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Found 154 results

  1. 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.
  2. Climb: Mt. Stuart: (winter ascent)-Complete North Ridge Date of Climb: 12/24/2004 Trip Report: Mt. Stuart: Attempted Winter ascent of the complete North Ridge. Wayne called me 2 weeks before Christmas and said we had a good weather window coming up the few days before Christmas. So on Tuesday, December 21, the official start of winter, we made the drive over to Leavenworth and bivied in the parking lot at the Ranger’s station. We arose early and organized our gear under the lights in the McDonalds parking lot and then headed up Icicle Creek. We crossed our fingers that the gate at Eight Mile Creek would be open. It was, but within ¾ of a mile the difficulties began. As the road became steeper it became apparent my 4-runner was not going to make it up the pure ice road. We came to a stop, tires spinning and it was all we could do to keep from sliding backwards. Wayne got out to help push against the side of the car to keep it from sliding over the edge and down into the abyss and immediately fell down. We nursed the 4-runner down to a dry patch on the side of a switchback and then proceeded to give it another shot by trying to keep two tires in the slightly softer crunchy snow on the inside shoulder. We didn’t make it past the original high point and had to nurse the car back down to the dry spot, Wayne donned crampons for better traction the second time. The only way we were going to get up this road was to put crampons on the tires, so back to Leavenworth we went. $175 and an hour later we were back at the road and this time we had no problems with 4 new chains on the tires. It was probably close to 11:00 by the time we finally started the hike on the Stuart Lake trail and up Mountaineers Creek. We carried snowshoes, but ditched them on the knoll right after crossing the creek on a log. We were following a fairly fresh set of boot tracks on top of an older set of snowshoe tracks for a while, but when they headed off in the “wrong” direction, we abandoned them. We made camp behind a large boulder just past the small bench and proceeded to decorate a small tree with our cams, picket and ropes. We wanted to have some sense of a Christmas spirit in this desolate, moonlike landscape. Laying in the tent that night, it almost seemed like day. The almost full moon was so bright I could have read a book outside. I have a difficult time falling asleep before 11:00 so while Wayne snored, the demons danced in my mind. Looming above us in plain view was the complete north ridge and so far nobody had been successful in making a winter ascent of the lower portion. The upper section had been done in winter. We hoped to connect the entire route. But who was I to think I was up to this task. I felt significantly small and unqualified. I had never even been on the lower ridge in summer and it was 1986 when I did the upper. It was also 1986 the last time I jumarred and Wayne said I would be doing quite a bit. We waited until daylight to make breakfast and gear up for the day. We hiked up onto the moraine below the Ice Cliff glacier and followed its sweeping curve around to the base of the North Ridge. Sheltered from the wind behind a large boulder, we donned harnesses and racked up and Wayne started up some 4th class rock which proved more difficult then it looked. Not wanting to place gear yet, we searched further left for a better access and found a steep snow gully which brought us to the base of the first pitch. Our plan was to fix two rope lengths and return to camp for the night. Wayne actually aid climbs quite fast, and after some difficulty with a squeeze slot where he had to take off his pack, he tied off the rope. I jugged and off Wayne went for pitch 2. This section is steep and surmounts a small overhang. I worked out the bugs of jumarring, and joined Wayne at a stance by a small tree. Above loomed a long thin crack, not vertical, but steep. The going was slower here because there was ice in the crack. Wayne informed me he actually used his breath to melt some ice for a few placements. He watched cams shift on ice. When a loop of rope hanging down caught on something, I had to untie my end and drop it down in an attempt to free it. It barely gave Wayne enough rope to reach the top where he made an anchor of one pin, one ice screw and 2 cams. He then rapped and cleaned while I pulled out our second rope and readied it for the rap to the ground. It was extremely windy, but we got down with out any issues and descended back to camp. We chose an easier route than going back down the moraine by following a snow gully and skirting the lower boulder field on the far side. This set us up for an easier ascent in the morning. It was about 4:00 by the time we got back. Fixing 3 pitches had taken o lot longer than we thought. The moon and demons were in full effect that night. I knew tomorrow would be a big day and we had no idea what conditions would be like on the ridge. I questioned myself why I did this. I knew once on the ridge, retreat would be difficult until we reached the notch where the regular route joined. Thank god for sleeping pills. We awoke at 2:30 and were off by 3:45. We carried no bivy gear. We geared up at the large boulder. It was my first time jumarring by headlamp, but by the time we were up the second rope, it was just beginning to dawn. Above we could see the summit shrouded in clouds, and it was extremely windy. Weather was moving in. We debated going down, but talked ourselves out of it. The ridge looked incredibly steep and exposed. The demons came back and I pushed them away as Wayne headed up the next pitch in the early morning light. He was aiding again, but informed me it was only a short section and I should just aid myself and not mess with the ascenders. Once I began climbing again, things calmed down for me. My focus was only at each small task or move at hand and my concentration kept the elements at bay. For the first time since leaving Seattle, I actually felt settled. It was just me and the mountain and my focus on climbing. Nothing else penetrated to mess with my head. I don’t remember each pitch, just different sections. As we moved up, dry rock became more iced with verglass. We each had one regular ice tool and a small Grivel third tool. I carried etriers and the jumars bundled on my gear loops on my left side. Wayne lead all the pitches for speed. The ice runnel pitch should have been my lead, but Wayne was cold and wanted to move again. It was a fabulous pitch of thin ice that snaked up through the rocks. “Super Alpine” I called it and I secretly imagined myself climbing in Chamonix. An easier snow slope brought us up into an alcove with only one way out, a traverse across polished slab. Wayne tensioned and then climbed with his tools in verglass and boots on slab, then up over a small roof. Above the terrain became more blocky with much more ice filling the voids and the climbing became true mixed. We donned crampons and climbed with both tools. Many moves consisted of moving across a bulge of rock onto thin ice. Unconsolidated snow filled the cracks and crevasses and needed clearing. At one point we abandoned the true ridge and climbed on the face to the right for 4 or 5 pitches before we could regain it. Finally, I lead a short section of rotten snow that required much clearing to regain the ridge. It was steep and there was about an inch crust and underneath, loose granular snow. The crust would break in large slabs and slide down, and the 18 inches of snow underneath was not bonded to the rock and wouldn’t accept any weight. I was afraid of the whole thing sliding. I excavated to rock for the last few moves and flopped onto the ridge. It was 4:00. One more tricky traverse brought us to the notch and there was no question as to which way to go. We were out of time and the entire upper ridge, although bathed in moonlight, would be another full day. We rigged a rap and headed down. The gully was much steeper and longer than I remembered and we ended up making 4 rappels combined with steep down climbing. The Stuart Glacier was awash in moonlight. We packed the ropes and gear and began our long walk back to camp. I don’t think I’ll have a more memorable Christmas Eve. This high alpine environment was almost surreal in the bright moonlight. I was warm and content with what we had done. We hadn’t made the summit, but had climbed the often attempted lower section. We never stopped the whole time and we got to the tent by 8:15. Wayne immediately crawled in, while I made hot drinks. We were too tired to eat, but I lingered outside for another hour enjoying the view. The demons were gone and I was content. Later, I would have the uncanny feeling that it was someone else who did the climb. The next day, Christmas, we hiked out in deteriorating weather. The drive over Stevens Pass was in a full snowstorm. At least for a while, we had a white Christmas. Gear Notes: full rack, one ice screw, ascenders, 2 ropes Approach Notes: Chains required for Eight Mile road if still open. We did not need snowshoes for Mountaineer Creek approach, but maybe neccessary now.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Climb: Mt. Robson-North Face Date of Climb: 8/14/2004 Trip Report: I climbed the North Face of Robson on Saturday, after biking/hiking into the Robson-Helmet col on Friday. Descent was made by the Kain Route. I didn't have a watch and so I don't know times of specific parts of the trip, but I left the Robson-Helmet col at sunrise and got back to the trailhead at 8:15pm. The approach rock buttress is tedious, but there are lots of cairns, so routefinding is easy. The glacier from the top of the buttress to the col is very broken up, and some tricky navigation is required. The North Face is in good condition - icy enough for good sticks the whole way, but soft enough to rest one's calves often. On the upper Emperor Ridge I traversed on the north side for about 200 ft. The Kain route seemed fine as well, but had one large crevasse/bergsrund that will provide a bit of difficulty. Getting from the base of the Kain route back up to the Robson-Helmet col is straightforward, but puts you under a large cornice for the last 200 ft. Gear Notes: -30m rope -2 screws, 2 pins, runners, harness Approach Notes: -Take a mountain bike (one can bike the first 7km) -Hike in a pair of tennis shoes. Not only will they be more comfy, but you can ford the river in them (crossing barefoot was quite painful).
  6. Climb: 6 Days and 6 Routes in the Pasayten Wilderness-Part 2 Date of Climb: 7/28/2004 Trip Report: Part 1 Day 4 continued, Monday July 24th ...after passing through the strange clearing in the forest we wandered through more open meadows, huge larch trees and beautiful flowers. Good game trails made for fast hiking and with careful route finding we stood on the shore of Upper Cathedral Lake less than four hours after leaving Wall Creek. Cathedral Peak above Cathedral Lake This area is popular with horsepackers and we saw several such groups. The typical approaches are at least 20 miles and seem to keep out those who choose to walk. We observed only one backpacker and no other climbers during our stay. Camp was established in a larch tree and boulder strewn meadow on the east side of the lake and we celebrated our arrival by breaking out the horsecock sandwiches and Jaigermeister we had so carefully horded during the first half of the trip. While Cathedral Peak was the big draw to the area we were amazed by how close the north-facing buttresses of Amphitheatre Mountain stood above the lake. Unfortunately the rock had significant hues of red and stood above slopes of talus and dirt. Both indicated less than spectacular rock. We decided to at least scout the creatively named Left-Side Route of Middle Finger Buttress. At 3 PM we shouldered our gear and hiked around the lake and up to the route in about 10 minutes. What we found was no less than spectacular. Middle Finger Buttress - Left Side Route Owen standing at the base of Middle Finger Buttress – Left Side Route The climb starts in an obvious right-leaning chimney near the left side of the buttress. After our practice on Grimface I quickly led the classic chimney and established a belay on a nice grassy ledge. The rock was perfect. Owen climbed up, shoulder the rack and proceed to fire off the single best pitch of mid-5.10 crack climbing I have ever done - anywhere. It is that good. After 30 meters he established a belay on a sloping ledge and hauled the pack. As per the Red Beckey Guide, from the belay we moved left, then up a steep crack system to another ledge. Rather than move left again we stepped back right into the continuation of the crux dihedral and climbed a very nice hand crack to the upper low angle ridge. Described as 4th class we discovered that 1970’s 4th class rock is more like 5.5. Regardless the position was excellent, the rock was solid and a good time was had by all as we tossed the occasional perched block into the abyss. On the “4th class” ridgeline The route is CLASSIC and deserves far more attention. It alone is worth the long approach. Once on top make sure to hike to the north summit of Amphitheatre Mountain, it is as sublime a place as I have ever been. To descend head east until you can drop down the obvious scree gully below a wide col. With a little bit of scree surfing it is no more than 20 minutes back to camp. Day 5 July 27, 2004 Southeast Buttress of Cathedral We woke up early and headed out on the extremely tiring, essentially flat 20 minute approach to the Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak. The route looked stellar and proved not to disappoint. Using beta posted years ago on CC.com we started from the top of a table size bolder located in an alcove maybe 150 feet up the gully between Cathedral and the Monk. We climbed nine long pitches to the summit. All but one featured great crack climbing on steep solid rock. The headwall of pitch 7 and 8 was impeccable. We bypassed the crux offwidth by a perfect 5.10a finger crack just to it’s right. Approaching the Headwall On Pitch 2 of the Headwall A recently placed summit register recorded no other ascents in the previous three weeks. Slightly shorter and with a lower level of commitment it’s sort of the kid sister to the Beckey-Chouinard on South Howser Tower with perfect granite, steep moderate crack climbing and a white headwall to boot, except the climbing was higher quality. A confusing descent to the west and another long scree-surf brought us back to camp by early afternoon. Ka’aba Buttress “Pilgrimage to Mecca” After swimming and sunbathing for couple hours we still had a long chunk of the evening to kill. It wasn’t very hard to convince Owen that we should climb an obvious series of cracks and dihedrals on the left side of Ka’aba Buttress. It helped that the base of the route was no more than five minutes from camp. Owen starting up Pitch 1 Owen following Pitch 2 After climbing four pitches of great crack climbing on more perfect rock we were back in camp maybe three hours after we left. The third pitch was particularly good following a great finger crack up a solid dihedral before stepping left and climbing steep twin hand cracks. At any crag this would be an extremely popular **** pitch. There was no sign of previous ascents and to our surprise the description of the Doorish Route on the buttress did not match what we had done. On the other hand it’s hard to believe that such a stellar, obvious and accessible line has never been climbed. Regardless I claim the FSTA (First To Spray Ascent). If you’re in the area it makes a great half-day climb and a good warm-up for the Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak. Route Description Ka’aba Buttress “Pilgrimage to Mecca” Grade II 5.9 P1) Start from top of large block at buttress toe. Follow L-trending dihedral then cross low-angle slab split by triple cracks. Belay below L-side of obvious roof (170’ 5.7). P2) Traverse left then undercling obvious wide crack into L-facing dihedral. Climb a steep corner at the dihedrals top and step left to a large grassy belay ledge (130’ 5.9). P3) Climb the beautiful R-trending dihedral for 80’ then move left to steep, twin hand cracks. Stay with the right one to another large belay ledge, a **** pitch (160’ 5.8+). P4) Climb the L-facing corner just left of the obvious offwidth on the crest. Near the top move right to stemming moves and easier terrain (130’ 5.8). P2 var) A much better looking second pitch would layback the right side of the block vs underclinging it then follow a L-trending ramp/dihedral to the same belay (5.8?) That evening we ate our last supper by a small tarn and reflected on what an amazing trip we had experienced. The last day July 28, 2004 The hike out went far to quickly. More stunning meadows, beautiful vistas and a complete lack of human impact. We made it back to the car in less than six hours. In the last mile of hiking we met a stocky, powerfully built man of at least sixty years in age. He was excited to hear about where we had been and knew the area well. Turned out it was Bob Cuthbert! We had just climbed some of the routes he established thirty years prior. What a great way to end the trip, meeting one of the legends that first realized the area’s potential for climbing. Gear Notes: Medium Rack to 4" for everying. An extra 0.5 and 0.75 Camalot for MFB - L Side. An extra 2.5" piece for Ka'aba Buttress.
  7. Climb: 6 Days and 6 Routes in The Pasayten Wilderness -Part 1 Date of Climb: 7/28/2004 Trip Report: My best friend, and in 6 weeks - best man, is named Owen. He is as solid a person and climber as I have ever known. We use to climb most weekends together, now that he lives in Colorado, we still plan at least one big trip together each year. Together we’ve carried heavy loads into the Winds, the Sawtooths and the Cascades, climbed spires and descended canyons in the desert southwest, frozen our arses off on a bivi ledge or two. This year the plan was the Bugaboos. We were gonna go for it dude! Do a Grade VI on Howser man… or at least a mess of Grade V’s. But plans can change. Six days of cragging, that was the sum total of my climbing this year by mid-July. Of course breaking my ankle at the end of March had a lot to do with it. It didn’t change the fact that I was out of shape and the few day trips I had done on moderate routes left me hobbled and limping by the time I was headed back to the car. The Bugaboos were not happening, it would be too painful to get all the way in there and have to bail because my body was a POS. We needed a trip with less climbing and more importantly less expectations. As I had managed a fair bit of backpacking with my fiancé in the prior month we settled on a trip to Wall Creek, a remote valley just north of the border that lies below the granitic peaks of Grimface, Matriarch and Macrabe. As it turned out the ankle was healed, the weather was perfect, the wilderness exquisite and the climbing incredible. What follows are photos and notes on what might be the finest trip I’ve ever done. Getting There We left town on the evening of Thurday, July 22nd timing it perfectly with the heatwave that washed through the area. Projected highs in nearby towns were 102 degrees. From Bellingham it’s 234 miles and about 4.5 hours to the Centennial Trailhead. From Highway 3 the last 30.4 miles are on the Ashnola River Road, almost all of it an excellent 2wd gravel road. We pulled into the very obvious trailhead near midnight. Day 1 Friday, July 23rd In the morning we packed up….. Getting into the head of Wall Creek took less than five hours on an excellent trail. Follow the Centennial trail for about 4 miles to the obvious signed fork and take the right hand branch. All blow-down has been removed making for a moderate and enjoyable hike. The meadows are beautiful and pristine. Plans for climbing in the afternoon turned into a chilly swim in a nearby lake, a bit of bouldering and much swatting of mosquitoes. Day 2 Saturday, July 24th Matriarch - South Pillar “Good from far, but far from good!” Actually it’s not that bad, just not the classic one hopes it will be. The 3-pitch direct start is composed of the worst kitty-litter granite choss I’ve climbed. Immediately afterwards the rock becomes much better, in fact excellent, only to deteriorate once again on the final crux moves. With the recommended indirect start the route goes at 5.10b. Be prepared to pull the final roof on mediocre rock with fall potential onto a slab. A recommended line, though not one to center your trip around. We topped out by noon and decide to climb another route rather than eat bugs down in the meadows. We descended a loose gully next to the pillar, grabbed our shoes and hiked over to Grimface. Grimface – Southeast Chimneys Established by Bob Cuthbert and company in 1973 this is an intriguing route that ascends a long series of moderate chimneys on the southeast side of Grimface. In fact of the routes six pitches only one of them is not a chimney and it’s a wide crack! A trickle of water at the base of the route kept us from dieing of dehydration and a large shady cave sprinkled with goat droppings allowed for a long, cool midday siesta before we started the climb. The rock quality is excellent and the chimneying is sustained back-and-foot work. Though generally low-angle, gear is intermittent at best and a fall would have serious consequences. Not the best route for a 5.7 leader. I would however call the route a CLASSIC. There just aren’t many climbs where one can practice such a well-known and interesting technique. The neighboring “Mother of Invention” route looked excellent as well. Either route would make a great finish to the G-M-M traverse for a strong party. To descend we walked down the scenic NW ridge then enjoyed some amazing scree-surfing back into Wall Creek. We must have dropped 1500’ in ten minutes and made it back into camp after a thirteen hour day. Day 3 Sunday, July 25th The Deacon – The Nose Owen starting up Pitch 2 I’ve always been intrigued by the description of The Deacon in the Red Beckey Guide. A friend of mine, Steve Barnett, did the first ascent of the north face in 1973. Unfortunately he can’t remember doing it. Oh well! This is a beautiful formation in a very remote valley. The rock is generally excellent, though a bit vegetated and occasionally loose. The Nose, established by Peter Doorish in 1991, is a very good, albeit serious route that follows a cunning path up one of the only lines of weakness on the face. Maybe even a backcountry classic for the grade. From our camp in Wall Creek we hiked up to col with Ewart creek then traversed meadows and boulder fields to the base of The Nose. The route description in the Beckey Guide is concise but adequate, you won’t have a lot of other options. After starting on the nose for two pitches, the route moves onto the left side of the north face and remains there until almost the summit. It in fact joins the 1973 Barnett-Anderson route on top of the obvious pillar on the north face contrary to what is written in the Beckey Guide. Bring a medium rack to 4”. You will need micro nuts and tiny TCUs to build a good anchor between the 5.10 pitches. The wall is steep, the ledge is small, and the crux is right at the start. Thanks to Owen for leading both crux pitches in style. A brief, very exposed, downclimb into the first notch, followed by one 80’ rappel into the first SE gully, then a quick traverse into the next gully and a lot of scrambling led back to the base of the route in less than an hour. By the time we got back to camp we had been on the go for over twelve hours, our pace had been anything but fast. Day 4 Monday, July 26th Uninspired to slog back up the scree below Grimface, Matriarch and Macrabe we decided to head to the Cathedral Lakes area for the remainder of our trip. It was a very good decision. We found easy travel through meadows and boulder fields on the northwest side of the Deacon , climbing about 1400’ before reaching the top of the expansive ridgeline separating Wall Creek from Cathedral Creek. Owen with Cathedral and Amphitheatre Peaks in the background From here a steep descent led to more beautiful meadows and open forest in the head of Cathedral Creek. Within two hours of leaving camp we entered a strange clearing in the forest. More to follow later.....Part 2 - The Homeland Gear Notes: see report Approach Notes: see report
  8. I just returned from a great trip in the Alaska Range. I started out flying into the Mountain House with David Gottlieb. We walked down the hill and camped in the middle of the Ruth Amp., a spot I highly recommend over camping in the Gorge due to more sunlight and much less wind. The weather and conditions were great so we immediately went for the Japanese Couloir on Mt. Barill. This was a great natural line up the east side of one of the Gorge peaks. We descended the same way. After a rest day and continued good weather, we decided to have a look at the South Face of Mt. Dan Beard. Not knowing much about the route, we followed the main couloir up the left hand south ridge, and then continued up the ridge above. The snow conditions quickly deteriorated in the afternoon sun and after a few route finding errors, we descended around 500 feet from the summit. Not feeling complete with the climb, we took another rest day, and then with better knowledge of the route, climbed it to the summit just as the first big storm hit. We descended in the raging storm and returned to camp for five days of tent time. The weather finally cleared a little and with only a few days left in the trip, we decided to race up to the West Fork for a look at the Southwest Ridge of Peak 11,300. We moved camp up to the West Fork and in the foggy mist we met Jedi, who had just climbed it and gave us tons of good info. The next morning dawned clear. We were torn between waiting a day to let all the new snow settle and letting a clear day go by. We decided to go for it. We summited that evening and spent an amazing night on the summit and descended the next morning. The next day we skied out to the Mountain House and were flown back to Talkeetna. After a few rest days I picked up my next climbing partner Daniel Zimmermann from Switzerland. We flew into Kahiltna Base Camp intent on Hunter’s North Buttress, but this never materialized due to the very warm and moist season the range had. Instead we focused on smaller objectives. We headed up the first morning to look at the Mini-Moonflower, but seeing a party already on it we shifted our focus to the South Face of Peak 12,200. We climbed through 2000 feet of rock bands then broke out onto a long snow slope above to reach the summit. We descended the dangerous Southeast Face back to our skis. Our next mission was an attempt on the Mini-Moonflower which saw us up 9 pitches before the spin-drift nightmare occurred. Upset with the general trend of the weather, we decided to climb the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Frances one day regardless of conditions. It snowed the entire day, but we found this climb to be one of the better base camp area climbs, very similar to the Southwest Ridge of 11,300. After a rest day, a small break in the weather opened up so we ran up and did the North Couloir of the Mini-Moonflower. This as well proved to be an awesome moderate route up a really cool feature. The next eight days were stormy and depressing. We almost flew out at one point but were lured into the promise of a short high pressure spell. We left for the West Face of Kahiltna Queen one clear evening. It started snowing after three hours of climbing but we pushed onto the summit in a bit of a bad storm. Descending was interesting amidst the rash of avalanches but we returned back to base camp unhurt and flew out that evening. After a bit of rest and a relaxing boat trip on Prince William Sound with some good friends, my next climbing partner Chris McNamara came up. The weather had been marginal for another week in the range and we flew into the Ruth Gorge one morning in light rain. However, just a few hours later the weather cleared. Chris looked over toward Barrill and said “I want to go climb that. Now.” So just a few hours after landing, I found myself at the base of the Cobra Pillar of Mt. Barrill. After a frenzy of climbing, 15 hours and 10 minutes later we found ourselves on the summit. It was our first climb ever together – what a way to warm up. A shitty descent down the Northwest slopes allowed us to walk all the way back around that morning and crash in our tent for the next four days for the biggest storm of the season. After surviving three days of torrential rain we headed down the Gorge for a look at Werewolf and Hut Tower. Not liking the line on the Werewolf, we climbed up the Southwest Face of Hut Tower, a line I had done before but was certainly worth repeating – 10 pitches up to 5.10 on some of the better rock in the Gorge. Our next objective was the West Pillar of the Eye Tooth. This might well have been the best alpine rock climb I’ve ever done. The rock is good, the climbing interesting, and the line is aesthetically amazing. We topped out on the last rock tower (don’t be fooled by the route topo!) with snow leading to the summit. Without snow gear, this was to be our high point and we started the long descent, getting our rope stuck no less than five times. With some time left but no fingertips left, we decided to have a look at the ‘small’ (1800 foot) Stump formation on the side of the Wisdom Tooth. The left of two major dihedral systems on the south face caught our attention. The climbing was incredible and the rock outstanding, until it abruptly exited left, off the face and dead ended into a steep gravel wall 600 feet below the summit. This was apparently the route of the first ascentionists and we were rather disappointed as we rapped off. After another day of rest we decided to straighten the route out and complete it direct to the summit. We headed back up and climbed several new pitches of amazing terrain. We haven’t yet named our new variation on the South Face of the Stump (Wisdom Tooth), but it is one that shouldn’t be missed next time you’re in the Gorge – 12 long sustained pitches up to .11a. We set up the route with bomber descent anchors with clean pulls. With our time was coming to an end and our fingertips really worked we pulled our big sleds up to the Mountain House (which Chris maintains was the crux of the entire trip), and had a beautiful evening flight back to Talkeetna. And for the crux of my trip: On July 8, Michelle O’Neil and I were married on the Pika Glacier in Little Switzerland. We flew up with two airplanes with most of our family and some close friends for a beautiful ceremony amidst the great peaks of the Alaska Range. We had a big reception in Talkeetna that evening. Michelle Puryear and I flew back into the Pika the next week. The weather had definitely changed back to a wet pattern. Our first objective was the West Face of Middle Troll. We found the climbing to be quite fun as we simuled the route in one pitch. At the top I conned Michelle into scooting out to the edge of the huge diving board feature for a neat photo op. Two days of rain ensued but a clear morning dawned and we got an early start to climb the South Face of The Throne. Being rather uninspired by the routes on the right side of the South Face, we climbed the rounded ridge to the left of the South Face Gulley. The climbing again was solid and fun, and we were pleased to find that the summit ridge had no snow or cornices, allowing us to summit via the upper West Ridge. The next day again dawned clear so we decided to take a shot at the East Buttress (Gargoyle Buttress) of the Royal Tower. The climbing was interesting; not quite as solid or straightforward as the other climbs, and the routefinding was tricky. The weather was decidedly going down hill all day and on the 11th pitch, about 2-3 from the buttress top, we decided to bail. After the first rappel it was raining. Toward the bottom the rain was intense and so was the rockfall. The bottom three pitches are quite threatened from the gully on the right. We pulled our drenched bodies back into camp without incident. After another day of rain, we decided to try one more peak. During a very short weather window, we were able to climb the South Ridge of South Troll. Twice we set up rappel anchors to bail, as waves of rain came over, separated by sunny breaks. At one point we made a hasty rappel, only to reclimb the pitch. After we summited, we realized we were in for it. We quickly rappelled the north face then climbed over to the West Face of the Middle Troll to continue that decent line. Hail, rain, wind, and thunder buffeted us, but we again made it down safely. We flew out that evening during a brief clearing in the weather.
  9. 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
  10. Found on second pitch attached to a # 7 BD stopper. Couldn't get the nut but I got your biner. Identify the taping scheme (colors & pattern) and I'll gladly return it.
  11. 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
  12. This is a carry-over from another thread. Let's see them pics. Really big housecats, no Photoshop cheating, unless it's really funny.
  13. best of cc.com The Nodder?

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

    Can someone post the link to that thread with all the funny mountie pics from a couple months back? I couldn't find it when I searched, and I forgot who's pics they were.
  16. 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!
  17. 6:00 AM Myself and a first (and last) time climbing partner I'll call "Elmer" met up at the parking lot in Squamish to climb Diedre, a classic 5.7 on the Apron. He is a cc.com lurker who said he is a "safe, all around 5.10 leader" who's been dying to climb this route forever. I've climbed the route before and led all the pitches, so I agreed to let him do the leading. 7:00 AM We arrived at the base of Diedre. The approach took somewhat longer than usual because Elmer insisted we rope up for the steep approach through the trees. There was a festival-like atmosphere at the base of the climb, with people of all ages from around the world. We found ourselves waiting for the party ahead of us, which was waiting for the party ahead of them, who was waiting for the party above them, who was waiting for the party above them--who was apparently superglued to the rock. Or perhaps they were just a pair of immobile manniquins that some jokers hung from the anchors of the fifth pitch to create a traffic clusterfuck. 8:00 AM After an hour, nothing had changed, and I suggested we climb a different line up the Apron. "Hell no!" said Elmer, "I've wanted to climb this route forever!" 9:00 AM The top party showed some signs of movement, thus proving they were, in fact, not manniquins. Elmer started taping up (?) and racking his gear, which included a double set of nuts, a double set of cams to 4 inches, 4 tri-cams and 7 hexes. 10:00 AM The sun cleared the top of the Chief and the day turned HOT. Elmer set off on the first pitch up to the little tree. 11:00 AM Elmer arrived at the tree and put me on belay. I walked up to the tree. 1:00 PM We reached the belay at the base of the corner. Elmer was--as advertised--a very safe leader. I returned the 11 pieces of gear I cleaned on the pitch leading up to the corner where the fifth class climbing starts. 1:30 PM The parties ahead of us had moved up sufficiently that we were clear to climb with no one slowing us down. Elmer started up the dihedral. Judging by the severity of the sewing machine leg he had going, he appeared to be a little nervous. But he protected the pitch very well. 3:00 PM Elmer arrived at the belay. Shortly thereafter I arrived and handed him back the 19 (!) pieces of gear he placed on the pitch. The insufferably slow parties ahead of us had by now left us far behind. We had clear sailing ahead all the way up to Broadway! However, now we appeared to be slowing down the pack of anxious climbers below us. 4:00 PM The scorching day got hotter. We drunk all our water. Elmer was showing signs of physical and mental strain after leading the first three pitches of 5.6 or 5.7. A noticable tick has developed in his left eye. I offer to take a lead or two, but he responds with surprising vigor: "No fucking way, I've wanted to climb this climb forever!" 5:00 PM Elmer is still within spitting distance of the belay, swearing and sweating as he tried to fiddle in an RP, his 6th placement on the pitch thus far. There were approximatly 8 frustrated parties jammed up beneath us now. I was starting to feel like the stubborn turd that's clogging the toilet. 6:00 PM Elmer arrived at the fourth belay. The climbing was taking its toll on him. Our water long since gone, I started to wonder how long it takes an average person to die of thirst. After resting for a half hour, his twitching had subsided somewhat and Elmer started up the next pitch. 7:30 PM Inexplicably, Elmer was building a gear belay 3/4 of the way up the pitch instead of continuing on another 40 feet to the bolted station. Gently, I queried him about his intentions. All I heard is a stream of angry profanity echoing across the valley and something about running out of gear. "I'm fucking leading this fucking climb...blah...gear...blah...fucking forever blah...blah..." I wondered to myself how it would be physically possible to place all the gear he was carrying (enough to stock several small retail shops) on one 5.7 pitch. And as the sun cooked me like a worm on pavement, I wondered idly if he was afflicted with Tourette's or perhaps some sort of degenerative brain disorder like Mad Cow disease. 8:00 PM Elmer finishes building his anchor and brings me up. The tick in his eye has deteriorated noticably and his pupils are dialated in a worrisome way. I can't help myself and comment on his anchor, which is clearly a work of art--if you're a Celtic knotsmith or some sort of mad engineer. The anchor consisted of 4 cams and 3 nuts each qualized with double clove hitches and backed up with a secondary anchor composed of two tricams, a hex, two RPs, a cordellete and four slings. Granted, I'm a fan of bombproof anchors, but this one could have survived a direct napalm airstrike followed by a nuclear holocaust and still held a factor 5 fall. He didn't appreciate my kind comment. "Are you questioning my fucking abilities you goddamn pissant?" Judged by his full-body spasms and the way he kept grinding his teeth, he was physiologically unstable and psychologically unbalanced. 8:30 PM After his outburst, Elmer calmed down a bit and started apologizing profusely, weeping and blubbering like a schizophrenic on a bad acid trip. I didn't want to say the wrong thing, so I just wrung out my sweaty shirt into our empty nalgene bottle, took a swig and offered him a drink, which he accepted gratefully. 9:00 PM We were still hanging awkwardly from his armageddon-proof anchor. Elmer had stopped crying and appeared to be in some sort of meditative state, perhaps visualizing the sequences or protection on the pitch above. An angry mob of climbers hoping to get off the Apron before nightfall had gathered below us, wondering what the delay was. (I'm sure they were also curious about all the yelling and wailing.) While we hung stationary at his gear belay, several parties simply climbed by us, including a grandmother in flip flops who was soloing with her grandchild in one of those kiddie backpacks, two hikers who apparently got lost on the Stawamus Chief trail, and a surprisingly speedy team of quadriplegics who were aiding the climb by placing gear with their mouths. 9:35 PM I was hesitant to disturb Elmer while he was concentrating on preparing mentally for the next pitch. However I was getting concerned about our pace--we were only about halfway up the 7 pitch climb, and I had to be back in Washington by tomorrow afternoon. I nudged him and once again I casually offered to lead a few pitches for the sake of efficiency. This threw the previously-peaceful Elmer into a blind fury: "No fucking way, I've wanted to fucking lead this goddamn climb for fucking forever! What the fuck do you think I am, some sort of fucking incompetent?! If you ever again try to take one of my fucking leads on this fucking climb I will take this fucking knife (brandishing his Swiss Army knife), saw your fucking ears off, then cut you loose to plummet to your death you fucking miserable condescending piece of shit!!!!!!" He emphasizes each word by puching the rock until his knuckes bled. One of his eyes rolled eerily back in his head. He was foaming at the mouth. 9:36 PM Hmmm. Fight or flight? That was the question. I figured pacifying this maniac was perhaps the best approach to the situation--or at least preferable to brutal hand-to-hand combat while tied in to a common belay 500 feet off the ground. 9:37 PM I put on my most sincere smile and said "Sorry, Elmer--you're the leader, you're on belay, climb when ready!" I said as cheerily and nicely as possible. Meanwhile I casually repositioned my nut tool on my harness for easy access in case I needed to kill this raving lunatic before he killed me. 10:00 PM It was getting quite dark. Elmer was finally ready and headed up the next pitch of Dierdre. I breathed a sigh of relief as the rope ran out (very slowly) and he put some distance between us. 11:00 PM Elmer finally reached the next set of bolts. Once I saw he was safely anchored, I yelled up "You're off belay!" 11:01:30 PM In the fading twilight, I untied from the rope, tossed the free end into space, waved up at a perplexed Elmer, turned and ran down the Apron (roughly along the line of Sparrow) as fast as I could. 11:15 PM I reached the parking lot, quickly disabled the alternator on Elmer's car, gunned my van towards the border and never looked back. Epilogue: "Elmer" apparently survived, because he is back in the Partners Section looking for another poor sucker to attempt one of Washington's classic routes. The moral of the story? You never know what kind of psychotic you might get hooked up with when browsing for a climbing partner on cc.com...
  18. Here's the deal. I'm very tired and wired so my writing may not be that interesting. The Approach: I had my alarm set for 1:45 Tuesday night and awoke at 12:30 to the police knocking at my door. "Move your truck!" they shouted through my door. Weary from 4 hours of sleep I moved my truck and was wired by the time I picked up Matt at 2:00am. We drove to Big Four all the way to the parking lot and hiked in. The avy chutes to access the face were raging so we buskwacked and hangdogged up the cliff and trees to acces the face. It was full scale bushwacking. Instead of our hour estimate, it took 3 hours of fighting to get into the upper basin. It was light enough to see by then, and we saw that we could've done a sweet ice climb directly up the cliffs instead! Too bad! The Climb. We soloed up to the base of the 1st ice pitch on firm neve and deep powder sections. I took off and we simul-climbed for a 1,000 feet on very steep ice, snow and rock. It was hard, fun, and classic stuff. Good pickets and screws! I climbed to the base of the crux 1/2 way up the route and hammered in a picket and a screw for a belay. Matt's turn. Lucky bastard got the crux. It was a full 60m of near vertical to vertical ice with shitty ice and shittier snow. Matt did a great job on lead, slinging an icicle. I also slung an icicle on one of my turns, making it the route with the most icicle slinging I've ever done. I'd say the crux was WI5. It was not fat, but it wasn't super scary. Here's a photo: We swapped simul-climbing leads for what seemed like for ever on many long sections of steep ice and snow until I ran out of gear except for my belay picket just below the corniced ridge. Matt then saved both his pickets for right below the cornice (maybe 30-40 feet tall) and the snow like above the crux, was pretty shitty. Matt then spent the next 1.5-2 hours tunneling through the cornice in a tour de force of thrashing. He gave a cry of relief as sunlight poured through our escape hole! The climbing took around 8 hours. Here is Matt digging the hole, the summit ridge, and me on top: The Descent: On top we had about an hour of daylight left. We downclimbed the ridge climbers right until we saw a notch in the trees far below us (1000’). The ridge got very steep and we started rapping through awful rimmed up trees for ever. It got very very dark and we found a couloir that paralled the ridge on the south face. We took that couloir until we figured we were below the notch then climbed back up to what we thought was the ridge. Unlucky for us, we actually climbed a smaller satellite ridge that paralled the main ridge so when we topped out on it, it appeared we were on top of our descent route. What we really did was go down the satalite ridge and it funneled us into the south face again! We descended the entire south face into steep walled canyons getting cliffed out again and again climbing up down left right, and everywhere to get out into the woods finally. By this time we were in the valley basin following a wide braided river. We figured the couloir we went down put us out by Hall peak and we were headed toward the Stilguamish?? river and the road. Hours later (2am) we stopped in the woods and sat around shivering until it was light again (6:30am). We maybe hike between 4-7 miles down river by this point. We backtracked up river to get a lay of the land and after an hour we saw big four…the south face. Around this time the first helicopter sounds arrived. We were very surprised to have a rescue being mounted so early. I always figured give us a day to be late, then mount a rescue. Anyway we hiked forever and finally wound up on the shoulder of Hall peak. We wanted to get to our notch again, but over a mile of steep walled canyons, cliffs, and steep terrain blocked any possible route over. Hall peak looked like vertical slush on rock since it was so sunny out. Looking back, we could hike down river again and find a road. No, we knew the notch descent was the way down and didn’t know anything about the other ways. We had to get there. So we fucking forced a route across all the awful terrain doing raps and downclimbing and upclimbing and tree and root pulling. Our only food for this day was a Pemican bar split between us so we weren’t running. I kicked steeps and tree and bush pulled up the entire south face up to the notch with helicopters flying overhead all the time. I figured they saw us but I guess they didn’t. We got to the notch at 2:45, did a couple raps, and downclimbed to the top of the lower cliff band. We downclimbed and rapped through the trees again and met up with search and rescue at the very very last rapped to the ice caves trail. The Aftermath: The rescue operation was FANTASTIC. Thank you everyone for trying to help us. I would gladly do the same. The parking lot was crazy! There was even a food wagon with hot sandwiches and chili! Several of my friends were in the lot geared up and ready to climb to save us and many more took today (Friday) off to climb it today. The S&R folks were so nice and helpful. I almost wished we needed help to justify all the effort. Thank you all once again for caring. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. There were a million messages on my answering machine when I got home and tons of folks waiting for me in my apartment. I couldn’t believe it! I went to the Ranch Room and got a beer before I passed out from being up for 48 hours!!! I’m sure I missed a lot I wanted to say, but my memory is foggy and short-term right now. Basically it was an awesome climb with an awesome partner with a crappy descent. I read the B’ham herald this morning. Every word is wrong and they should be beaten for their horrible journalism. We were never rescued or “found.” But we are grateful that if we needed it, you guys were there. Thank you so much everyone who helped or was going to help today. -Mike
  19. Day 1 - Leithal the Lovely Lurker (LLL) and myself left the Greater Lake Wenatchee Metropolitan area at dark, and awoke the next morning along some red dirt road among the surreal spires near the Owyhee River Canyon in Eastern Oregon. The idea was to break up the drive to the City of Rocks with a detour to climb in the Leslie Gulch area. A morning spent lost on various dirt backroads left us with a flat tire. I read recently that guys need to listen better and be more emotionally supportive. So, as LLL changed the tire, crawling around in the dust and cow dung under the van, grunting and swearing like a sailor, I sat in the warm sun, listened intently and offered emotional support. One tire down, two others bulging, no spares to go, 60 mostly dirt miles from the nearest town, we abandoned the Leslie Gulch plan and headed to Caldwell for some new treads. Meanwhile my hound dog had developed a case of explosive diarrhea, perhaps related to his unofficial breakfast of coyote crap and deer entrails. Day 2 - After a night of rain, morning at the city was clear and cold. We climbed a couple climbs, including Rye Crisp, which is a really fun climb up fragile stacked flakes. LLL decided to lead a somewhat runout 5.9 (5 bolts in 110 feet) friction/face climb nearby. The sky grew dark. Halfway up, the rain came down, soaking the rock, the rope and her. Shivering and sketching high above her last bolt but below the wet crux, I was concerned that LLL might be exhibiting signs of hyothermia or Tourette's syndrome, given her incoherent mumbling and frequent outbursts of profanity. But then again, it's sometimes hard to tell with her! She eventually downclimbed some tough wet friction and lowered off. There was a short break in the rain, and we climbed and cleaned the route before retreating to the van to discuss options. It didn't look good. The rain had turned to hail with a little snow/slush mixed in. We decided to head South to Utah. However, it's hard to be southbound when your ride won't start. We managed to flag down the last person leaving the deserted City, who gave Leithal the Lovely Lurker a ride to Almo to call Triple A. The hound with explosive diarrhea and I sat in the cold van listening to country music on AM radio as the snow came down. Day 3 - After a late night powerdrive, we woke in Kane Springs Canyon, just outside of Moab. It had rained all night, but once again the morning was clear. A couple miles up the Red walled canyon is an area called the Ice Cream Parlour, which is a tall cliff of Neopolitan-like sandstone scooped hollow. Slabs down low led to vertical cliffs which lead to huge roofs high above. We climbed several fun slabby finger cracks, and then feeling masochistic, I decided to lead "The Coffin." At 5.9, this is wolf in sheep's clothing. I've climbed quite a few wide cracks, offwidths and chimneys of the same or higher grade, but nothing like this. In summary: I got worked, it was ugly and took forever. If you want the gory details, read on. The climbs starts off with a hand crack in the back of a chimney, then fist jamming and face holds over a steep roof. Having hardly climbed on sandstone outside Peshastin, at first I was spooked at relying on gear that I wouldn't question at all if if was placed in granite. As a result, I overprotected, tired myself out by climbing up halfway over the roof and back down numerous times, and eventually resorted to pulling on a piece to make it over the roof. So much for style. Above, a 30+ foot widening crack that became a lieback/OW flake led up to a dark squeeze chimney. I motored halfway up the flake, and got couple pieces in then placed the 5-inch yellow tri-cam just before the flake got too wide to protect, and then ran it up to the relative security of the chimney. "Secure" is an understatement. The Coffin was a deep squeeze chimney maybe 50 feet high, 15-20 feet deep, vertical, with parallel walls so narrow I could only fit in certain places. I was in a vice of smooth sandstone, tight enough I was unable to turn my helmeted head from side to side in most places. At 6-3, 195ish, I could barely fit, much less move once crammed into the Coffin. Had I eaten a big breakfast that morning, I would have been nothing more than bomber passive permanent pro. To make any progress in the chimney, I had to find slight wide spots that I could fit through. It was like a Chinese puzzle: If I wanted to go up, I first had to go down, then sideways, then diagonal, then sideways, then up. 15 feet of thrutching might yield me a few feet of vertical progress. It was too tight to generate any opposing force, so all I could do was breath deep to wedge my chest between the walls, inchworm up a little, then exhale. The widest spots were perhaps an inch deeper than my depth of my body back-to-chest. Progress was brutally slow. Several times I slid 5 or 6 feet down towards the bowels of the chimney until my body passively wedged in a narrow spot. This was dissapointing, because in addition to sanding off swaths of skin, I quickly lost hard-won ground that had taken me many minutes to gain. I've never been claustrophobic, not even when I was locked in a car trunk for 3 hours on my 21st birthday after consuming 10 beerverages when my friends lost the keys to the car. But in the Coffin, I was seriously freaked in spots--not because I was afraid of falling, (though my last gear was that tipped-out tri-cam 30 feet below below. As long as I was in the squeeze, all I could do was slowly grind down to a wedged stop, which I'd already experienced. What I feared was becoming literally stuck in this cold stone coffin. My body was wedged so tight between these two parallel walls that I had a hard time taking full breaths, which when compounded with the exertion of the climb, made me feel like I was suffocating. Several times I had to stop and focus on breathing and quell the panic of claustrophobia that I'd never felt before. I considered the question "how are they going to get me out of here? Explosive diarrhea?" Two thirds of the way up the squeeze, I finally got a few good pieces of gear in a thin crack in the back of the chimney. Now with gear, I felt OK about venturing out towards exposed, unprotectable and insecure edge of the Coffin. I traversed out towards the window of now-threatening sky some 20 feet to the right and up, and climbed up along the loose edge of the chimney. Difficult climbing up loose rock with viscious rope drag finally brought me to the top of the detached piller, where I sighed a sigh of relief. I sighed too soon. My hands could reach the top of the climb, but whereas previously the rope drag was merely like towing a spastic donkey through quicksand, now the rope had become completely stuck, totally immobilizing me. Runout above my last gear, stuck in a tenuous stance on flexible sandstone flakes and frictiony feet just below the top, I could peer over the top of the pillar at the chains 5 or 6 feet away, but I didn't have the rope to top out. Physically and emotionally exhausted, I considered my options. The sky looked like Something Evil This Way Comes, and I could smell the rain and electricity in the air. Far below, the hound with explosive diarrhea whined in sympathy with my situation. From my delicate stance, I reached back with one hand, unclipped and unknotted my cordellete from my harness. It took me a couple tries, but I was able to use the cordelette like a lasoo, throwing a loop blindly over the detached piller. I couldn't see exactly how it wrapped around the back side, but it seemed secure for a downward pull. I clipped into the cordelette, and still gripping the loose flakes, slowly weighted it. It shifted once with a frightening pop that sent some loose rock down the chimney, but held. Trusting my entire weight to the cordelette, I yarded on the rope like the anchor man in a tug or war contest where the loser would be executed. Finally I was able to pull enough slack up that I could pull a beached whale move up and over the edge. By the time I was on the ground, the storm hit. Pea-sized hail was accompanied by flashes of lightening that were followed almost immediately by crashes of thunder. Once again we took shelter in a cave. I'd left my cordelette and a few lockers up at the anchor, hoping that I would have a chance to watch LLL experience the Coffin. After all, at least half of the fun of climbing some desperate thrutchfest is getting to watch your partner suffer through it! There was a bit of a break, so LLL headed up. As she was tacking the roof low on the route, a good sized chunk of sandstone pulled off, hitting her in the cheek. That left a mark. The rain had started again. Sandstone and rain do not mix. I lowered her off and we left the anchor booty for somebody else. Well, those were the first three of our eleven days on the road. We had a great time climbing around Moab: Indian Creek (which force-fed us several more slices of humble pie), Potash Road, and the River Road. Self-flagellating offwidths, chimneys and tight corners seemed to be a theme. We went through a whole tube of Neosporin to heal our chapped, scraped and sanded hides. I took the Bloody Award, with several dozen open or oozing wounds on my knees, ankles, shoulders, back, elbows, hands and forearms, while LLL easily took the Combined Bruise Title--the coolest one being a clear imprint of a #4 Camalot. We hiked down wild canyons and never saw another person all day. We soaked our tired bones in beautiful wilderness hotsprings. We partied with the jack Mormon sinners in Moab. We returned to the City of Rocks, only to find it blizzarding there. We almost got stuck thirty miles from nowhere on a rough dirt road when we woke one morning to find it had snowed over half a foot. The hound's explosive diarrhea gave way to projectile vomiting which gave Leithal the Lovely Lurker's stuff a nice musky smell. Ahh, but climbing into - and back out of - the Coffin was the highlight of the trip for me! [ 11-03-2002, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Uncle Tricky ]
  20. i know this topic sux....but so do the books i am attempting to read please share....
  21. 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 ]
  22. 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>
  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. There’s a sweet 5.9 granite handcrack in Renton. I saw some exposed rock near an elementary school and that tipped me off to the multi pitch crag beyond the fence. The best climb is a two pitch handcrack kind of like Classic Crack in Leavenworth. Someone had already established this and about three other similar climbs in the area. I’ve done it everyday that it’s been dry, since I live nearby, and I want to be the first to solo it. I can’t believe there’s such good granite on the Westside!
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