse; in fact things went about as well as they could have in that situation. The point: Never get too comfortable or let your guard down in the mountains. Once you do, they will kick your ass just to remind you who's in charge. Rockfall has been my biggest fear for a long time, but for some reason I was not paying enough attention to it in this case. Climb with people who you think you can trust in stressful situations, and don't go out there if you aren't sure that you can keep your head on straight when the shit goes down. Aaron and Blake get two thumbs up as partners, as they really stayed calm, and were super helpful on the way out. Thanks guys. Oh, and if you climb with Blake, remind him that he might want all of that food that he may have left behind at the last minute. Gear Notes: Carry a medical kit and know how to use it. It doesn't need to be huge, you can only do so much out there, but you should be able to stop a good amount of bleeding to stabilize a person. Sure you can improvise bandages, but it is nice to not have to think about things and be creative when everything is crazy. I had a wide gauze roll, a sponge, tape, a triangle bandage, and was glad to use it all. We bootied about 4 nuts, 1 pin, 2 slings, an atc, and could have taken 2 ropes (though one was bleached white). Approach Notes: Road still closed at the Eldorado TH. This adds about 2.75 miles to the Boston Basin approach.
  8. Trip: Valhallas -> Mt. Olympus --> Bailey Range --> High Divide Date: 7/5/2007-7/12/2007 Trip Report: My friend Douglas and I just completed a 77-mile, 8-day traverse through the most rugged and beautiful parts of the Olympic Mountains. We began with a 2-day bushwack up the South Fork of the Hoh River and up the steep ridge just north of Valkyrie Creek, which brought us to a range of peaks to the southwest of Mount Olympus known as the Valhallas. This area is probably only accessed by a couple parties a year. The Valhallas appear like mineature Bugaboos, although the climbing is a bit crumblier (although still plenty fun!). After a day of climbing in the Valhallas (a day of rain – our only day of poor weather the entire trip - prevented more peak-bagging), we traversed over to Olympus via the rarely travelled Hubert Glacier. We crossed over the summit, and headed for Bear Pass at the south end of the Bailey Range. Two days of traversing the Bailey Range brought us to the High Divide. On the eighth day of our adventure we hiked out the North Fork of the Hoh River (on a trail!). I posted some photos and a more detailed description on my climbing webpage: http://sabegg.googlepages.com/valhallas Enjoy! Approach Notes: prepare for a physical challenge!!
  9. Trip: Gunsight Peaks Traverse - "Gunrunner" IV 5.10 Date: 7/11/2007 Trip Report: John Scurlock Photo A long-winded TR from a long, windy climb... The Gunsight range is a N-S trending ridgeline of fantastic granite near the southern end of the Ptarmigan Traverse. With four named summits over 8,000' tall and several intermediate pinnacles, it made the perfect candidate for an early July destination. Dan Hilden (Dannible) and I spent 3 full days climbing up there this week, and completed 2 new routes, plus the second ascent of the E. Face. The first day we were tired from the approach, so we didn't aim for anything too big, but found an exciting climb anyhow. I'll let the pictures tell the story... The route begins in the obvious corner which splits the face. We had to downclimb into the icy moat, so the first pitch is about 15' longer than it looks. The first pitch was splitter fingers/hands and ended at a nice ledge. Dan escapes the moat... The next pitch Dan lead around to the right, then straight up through wild loose overhanging chimneys. Here's looking straight down past my shaking toes: The last pitch was an easy romp to the summit where we found great views of Dome and Sinister. Artsy rope throw photo on the descent After playing in the spotlight of a natural cannonhole, we headed back to camp and sorted gear out for the next day. On July 9th we circled around the range along the Chickamin Glacier to the north end, well past the NE peak. We found some great hand cracks which lead to the ridge crest at its terminus and began the traverse. Wide stemming into a perfect hand crack... From the ridge crest we climbed south on fantastic granite above the Chickamin and Blue Glaciers. N->S allows you to climb the steep North faces and descend the south sides of the peaks. Pitch 2 climbs to the left (East) side of the crest and featuresan amazing 5.8 corner and face crack. The day definitely had more of a "climb" feel than a level traverse, and we'd both fully recomend it if you have a complete day in the area. Along the way we had one single rap from the NE peak and one double rap from the middle peak. The fourth pitch on the route was a well-protected face climb leading to an exposed roof on golden rock. We summited the Northeast peak in 7 or 8 pitches, and the climb to there would be a fun grade III. The last pitch to the NE summit actually began by circling around to the right (West) and climbing a chimney and then through the hole in the back of an enormous roof to the top. From there it was on to the North and Middle summits. The West face, in profile on the right, is still awaiting a FFA. There was one spot while climbing up the the North Peak where we were in a face crack which ended, so we pendulumed to the right to join other features. Apart from this bit of aid, the entire climb was done free, and I think we could have avoided it if we had looked ahead more carefully. By the time we summited our third peak (the middle one) I was feeling dehydrated and exhausted, but Dan found his second wind and led on as the sun set. He lead up to the top of the South Peak as the stars came out in force, and we rappeled down onto the Blue Glacier in the dark. The next morning we went to the East Face of the middle peak to climb the route which Sol (Frosty_the_tradman) and friend did last summer. (By the way, congrats to Sol on getting married last weekend, your route is fantastic too!) We broke up the pitches differently, and belayed on comfy ledges. See their trip report for more details. Above this splitter hand crack step right then up the finger crack and continue up the crack in the R-facing corner, over the lip(crux .10d), and to a big ledge. This elminates the need for a hanging belay and as long as you save one hand-sized cam for the last 15', it should be easy gear-wise, because of changing crack sizes. The second to last pitch features a beautiful delicate slab climbing. This face is in shadow all afternoon, and the sunset topout gets a Blake-and-Dan thumbs up. This was a fun trip and Dan is a great partner and camp chef. It was nice climbing with another young punk for once, as we have a combined age of only 41. [edited to add topo -porter] Gear Notes: Single cams Blue alien, #3 Camalot, #4 Camalot Double cams Green alien - #2 Camalot One set of nuts Crampons, Ice axe Should have brought more pringles... Approach Notes: Agnes Creek via Stehekin 3786-3784-Gunrunnertopo.doc
  10. Trip: Denali - Denali Diamond Date: 6/19/2007 Trip Report: At Colin's and others' request, I'm posting as a trip report an email I already sent out to friends, with a few additional photos added. Enjoy. -MW We flew to Kahiltna base camp on June 2nd and over the next several days ascended the west buttress of Denali to the 14,300 foot basin. We arrived here with 3 days of food. We would leave 10 days later with at least 4 times that amount. On our 9th day on the mountain, we went from 14 to the summit on a nice day… joined by over 100 other folks who had camped up at 17,000'! Here's the fixed lines two days earlier: Although it was a surreal experience, it was actually the first time I had ever summitted Denali by this route, and I have to say I enjoyed it plenty despite the crowds. As always, Colin enjoyed himself too: Two days later, Colin joined the extreme ski team and climbed the upper West Rib to the summit and skied the Orient Express in his mountaineering boots and miniature skis, while I gave an exertion cough I had developed some opportunity to recover. In ensuing days, the ski team went on to ski the Messner, Rescue, Orient, and numerous other steep chutes on both the north and south peaks of the mountain, taking advantage of some of the best ski conditions in many years on these features. A stretch of mostly good weather during this week also allowed our friends John (Jedi) and Evan to climb the Cassin Ridge in 3 days after they took a chance on an ambiguous forecast that yielded bomber high mountain weather. Their successes were contagious and fired us up. On the evening of the 16th, we descended to our "basecamp" at 7,800' at the junction of the northeast fork, and the following evening left this camp for our planned route: the Denali Diamond, a 3500' granite wall left of the Cassin Ridge. The route then continues up an additional 4500 feet of steep snow terrain alongside, then on, the upper Cassin Ridge. We made rapid progress up the northeast fork despite unfrozen snow conditions and reached the bivouac crevasse at the foot of the Cassin Ridge in 5 ½ hours from 7,800'. We spent the day resting as light snow fell and visibility remained limited, but a forecast for 2, possibly 3 days of sunny skies and high pressure kept us optimistic. At midnight that night, the clouds evaporated and we began climbing. We simul climbed a half dozen easy pitches of snow and ice to where the wall steepened. I then led several easy to moderate mixed pitches with some simul climbing. The route unfolded beautifully, with astounding rock quality and well iced chimneys and grooves that provided continuously stellar climbing. Colin led a block of pitches up some wonderful mixed terrain that brought us to the "Diamond", an enormous block that dominates the wall. I then led a very steep squeeze chimney filled with ice, followed by a difficult mixed pitch. Soon we found ourselves entering the final crux corner system that leads to the snowfields hanging above. Colin led two very steep waterfall pitches (5+) which held sustained and continuous 90 degree sections. I thought these quite reminiscent in terms of difficulty and quality to the "Shaft" on the Moonflower of Mt. Hunter. The first of these leaned left and actually overhung in places, requiring some delicate and technical stemming: The second pitch began with a short but technical M6 mixed step, followed by relentlessly vertical but excellent ice. As with everything we had climbed to this point, the protection and rock quality was absolutely superb, allowing us to focus entirely on the climbing, and maximizing our enjoyment. A short ramble above the second step led us to the infamous crux pitch. To the right, the FA party's notorious 25 foot, A3 roof loomed. This looked very intimidating. Just left of this was an even worse looking chimney (unclimbed): Just a bit further to the left, the main corner continued above as a 40 meter, vertical, inside corner, with no ice. This pitch, climbed by the 2nd and 3rd ascent parties, had never been freed, but was estimated at M7. The plentiful cracks assured us that it would go one way or another, but at this point in the day (15 hours) our primary goal was simply getting the rope up there. We brewed up some water as the afternoon sun began to blaze upon us- our timing was working out as hoped, climbing the hardest part in the warm sun. Colin started up and the climbing proved quite hard. After 20 meters of mixed free and aid, he belayed, to recover some pieces that would be needed above. I belayed from a fully hanging stance while Colin worked out more mixed free and aid climbing to another belay 30 meters higher. Following with both packs was a major pumpfest. Above, instead of the easy terrain we were now hoping for, we were treated to 2 more pitches of M5-ish climbing in icy, awkward chimneys, before we abruptly exited into the massive snowfield paralleling the upper Cassin Ridge, at about 16,000'. It was 9 PM, hour 21 since leaving the base. Although the Alaska Range was surrounded on all sides by enormous thunderheads, the weather up here was beautiful and windless, a perfect day to be on this huge face. Finding only hard ice and thin snowcover, we were forced to climb another 600 feet to find snow deep enough to obtain a tent ledge without having to chop into ice. Both of us were now very dehydrated and therefore pretty much knackered; as such, this last section of "easy" climbing was, for me at least, the mental crux of the whole climb, and I had to dig deep. Once settled in the tent we could begin repairing the deficit we'd put ourselves in, brewing up much water and eating a good meal. We then slept soundly in Colin's custom 2 person sleeping bag; between this bag and the BD firstlight tent, our bivi setup weighed almost nothing yet allowed us enough comfort to get a good rest. Day 2 was bright and sunny, so we slept in and did not begin climbing until 2 PM. This day was like a whole different climb: all snow climbing, and at altitude. We broke trail in variable snow conditions for over 3 hours before finally joining the Cassin around 17,500'. Anticipating a cold, late evening summit, we stopped at 19,000' to brew up in the evening sun and prevent a repeat of the previous day's dehydration. Smoke from lightning caused fires began to infiltrate the mountains, but otherwise it was relatively warm and beautiful. At 9:45 PM we stood alone on the summit in a cold stiff wind, happy it was now all downhill from here. Our time on the 8000 foot face was 45 hrs, 40 minutes, and this was the route's 5th ascent. At just after midnight we reached the tent and food we'd left behind at 14,000 on the west buttress. The weather shut down the following afternoon. I love it when the timing is this perfect. We remained on the mountain for another week: me at Kahiltna basecamp with Lisa, Colin at 14,000 in hopes of some further climbing; but, the weather would not allow it. On the positive side, with the right connections, Mountain High Pizza Pie delivers to basecamp in 90 minutes or less: Gear Notes: Standard alpine rack to 3", 6 screws (mostly 13's), handful of pins of all types, lots of slings, a light pack, and a good weather forecast. Approach Notes: The Northeast fork of the Kahiltna is always a heads-up experience, but don't let rangers or British climbers tell you it's near-impossible. Go look for yourself, move fast, and use common sense.
  11. Trip: Salish Peak & Roan Wall linkup - 17 pitches 5.10+ - Date: 6/20/2007 Trip Report: Yesterday Darin Berdinka and I climbed two new grade III routes near Darrington. The are both recently completed and feature flawless granite in a beautiful spot. We did them in a day 16 hours round trip. Approach using the Squire Creek Trail towards Three Fingers, and the Roan Wall is on your right, easily noticeable from the head of the valley. Ours was probably the 4th ascent of both of the routes, but they deserve lots of visitors. The Roan Wall has a 5.8 bolted pitch, a 5.4 cracks pitch, then a bit of scrambling before 8 more pitches up the steep wall. Mostly small edgy face climbing, although the last 3 pitches have cracks mixed in. Locate bolts on the above bulge to begin climbing. The 5th (crux) pitch involves a leftward move close to the belay The last 3 pitches have fun crack climbing. Then you top out and are a short walk from this: Scramble off the top of the Roan Wall by walking along to the left, then across to the base of Salish Peak. Every pitch is mixed crack and face, with lots of fun exposed moves. The 3 hardest moves are all somewhere in the 5.10 range and you could AO on a draw. Pitch 1 Darin had told me that the face move was 5.11something and I A0ed without trying it out. He freed it on TR and said it was more like .10c The 6th pitch was spectacular face and crack... maybe the best of the route. You can rappel the route in 5 double-rope rappels, using fixed stations. The black webbing/grey mammut runners are ours. From the base of the route, we high-tailed it back to the car in 3:40, because I insisted to Darin that we complete the day wihout headlamps. After all, the solstice is good for something, right? (The trailhead is at the base of the landslide in the distance) Cheers to Chris Greyell for putting up the routes, and to Payless Shoes, whose $20 sneakers passed the test. Also, the gas station in Darrington gives out all its hot food for free after 10pm:hcluv: , so thanks to Darin for putting up with my erratic driving when my hunger-crazed brain payed more attention to Taquitos than turns on the highway. Darin was a great partner even though he originally tried to get me to leave Bellingham at 2:30 AM! This linkup is one of the best rock climbs I've done, it should be high on the to-do list!
  12. Trip: Mt. Robson - Emperor Face, House-Haley (FA) Date: 5/25/2007 Trip Report: Excited by a good forecast, Steve House drove north from Bend on Wednesday afternoon for his 7th attempt on Robson's Emperor Face. Fortunately all of the more talented climbers he approached could not go, so we met up in Seattle and hit the road up to Robson on Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon we flew with Yellowhead Helicopters to the Helmet-Robson col, and left the col at 4:30am on Friday to approach the Emperor Face by descending the ramped ice-fall above the Mist Glacier. We climbed the face in two long lead blocks, both seven pitches long. My block had longer pitches (about 80m on average) and moderate climbing, then Steve's block had normal-length pitches (about 55m on average) and much more difficult climbing. Our route roughly followed the gully system immediately left of the Stump-Logan, but on the last pitch we suddenly encountered 3 fixed pitons. Presumably Stump and Logan finished a little bit to the left of the arete that is shown in most photos. Our route shared at least the last pitch with theirs, and perhaps the last two pitches. I reached Steve's belay at the top of the headwall at 11:30pm, and we spent the short night sitting on a small ledge chopped from the ice. In the morning Steve led two easy mixed pitches up to the crest of the Emperor Ridge, which we then crossed onto the upper SW Face. We traversed across the South Face, me now feeling very sick for some reason (I think a bug that I have had ever since Patagonia), and joined the Wishbone Arete in deteriorating weather. The upper Wishbone Arete included some funky gargoyle climbing, and we topped out in a whiteout at 1:00pm. We descended the Kain Route and then Steve hiked up to retrieve our camp at the Helmet-Robson col while I sat and contemplated vomiting. Our camp-to-camp time was approximately 36 hours. On Sunday we descended the Robson Glacier (sometimes stressfully off route due to the whiteout), and then hiked down to Kinney Lake, leaving the last 7km of walking for Monday morning. I probably won't have time to post pictures until July, unfortunately.
  13. OK folks here it is...the long awaited CC.com photo contest voting. We got a little busy with other stuff (life, work, hospital stays, etc) so sorry it took so long, but here it is. The rules are simple....just like last year you can vote for one photo in each catagory. After 10 days, we'll check out the results and award the winners. Happy voting! The voting ends April 20th at 8pm, and you'll be alble to see the results then. The voting is at the bottom and finalist pictures are below for reference when voting: Catagory: Cragging Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: Picture 9: Picture 10: Picture 11: Picture 12: Picture 13: Picture 14: Catagory: Alpine Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: Picture 9: Picture 10: Picture 11: Picture 12: Picture 13: Picture 14: Picture 15: Catagory: Scenic Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: Picture 9: Picture 10: Picture 11: Picture 12: Picture 13: Picture 14: Picture 15: Picture 16: Picture 17: Picture 18: Picture 19: Catagory: Skiing/Boarding Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: There is no picture 8. Any votes for picture 8 will be disregarded. Picture 9: Catagory: Bouldering Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Catagory: Ice Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: Picture 9: Catagory: Humor Picture 1: Picture 2: Picture 3: Picture 4: Picture 5: Picture 6: Picture 7: Picture 8: Picture 9: Picture 10: Picture 11:
  14. Trip: Utah Desert Tower Tour - Date: 3/20/2007 Trip Report: My wife Michelle and I just returned from a two week trip climbing desert towers around Moab, Utah. Overall we had a great trip, climbing 11 routes on 10 towers (actually 9 towers and 1 mesa). Our first stop was Arches National Park. We decided to warm up on Off Balanced Rock, North Chimney (5.7). The 100-foot runout on the second pitch was a little unnerving but luckily the chimney was fairly secure. Here's a shot of me taking a picture of Michelle coming up the chimney: On top of Off Balanced Rock: Next stop was the obligatory Owl Rock, Olevsky Route (5.9), definitely a must do tower for anyone visiting Arches. Michelle rapping off: That evening we hiked out to Delicate Arch for the sunset. Next it was time for the Fisher Towers. It rained a little the night we got there, so climbing Ancient Art the next day was out, as climbing dry mud is bad enough. Instead we did the really cool hike through the towers and out to a viewpoint. Later that evening it seemed to dry out enough to give Lizard Rock, Entry Fee (5.9) a go. Leading up: Michelle on top: The next day we headed up to do Ancient Art, The Corkscrew Route (III 5.10d) The route climbs up the central chimney then up the highest point on the left. Following the first bolted crux: The summit has to be one of the top five coolest spots in the world that I have been. We came back down and I decided to give a go at The Cobra (5.11 R). I mean, how much longer is this thing going to be there? I had to get it while I still could. Chalking up under the lip: One more day in the Fisher Towers and we wanted a little bit more, so we climbed the Kingfisher, Colorado Northeast Ridge (IV 5.8 C2). Kingfisher, the route ascends the left side of the tower: This was actually Michelle's favorite route of the whole trip! Not because the climbing was that great - mostly a bolt ladder with a few very C2 mud placements and some good free-mudding. But the overall line, exposure, and summit were fantastic. Looking straight down the Northeast Ridge: Summit views - The Titan, Echo Tower, and Cottontail Tower: Next stop was Castle Valley. We of course had to do the obligatory route on Castleton Tower- the Kor-Ingalls (III, 5.9). Castleton Tower: The route follows the central dihedral: The line is good, but the climbing leaves a bit to be desired. The crux offwidth is only cruxy because they tell you to bring so much god-damned gear up the route and you have to squeeze up the thing with all this crap. In reality you only need a number three Camalot and 4 quickdraws to lead the crux pitch. Anyways, cool summit. Michelle coming up the crux OW/Chimney: The Rectory came with many recommendations, and although it is a mesa and not a tower, it still has a tower feel and is a really cool desert formation. The Rectory is the Mesa in the foreground, the route climbs directly up the facing wall: We climbed Fine Jade on the Rectory (III, 5.11a). The first two pitches are the crux and are both interesting and sustained. The warm up pitch is a steep but short 5.10d hand-OW-hand crux. Michelle following the first pitch: We hiked across the Rectory to watch some climbers on the Honeymoon Chimney of The Priest. Climbers on Fine Jade, The Rectory: Later that afternoon we decided to climb the North Chimney of Castleton Tower (III, 5.9), as many people consider it the better of the two moderate routes. The first pitch was ultimately classic. Two parallel cracks, mostly hand jamming, and interesting moves for an entire 150 feet. The second pitch, however, was mostly junk and I linked all the way to the notch in exactly 200 feet. Michelle following the first pitch: The next mission was Sister Superior, Jah Man (III, 5.10c). Another fine desert route, with a stout but short crux on the 3rd pitch. And one of the finer chimneys in the area - the Sister Squeeze chimney on the 2nd pitch. Sister Superior: Up close: Looking down the 3rd pitch: On the summit looking toward Castleton and the Rectory: And for the final hurrah we took the long drive out and climbed Moses, Primrose Dihedrals (IV, 5.11d). Moses is the tallest tower: The route is everything it's cracked up to be - short but sustained pitches, interesting climbing, and an awesome position. Michelle coming up the 4th pitch: Pitch 5: Summit success: Gear Notes: SuperTopo: Desert Towers - a great guide for these routes. Approach Notes: High clearance 4x4 recommended - even for parking lots.
  15. Trip: Mt. Huntington - Nettle-Quirk Date: 3/12/2007 Trip Report: On March 10th, Jed Brown (Fairbanks, Alaska) and I flew from Talkeetna to the Tokositna Glacier below Mt. Huntington. On March 12th we climbed to the summit of Mt. Huntington via the West Face Couloir (Nettle-Quirk), and descended via the same route, in just under 15 hours roundtrip. We believe this might have been the first ascent of Huntington during the winter season. Although many teams descend from the top of the ice ramp, we found it to only be half-way to the summit, in terms of time and effort. Conditions and weather were excellent, although the temperatures were quite cold; we both frostnipped a few digits. After a few days contemplating other objectives, we gave in to the cold nights and flew out of the range on March 16th. A few lessons learned: -bring two pee bottles instead of one -bring mittens that you can actually do technical climbing in -bring a face mask that covers your nose -bring a sleeping bag rated to -30F instead of -10F -bring a larger than 2-person tent to basecamp -bring a thermarest to basecamp -muffins are very difficult to bite at -20F -bring basecamp down booties -don't go to Alaska before April!
  16. Me in Yosemite, 1965 FA Smith Rocks, 1995:
  17. Sobo posted a message today that made me realize that I had once joined him for an afternoon of ice climbing when he was up north about 10 years ago. I've climbed with a lot of random people over the years; most of whom I've forgotten and probably wouldn't recognize - however for some reason certain encounters stand out. Climbing with sobo was memorable for 2 reason... We climbed well into the dark and upon topping out on the second climb (Ripple - a classic mellow ice route that forms fat and sticky every year from October - March) I turned around and saw the comet Hale-bop glowing on the horizon above the canyon wall. It was a beautiful sight -- the stars glowing bright and this huge burning comet right in front of me. I think of the comet everytime I climb Ripple (which is at least a few times / season)... and only many occasions I've sat at the belay anchors and described the sight to various climbing partners. The second reason it was memorable was because sobo had a space blanket taped inside his helmet and when I asked him why he told me a long story about a forced bivy on some Cascade wall. I went home and taped my own space blanket inside my helmet and lo and behold a few years later found myself stuck on a route well after dark. It was cold as shit and after we dug a little ledge in the snow I pulled off my helmet and with pride showed my partner the space blanket that was still taped inside. Apart from sobo I've experienced a couple other memorable climbs with random people - including a rather frightening experience where some random guy whom I had never met till that morning (I called a random number posted on a bulletin board) decided to solo an ice route. Half way up his pick broke and he hung on one tool freaking out and screaming obscenities for 15 minutes until he got up the nerve to downclimb to a ledge where he could replace his pick and finish his solo. All the while I was standing at the base mentally preparing myself to watch a guy fall 100' to his death. Random climbing partners are kind of like one night stands... if the climbing or company was good then you'll have a clear recollection. Likewise if the climbing or company really sucked you'll remember the story for years! Any good stories out there about random people you've met and climbed with???
  18. Trip: Snow Cr Wall - N.Dih.Direct-Swing and a Prayer Date: 2/3/2007 Trip Report: Saturday Gary Yngve and I,Wayne Wallace, climbed the thin line left of White Slabs route on Snow Creek Wall. It went in 5 long pitches and was extremely difficult.The route got gradually harder as we went, which helped because we were both O-T-Couch. The intital 2 pitches went up fantastic thin ribbons up ramps and micro gulleys. Though thin,hard,and awkward they entertained us for the fist 120 meters emensly. At times the ice was 4 inches wide, half inch thick!They ended up in a wide curtain that felt very thick though an inch and a half deep.I ran this out 100 feet to reach the stance below the overhanging ice crux pillar. The ice pillar was short but extremely strenuous due to the overhanging angle. After that we entered a Scottish style ice gulley, more fun, though Gary had to relieve himself midway with a S3 bowel flush while following. Pitch 4 went up thin ice in the dihedral until the ice ran out then became very difficult dry tooling in a long sketchy lead. Many times I felt I would fall and die on the runout. Pitch 5 was easier though the deep snow and short hard sequences drained any energy we may have had available. Topping out after 8 hard hours we reveled in the glow of our first climb together. Hats off to Peter for dropping the hint of this climb,and Rat and Caps for exploring to make this an enticing prospect and wonderful testpiece. Thanks< Wayne and Gary Gary will follow with the pics, Cheers and hope to see you at the Mongo/Erden show this Thursday Gear Notes: Screws, pins and cams to 3"
  19. Trip: Mt. Index - Index Peak Traverse Date: 2/2/2007 Trip Report: Mark Bunker and I climbed the Index Peak Traverse yesterday, leaving the car at 4:30am, and returning very worn out at 3:30am this morning. Conditions were generally excellent, and we worth both amazed by how much ice there was all along the traverse. The first pitch on the North Face of the North Peak was almost bare rock, but conditions got consistently more wintery as we went, with the North Face of the Main Peak holding the most snow and rime. On the North Face of the North Peak, we climbed one ice pitch above the bowl, and then traversed right to climb the upper North Rib. There was a second ice pitch above the bowl that looked like very nice WI3, but we didn't take it because we weren't sure where it went. In retrospect, I think it would have been a much better route - more direct and faster climbing. On the North Face of the Middle Peak we climbed a gully system about 50m to the left of the standard summer rib, which had a nice section of WI3 and was I think a much better option for winter. On the North Face of the Main Peak we roughly followed the summer route until the traverse across the gully on the NW Face. Once in the gully we decided to climb directly up it to the summit ridge rather than traverse to the W Ridge as in summer. The descent was straightforward but long and tedious. The chockstone in the gully is completely covered, so no rappels are necessary.
  20. Trip: Cerro Aconcagua (22841 ft / 6962 m) - Polish Glacier direct Date: 1/5/2007 Trip Report: Last year I got the itch to climb a big mountain. Thinking about where to go, last spring I saw Brad Marshall's post here on cc.com looking for teammates for a 2006-2007 expedition. He was offering to do all the logistics planning, from airport-airport. Not knowing Argentina or the mountain at all, I signed up. Brad's trip report is here It was also appealing that this wasn't a guided trip, so after base camp we would be on our own. And it was affordable =). The Polish Glacier direct route looked good, offering some moderate glacier climbing at altitude, with an easy descent route. So, I teamed up with Mark Hinton from Colorado. We had previously met once on a training climb of the Rio Grande Pyramid in Nov. We seemed to get along good, so what the heck? Arriving in Mendoza just before Christmas, I met my 9 teammates: Mark, Brad, Sue, Hakno, Lyle, Rob, Dana, Alan, and Jim. 4 Canadians and 6 Americans. We enjoyed the culture of Argentina while prepping for the climb. Finally, on Dec 26, we started our approach hike up the Vacas Valley: We passed many frustrated people glad to be leaving. They shared stories of high winds & shredded tents, and all were leaving without getting to the summit. My friend Erik later told me this was called "La escoba de dios", or "the broom of God". Luckily this passed before we arrived. The end of the 2nd day, we got our first views of the peak. Looking up some 12000', it was most impressive: Eventually, we turned up the narrow Relinchos Valley and made the last few miles to base camp (called Plaza Argentina), just under 14k: Here began the hard work, and after a rest day we began hauling our gear up the mountain and continued acclimatizing. The route up to camp1 was interesting, and featured multiple sections of penitentes: Finally, we were staged at camp2 and took another rest day. Although we had a small snowstorm (couple inches of snow), our first potential summit day, Jan5, had a good forecast and we were excited. Camp2 offered by far the best views we had seen: By this time, we were getting used to tent life. We used Mark's EV2, which was pretty comfortable for me, considering that I am 6'2": We scouted out the lower glacier the day before our climb: photo courtesy of Mark Hinton Finally, the day had come. After a quick breakfast, we headed out by headlamp around 0430. There were electric storms coating the valleys below us, but it was clear above 20k. By about 10am, clouds started rolling in. Luckily there was little wind, and enough breaks in visibility to occassionally spot our next landmarks for climbing the route: Most of the glacier was snow (of various conditions and quality), and so the going was pretty straighforward. We simul-climbed, placing pickets and moving pretty well. The route steepens as you progress, and the crux was the 2nd rock band. This featured the only ice on the route, and was pretty fun to climb. After this, the only obstacle is the last, steep (>50deg) snowdome to reach the summit plateau. This seemed to go on forever, but finally we topped out. Visibility was poor, so I pulled out my gps. Unfortunately, it said the summit was about 1/3 mile away and 400' higher. Turns out this was a pretty easy hike, and the summit is actually a small hill on the plateau. Amazingly, the deep snow simply disappeared as we climbed the last 200', and from the top the descent trail (normal route) was obvious. We descended back to camp2 in about 3 hours, moving pretty slow (but steady), and crashed hard. The next day another snowstorm moved through and dropped maybe 4" of snow. After a rest day at 19400', we loaded up everything (= heavy packs), and headed back to the comforts of base camp: At base camp, I celebrated my birthday and enjoyed some beer, pizza, and parilla (bbq). I ended up selling my boots, rope, ice screws, runners, and summit pack to some guides who had lost their gear in a mule accident. I got more money than I would've on ebay, and they got a good deal since climbing gear is so expensive in Argentina. Mark and I had been the first from our expedition to summit, so we waited and eventually the rest of the team descended to base camp. All in all, 5 of 10 made the summit. The other 3 climbed the Polish Traverse route that we descended. Unfortunately, 1 of our teammates was earlier flown down from base camp due to being very sick, but by the time we made it to Mendoza he had recovered and gone to Buenos Aires to party. The hike out was scenic but long! We were all pretty excited about showers, wine, and good food. Prior to the 20 hours of travel back to the US, we went wine tasting and enjoyed some of Mendoza's finest: Uno mas, por favor: Looking back, it was a great trip. Mark was a great ropemate. Brad's planning efforts gave everyone a good shot at the summit. Everyone on the team was nice and all provided their own contributions to a fun adventure. Our schedule had great weather overall, and being there over the holidays meant few people on the mountain. I recommend the Polish Glacier direct for those with experience on moderate snow & ice looking to push themselves on a bigger mountain. Gear Notes: ice axe + ice tool, 60m 1/2 rope, pickets, couple ice screws, strong tent, mules Approach Notes: Vacas Valley - Relinchos Valley - Plaza Argentina - Ameghino Col - Polish Glacier
  21. Trip: Cerro Torre - Marsigny-Parkin-West-Face Date: 1/5/2007 Trip Report: I'm just recently back in Seattle from a three-week trip to Argentine Patagonia. Kelly Cordes and I based out of Campo Bridwell, and quickly established a gear cache up at the Niponino bivouac below El Mochito. For most the trip the weather was very bad, and we passed the time eating, drinking, bouldering, sport climbing, hiking, and sleeping. Finally, when our return flight was approaching, an excellent weather window arrived at the last moment. There were four days of almost perfect weather. The best weather window I had seen in two previous trips was about 48 hours of good weather. On the first day of the window, Jan. 4, we hiked up to the Niponino bivouac and tried to go to sleep early. We left Niponino at 2:30 am on Jan. 5 and hiked up the glacier below Cerro Torre's South Face to the base of the Marsigny-Parkin route (aka "A la Recherche Des Temps Perdues"). We started up the route at about 5:30 am, and climbed it in 8 hours, with 5 really long simul-leads, using ropeman ascenders to make the simul-climbing safer. The crux of the Marsigny-Parkin was moderate at perhaps M5, but the route was very sustained: consistently WI3-4, with almost no snow-patches on which to rest calves. We divided the climb into two massive lead blocks: Kelly led all 800m of the Marsigny-Parkin to the Col of Hope, and I led all 600m of the West Face from the Col of Hope to the summit. Just above the Col of Hope we stopped to melt snow, rest, eat, and drink. Soon above the col we reached The Helmet, which provided some tricky routefinding and steep unconsolidated snow, but we were able to surmount it on the right side. The mixed pitches beyond, in the dihedral, were moderate and went quickly. I started up the headwall pitch at 9:30pm, and finished just before dark. It was difficult considering how tired I was by then, and because of the angle (sustained vertical ice. Other parties have claimed overhanging, but I don't think it was quite that steep.), but the ice was actually very good. Above the headwall we decided that routefinding in the dark would be too tricky, so we dug/chopped ourselves a little ice-hole to get out of the wind. We spent about six hours melting snow, eating, and "homo-huddling" (we hadn't brought sleeping bags). The first pitch on Jan. 6 climbed up a natural tunnel in the ice to above the first mushroom of the summit ridge. The second pitch wormed into another tunnel to climb the second mushroom. The third pitch of the day was the crux of the route, and involved vertical and then overhanging snow climbing, followed by two aid moves off of pickets. The best peice of pro was a gigantic V-thread that I made by tunneling through the ice for about 3 meters. The final pitch climbed the summit ice mushroom (same as the Compressor Route finish), and was quite easy. We were surprised on top to not see any sign of ascents via the Compressor Route, given the beautiful weather. The view was spectacular, and it was surreal to stand on top of a mountain that I'd been dreaming of for 10 years. We descended by the Compressor Route, using a single 70m rope most of the time (for anyone attempting the Compressor Route, I would reccomend taking just one 70m rope for both the climbing and rappeling), and eventually stumbled back into Niponino at 2:30am on Jan. 7, exactly 2 days after leaving. We believe that we were the first party to succesfully link these two routes together. Also, I believe that our link-up is one of three routes on Cerro Torre that have been finished to the summit without using Maestri's headwall boltladder (the other two being the standard West Face route and Arca de los Vientos).
  22. Several in the Mt. Hood thread (including admins) have suggested that a separate topic be started for speculation, but no one ever starts one. So here, I'm doing it. If you don't like speculation or 'what if' or debate over what might have happened or regurgitation and analysis of info. derived from press conferences, interviews, and the media, this isn't your place. And if you don't want to post to this thread, don't, but then don't post to the other one either, cause this one is here now. You have no excuses. Cheers!
  23. best of cc.com TAUNTAUNS - WORTH THE WEIGHT????

    is it worth bringing tauntaun/icepicks to for the evils of mt hood winter? do pings reach towers through snowbeast thank you praise the lord and his unmanned drones of justice
  24. 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:
  25. Climb: SEWS-The Passenger IV 5.11c Date of Climb: 8/30/2006 Trip Report: Tyree and I climbed the Passenger route last Wednesday. We had an awesome time, and found the route to be steep, clean, well-engineered, and well-protected. The grades seemed a bit inflated. We thought the crux pitch felt a bit more like 11c, not 12a. And as far as length goes, we did the route in an easy 7 pitches, not the published 9. , Proabaly not a grade V, more like short grade IV. Either way, hats off to Bryan Burdo and crew, it is a fine route on some of the best stone i've touched at the pass. The red Fred description of this route is a bit ambiguous. For those who want a bit more beta, here it is. The route starts towards the bottom of the south face on the left side of the lowest buttress. Scramble left on a ledge system for about 30 ft to a tree and a set of twin cracks. P1: Climb up the twin cracks to a roof, undercling left. More crack, then face, leads to a bolted belay. 2 bolts. 5.10d, 165 ft. Quality climbing on P1: P2: Climb fingercrack to roof/bulge. Crank through bulge and continue up via steep corners. Belay beneath large roof at fixed pin. 1 bolt. 5.11b, 60ft. Below the bulge: Roof, Roof: P3: Good moves crank throught the first roof. Continue up steepening thin crack to second roof. Awesome moves through second roof lead to a bolted belay. 5.11a, 70ft. Loving it: Get some Ty: P4: Move left via difficult slab traverse. Continue up to bulge, crank through bulge and traverse right to wild finish. 8 bolts. 5.11c, 70ft. P5: Chimney up right side of largest roof. Pull over roof into good handcrack. Belay at grassy stance. 2 fixed pins. 5.10c, 180ft. P6: Climb mildy dirty, left-hand crack, without getting spit out into the abyss. At bulge below roof, traverse left on face to tree clump and belay. 5.10d, 90 ft. P7:Continue trversing left to good crack, follow up to loose top out. 5.7+, 60ft. Ty and his Doo-Doo Space Pistol: The route is classic, if your up for the grade, go get it. 1 to 2 sets of cams to 3 inches, nuts.
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