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Found 256 results

  1. Climb: FRA-Acid Baby III+ 5.10 approx 1000' climbing-Dan Cappellini, Rolf Larson, Mike Layton Date of Climb: 7/31/2005 Trip Report: "Now that we've climbed together, I think you're ready to meet Dan," Rolf stated at 6am in Leavenworth. The three of us had a blast doing a fantastic climb up on Asguard Pass across from the NE face of D-tail. All three of us knew of the line, although they tried to get me to do d-tail madness or the boving route instead. i made lies why we needed to do this route. We get to the base. Crap, this is gonna be quick. What looked like a 4-5 pitch climb now looked like 3 pitches max. At least it'll be over quickly...We got back to the car at 10:30pm. I posted a topo (too big for here) in my gallery. I'll add the link on my next post when i put up the photos. Anyway, our climb ACID BABY turned out to be unrelently steep, quality, and a clean line. I pegged out the contrive-o-meter when my pitch came up by trying to go directly up the roof in the center of the face. After an hour-long battle with gear and fear I backed off. I had a 1/2way in nut, a grey tcu that kept pulling out when i moved, an RP between two removeable stones, and a belayer-slayer i was standing on trying to make the impossibe (for me) reach up over and aroudn the roof. I fell and nearly shat myself in the process. The nut pulled, but came to a stop when the remain metal that was touching the rock somehow held. My RP and TCU blew out. I got real bloody! After a lot of "gosh mike, you're retarded" Rolf slung his balls over his shoulder and gave the roof a go. Much swearing and "careful" grumbling later, Rolf downclimbed my horror show, not as excited to be lowered off my nut as I was. "Well if Rolf couldn't do it," I though.... Anyway, I got the seat of SHAME while Rolf took the obvious and way better way to go up super exposed cracks, ridges, and traversing. Dan and I got stellar pitches, and more stellar pitches led to the top. Turned out to be about 1,000' of climbing all pitches very physical and almost every pitch in the 5.10 range, two being very sustained 5.10. Maybe my photos will do it more justice then my not so good TR (i'm tired and don't have time to post this later). We topped out on top of Enchantment peak after fully burying the CONTRIVE-O-METER on top by doing a sweet pitch of climbing on a large steep slab covered in cracks. We just couldn't stop climbing....well actually we all we bitching pussies by the summitt. If I think of anything else important to the actual route, i'll post it. Rolf and Dan are free to call bullshit, i don't care. feel free to downgrade it to I+ 5.6 55meters. anyone know the name of this tower? if it has one that is. Gear Notes: set and a half cams up to 4", nuts Approach Notes: can't see the tower till you're almost there
  2. Climb: The Mythical Bellingham Big Wall Date of Climb: 7/21/2005 Trip Report: For many climbers in Bellingham the Twin Sisters Range is the place were we first cut our teeth in the mountains, climbing the west ridge of the North Twin or more often than not failing on an attempt of the South Twin Sister. The rest of the range is somewhat of an enigma. During the month of July I made several forays into the east side of the range. While the west side of these mountains is a wasteland of clearcuts and decomposing logging roads, on the east side we discovered soothing old growth forest, wild rivers, impressive glaciers, lots of solitude and some great multipitch climbing on the unique and enjoyable olivine these peaks are composed of. Last February my wife and I decided to check out the Elbow Lake Trail. After we navigated the washed-out crossing of the Nooksack River the trail immediately began a gentle climb through impressive stands of huge trees in the drainage of Green Creek. Occasional openings in the forest afforded glimpses of steep walls near the creeks headwaters. Green Creek Arete II 5.6 On July 1st Allen Carbert and I returned to see if these walls measured up to the grandure of my memories. After a half hour on the trail we plunged straight into the forest and began traversing further into the Green Creek drainage. While the underbrush was thick and wet we made good time and after an hour of thrashing we broke out along the bank of the creek. This is a wild spot with great views of the Green Glacier to the west and Mount Baker and Lincoln Peak to the east. After crossing the creek we headed up the enormous talus slopes that define the upper regions of this drainage. One east facing wall stood out, steep, clean and bordered by an impressive gendarmed arete. Four hours after leaving the car we stood near its base. Intimidated and running short on time we decided the arete would be a perfect choice for the day. Like many routes in the Sisters the climbing was much easier than it looked. We scrambled up delightful 3rd and 4th class rock before slipping into rock shoes for a clean exposed slab on the crest of the arete. The horizontal section turned out to be exciting 3rd class scrambling right along the massive drop of the east face. We roped up for a 100' pitch of 5.6 cracks on more clean, solid rock before a final bit of scrambling led to...nowhere. The arete simply ended on a minor high point of the long ridgeline seperating the drainages of the Green and Sisters Glaciers. We built a small cairn and ate lunch while enjoying the unique views of the Sisters Glacier which looked to be no more than a 45 minute walk away. We had choosen to carry over and decided to descend by heading east along the ridgeline. After cresting a highpoint marked 5179' on maps we headed down through open meadows then more thick forest. At 3600' in elevation we hung a hard right, dropping back into the drainage of Green Creek. A steep descent led to an even steeper gorge where we once again crossed the creek before climbing back up to the trail. Eight and half hours after leaving we were back at the car, satisfied with a great day in the local hills. The Mythic Wall III 5.10 On July 21st Michael Layton and I climbed the wall. The huckleberries in the forest were now in prime season and we stopped every five minutes to gorge ourselves. Somehow we still managed to reach the face in a little over three hours. As we roped up an enormous black spider crawled across the start of our route. What in the hell is this thing? The climbing was excellent. Almost every pitch was steep, solid and sustained with adequate protection. Stemming up corners, linking face cracks, pulling over roofs on jugs, we had a great time. What loose rock there was we would pitch off into space watching it freefall for hundreds of feet before exploding into shrapnel. Michael led the crux pitch, a series of discontinuous cracks up the center of a steep, clean face. On the next pitch, intimidating roofs were passed on great holds. As Mike followed he easily pulled off the only belay-slayer on the climb, a 5' tall flake that exploded over the previous belay ledge. Four and half hours after starting we topped out in the still blazing sun. We had climbed the route in 6 pitches ( 5.8, 5.9+, 5.4, 5.10-, 5.9, 5.7) and decided to call it The Mythic Wall as it felt like we had just done that mythical alpine rock climb we've always wanted to find in the mountains near Bellingham. We downclimbed the Green Creek Arete (easy 4th class from topout) reaching our packs in about an hour. On the way out we cooled off in the creek before thrashing back out to the trail, the truck and, to celebrate, the North Fork Beer Shrine. Either of these routes are well worth doing, particularly if you live in the Bellingham area. While the approach certainly takes some effort it sure is nice having multi-pitch alpine rock climbs so close to home. Mythic Wall Route Description At the top of the scree gully below the wall the route begins on the left side of the large wet chimney (year round water?). P1 (5.8, 55m) Start directly below the only tree on the lower face. Pass a horizontal fault at 40', pull through steep black rock then follow ramps and corners to the tree. P2 (5.9+, 45m) Hard moves off the belay, then climb up and right until you can traverse right into discontinuous corners. Follow these to a large ledge splitting the face. P3 (5.4, 25m) Walk left then traverse up and left on a loose-looking but solid rock. Belay near another tree below face cracks on the smooth wall. P4 (5.10-, 40m) Link face cracks up and right (crux). When they end at a L-facing corner pull out right around the corner onto an easy face. P5 (5.9, 40m) Climb a nice L-facing corner, then pull a roof. Hand traverse left below the next roof into a fun dihedral. Below more roofs move out left to a belay. P6 (5.7, 20m) Steep flakes lead to the ridgeline. Gear: rack to 3.5", including a full set of TCUs or Aliens, micronuts and a double set of cams from 2" to 3.5". The wall can be seen in shadows on page 41 of Red Fred. It's above the "ek" in "Green Creek". Approach From Mosquito Lake Road follow the Middle Fork Nooksack River Road about 11 miles to the signed Elbow Lake trailhead (elevation 2200'). Ford the river on log jams and reminants of the old bridge then pick up the trail again 100' downstream. Follow the trail about a mile to a sharp switchback at 2700'. Leave the trail here dropping down into gentle forest and a crossing Hildebrand creek. Continue traversing up valley through thick huckleberrys and occasional dense firs trees. The best travel seems to be around 2750' in elevation. Once you reach Green Creek the wall and the long talus slopes to reach it should be obvious. 3-4 hrs. Descent Down climb the arete or hike east along the ridgeline passing a high point then descending into forest. At 3600' turn right and head straight down to Green Creek. We forded the creek around 2300' then climbed back up through devils club reaching the trail around 2500'.
  3. Climb: Northern Picket Range-Surviving the Fence (N Picket full ridge traverse) Date of Climb: 7/16/2005 Trip Report: FOR IMMEDIATE AND PREMATURE RELEASE Seattle, WA - On July 16, 2005 Wayne Wallace and Josh Kaplan completed the Northern Picket Range summit ridge traverse, also known as the "Cascade Nonfecta." Sponsering and recording the event was their chief sponsor, "Uncage the Bowels." UTB coordinated the timing effort, hiring experts from Mountaineering Inc. to make sure the effort was "official." The final time came in shortly less than 6 days. In the highest standard of UTB productions and mountainspeedclimbing.org records it must be disclosed that the two elite alpine mountain endurance speed climbers did not operate the speedboat used to travel ross lake. For additional information please contact Uncage the Bowels productions. Summits: Luna -> E Fury -> W Fury -> Swiss -> Spectre -> Phantom -> Ghost -> Crooked Thumb -> Challenger Gear Notes: Used: 60m 8.1mm half rope 50m 7mm perlon rap line BD firstlight tent ghetto-rigged with skipoles instead of real poles super light bivy gear 1 akpine hammer each medium alpine rack Should have had: I should have had rain gear like Wayne did. Approach Notes: Used Access Creek for approach and Eiely-Wiley Ridge for the deproach.
  4. Sorry this is a little long winded, but what else am I going to do at work? On Tuesday May 10th after our second attempt in as many days Gordy Smith and I summated Mt. Marcus Baker via a new route (Sanctuary Ridge). Gordy had come to me a couple of months earlier to see if I was interested in a new route up Mt. Marcus Baker. I was, and after seeing his recon pictures of the route, became convinced that even though this was a rock ridge in a range notable for its horrible quality of rock, this route could be done safely by bypassing areas of poor rock on faces below the ridge. Our trip started just 4 days earlier when we left Seattle on Saturday Morning. The flight to Anchorage was amazing with clear skies the entire way allowing rare glimpses of Mt. Logan, Mt. Fairweather and the perennially socked in Mt. St. Elias. Our approach into Anchorage also had the benefit of giving us a clear view of our objective summit, although we were viewing from the south so we were not able to see our planned route. We had no problems with transportation, bags or picking up of last minute provisions, and arrived in Talkeetna by 5 pm under clear skies. When we walked into our flight service office we were asked to get our stuff together so they could fly us in as soon as possible. We quickly packed and were in the plane 45 minutes later. Approximately 12 hours after leaving Seattle we were sitting on an isolated glacier approximately 80 miles East North East of Anchorage at 7000 ft elevation. After setting up camp, cooking, and sorting all our gear we took an inventory of all the things we had left in the rental car in our rush to pack. Luck had it that only one of these items (the handle for the shovel) was a potentially critical error, but due to good weather, turned out to be more of an inconvenience rather than a real issue. Other items left behind included nuts, and oatmeal. The following morning we packed our gear and started skiing east up the glacier to a small col that overlooked the Matanuska Glacier to the East. This col is the base of a rocky ridge that climbs 2000 ft to a glacier that makes up the summit plateau of Mt. Marcus Baker. Realizing that the climbing looked technically difficult and our pack were quite heavy, we decided to stash our gear and recon a route through the crux of the ridge which appeared to be quite close to the bottom. We headed up 50 degree ice on the east side of the ridge for approximately 400 ft and gained the crest of the ridge. From here we made an anchor (consisting of a single nut in a crack) and began scouting the rock above. I climbed just to the left of the ridge crest for about 50 ft only to come to a vertical section of shattered and horribly loose rock. After climbing back down to the anchor I headed up to the right of the anchor in a slight gully on mostly rock with patchy snow. Again after 75 ft I was stopped by very poor rock conditions. My decision to turn around at this point did not stem from the fear of pulling rock down on myself, but more in the total inability to build any sort of a safe anchor in which to retreat from if we were stopped higher up. I had decided that Gordy’s Route was not going to go in its current conditions, at least not by me. We down climbed back to the ridge and sat in the sun mulling our limited options on the steep north side of the peak. The previous evening upon landing on the glacier we had noticed another potential line in what at first glance appeared to be a giant serac threatened face. We walked up the mellow angled ridge on the north of the col to get a better view of the line and see if it would go. From this angle it now appeared to be a fairly low angled ridge that continued all the way from the basin which our camp was in, to the broad low angled west ridge of Mt. Marcus baker at 10,800 ft. With our spirits a little brighter we skied (skied for me is a relative term, which roughly translates to uncontrolled sliding on slippery sticks followed by face plants powered by the weight of a 35 lb pack) back to camp. We cooked dinner, melted snow for water, and tried to get to sleep early. The following morning we were up around 6. We left camp by 7 after an hour of melting more snow, getting dressed, applying sunscreen, filling pockets with food, etc. The previous night we had made the decision to try for the summit in a single push from camp. This would limit the loads we had to carry on the lower part of the ridge, but make for a long day. We carried enough to keep us alive over night just in case we did not make it back to camp. This included down jackets, plenty of food, and most importantly a stove for melting more water when we ran out. We skied directly south from our camp zigzagging up the slope and around crevasses to a point approximately 1000 ft above our camp, and directly below a large ice wall that gained an almost horizontal ridge several hundred feet above us. At this point we took off our skis and donned crampons. I led out and crossed a poorly bridged crevasse and gained the lower section of the ice wall below the horizontal ridge. I crossed over a sub ridge and did a climbing traverse to the right side of the main ridge. From here we continued very close to the crest of the ridge through calf deep snow crossing bridged crevasses on the ridge with little difficulty. After 1200 ft of 30-40 degree snow slogging we reached an open crevasse which we had spotted from camp as being a potential problem. It was still bridged, albeit poorly, and after punching my feet through, gave up walking across and swung my tools over to the higher side, and pulled the rest of my body over. Gordy made a similar move to get across this the only real technical difficulty of the lower ridge. This is also the only place where we placed any protection to protect us from falls. Above this the climbing steepened for 400 feet and became hard ice and neve snow. At 10,800 ft we gained the west ridge of Mt. Marcus Baker. From this point we walked along the mellow wind blown ridge with amazing views to either side. The ridge was good cramponing over hard snow and ice. Between us and the summit pinnacle lay a sub peak labled on the USGS maps as 12,200 ft. We climbed up this peak on hard ice up to 50 degrees, and reached the top with our altimeters reading 12,000 ft. (Our altimeter read accurately on the summit, which made us believe that the altitude of this peak is inaccurate on the map). From the top of this peak we dropped down about 450 ft to the base of the summit pinnacle. Gordy and I dropped our packs and had a short conversation about how tired we were and the possibility of spending the night out (which would have sucked). After agreeing that we had plenty of food, water, and clothing we continued to the summit. We climbed up and right on hard ice. The ice gradually steepened to about 70 degrees and then suddenly fell back for the final few feet of walking to the summit. At 4 pm we were standing on the summit under clear, but brown hazy skies which limited visibility (we believe a fire near Homer was the reason for most of the haziness). After taking a few photos we quickly began our descent. We descended by setting tools as anchors and lowering the first and then having the second down climb the ice. After six rope lengths the angle was easy enough to walk facing out and down. Due to the soft snow on the lower ridge we were able to walk face out for much of the ridge which speeded our descent considerably. Still we did not reach our skis until close to dark. After crashing repeatedly down the final 1000ft we reached camp at midnight. My overall impression of the route is very good. Both Gordy and I believe this is a very viable alternative to the standard Matanuska or Knik Glacier routes. Not only is it shorter, but it is a very enjoyable route. Part of the lower ridge allows close up views of huge hanging glaciers and high rise building size seracs, without the fear that they will fall on you. All of the ridge is protected from serac fall making it a very safe route. The upper ridge allows views of the Chugach range and its Glaciers to the North and College Fjord to the south. All in all a very enjoyable route.
  5. Climb: WA Pass Burgundy Spire-Ultramega OK: Northeast Buttress Date of Climb: 7/24/2004 Trip Report: BURGUNDY SPIRE, NORTHEAST BUTTRESS, "ULTRAMEGA OK" GRADE: 5.10c/d (A0) or 5.11 III FA: MARK ALLEN, TOM SMITH July 24,2004 Tom Smith and I spied a route up the Northeast aspect of the Burgundy Wine Spire during the second free ascent of the East Face, Action Potential, on July 22nd. The line caught my eye and I was able to carry it for several imaginary pitches on anastomozing crack systems in solid granite. On July 24th we left the North Cascades Highway at 7:30am after consuming jet fuel at the Mazama store and approached the base of the wall. We started up the first pitch of an independent line, 10ft right of Action Potential's Bugaboo pitches and shared the first belay. We trundled some good belayer-slayers and cast off into a chimney that was succeeded by an amazing right facing corner. The system continued via hand and finger cracks as predicted by our previous scouting. Later the route unexpectedly forced us to explore an interesting weakness that loomed above. We stood on a ledge below an open book seam leading to an amazing double-roofed hand-to-first crack with changing corners. Lichen made it impossible to free climb. Tom aided the seam and freed the difficult roofs at 5.10c/d. As the second I was able to free the newly clean seam and concluded that it should be 5.11. We continued to discover finger and hand crack systems made more exciting by great exposure and position to the galcier below. We followed the system with enthusiasm provoked by views of Vasaliki ridge and the Silver Star Glacier drainage. Tom led the amazing last spicy pitch and topped out on Burgundy's north shoulder joining the Original Route (Becky, Hane, Parrott, 1953) for a final pitch to the summit block at 8:30pm. I was amazed at the quality of another unclimbed Burgundy Face. This route retained high quality climbing at a consistent 5.8-5.9 rating with a stellar 5.11 crux; this is the most attactive line that Burgundy has to offer on any aspect to date. V*S*O*P* old boy! But we would not reap the rewards without a price. Upon our descent of the the North Face our rope hung up on two separate consecutive occasions forcing us to re-lead the descent and once via headlamp. After repeating the third rappell, falling rock core-shot one of the lines. Finally, at the Burgundy Col we reclined in our pile of rope, rested and exchanged a few words of celebration. During this reflection we were rewarded with the Aurora Borealis, which Tom had never seen, across the silhouetted North Cascades. At 1:00am, we returned to the Highway and to the cold Pabst Blue Ribbon chilling in the Early Winters Creek. The route was done car-to-car, free of tat or bolts. Two Lost Arrows were placed at the crux belay and one remains. Climbing at 5.11( 5.10c/d A0) III+ with seven pitches at 5.8, 5.9, 5.8, 5.11, 5.9+, 5.9, 5.8, the route was named Ultramega OK Here is a topo created out of an original Jordop photo showing all the routes. Thanks for the photo bro. Topo can be found in my Gallery in larger format at http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=10540&size=big&sort=1&cat=509 Photo of Mark at last belay taken by Tom Smith after the second ascent of Action Potential and final scouting of Ultamega Ok. Gear Notes: Small aliens/rps to 4" doubles in .25-2 two ropes 60m a few pins if you bail or for belay Approach Notes: 3:00hrs
  6. In the last 3-5 years? Personal experience/rumor/links/thirdhand k-nowledge? PM works good. Thanks.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. Climb: Chiwawa Mtn.-NW Face Date of Climb: 3/6/2005 Trip Report: Dave Burdick and I climbed a new route on Chiwawa Mtn this past weekend, after spotting the awesome-looking line in John Scurlock's new pictures. On Saturday we snomobiled up the Chiwawa River Road (with a snowmobile generously lent by Phil), and then skied up the Chiwawa Basin Trail (lot's of dirt skiing involved). We woke up early yesterday and hiked up to the Chiwawa-Fortress col, and then made a descending traverse to the base of the NW Face. Our route climbed the very obvious gully/chimney in the center of the face, starting mostly on ice, and gradually becoming more mixed. The climbing was fantastic although hard, and the route was the best mixed climb I've ever done. Our last pitch bailed out of the chimney onto the face on the right, but if some strong mixed climbers head in there they'll probably do the direct finish. Dave had his digital camera, so I expect we'll see some pictures soon. Chiwawa Mtn, NW Face New Route: "Intravenous" - IV, WI4, M6. Gear Notes: Reccomended Gear: -60m rope -5 knifeblades -a few small nuts -cams up to #1 camalot -2 stubby, 2 17 cm screws Approach Notes: The Chiwawa River Road is starting to get bare, so snowmobiling won't be a good option soon. However, the route sees no sun, so it will probably be in for at least a few more weeks, and perhaps the road will be drivable by then.
  10. Climb: White Chuck - East Face Couloir Date of Climb: 2/27/2005 Trip Report: Look at the pics then read Justins post "A Message from Necronomicon:" a little further down the page. It's far better than my slop In the beginning of February, when Dave Brannon and I were finishing up the Northeast Ridge, it became readily apparent that the east face of White Chuck was big, steep and split by a very deep coulior. With a little help from John Scurlock I managed to get an excellent photo of the east face. Ummmm....that looks good. Gene Pires, Justin Thibault and I climbed the route on our second attempt on February 27th. First climbed in September 1970 by Ron Miller and Ben Guydelkon, it had all the making of an un-classic. The CAG admonishes, "best climbed in late summer when dry", "scare protection" and "hard hat recommended". In a veil of ice and neve we figured it might be a very good climb. On the first attempt too much new snow and too little time turned us around before we even saw the face. Though the weather had become unseasonably warm we returned over the weekend to try again. On Saturday morning Justin managed to coax his truck up to 3100’ on FSR 2435. From there we slogged up logging roads and a scenic wooded ridge reaching the basin below the south side of the peak in the late afternoon. At around 5000’ temps in the shade hovered around forty degrees. But north-facing slopes still held fine powder snow giving me some sweet turns, and us hope for decent conditions in the shady couloir. Justin and I passed out in the sun while Gene summoned the energy to pack down part of the approach for the following morning. Just before sunset John Scurlock made a serious of terrifyingly fast and tight circles around the peak in his yellow rocket plane. Sunday we left camp at 4 AM and traversed up to a “chair-like” pinnacle on the southeast ridge of the peak. We dropped down a very steep ramp to the base of the face and began a long, miserable traverse through breakable crust. At first the route appeared to start with a blank rock wall. As we ascended the debris cone at its base a beautiful ice-choked chimney appeared, leading up to the left. Starting up the first pitch Ultimately the climb was far better than we could have imagined. With occasional simu-climbing we broke the climb into seven long pitches, the last ending forty feet from the summit. Two pitches in the middle consisted of steep neve. The other five were primarily beautiful runnels of water ice sometimes no more than 1’ wide. While a majority of the climbing was WI3 or easier the second pitch had a difficult crux of vertical and rotten snow covering thinly iced chockstones with hard-fought protection that felt pretty serious. All photos by Justin Thibault. Below the long, beautiful runnel of pitch 3 Leading off for the summit Descending the Northwest Ridge One of the boyz below P6 We topped out maybe eight hours after starting the climb and took a long rest before beginning the exposed and tedious descent back to camp. Justin, Gene and I all felt that this route was quite classic and deserving of repeats. During a normal snow year there would likely be more wallowing, less ice and a big cornice to surmount at the top. We thought a fair rating in current conditions was WI3 mixed 5.8 R. Gear Notes: Plenty of screws Pickets Pins - KB to Baby Angle small rack to 2.5”
  11. Rolf Larson and I climbed a line on the north face of Mt. Buckner on Sunday the 20th. Friday, after bivying at the trailhead, we skinned up the road and started up the trail to Boston Basin. Coincidentally a group of 3 skiers were off to ski the north colior on Buckner that same morning. Thrashed through the brush and above tree level by early afternoon up to within about 800 feet of the Sahale Boston col that day. Skiers continued on to make the traverse to Boston Glacier. Next day some weather moved in and vis was shitty at the col. We began the traverse. Good neve, exposure, heavy packs. Traverse, Down the Boston Glacier in light north face pow and across to the north face of Buckner that day. Scoped lines. Line we originally intended to climb looked too filled in with snow. Another line caught our eye that started with an ice flow then went into some snow and ice runnels. There was a direct start to this line that just looked too much like powder snow on rock. After another cold night in the Bibler, Rolf roused early with his usual sunny disposition and made a brew while I kept my head stuck in my sleeping bag. We trudged up to the ice fall. After some fucking around I finally started up the ice - a fun pitch with a decent steep section. From there we continued up steep snow and fun aesthetic mixed climbing. Here's a bad photo but gives an impression of the climbing. The neve was superb. Everything that looked like powder snow from the glacier was thick thunker neve. We realized we should have taken a steeper line or the direct start. About half way up the face we were able to look down at the direct start and it looked rad - with a classic ice and neve filled chimney with decent rock pro. What little girls we were for taking the conservative approach. More fun climbing led to the of the ridge and a classic ridge traverse with exposure and amazing views of the North Cascades in winter led to the summit. We paused in the sun and descended the north coliour back to the Bibler. It was only 1:30 by the time we got back to camp, so we made a brew and I told Rolf I was over spooning with him in the Bibler let's go home. We packed our shit and bolted. The skiers who had skiied the north coliour the day before had been farming the north facing slope from the Boston Sahale traverse notch down the glacier that day and had kicked a bitchin skin highway back up. Thanks skiers!! Got down to truck by 8:00 after a long exhausting day and had a beer. Named the route "Copa Cabana" after a friend who spent his President's Day weekend kiteboarding and drinking margaritas in Mexico with bikini babes instead of the Rolf Larson lovefest of freezing ass and killing ice. Shot of the route from bro's arial photo page: The Copa Direct remains. If this high pressure holds someone should go crush!!!
  12. This is my first attempt to post a TR with pictures so in advance please excuse my ineptitude with this. Will send them soon. No TR function for posting? So two weeks ago, I took my two dogs for a walk up the Mt Dickerman trail on a rainy/snowy day. About two hours out at the 4500 foot level, there was a small creek which the dogs lapped up the cold water. Above was this patchy system of ice up the rambly cliffy section. The rest of the hike was pleasant in the snowy/rainy Washington kind of way. I knew though that the climb could form if it stayed cold and didn’t snow too much. This last week was good for creating ice. Fairly cold and clear. Alex was up for a good day and I was also able to convince a new buddy, Robert on a temporary assignment from LA, to come along. We got a good early start for the hike in, climb and follow up with a hike to the top. Two hours walking on solid boot pack (must be hundreds of switchbacks) got us to the ice, right above the trail. The ice is a cool little WI2 and about 75 meters, give or take a dozen meters. It can be split into 2 pitches at a convenient tree belay 30 meters up. The ice was thin with frequent hitting of rock but plenty of good medium and stubby screws were placed the whole way up. The angle of the ice compensates for the thin ice conditions. I hauled a bunch of standard rock gear and pins but was unable to find any cracks to place anything. Two raps off trees get back to the ground. Farther left, there is the possibility of some shorter ice climbs, some easier, some mixed. All involve wallowing through the deep stuff. After our climb, we got back on the bootpack trail and continued another hour to the top. We carried our ice gear with us to confuse and/or frighten the more sane hikers. No one seemed to notice. For those who haven’t been on top dickerman, there are good views of n and e face big 4, n face sperry, n face vesper, w face sloan, glacier, pugh, whitechuck, e face Whitehorse, e face 3 finger and baker. Many possible winter objectives can be checked out from this vantage point. Note for dog lovers, lots of people with dogs on this trail last week. I would not expect this climb to be exposed during a more normal season. It seems that it could easily be buried. But in early season, this could be a good climb to knock the rust off the swing and get a leg workout. It seems that this climb must have been done before due to the access. Whoever may have done it never bothered to mention it to Jason and Alex for the ice guide. Maybe it is too easy to bother reporting? But whatever, it is ice, it is in Washington, it has a nice trail, and it is fun for hacks like me. For those alpine suffering types, there is no visable ice on the west face of Sloan, east face of Whitehorse and Three fingers. BUT there is a very interesting ice formation on Big 4’s east face. Maybe three pitches of very steep terrain. It has a complicated approach but the reward is equally big for those willing to suffer. I will try to post some pictures later when I figure out how to zoom in on the photos I got. Gear: standard ice gear, medium and stubby screws, maybe some KB’s, snowshoes needed if there is recently snowfall. Skis not useful.
  13. 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.
  14. Climb: Hope-Powerhouse Falls, WI 2/3, FRA Date of Climb: 1/14/2005 Trip Report: McBee and I were getting ready to hike to Piccadilly Circus, but saw a tempting target directly behind the Power Station 11km west of Hope on Hwy 1. A great short approach up a gravel road led to two full 50 meter pitches of WI2 or 3. We continued on up the gully system for another 500 feet of elevation gain, soloing four more Grade 2 steps before ringing the bell and descending. Even though this climb isn't in Don's new guide, I am very skeptical that it hasn't been climbed already. We did see boot prints on the approach, filled in slightly by the last storm cycle, but saw no signs of passage on the climb. McBee and I joked about naming it "Shock and Awe." Gear Notes: Standard ice rack Approach Notes: Exit at the Power Station, an unmarked exit ramp immediately before Herring Island exit. Park on the shoulder of the pavement. Walk up the gravel road heading behind the Power Station. When you reach the Battery Room building, head left on an old FS road to the creek. Powerhouse Falls will come into sight, just a few more minutes uphill.
  15. Climb: (TR) Sharpen The Saw-Complete Sawtooth Traverse FA- Date of Climb: 8/9/2004 Trip Report: This is a quicky tr that tells of an adventure ,whereby David Parker and myself believe we were the first to traverse the entire Sawtooths from Mt. Alpha to Mt Lincoln. Aside from the main 14 summits we also did 5 other minor pinnacles on this amazing traverse. It took us 3 days in all and covered much technical ground . I will do a longer and more detailed tr later. Cheers ,Wayne and David
  16. 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
  17. Climb: Burgundy Spire-F.A. Action Potential. East Face Burgundy Spire Date of Climb: 7/19/2004 Trip Report: 7/18-7/20 2004. Mark Allen & Mike Layton. "Action Potential" 1st ascent of Burgundy Spire's East Face. Grade III, 5.10a-5.10c, 5-7pitches. Seagram's Five-Star. Action Potential: an electrical event along nerve; a wave of rapid depolarization, or a "firing" of a nerve impulse. Mark and I had both spotted the line on separate trips over a year ago. It sat heavy in the back of our minds until after a rather heft spay-down, we both mentioned the potential for a route on the maybe unclimbed east face of Burgandy Spire. Well the last three days we acted on it... Day 1: I knew we were off to a rough start. Mosquitoes tried to make roost in my ear hole as my 5am alarm went off. The taste of stale tobacco and cheap beer kept my mouth sealed from the agonizing groan, the realization that I had some work to do that day. Two and a half hours of sleep. We were going to pay for last night's debauchery. Luckily the chickens provided us with eggs, and strong cups of cowboy coffee churned our bowels. The 1st hour of the slog up Burgundy Col was an exercise in will-power. The accelerated blood flow through my liver speeded filtration, but pushed the chemicals deeper into my brain. As the last ounce of last night's fun left my system, we crested the col and blasted down to the east face of burgundy. It had been two or three years since I had been under the east faces of the wine spires to do chianti, so I had no memory of what the east face of Burgandy looked like up close. All I had we blurry photos taken from trips up the Vasiliki ridge the two previous years. Would there be cracks? Or would there be compact granite seams of overlapping roofs and death blocks as usually is the case? Dragons? A moat Troll? The sky was laden with rain and despair. Lo and behold! The fist part of the mountain was SPLITTER WHITE BUGABOO GRANITE!!! And legs that went all the way up! Heck Yeah! We did the old ro-sham-bow(sp?) and I got the 1st pitch! A 5.8 handcrack flake soared up to a weird off-width-like roof. There was gear! To my left a long layback with some lichen, to my right a spooky hand traverse into an a-cheval. Then it started to rain. I'll take the way with bomber hands and go right, I thought. Fun as hell! Natural belay spot at about 30 meters. Mark came up and it stopped raining. Good. Keep going. This lead took quite some time to credit Mark's will-power and routefinding tenacity. There was a blank looking slab to a blank looking headwall, to a blank looking ramp, to another blank looking overhang. Gonna get shut down. Mark went to go take a look. "Dude, this slab has a PERFECT 5.7 fingercrack up the center," "Dude the headwall had a fingercrack with positive holds" "Dude the ramp has a fingercrack in it" "Dude the headwall has a long steep fingercrack" Everything had a fingercrack! By the time Mark got to the overhang/headwall fingercrack it started to rain. The key slabs for feet were covered in a black lichen carpet. He began to aid, and just as he reached for his 1st free move CRACK-POW. Thunder and lightning overhead. We rapped off and headed home. Much debauchery with special guest Eric, SpecialEd and Lunger. It dumped rain all night long and into the morning. We ate much bacon that morning before we headed back up the pass (AGAIN) this time with overnight gear, dark skies, and a 1:30pm start. Day 2: At the pass by 3:30. Started the climb (AGAIN) by 4:30. We were a little late. We swapped leads so Mark could enjoy the 1st pitch and I could free the 2nd pitch. Mark went up the layback instead of the handtraverse and continued up the headwall and slab to below the 5.10 fingercrack. A FULL pitch of 5.9 (about 3 5.9 cruxes) to a semi-hanging belay. Future parties should split this up, we were in a hurry. I tacked the lichen fingercrack. My body needed to pull one way, with the crack jammed the other. No feet. Gotta scrub this. Some scrubbing and sequencing got us up the crux to insecure handjams. I continued up a handcrack covered in lichen (5.8) to these WILD system of flakes. You can see them from the ground. Huge fingers of rock pointed wildly into the east. There were several of these overlapping flakes creating a wildly exposed and fun jug haul to a major ledge system. There I found a very old looking fixed hex. Shit! The route had been done! Wait....I looked down to my left and saw a 4th class scree ledge system that led to my stance. Must've been an exploratory pitch cuz no-one had been the way we came, and very doubtful that they continued up. This was the only piece of fixed pro on the whole route. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not. This 2nd pitch was also a very long 55 meter pitch. Mark's next 80 meter (simul) pitch took us 1/2 way up the massive corner system that splits the upper face. It was the MOST fun in a chimney (except epinepherine of course) I've ever had. as characterized on this route and the variations every time you needed a foot, one appeared, everytime the hands got to thin, there was a hold, sidepull, or undercling. What a blast! My pitch started of a big mungy with a couple interesting moss mushroom, but after a few pieces, it got stellar again and I stemmed and chimneyed and face climbed up the corner to the big split at the top. I took the right hand chimney (fun) b/c the left looked quite hard. Now we were on the huge ledge just below the summit. Mark finished the mountain with the 5.7 or 5.8 arete that I guess is part of the N.F. route. We did our last rap in the dark with big giant smiles on our faces! Day 3: A 7:30 wake up (slept through the alarm) woke us to seriously looming skies and chilly conditions! Luckily the face was mostly wind protected. Mark started up a crack to the left of the bugaboo crack that was a big easier and led to below the headwall below the ramp. It was a great pitch also, but I like the flake to roof to layback pitch better. Instead of doing the fingercrack pitch, I headed right up a thin crack open book that stated as a thin crack left facing corner. A little bit of lichen cleaning and I fingerlocked and laybacked up the 10a crux. This led me into the open book where I jammed, stemmed, and fingerlocked to a ledge. The wall on my left loomed above me with a HUGE AMAZING HANDCRACK that went all the way up to below a massive overhanging roof with a slab traverse below it. It fist-jammed, foot jammed, hand jammed, toe jammed, and finger locked (it has everything!- including a BEAR HUG!) until I was outta breath and outta gear. Mark finished the crack and was discouraged that it blanked out. No, I shouted, I think I see a crack that splits the slab! There was! Mark delicately switched cracks and led below the big roof to where it ended on the arete. The roof ends at the arete where the two come together creating a heady step around. Mark took his time choosing holds and gear. He dissapeared. Then I heard, "I am at the ledge above the flakes!!!" No kidding! It went, and linked up with our route! We just established a fantastic variation. Both ways are fun in their own way. This one had this awesome pitch I led, the other has the hard fingercrack and the wicked flake pitch. Mark had to be at work by 6pm so we decided to rap since we had already down the other pitches. A giant diagonal rap got us to our 1st anchor. Mark had a wire brush and spend and hour and a half on rappel scrubbing the shit out of the steep finger crack pitch. It may be easier than 10c now? The desperate insecure handjams above the fingercrack has good jams now and you should be able to use your feet on the slabs alongside the fingercrack. Future parties are encouraged to take a big wire brush to freshen up this pitch and also the step-around variation to expose key footholds. After shivering my ass off waiting for mark, we started to pull the ropes to do the last rappel. After three feet of pulling, the ropes got stuck! We did eveything we could to get them down including some very sketchy shit. Mark HAD to get to work, and it was very steep to prussik up the ropes, so we did not have time to retrieve them. Mark is going to try and get them back asap, but there are beers involved if you get them for him. Please don't booty our ropes after we put all that hard work in, please. Just coil them up and huck 'em off from the ledge. I will post some photos soon (they suck, I used the wrong speed film and the lighting was terrible). Mark took better photos, but are slides, so it may be a bit. Mark is working on a topo and is probably done. He will post it online soon. It contains all 11 different pitches. It will also be available at the board near the Mazama Store. Mark and I had such a fun fun fun and amazing time. What a great three days. And what a classic line! Folks who want to climb Burgundy but don't want to do the N.F. route are highly encouraged to repeat this route. There is no sketchyness involved. I reccomend carrying shoes in the pack and rapping the N.F. to the col . The N.F. is 4 60 meter raps straight down. Gear Notes: Rack: One set of thin gear and big gear to 4". Double on fingers to fists (i.e. double set of yellow alien to yellow camalot). Double ropes if doing long pitches. Single rope and rap line if doing shorter pitches (more fun that way). Wire brush to spruce up the route. P.S. Mark left his brush on the summit rap by accident so if you want to grab that, rap the route, and scrub, go for it. Approach Notes: A 2 hour grunt to the pass. There is a cairn on the pull out where to drop down. Soft snow on the col with some steepness. No tool neccesacry, can bypass the steep bits until it gets icy later on.
  18. Climb: Le Petit Cheval near WA pass-Spontaneity Arete Date of Climb: 6/2004 Trip Report: With summer season in full swing at WApa the routes can get awfully crowded and in some cases downright dangerous. This can be especially true on the easy to moderate routes where folks looking to learn about mulitpitch rock climbes can create real jambs for both themselves and other parties. While I don't want to deter folks from choosing some of the fine classic lines among the spires I would like to suggest that there are a number of other great climbs in the area that can provide a fun climbing experience without the clusterf**k that we have all seen when too many folks try to climb one route. Here is some beta for a new route that has already seen about 10 ascents and has gotten good reviews. It has an easy approach: ~1 hour for a strong party, Simple and safe descent, goes to its own summit and offers great views of all the big peaks in the WApa area. A few weeks ago while Larry and I were headed up to climb the E Butt on SEW spire we commented on the nice looking line on one of the three prominent buttresses at the north end of Kangaroo ridge opposite Mile Post 165. Turns out we had both been scoping this thing for a couple of years, so totally SPONTANEOUSLY (get the connection) we changed plans and went exploring. What we ended up finding was a line that is; fun, moderate, safe, good to very good rock (for the N Cascades) and good views. The sense of commitment is limited since one can bail out to the descent gully in several places. The attached topo should give a pretty good sense of where to go but basically this is an arete climb and one should stick pretty much to the ridge except where you want to obviously follow better rock slightly right or left of the crest. This climb will give novice leaders a fun time out with great pro and solid rock. There are comfy belay ledges, conveniently spaced. The cruxy sections are never desperate and fairly short. Much more of a rock climb than the S Arete on SEW spire. So if you want to avoid the crowds check it out. The climb follows the WSW buttress of the Eastern most of the 3 prominent rock out croppings that grace the N end of northward extension of Kangaroo ridge. Do not confuse with what Bryan Burdo calls Black Horse which faces E, more into Willow creek, and contains two decidedly unworhty climbs. These rocks are around the end of the ridge to the W and face Hwy 20 head on. Beckey refers to Black Horse as White Horse on p292 of the Red Book. In keeping with the horsey theme but adding a bit of an international flavor we chose Petit Cheval for the name of the crag. We found no sign of previous ascent. Gear Notes: Standard rack to 3.5 inches. Single 60m rope Approach Notes: Park at MP 165 on Hwy 20 where there is a big pullout. Park at the W (uphill) end of this large pullout. Find the trail dropping steeply down the bank and into the highest stand of big timber. Follow the trail across EW creek at a log jamb and up to brushy cliffs below the crag. The trail is well defined. There are two sections of fixed rope to help for short tough spots. Descent can by either rappelling the route which is equipped with sling anchors or doing one 80' rap into the gully to the S and scrambling down this. Either way will you bring back to the base of the route. Untill early July the gully will have snow and may require an axe and/or boots.
  19. Summary: Brook Alongi, Fred Beckey, and I recently climbed a previously unclimbed 7530ft peak in the Neacola Range via a 3000ft, 40-50 degree snow coulior on the south side of the peak. Details: Fred and two others attempted to climb this peak two years ago. The two guys started climbing the coulior starting at midday on a warm day against Fred's advice. They made it about halfway up the coulior and were then washed down to the base of the coulior by an avalanche! No injuries, but that was the end of that attempt. While the peak is only ~70 miles SW of Anchorage, and is visible from the southern end of Anchorage, getting there is no easy task. We took a wheeled plane from Anchorage to a small gravel strip on the west side of Cook Inslet which is primarily used as a service station for the offshore oil rigs. We were then picked up by a helicopter and deposited on the glacier at the base of the route. We set up our tents, and started climbing. The route was straightforward and we stayed to the climber's left side of the coulior. The weather began to deteriorate as we approached the top of the coulior and a moderate snowfall with some wind greeted us when we reached the col. Fred was very tired at this point and decided to sit at the col and wait while Brook and I continued on toward the summit (we estimated about 200' vertical away at that point). I led up through some granite blocks and put in a piece of rock pro or two. We were trying to move very fast at this point because Fred was cold and nervous about being left alone, tired, on an untraveled peak, with 3000' of steep snow separating him from our camp. Brook soon joined me and we looked over a slight rise and saw the summit about 100 yards away and less than 100' above us. The snow was falling more heavily at this point and it was getting pretty blustery, so we decided to turn around and start getting Fred, and ourselves, back down. There were really no technical difficulties between ourselves and the "true" summit, so I consider our effort a "summit". If you don't, that's fine. We reversed our steps down the coulior with LOTS of face-in downclimbing and putting in pickets as running belay anchors since we were pretty tired at this point. A few pics of us descending: We got back to the tents after 15 hours on the go. Fred was pretty beat, but Brook and I hoped to do some more climbing in the next few days (unclimbed rocks/peaks everywhere!), so we went to sleep looking forward to some faster-paced activity in the future. This was not to be the case however as a storm rolled in and we spent 5 days huddled in our tents being pummeled by rain, wind, and snow without much pause. I think we had a total of about 3hrs of time over the course of those 5 days that were pleasant enough to get out of the tent for more than a pee-break. We did lots of reading, playing cards, sleeping, and listening to the rain patter against the tent. FUN! Finally the weather broke! Note whiskey: We used the satelite telephone to contact the chopper and initiate our retreival/rescue. We were so elated about the nice weather that we started drinking whiskey and inventing "glacier games". Here are the results as I remember them from my whiskey-affected state Event/Winner Ski Pole Javelin/Me Propane Canister Shot-put/Brook Ice-axe tomahawk throw/Me Half-eaten Horescock Hammer Throw/Brook Fred was not interested in participating in our silliness, but if he had, I think he would be a natural for the horsecock toss. In any case, we finally got out of there and flew home. We considered many potential names for the peak including "Horsecock Peak", "Mount GeorgeBushSucks", "Mount Snugtop", and several others, but settled on the more-likely-to-be-accepted-by-the-USGS "Mount Chakachamna" in reference to the large lake with that name just north of the peak. Chakachamna Lake is visible at the top of the picture. Our mountain, "Mount Chakachamna" is the point labeled 7530 at the bottom right of the picture. Our coulior is on the south side of the peak. There are lots more unclimbed peaks/rocks in the area like these cool-looking buttresses: although the rock quality did not look very good with a few exceptions. Thanks to Fred for planning the trip and making it happen. Thanks to Brook for the great partnership, patience, and calm demeanor. Thanks to Jim Sweeney and Art Davidson for their hospitality and for sharing their stories.
  20. Climb: Northern Pickets-The "Savage" Traverse (Whatcom -> Ghost) Date of Climb: 6/30/2004 Trip Report: Let me start by warning you of the ridiculously lengthy trip report you are about to (or not) read. If you don't feel like wading through my mental dribble, feel free to skip to the bottom where I'll give a brief summary. If you want the full version, read on, and hopefully enjoy the story! The long story made long: A month or so ago Wayne approached me with an idea for an extended trip up in to the Northern Pickets. We had chatted before, but had never climbed together. Apparently my reputation for doing stupid shit was enough to convince him that I might be interested in little exploration of this amazing area. We both figured that it's good for new partners to do a "trial" climb together, and what better place to do that then the most remote wilderness in the lower 48? After mouth gaping at the awesome pictures from the southern pickets traverse last year, I was sold. I had never been into the Pickets, north or south, and I was about as excited as a 17 year old with dad's car and a box of condoms on prom night. Early last week the weather reports were calling for a rather extended high pressure system and some scattered clouds. It sounded like it was time to make this thing happen. The plan was to enter the Northern Pickets via the Little Beaver Drainage and start traversing from Whatcom Peak and to get as far as we could, exiting via Access Creek and Big Beaver Trail. We headed in with no beta aside from the map. Leaving Tuesday night we arrived at the Ross Lake Resort parking lot and car camped. I reminisced the days of my mom rocking me to sleep as I drifted off to the sweet lullaby of rednecks in big trucks and retirees in RVs struggling to make it up the grade of SR20. After a leisurely packing session and breakfast we made our way down the trail to the Ross Lake Resort boat dock. Despite my veins surging with enthusiasm, I couldn’t quite shake the thought of exactly how much goat ass walking back up this trail was going to suck. Right on time Brett, the friendly neighborhood boat driver showed up to shuttle us off to the glory, sin, exotic women and designer drugs of the Little Beaver Trailhead. Thirty minutes later we arrived at the boat dock, disappointed to find out that the National Park Service lied and, in fact, there would be no drugs, women, sin or glory. Despite my disappointment we headed off on the Little Beaver Trail. Of course, it wasn’t that simple. The sign pointed towards a general area where we just *might* find the trail but wasn’t kind enough to let us know which one of the thirty winding trails would actually take us up the drainage rather than to another campsite, a shitter, or a bear box. I think it was literally thirty minutes before we finally started heading the correct direction. Yes, the Mounties would be proud of our elite navigation and route finding skills. Seventeen and a half miles laid between us and Whatcom Pass. To pass the time Wayne and I discussed the fact that unlike normal approach distances, seventeen and a half miles was so ridiculous that we couldn’t actually comprehend how far it was. Normally you can think to yourself “ok, six miles, that’s just like doing the Colchuck lake approach and then walking around the lake.” I didn’t quite have anything to compare this approach to, so I simply decided to compare it to something that sucked a lot. Turns out, I was pretty much right on. The Little beaver trail is quite overgrown in places and would make a most excellent place to get mauled by a bear as you are pushing through the easy but head high brush. It’s also a really great place to practice your advanced river crossing techniques, which I believe the 8th edition of “Freedom of the Hills” will cover. If I remember, there were a bunch of your standard stone hops, a nice several hundred foot long boots off, near ball soaking wader and finally, my personal favorite, a several hundred foot BW4 schwack to altogether avoid a giant washout created when the mighty rains of October gave the big “fuck off and get out of here” to the Little Beaver Trail. I was feeling altogether great until the last 500 or 1000 vertical feet of the climb to Whatcom pass. It was at that point when all seventeen and a half miles and the last mile of super steep trail hit me all at once. Low on sugar and water I crashed when I hit the first bivy spot a few feet above the pass. Fifteen minutes later Wayne shows up, scaring the hell out of me since I had managed to fall asleep on the ground already. Apparently he hit the same wall and decided forward progress needed to be halted all of a hundred feet below me. A bivy spot was selected, water was collected, food was eaten and bugs were swatted. It was just another day in the mountains. After a leisurely start we made our way up from the pass towards Whatcom Arm. As I said, it was my first time in the area, and I was blown away. The climb up the north ridge of Whatcom is classic, in my opinion. It starts as a beautiful snow ridge, turning into a steepish snow climb and finishing with a short scramble. It is certainly nothing technical or difficult, but a natural line on a great looking mountain in an amazing place. After summiting Whatcom, we made our way down to the Challenger glacier and roped up for the mega-bake oven crossing. The Challenger Glacier, and Mount Challenger itself again blew me away. The brief (and cool!) 5.7 summit finish found us at the top, with me mouth gaping once more. It was here that we got our first link at the insanity that was about to take place – traversing the alpine ridge of the Luna Creek cirque. The cirque certainly looks big on the map, but I think we were both pretty stunned at just *how* big this place was. Crooked Thumb, the next summit on the agenda looked quite a ways away. Getting off Challenger was the first obstacle and that proved to be troublesome enough. This was where we encountered the nastiest climbing of the trip; a scary traverse over some of the loosest and most exposed ground I have seen. The footing was nothing better than god awful, consisting of shattered small rocks and high angle loose dirt. Hand holds were provided by loose rocks on the right, and to the left was your consolation prize for fucking up: a big ass fall. Hours and hours of traversing, rappelling and more traversing got us to the summit of Crooked Thumb peak. It’s hard to explain just *why* the climbing is so difficult, but we think it centers around the fact that there is nothing that actually resembles easy ground on that ridge. Most of it is certainly non technical, consisting of 3rd, 4th or low 5th class, but it makes you always stay on edge. You can’t screw up anywhere. The second issue is that the ridge is just gendarme after gendarme. It’s much more involved than what you can see from a distance, or even lower in the valley. While some of the gendarmes might only be a few feet, it’s simply the fact that there are so damn many of them. More often than not, the choices for getting down were either extremely exposed down climbing or a rappel. At some point just before the summit of Crooked Thumb we hit our first interesting gear issue; we had no more rap webbing. This wasn’t because we didn’t bring enough either. We just found so much ground that had to be rappelled we were burning through webbing like weed at a Jamaican family reunion. It was at this point that we realized exactly how committed we were. There are virtually *no* bail points from this ridge. It drops steeply off both sides the number of rappels to get off in most locations would make bailing impossible. We figured the first legitimate place we could bail would be the Phantom-Fury Col, and that was a long way off at this point. We certainly weren’t thinking we would bail at this point, but the reality of the situation began to enter our mind. The ground between beyond us, particularly up and over Phantom peak looked very time consuming. Given the rate we had traveled all day, which we both believe was quite respectable, it was reasonable to assume it would take another solid day to get over Phantom. Given the fact that we would have to start bailing off slings, gear, etc. at some point, this prospects looked rather grim. Hours of more of the same climbing finally found us over Ghost peak and a few hundred feet below its summit with fog blowing in and the light fading. Wayne and I were both wasted. A full day of mentally tiring climbing, four summits and not enough water had taken their toll. In addition the weather looked like it could definitely go downhill at any point at which point the situation was going to get a hell of a lot more interesting. We decided it would be in our best interest to bivy before we made a tired mistake, so we got to work clearing a small ledge and making the best site we could given the location. We had no snow, so we would have to go without cooking and split the last 20 ounces or so of water we had. With the thoughts of deteriorating weather, a completely isolated and remote setting and the seriousness of the situation, sleep was not easy to come by. At 5:30 we climbed out of our bags to slightly better weather but the presence of plenty of clouds. We knew the weather was a crapshoot at this point. We could get lucky, or we could get rained on. Getting rained on would mean pushing our situation to a whole new level. Moderate ground would become very time consuming and difficult ground way well become impossible. It was time to bail. Several hundred more feet beneath Ghost peak we reached a very narrow and nasty looking snow gully. It didn’t look like a very reasonable bail out option, but I started to consider it. Wayne was about 50 feet ahead of me leading up the other side of the gully when we commented that it was impassable and we’d have to find another way. I reeled him back in and told him I thought we should consider trying the gully. He wasn’t optimistic it would go and, frankly, neither was I. For some reason, however, I held a glimmer of hope and thought we could make it work. The reality was that I thought the option of going up and over Phantom to the Fury-Phantom Col bailout looked even more improbable given the circumstances. With that we decided to give the gully a go. The gully featured the steepest snow down climbing I have ever experienced. It was narrow, unforgiving and frankly quite nerve racking for me. Our one saving grace was that the gully seemed to experience very little rock fall despite looking like a perfect bowling alley. At the bottom of the first snow finger we encountered a crux to get off the snow and onto a rock ledge which we would rap off. The only way to the rock was by down climbing off the side of the snow finger which was literally overhanging, due to melt out from the surround rock. Thankfully the moves were easily accomplished due to our advanced snow/ice tools: a light axe and a ski pole with the basket removed each. A rappel down the rock step and another long section of snow found us at the top of the glacier. The glacier itself proved to be another obstacle despite the fact that we thought we were now home free. No less than two wondrous bergshrunds separated us from easier ground. We first rapped off the only picket we had then were forced to rap twice down a rock wall to get around the second bergschrund, burning a pin and a stopper. The glacier was a fairly broken mess, requiring some weaving and retracing of its own. Getting off the damn thing and onto the moraine was even more excitement as slabby bedrock, much of it running with water, was interspersed with small sections of talus. The key was connecting the talus sections by traversing across low angle or flat sections of slabby bedrock. I believe Beckey mentions this part of the cirque as possibly “impassable” and it’s pretty damn close. The real nerve racking experience of the trip was finally over. It was only physical pain from here on out. We made the climb to Luna Lake where we enjoyed a few hours of sleeping in the sun, a hot lunch, gear drying and endless amounts of water. Luna Lake was a beautiful oasis as far as I am concerned. After our rest we made the climb to Luna Col, which I actually found quite a bit easier than I expected. I think the ability for me to get my mind “off edge” made things seem a lot better. We ran into a party of seven camped at Luna Col, including Wayne’s friend (Marty, I believe?) and our very own Iain. It was cool to put some faces to names. We of coursed laid the whole sappy story on them, hopefully providing some pre-dinner entertainment. We were both dedicated to running up and down Luna since it’s a selected climb and neither one of us had an desire whatsoever to return to the area for a while to climb it. Thankfully it’s a quick summit from Luna Col, especially without packs. As Marty, Iain and crew prepared to make burritos for dinner we quickly departed to find a camp lower in the valley to enjoy some deluxe freeze dried goodness. We ended up making a bivy on a stunningly beautiful knoll overlooking the lower part of the Access Creek drainage. Luna towered impressively above the valley until the clouds came in and obscured it. We then settled in under the ‘mid for some sleep. I, for one, enjoyed one of the best nights of sleep I have had in a while, a sharp contrast to the night before. We awoke with only one goal for the day: make it to the Big Beaver boat landing before 6pm, when our boat was schedule to arrive to take us back to the land of beer, cars and TVs. Of course, before we could think of that, we had Access Creek to attend to. I’ve had several people describe it as “not that bad” so I’m thinking we screwed it up. It was pretty bad. After the events of the past three days, neither one of us were in the mood to schwak, but schwak we did. The sight of the Big Beaver Creek was a welcome one. Of course, the Northern Pickets just don’t like to make anything easy so a ford of the very fast moving creek was required, followed by another twenty to thirty minutes of schwacking to find the actual trail. The trail was a blessed site, at least for a mile or two, before I began to curse the trail just like the ridge, the snowy gully, the glacier, the moraine and the schwak before it. The damn think went on forever. I received some joy from the amazing trees along the trail but I mostly just wanted to see Ross lake and the boat dock. We finally caught sight of the dock after what seemed like a day of walking. In reality we were hiking quite fast given our tired legs simply for the fact that we wanted out ASAP. Jumping into the lake (falling in my case) finished off the trip and was a welcome reward. The Big Beaver dock is quite a busy place, and we enjoyed telling our tales to the various families and couples that came and went. A kind couple gifted us a couple of welcomed beers. Bless their kind hearts! Right on time our ride back to civilization arrived, complete with the beer and chips care package we had left with Brett three days prior. It was good to be going home. Oh, and yes, the walk up the hill really sucked. In summary, the trip kicked ass. In four days we summated five peaks in the Northern Pickets, two of which I am sure hardly ever get climbed. All five were new summits for me, and all but Challenger were new for Wayne. I can hardly call this a failure. More than anything, however, the experience was worth it. The situation was intense and quite nerve racking at times, but we did what we had to do and we did it well. The Northern Pickets, in my opinion, are just brutally amazing. I have been plenty of remote places in the cascades, and plenty of places where travel is difficult, but nothing like the unexplored parts of the Luna Creek cirque. She doesn’t give you anything easy, and that is just the way it should be. The long story made short: Wayne and I traverse the Northern Pickets from Whatcom Peak to Ghost Peak. We entered on the Little Beaver trail and Whatcom Pass and left through Big Beaver, via Access creek and the Luna creek cirque. We got off the ridge and down to the Luna Cirque glaciers via a steep and nasty snow gully. We climbed Luna peak on the way out. Peaks summited were Whatcome, Challenger, Crooked Thumb, Ghost and Luna. Da' Numbers: 43+ miles 17,500+ feet 5 summits 4 sore legs 2 scratched up bodies and god knows how many rappels. Gear Notes: Small alpine rack, a bunch of webbing, a picket, super light bivy gear. One particularly useful piece of gear was a #2 trango ballnut. I felt that the traverse should be more difficult so I dropped this into oblivion shortly before ghost peak. Approach Notes: *The Little Beaver trail is really fucking long and washed out in a bunch of places. It also is quite overgrown (but passable) in many places. *The Big Beaver trail is also really fucking long, esp. when you are tired. *The guys driving the boats for Ross Lake Resort are awesome. *Beer is a wonderful thing.
  21. So, on accident, jja and I climbed the South Face, Center Route on Concord Tower (TR on why we did this will come later). Beckey has limited information, but still calls it 5.7 A3. We encountered some 5.9 climbing, loose shit, and general WA Pass rottenness. Does anyone have any information on if this route has been freed? I would presume that it has, but we were curious. Note: I wouldn't descend this route. A more sure-fire descent would be the South Face, East side route. Thanks Greg_W
  22. I've long been puzzled by the lack of information about the first winter ascent of Mt Olympus. In the Climber's Guide to the Olympic Mountains (3rd Ed., 1988, p. 220), attempts by Pete Schoening and friends in the late 1940s and early 1950s are mentioned. These attempts are documented in the Mountaineer Annuals (1948, p. 54, and 1959, p. 63). In one attempt, Schoening reached the foot of the summit rocks, only to find them so coated in rime as to be unclimbable given the group's limited equipment. The Climber's Guide mentions the International Geophysical Year (IGY) party led by Ed LaChapelle, which wintered on the Snow Dome in 1957-58. It says they did not climb the main peak of Olympus. The guide concludes: "In all likelihood, Olympus has now been climbed. Unfortunately, there is no record." Well, that's not right. In the March 1965 issue of Summit magazine (p. 18) Richard Springgate writes that on New Year's Day (presumedly 1965) he, with John Norgord, Jan Still and John Wells, all members of the University of Washington Climbing Club, made the first winter ascent of Mt Olympus. They approached on foot via the Hoh River, climbing to the summit from the IGY hut during their fifth day out. How could the authors of the Olympic Climber's Guide have missed this? Is there a later edition of the guidebook where this has been corrected? The 1965 climb may deserve credit as the first winter ascent of Olympus made conventionally from the Hoh Ranger Station. But, in fact, it was not the first winter climb. In a 1997 interview with Stella Degenhardt of the Mountaineers History Committee, Jim Hawkins of the IGY team revealed that he climbed the true summit solo on January 5, 1958, during one of his stints at the research station. We was accompanied by Roger Ross, a U.W. meteorology student who, according to Hawkins, "was not a mountain person at all and would have no part of it." If you know anything more about the history of winter climbing on Mt Olympus, or any reason why the Hawkins and Springgate climbs should not be recognized as pioneering ascents, let me know.
  23. Climb: Summit Chief Mountain-North FAce Date of Climb: 4/18/2004 Trip Report: Dave and I climbed the North Face of Summit Chief Mtn today after hiking into the base of it (via the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie) on Saturday. The conditions were fantastic, and we encountered more actual ice than I have ever before seen on a Cascades alpine-ice route. I think that the route took use about 5.5 hours and then about 2 hours to descend via a couloir on the west side. Joe Catellani, ever generous, clued Dave and I into the face a while back, and mentioned that it was probably unclimbed. Whether it had been climbed or not, it was a fantastic route, very similar in character and difficulty to the 1971 route on the North Face of Dragontail. We chose a line just right of the central rib, but many different routes would be possible on this face - generally harder to the right and easier to the left. Dave had a digital camera, so some pictures should probably surface fairly soon. Gear Notes: We had only 2 ice screws, but wished we had 3-4. The rock is quite compact (although not very loose), so knifeblades were useful. Approach Notes: Bikes, hiking, snowshoeing.
  24. Climb: Mt Buckner-North Face Date of Climb: 2/20/2004 Trip Report: Sky, Corey, and myself left Seattle butt-ass early on Thursday morning with plans to climb and ski the north face of Mt. Buckner. After a brief delay to discuss speed limits on hwy 20 with Trooper Joe, we were on our way up Cascade River Road. We were stopped by a large blowdown just past m.p. 18. One final gear organization, and we set off walking up the bare road. ~1/2 mile later we found continuous snow and were able to start skinning. The trip up the road was uninspiring as the views up to the peaks was obscured by low hanging couds. We left Cascade River Road just past Midas Creek. Skinned through open slopes and timber generally following near the creek until we broke above timberline. Here visibility began to become an issue. Solid white out conditions made the going a little slower than normal. But periodic clearings gave us glimpses of the route up towards the Quien Sabe Glacier. Up and around the moraine, and it was moderate slopes all the way up to near 8,000'. There the clouds broke and the peaks began to appear. Johannesburg, Forbidden, Eldorado, Boston, looking like islands floating in the clouds as the layer began to lower and break apart. We camped at ~8200' below a rock outcropping very close below Boston Peak. The next morning crystal clear skies greeted us and lifted spirits. After a leisurely breakfast and gear packing session we were off. Sky lead up the slopes towards the notch immediately S. of Boston Pk. that we were hoping to use to gain access to the Boston Glacier. Postholling was a pain, but it got worse as we entered the gully and encountered sloping slabby chossy crap covered by powdery, thin snowcover. Crampons were employed and a few tricky moves over a couple of rock steps led us to a steeper snow gully leading right for the notch. Sky was leading up and when he shouted "Holy Shit!, Holy Shit!" I thought that things were either really really good or really really bad. When he yelled again, "It's all good!", all questions were erased. The Boston Glacier reached right up to the notch where we were standing, and rolls endlessly away to the NE. To the E. was Buckner with the NF clearly in view. Man it looked sweet. With little time to enjoy the views we donned skis and enjoyed nearly 1500 v.f. of pure Boston Glacier pow. From our low point we put skins on and began climbing towards the face. And we kept climbing, skinning all the way to just past the bergschrund. There we strapped skis to packs and kick-stepped up the face. Climbing was straightforeward, and moderately steep. Highly enjoyable, with the Boston Glacier rolling away far below. Summited at 2:00, and enjoyed the views to peaks in all directions. The notch where we accessed the glacier looked so far away and our ski tracks down the glacier seemed insignificant on the mass of ice. With little time to linger Sky began the ski descent. He stopped a little ways down to shoot some pics of Corey and myself on the descent. The skiing was simply awesome. Wind buffed, soft, powder down the entire face from the summit. All to quickly we were back at our skin track, and began to climb back up to the notch. At the notch we decided to rappel rather than deal with downclimbing, and although it took a bit longer, provided much more piece of mind. At camp we decided to spend the night rather than ski out in the dark. The next morning was another blue bird day and we packed camp and enjoyed ~3000' of fine buffed out powder before finding crusty conditions lower down in the forest. A quick ski out the road and back to the car. PBR's were cracked and swilled, and the outing came to an end. ~Ross
  25. Climb: The Chopping Block-SE Route Date of Climb: 2/15/2004 Trip Report: I climbed the Chopping Block today after hiking in yesterday via Goodell Creek and The Barrier. The entire Goodell Creek valley (and I would imagine most N Cascade valleys) has plenty of evidence of November's torrential rains. The Goodell Creekbed is about 4 times wider in places, and the landslide that came down the opposite side of the valley is enormous. The SE route was moderate - mostly steep snow with a couple tricky mixed sections. I originally planned to stay up for Monday, but the avalanche hazard seemed to be rapidly growing. I believe this was probably the first winter ascent of The Chopping Block - If you think or know otherwise, please let me know. Gear Notes: -altimeter would've been useful -50m 6mm cord -Camp XLH 130 harness (4.5oz) -DMM Bugette -Snowshoes very useful