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Found 31 results

  1. Climb: Welch Peak-NE Face FA/FWA Date of Climb: 3/13/2005 Trip Report: The relatively poor rock in the Cheam Range is best enjoyed when nicely frozen together, and it's no surprise that the few hardish routes that exist in the group are mostly winter climbs. And given the fact that the 15km of approach road via Jones Lake is usually impassable because of snow from December thru March or April, it's no news that such ascents are very rare. It does surprise me some, however, that the biggest face on the highest summit in the range has apparently passed thru the 80 years since the first ascent of the mountain without (so far as I am aware) a single attempt, especially since the discerning eye can pick out a pretty reasonable-looking line weaving around and between impregnable cliffs. With a high snow-line, several weeks of warmish daytime weather to consolidate the snow-pack, and a solid weekend forecast, it was obviously time to go. Andrew Rennie and I relaxed out of town mid-morning and started the walk up the Lucky Four trail at 1 p.m. Actually, the first hour-and-half of the walk is on old back-filled logging road [from about 750m to about 1220m], but after that the trail is remarkable pleasant. At 5 p.m. we pulled into camp, on a super-scenic knoll at about 1650m. We could see Fern and Jesse camped about 200m higher, but we were headed off on a traverse next morning, so there was no point in climbing further. We set the alarm for 2 and got away at 3:15. We surprised ourselves by reaching the glacial basin beneath the face in only 1 hour - fast cramponning on hard-frozen crust, but a considerable strain on our ankle ligaments. We had a bite and put on the harnesses on the flats [about 1700m], then started up the still-dark initial slope at 4:45. There were two or three crevasses to cross/bypass, and a sorta sketchy bridge at the schrund, but the snow was good and the frost inspired lots of confidence. We gained about 250m, then left the major snow-cleft leading to the col between Welch and the eastern gendarme and angled up right maybe 50m or so to confront our first significant challenge, a 10m Grade 3 waterfall step. 5:45, the ropes and gear came out, a belay went in, and the fun began. I got the first lead, placing both our screws in the ice to back up the rather mediocre belay, then climbing a right-angling snow-gully beyond to a good rock belay on the left at full 60m length. Andrew climbed the remaining 20m of the gully, then fought thru a short squeeze chimney, then continued up snow with intermittent ice beyond. I abandonned the belay and moved up about 10m to allow him to reach a secure stance - it pays to be sure of your partners in this kind of climbing, cuz you can't really communicate effectively, and you need to understand what is going on at the other end of the rope, and to have confidence that the other guy is not going to fall off for no good reason. My practise is simply to give a big yell when there is 10m of rope left, to give another big yell when the rope runs out, and if tension stays on the rope for a couple minutes, to tear down the belay and start climbing. I popped around the corner from Andrew into a left-angling gully, the key to the upper face, not visible from the campsite, but plainly visible from back down the valley. This had a tricky, thinly-iced exit, then we had to move together nearly 30m for me to reach a belay on the left side of a snow trough. Andrew continued right up the trough, passing above a little promontory and climbing a couple ice-steps. I moved with him about 20m to allow him to reach the rock-wall at the top of a major snow "Y". Here we needed to choose. We could continue right up and across a snow shelf maybe 2 pitches, then break back left thru the final significant rockwall to reach the summit snow-slopes, or we could go left and kinda end-run the rockwall. I went left, and in 60m just reached a flow which took 3/4 of a screw, backed up with a poor nut, for a belay. Andrew climbed the flow and disappeared around the corner. The rope fed out slowly while I got colder in the intermittent north wind, so I knew there was "interest" to the pitch. He finally ran the rope out and eventually a call came to follow - and what a fine pitch it was, with considerable ice, and two short vertical steps. Unfortunately, there wasn't much gear, most of what there was was poor, and since we only had two screws and one of those was most of my belay, his belay consisted of his two tools buried into a snow-fluting. Most uninspiring, but you can't be going falling off on these things anyway. The cornice beckoned a ropelength above, and I got a pretty good screw into ice after maybe 10m and another at 30m, then 3 rock pieces into a wall 5m below the crest. The snow under the cornice was horrendously powdery, and collapsed away underfoot to reveal slabby rock, but I managed to squirm my way up to where I could reach the crest by kinda semi-chimneying between the snowy slabs and the underside of the cornice overhang. There was a crack that I had convinced myself would be easy to enlarge to enable exit, but I fought and hacked and pulled and struggled and swore and came close to pitching off a couple times over the next half-hour before finally managing to belly-flop out onto the sunny east ridge. It was 2:45, and we were up. We were tired, and it was late, so we declined the pleasures of trudging up thru the sun-softened snow the extra couple hundred metres to the summit. We rapped once on the east ridge, into the first south-facing gully, then the descent and trudge back to camp were uneventful. By 8:30 we were well-fed, well-hydrated, and soon deeply asleep. Fern and Jesse must have cruched by sometime in the dark (ah, the perils of Monday to Friday work...), but we didn't hear them, and after a fine breakfast and a relaxing morning, we wandered out to rejoin the world Monday afternoon. Seldom can I recall a climb of such seriousness coming together so smoothly and - despite wishing it otherwise - I'm sure it'll be quite some time until the next such event. Isn't it just so great to be alive when these special climbs and special times happen though? Gear Notes: 2 screws (4 woulda been nicer) 6 nuts (smallish to medium) 5 cams (finger to wide hand) 7 pitons (2 long thin LAs - don't ever leave home without them! 1 medium blade and 1 long blade. 1 baby angle. 2 Leepers, which we did not use. Approach Notes: the Lucky Four Mine trail is a delight! go there!
  2. Climb: Mount Outram-Ghost Passenger (FA/FWA East Face) Date of Climb: 3/12/2005 Trip Report: I have been scheming to climb the East Face of Outram for a couple of years now. The large, gullied face is hard to see from most roads but you can get glimpses from some other peaks, and the view from Snass (Justin Brown has some awesome shots on bivouac.com) is quite impressive. In August 2003 Fred Touche and I hiked up the standard route on Outram and I took a look see down the face and deemed it possible. In 2004 Merran and I hiked in in May planning to go up the standard route, drop down a gully at the S end of the e face and climb back out up another gully. However this approach, due to weather and also the fact that all the gullies are too steep to be comfortable descents, failed and we ended up bagging the standard route once again. I know Justin and Jordan also made one attempt and had the same problem. For 2005 I decided to head in via the old Ghost Pass trail and up the creek draining the east face. I gleaned some beta on this approach from the usual online sources and prepared for windfall and thrashing. The nice descent down the standard route means the best climbing choice is to carry over bivi gear and I packed accordingly. No stove, cold food, two tools, crampons, a few jacket layers, a -7C sleeping bag for a possible long night bivi and a 3/4 length z-rest. I parked at the wooden marmot around 12:30 on Saturday and started hiking the Ghost pass trail. this leaves the old Engineers' Road about 2 km east of the Outram Trail and cuts over the ridge into the valley of Eighteen Mile Creek. The trail was overgrown and had lots of windfall but wasn't as hard to follow as I had feared it would be. After about three hours of hiking I left the trail and cut up an obvious side valley towards Outram. By the time I reached treeline it was getting near dark and I was tired. There were lots of possible lines so I elected to bivi overnight and make an early start instead of picking one line and giving it by headlamp Fred Touche style. There were no real flat spots to bivi not covered in wet snow but I found a good hollow in the ground, filled it in with dead branches and laid the z-rest down on that; it was quite comfortable. For some reason all I could think of all night long was zombie movies and wild animals. I had found fresh cougar tracks not far from my bivi site when approaching and kept waking up in the night in a state of mild panic whenever the wind blew through the trees. Around 5 AM I got up, packed my bivi up and got out of the trees onto the approach slopes to the east face. The face is a very large one with numerous gullies, and is composed of a long face on the SE ridge, and a higher face directly below the summit, in a bit of a cirque. Because of the slanting valley and ridge slopes pretty much all the options on the face are about 400 to 500m high and there are at least a dozen unclimbed gullies here, They pretty much all had a mix of ice and snow in them too. It was hard to make a decision but I ended up heading up to the headwall, mostly because I couldn't see it from lower in the valley and didnt want to pick a good looking line only to find out that the headwall had better lines that I couldn't see. East face at sunrise from treeline near bivi Unclimbed gully with WI3? step Narrow and potentially mixed unclimbed couloir line. When I got up into the east face bowl there were three options... a shady, scary looking couloir and chimney line with chockstones on the left, an open face with a couple of vertical water ice steps in the middle, and a slanting line on the right. The slanting line looked the easiest and had the smallest cornices above it so that was what I chose. It had one narrow kink but most of it looked like snow climbing. East face headwall. Arrow marks line climbed. NS and SS are north and south summits (I had no idea where the summits were when I took the photo). Details might be too small to see in thumbnail, in that case check the gallery. I climbed up into the couloir and the climbing turned out to be awesome with well-frozen neve and little bits of ice where seepages from the sidewalls came in. It was mostly 45 degree climbing with short steeper steps. There was a constant flow of 'hail' on the gully bed as ice fell off the sidewalls and broke up, but almost nothing larger than golf ball size...only two fist size chunks came down and both of them bounced well clear of me. Looking up the gully from near the bottom. I was not climbing too fast and I was also worried about the cornices. The climbing was fun but I wasn't enjoying it much. I came around a corner into the kink I had seen from below and found a 25m step of 70 degree WI3. After climbing this I got above most of the falling ice and the snow relented to 45 degrees again. A few hundred meters higher I got close to the ridge exit and came very close to a big looming house sized cornice. Fortunately the cornice line was not continuous. I picked a line up to where the lip was amost non existant, and although the angle steepened through 50 to almost 65 degrees (tools over head) the exit move was only vertical for less than a bodylength. I pulled onto the ridge to find I was exactly half way between the two summits, which was the point I had been aiming for, but did not know I was about to arrive at. Also, the ridge between the two summits, which is Class 2-3 rock in summer, and that I had thought might be scary and double-corniced, was pretty much a broad easy walk. Almost immediately on topping out my fear went away and I felt a great sense of happiness and relaxation. Tracks on the ridge with north summit behind. By the time I got to south summit it was probably 11:00 or 11:30 AM. I drank the last of my water, ate some PowerGels and took a few photos before starting to descend. Rideout and Payne - Sumallo Valley Mt. Grant, Eaton Peak and Cheam Range behind. The uppermost slopes were pretty wind-blown and icy, then as I went lower the snow softened and the temperature rose. I shed crampons and layers as I descended and even got in some good glissading. It is a very long way back down to the highway (almost 2000m) which I reached around 2:30 for a car-to-car time of 26 hours or so. Obviously that includes a 12 hour bivi and so theoretically a day trip is doable, but if I did it again I would still biv in order to get good early morning snow conditions. The approach is not onerous but does take about 5 hours all told. Since there are so many other unclimbed lines on the face I decided to give the climb a name to distinguish it from other routes that will later be done. I ended up calling it "Ghost Passenger" since the approach is via the Ghost Pass trail and because I was somewhat scared for a lot of the climb. The overall difficulty is probably Grade III, Alpine Grade AD+, WI3 and snow to 65 degrees. The climbing felt quite similar to Central Couloir on Joffre, not as sustained and no rockclimbing exit but with a slightly harder crux than existed the one time I climbed CC on Joffre. Gear Notes: 4 screws, 2 pickets and 2 pins would be an adequate rack for a party of two. Approach Notes: Via Ghost Pass trail, 4-5 hours in. Plan on taking bivi gear up and over. Food notes: In 26 hours I ate 5 powergels, 1 halvah bar, one chocolate bar, a couple of fruitleathers, and a sesame snap packet. I think this is the least amount of food I have ever eaten on an overnight trip. Certainly for most of the climb I did not want to eat at all. I'm still not very hungry. it is possible thatt if I had eaten more and had higher blood sugar levels I might not have felt so scared, I have noticed before that I start to get spooked sometimes when climbing and not eating.
  3. 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).
  4. Climb: Stonerabbit Peak-Southeast Face Date of Climb: 8/1/2004 Trip Report: What do you call 1,200+ meters of bush free, loose rock free, and lichen free big wide open slab scrambling? Base of Stonerabbit's southeast face. Go ahead...scramble and climb straight up! Reinhard going solo. 1000 meters of air from the summit of Stonerabbit A little summit bouldering on the Rabbit. We called our route Rabbit's Coat. Gear Notes: Food, water, rock shoes, and tranquilizer if you get nervous on big slabby face. Approach Notes: Chehalis FSR, Skwellepil road
  5. Here is a link to the trip report. Click here for chestbeating. [ 10-21-2002, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: Dru ]
  6. "Back of Beyond Buttress" -North Face/Buttress of Unnamed Peak. First Ascent Sept 14th, 2002. Jordan Peters and Mike Layton. III+ (or D+) 10b. 9p. Apporox 1500' (maybe less). Approach time 1.5 hours. Climbing time 5-9 hours? Descent time 30-40 min. Suggested Rack (not our rack though):small set medium nuts, camsn to 3" plus double or tripples on the hand size cams(red alien to yellow camalot), one 50-60m rope. Tired after a long day at WA pass, I drove to Abbotsford to meet "Jordop" for the 1st time. We were planning on doing the route Dru was hidding in the chehalis range. We saw it and turned it down, and drove to another place to look at another mtn. It looked neat, but far and not so steep. We had one more option that was feasible so we drove into Kookipi creek to look at the mountain Dru was teasing Jordop with. It looked ok, but we turned that one down too. Kookipi creek is a "new" area that just recently opened due to logging. I can't tell you how to get there yet, becuase I don't know myself. Jordop will surely provide us w/driving direction. It is 3 hours from Vancouver, however on a 2wd road out of Boston Bar. My only problem was a flat tire from the previous drive, and I barely got it inflated w/a can of old tire sealant. Anyway, we turned the mtn down after turning our heads to the left. We both nearly shit ourselves. ACross the valley lay an unnamed, unclimbed, and beautiful granite peak! Granite flanks came down on all sides as it swept around a cirque headwall into another higher summit. It's unglaciated north side has a razor ridge coming down (looks like a Mohawk) to an unbelievably steep perfectly clean blank granite headwall slab. I'm talking super clean, and super blank looking. We quickly packed for a 2-day adventure and headed straight down from across the mountain for 300 feet to the river, and straight up open timer w/a couple dense sections (w/wild raspberries and blueberries!) for an hour to a bivy sport. A nice little stream ran along the base of the talus at a high meadow, where we ditched our packs and grabbed our ropes and gear. I need to mention that this is GRIZZLEY bear country and you MUST be careful! Blinded by the magnificance of this north buttress, I kept my head down (to keep the puke in) and charged up the talus to the base of a 4-500" near vertical apron of perfect, flawless granite. When I looked up, my heart sank. It was almost blank. Almost. On the very left hand of the wall were 4 thin crack that ran parallel up the entirety of the face. They seemed to peter out just as one started up again, but there looked to be a few scary blank sections. We started up! Jordan took the first pitch. The first part was a fist size perfect splitter of lengandary beauty. Then awesome moves over a small roof to a PERFECT handcrack. I cheered him on as he struggled and sweated up this imposing crack. Off belay! Shit, I guess I had to do the next pitch. I followed up and couldn't believe this crack. Perfect! Amazing! I was laughing while climbing. Damn nice lead! My turn. The crack continued straight out of the belay but looked like it ended. The crack to the left looked like it started thin and continued higher where the belay crack ended. Okay, so I travered over 15' w/no pro nearly shitting my self to the crack and it bottomed out and turned into a seam, so I travered back to the belay already pumped and scared. I was excited to continue up the original crack becuase it look like something right out of a 4 star squamish pitch. It was! It was soooo sweeet and fuckin' hard. It petered out and I did a traverse left to another crack and belay Jordan over. He seemed equally impressed and was pretty pumped (especially after one section). He lead up another perfect perfect hand crack that lead straight up until he too ran out of gear (why I belayed there). My turn again, another perfect crack, to a traverse right to another crack that got kinda weird at the very end, right unde a huge undercling block. Luckily it was only 10 or 20' of not perfect, but pretty good rock to the top of what were are calling the "Endurance Slab" since I wanted to name the climb the Endurance Buttreess, but that seemed a bit much for the whole climb. Anyway it was 4 pitches of absolutely amazing 10b climbing on every pitch. It could be done in 3 pitches, but you'd need a lot more pieces and have to be really good. The exposure is unbelievable, I was petrified on my hanging belays, and while leading. IT's just straight down 400 or more feet! Gulp! We topped out on the Endurance Slab and were now on the main ridge crest. I looked like it was gonna be easy going on low fifth to the summit, but we thought wrong! It turned out to be challenging and tons of fun. Lots of little 10-40' cruxes. Jordop will post a topo and I suggest you follow our line. We did a lot of scoping around and this should be the best way to go. Jordan's fist pitch on the ridge was an super-awesome 5.7 groove jam to a 5.9 corner on totally solid granite (n.ridge of stuart solid). My pitch was some fun moves to a 20-30 foot 10b corner that was soooo hard! No feet for every other move. It may be harder if it was any longer. I continued pulling a fun and easy roof block (I almost tunneled under it!). The next pitches got easier and easier on super solid rock. Near the top the rock was still very solid, but loose rock was on some ledges. The 2nd to last pitch sported a wide, vertical crack easily avioded on the left. We thought it sporting to do it anyways, and I totally flailed up it. 10c/d, but contrived and not part of the route. It took us 9 pitches to get to the unclimbed summit. We made a cairn and enjoyed to view of unclimbed peaks and walls an few hours drive from Vancouver. And as if we didn't have all the luck that day, the desent only took 30 minutes to the bivy site. Walk down from the summit towards the car, make a right into a grove of trees, and walk down a low angle talus gully. You'll see it going up. Very easy and no routefinding. We packed up our useless packs full of food and camping gear and got back to the car. The hike out is very quick, and the slog uphill at the end is much easier than say, the one at the Wine Spires at WA pass. What a fantastic route, day, and a partner! This route has the makings of a classic, and it's easily done car to car (or house to house) from Vancouver or Bellingham. I'm sure Jordop will post our topo and photos once we get them developed and you'll understand that I'm not overexaggerating just b/c we were the ones who did it that this route really is this good. One more thing. Should we write to the CAJ and how, and same goes for McLane if he updates his guide? Can we name the peak? If not, is it unethical to give it an un-official name? [ 09-15-2002, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: michael_layton ]