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Found 239 results

  1. Trip: Near Hope - FA Tradewinds 210m WI3 Date: 12/26/2008 Trip Report: This nice ice line has formed up right of Tailwind, in an area that is often dry or the ice is thin... it may be the same one that David and Nick Jones climbed a couple pitches of on an attempt in 1989 (see WCI guide p.94) In between Tailwind and Tradewinds is a very obvious unclimbed line in a fresh rockfall scar/corner that appears to consist of several pitches of mixed slabs in a corner to a vertical pillar with a huge yellow ice roof at the top that looks like a cobra's hood. Anyways Jesse, Graham, Robert and I scoped this line on the 21st but it is exposed to the down-valley winds and we didn't feel like climbing in 50km/h outflows with gusts to 80... Winds persisted through the 23rd. Shaun and I were ready for an attempt on the 24th but the record snowfall halted that plan. After loading our bodies with a few pounds of turkey and micemeat pie we were back at the climb today with no winds and only light snow. Perfect conditions near -4C all day long. We parked as for Tailwind off Hwy 7 and hiked through forest, prickle bushes and fresh rockfall debris to the base in about an hour. We both simul-soloed the first pitch, towing the ropes up - 50m WI2. The next pitch had a narrow, awkward ramp and then great fat ice and chimneying moves, with a bit of rock pro. I note parenthetically it's way faster to place a bomber nut off to the side of a climb than it is to fuck around drilling a shallow screw and trying to avoid rocking the teeth. Belay was a weird chimney stance, 55m WI2+ Shaun led what turned out to be the crux, a wall with several short pillar steps and several ledges. Lots of opportunity for variation, WI3 to 3+ lines depending on if the pillar you chose was 3m or 8m long. Above this, another long chimney/ramp, to a belay on a giant boulder frozen in the ice (hopefully solidly). 55m WI3. I led the final pitch which was a long ramp with lots (by this time) of snow over low-angle and wet ice, and a couple of steeper bulges, finishing to trees. 61m WI2 (Shaun had to take the belay down and climb up a meter or two for me to make the trees). We rapped the route rather than spend a few hours walking off. Three 55-60m raps trending to climbers left (off tree, off the boulder, and off another tree well left of the ice) got us down to a tree ramp we could downclimb 30-40m to the base of the route. Total round trip time was about 6 hrs. Mike and Marc were climbing Tailwind at the same time, they were just approaching the final crux pitch as we got back to the car. Looks like the bottom of that route was thin and spicy! No photos cause in the post-turkey daze both Shaun and I forgot our cameras! Gear Notes: 10 screws plus a set of nuts. Approach Notes: Highway 7 from Agassiz east 20km then park just past Rockface Trailer Park; hike in: see TR for hiking rt. details.
  2. Trip: Agassiz, Hopyard Hill - F.A - O.C.D Pillar 37m WI4 Date: 12/24/2008 Trip Report: So this morning MikeW picked me up and we went over to a roadside climb in Harrison. I led it but Mike started feeling sick so we left.I was trying to figure out what to do as the day was still young but all the low angled stuff I would solo was getting buried in snow. I remembered that on a little hill named 'Hopyard Hill' 1 or 2 km's west of Agassiz's city center there is a NE facing bluff of dirty, crappy rock. On this cliff there is a rarely formed pillar that is usually just a couple of icicles. I thought it might go this year so after picking up a new pair of climbing pants at the post office, I convinced my GF to come out and give me a belay on a pillar. It took a fair bit of convincing to get her to go out in the cold and heavy snow, she told me that I was 'obsessed' to want to climb the route this badly... thats where the name comes from. It took us about 1/2 hour of walking to reach the base of 'Hopyard Hill' from my house and the pillar looked good but quite small. We hopped a fence, crossed a little field and hiked up snow covered rocks and bushes to the base of the climb. We put harnesses on, I racked up, then started up the ice below the pillar. I started on the right side of the flow, climbing a very short step and then a slightly longer steep step above the first. From the top of the second step I headed up and left towards the pillar on thin, but low angled, ice. Once I reached the base of the final pillar I was surprised to see that it was actually about 10m long, vertical, and chandeliered... I thought to myself, 'dammn, I've never lead water ice like this', and was hesitant to continue. I thought of placing a screw right at the base of the pillar but decided to conserve them (I only have 7) for the steep section, plus I needed the long one to make an Abalakov if neccesary. I started up the chandeliered, dripping pillar and got a screw in partway up, I continued up the steep pillar until I got to just below an obvious crux and fired in a short screw. I did a few more moves and got some bomber sticks at the top of the pillar and pulled into a shallow cave. The very top of the cliff was a few feet above me but getting there would require pulling a roof on a 3 inch thick curtain, the shallow cave had good ice in it and I built a solid abalakov and rapped down. My 70 meter rope didn't quite make it so I ended the rap in some bushes to the right. It then started to snow very hard so we quickly packed up and walked home. Overall the route was much better than anticipated, it was longer and steeper than I had originally thought and made for a nice F.A on Christmas Eve.... My only picture of the route sucks... I'll get a better one tomorrow if visibility improves The route from the base, it starts on the right hand side then diagonal's up left to the base of the obvious pillar. I ended in the shallow cave at the top of the pillar. Gear Notes: Screws, V-Thread Tool.... Approach Notes: Just off Mountain View Road in Agassiz, Look for some bluffs facing the road on the hill... the obvious pillar above the trees is the top of the route...
  3. Trip: Hope - FA Blue Moose (90m WI3+) Date: 12/22/2008 Trip Report: Tyler Linn and I climbed a new route near Hope today. The climb forms on the lower slopes of Hope Mountain about 200m west of the Thacker Creek drainage and I have been eying it for several years. A steep curtain at the base that doesn't always form leads to rolling ramps. You can only see it briefly from the highway but from the east side of Hope near the Coquihalla Bridge on Kawkawa Lake Road it is very obvious. It looked like the curtain had touched down so Tyler and I headed up after a bit of a gong show involving me forgetting my tools in Chilliwack and driving back to grab them. You can't park at the base on the highway so we ended up parking at the Hope crematorium and walking along the highway to the route. A better spot would have been to park near the gas pipeline office. You turn off the highway right at a sign saying "Next Services 100 km" and bushwack up to the climb in about 15 or so minutes. Route line from the highway. Route from the base. The direct pillar was touching down but was sadly spitting wet and horribly chandeliered and I didn't fancy leading it. Neither did Tyler. However I found a dry line along the very left margin, steep with good rests for 20m and then a narrow chimney/ramp line with some tricky and delicate footwork on a narrow ice vein combined with moss drytooling. I belayed after 30m in a clump of bushes and dealt with a loose crampon. Tyler led through on the next pitch which was a long rambly ramp, snowy but with a steep 15m high WI3 in the middle. We walked off to the east (towards Thacker Creek - skiier's right of the climb) down through steep forest, no rappels necessary. Ass shot of me reaching the ramp. The climb was pretty good, the direct column will also be a fine line with short approach when it comes in. Most everything else is in around Hope and the Fraser Valley in general and should last till Friday. Gear Notes: Eight screws or so, a few 10 and 13cms are useful. Approach Notes: See trip report.
  4. Trip: buck mountain - firs: buckshot (an easy way up the north side) Date: 12/3-5/2008 Trip Report: first internet recorded spray (attempt at hype deflation): on 12/4, cappellini and i climbed the line marked in red on the accompanying photo (photo used with permission of john scurlock: http://www.pbase.com/nolock/mountains ). we found conditions thinner than shown on john's photo from 12/7/05. we pitched out the first 4 ropelengths (wi3, wi4, wi4+, wi3). 3 simul-climbing blocks followed (quite a few wi2/3 sections separated by snow slopes). late in the day we were at the head of the main gully below some overhangs (the uppermost point of the blue line in the photo). overcome with a recurrence of alpine chicken syndrome, we downclimbed a couple hundred feet and simul-zigged right up steep sugar snow and neve to a belay. a zag left for 2 pitches (a bit of m4/5?)in the dark led to the ridge. dan was unwilling to slog up to the summit so we descended the west slopes and back to the tent on the moraine. in retrospect, we should have finished up the a ramp system roughly marked by the green line (more sustained and aesthetic) and slogged to the summit. to my knowledge the only photos dan took were during the hike out. as wayne noted, there are other lines to be climbed here. a line of smears directly up the north face would be a fantastic addition. ice forms early and those willing to play roulette with the road condition will be rewarded. watch for cornices (very small this year compared to previous years that i have seen it) and wind deposition. buckshot: iv, wi4+ plus a little bit of m4/5(?) Gear Notes: screws, rack to 2.5" plus kb's/la's Approach Notes: call the usfs wenatchee river ranger station at 548-6977 to make sure all gates are open on the chiwawa river road. 4wd and/or chains highly recommended.
  5. Trip: Courtney Peak - North Face, FA? Date: 7/2/2008 Trip Report: On July 2nd of this year, Tasha MacIlveen and I climbed a new route on the north face of Courtney Peak in the Oval Lakes Wilderness. Courtney is part of a group of high peaks between the Twisp River Road and Lake Chelan, and the north face overlooks Middle Oval Lake. The face may or may not have been climbed before—please drop me a line if you have any information about the history. I knew of the face from having worked in the area with Outward Bound for a number of years. There’s a good deal of salt-and-pepper granitic rock around Oval, Star, and Courtney peaks, and the shape of the face sort of recalls Dragontail in the Stuart range. A pure, continuously steep line was clearly not in the cards; the big snow ramps cutting across the wall suggested moderate terrain. It looked like fun, and I will admit that I was a little driven by the notion that it might be a first ascent. We schlepped up the long trail from the Twisp river, hiding out in the afternoon from a thunderstorm. This part of the east slope can get into a regular daily cycle of electrical storms. Why go to the Rockies when you can be terrified right here in the Cascades? Our packs were big; we brought enough supplies to make a couple of attempts. The last half mile or so saw us wandering across the lingering snow toward a camp on the moraines below the face. The forecast called for more scattered thunder showers, and we knew that our late start might cut the day short as a simple reconaissance. We set out with a comfortably large rack, a single rope, one ice hammer, and a handfull of pins. After some himming and hawing over the line to take, we chose the lowest toe of rock on the face. Several fun-looking arretes appeared as we got close, and it was essentially a coin-toss that decided us. The compact first pitch was a nice 5.7 warmup, a little run-out but fun. Tasha lead out and pulled some thin, 5.10 moves well above a green Alien. I arrived at a complex web of tiny gear she had managed to garden into the granite. We wondered out loud if this was really going to work, and thought of the ramp we should be hitting in a few pitches; it should offer an easy escape downward. I did a dirty mantle right off the belay, yarding shamelessly on a cam. Tasha followed it and called it 5.10, which made me feel like a big chicken. Another 5.8 pitch brought us to an impasse; upward looked hard and unprotectable. We tried left, no luck. Then rightward, we discovered a third-class ledge skirting away under a little mossy waterfall. I brought Tasha up onto the ramp we had been anticipating. Exhilerated by the lower pitches, we looked anxiously at the sky. The clouds certainly had that look, and I knew we could count on some rain, thunder and lightning. But glancing at a picture of the face on the camera, we could see how far we had come. We agreed to continue, keeping in mind that if we could regain our present location, a quick scramble down a fourth class ramp would have us down on the sow. We jogged up the ramp and I lead out up a beautiful piece of white granite, just to the right of a steep gully. Some wandering amongst dodgey flakes brought me onto lower angle terrain—easy but very compact and without the possibility of gear. I stretched the rope all the way out, barely reaching a decent belay terrace and a few thin cracks. The sky flashed as I clipped the first pin, and I could feel the rain coming as I drove the second. By the time Tasha reached me, the wind had picked up and Oval Peak lit up with purple forks of lightning. In retrospect, turning around would have been prudent, but the necessary discussion did not take place. Tasha scrambled up easy ground, then began searching for a way across a big bulge of compact rock. After much climbing, downclimbing, and backseat climbing from me, she found a delicate traverse leftward. This gained her a rib of lovely, greenish rock paralleling a snow gully to the left. I watched her climb smoothly and calmly while the sky above her exploded with bolt after bolt of lightning. The summit ridge of Courtney was getting hammered. She continued up the rib, climbing wet 5.8 moves with no pro for 100’ until the rope got tight. I hollered and began simul-climbing. By the time I reached her belay, I was pretty wet. I whipped on coils of rope and we climbed together through steps of fourth and fifth, toward a little overhang I had spied from below. The storm reached its full, ridiculous strength while we huddled, clipped to a couple cams, under a half-hearted roof of granite. We tossed on the space blanket, nibbled sandwiches, and laughed. Stupid, stubborn climbers. When the hail and rain was done, and when the lightning seemed to have moved along, we started up again. Simul-climbing up through a sea of loose blocks, winding up through depressions toward the summit ridge. Tasha glowed with sunlight against the black clouds in the distance. A short scamper up the blocky ridge yielded the summit. We sauntered back to camp down the west ridge, delighted with our adventure in the wild Cascades. North Face of Courtney Peak, III, 5.10, 1,200’
  6. Trip: Leavenworth, Clem's Holler - White Bird, 1p, 5.6 FA Date: 5/14/2008 Climb: Clem's Holler, White Bird, 1p, 5.6 FA Date of Climb: 5/14/2008 Trip Report: I had been conscripted to work as hod carrier on a big David_W project. If I wanted to upgrade my station I had better learn to hand drill on lead. So, when on a training day at Clem's Holler the week before, I noticed the slab right of the route we were on, Boardwalk, I thought, "It's a Beautiful Day". It looked like a good candidate. David said, "There's your White Bird..." Sure enough, it was easy enough climbing to find good stances at the required spacing. I think it yielded a good addition to a day's outing for the beginning slab leader. Yes, you have to climb at least 5.9+ to get up to it, but perhaps the stronger leader can do that one. By CascadeOtto The second bolt saw the end of my old Forrest Mjolnir hammer. The epoxy gave way and the head flew off, first up the slab a ways, then reversing course past me, in surprise turning to horror, as I saw it bouncing directly down on David and Zack. They actually caught the magic thing! Fearsome no longer, it's another one for the box of memorabilia. David's trusty A5 hammer was a lot better. Heavier, better balanced, it cut my drilling time in half. Three more bolts for a total of five, past some groovy pockets and horizontal cracks, led me to the Boardwalk bolt anchor. Thanks to David_W and Zack Krupp, photo by David_W
  7. first ascent Yet another FA (in Pickets)

    Just in: Alan Kearney on E McMillan Spire.
  8. Trip: Sherpa Peak - Rilikpa (sw face), FA, 5.7/5.8 Date: 9/16/2008 Trip Report: How it got started… “While waiting at a rap station on the convoluted West Ridge route of Sherpa Peak about a month ago, I thought to myself “There has GOT to be a cleaner, direct way to climb this mountain from the south.” As I descended the West Ridge, I noticed a line of cracks, corners and flakes on what could be called the SW face of Sherpa Peak. I thought it looked like a much more aesthetic and enjoyable way up the mountain from the Ingalls Creek drainage. I brought the idea of the climb up with my buddy Ben Kunz (wbk), and he was stoked to give it a try.” – Tim, aka therunningdog Sherpa at sunrise from Longs Pass So Tim (therunningdog) and I climbed, what we are pretty sure, is a new line on Sherpa Peak. A relatively diligent study in the Beckey guide and Cascadeclimbers, and the lichen covered rock and cracks, along with a few breaking holds led us to claim this first ascent. Here’s the line we climbed (excuse the crappy quality of my line wrecking one of Scurlock’s great photos!): We left the trailhead at 6:10am on Tuesday morning, hauling ass up and down Long’s Pass, crossed Ingalls Creek, and were in the wide basin below Sherpa by 8am. After a quick water break, we started up through scrubby trees and boulders toward the climb. Tim on scoring the last available water on the approach! The approach is the same as per the WR, except that you take a right turn uphill of the obvious tower to the south of Sherpa. After the right turn, scramble up 150’ of easy class 3 then take a left turn and head up an easy gully a few hundred feet to the base of the route. We left a small cairn at the spot where we roped up. Shot from the gully I’ll summarize the climb for those not interested in the details. Basically, Tim and I both believe that this climb is way more fun than the typically climbed West Ridge. It’s a good, moderate climb on great rock (better than the W. Ridge) that takes you to summit via a ridge scramble or the choice to hit up great crack lines up the upper south face. If bothering to haul a rope up Sherpa and aren’t in a great rush, I’d recommend taking this line to the summit over the W. Ridge ascent. Another shot of the route Note that we took a half rope and doubled it over because we wanted to haul less weight up and over Longs Pass, etc.. so these pitches are 100ft or less. For the first pitch, we simul-climbed up blocky terrain - 4th and easy 5th class to a ledge where the face steepened. I won the game of roe-sham-boe, and so got to head up the first belayed pitch. Pitch 2 heads up relatively easy dihedral flanked with flakes mid fifth climbing up to base of the hand sized crack on the SW face. (5.5/5.6) Approx. 85ft. Pitch 3 goes straight up the crack, up the face for some interesting face moves up and into a small alcove at the base of chimney. This pitch is really fun and with a few ascents (or if Tim or I go back up there to clean it) will be super clean. Right now, there’s tad too much lichen in the crack. (5.7) Approx. 90 ft. Tim hanging in the alcove Pitch 4 poses some interesting, fun moves up a chimney past the overhanging chockstones. From there, I took a straight line up face and crack to the top of this tower (sweet finger crack at the top). One could easily climb around the tower once above the chimney, but I wanted more climbing. If one opts for the straight up/more climbing option, you get a sweet top out move onto the top of this tower. (5.7/5.8) Approx. 90ft. Tim pulling onto the top of the tower, Stuart in the background A short boulder (not exposed) downclimb puts you onto a ridge that takes you to the summit, but you are looking directly at this: From the top of the “south tower” there are several options. The easiest is to climb one more pitch, heading north, to the true summit. However, the south face of the true summit is riddled with interesting crack systems that enticed us…and this is where we headed. After a short downclimb from the south tower, Ben headed up a 5.10-ish looking off-width roof type pitch, but backed off when it became apparent that it would be impossible to protect with our #3 camalot (a #4 would have probably been sufficient). So, we ended up taking a line a bit further east, and headed up 3 more pitches to the summit ridge. The first two of these pitches were awesome 5.8-ish hand cracks, the second of which finished with an airy traverse to a belay. Once on the summit ridge, it was a short drop down to the north side of the mountain and back up to the true summit. Tim heading up a great hand crack – truly awesome granite! Me on the airy traverse Tim at the summit Gear Notes: Medium rack to 3" (4" if you want to do the overhanging wide crack on the upper south face).
  9. Trip: Mount Sloan - First Ascent South Central (III, 5.9) Date: 9/13/2008 Trip Report: Doug and I climbed the central rib on the south face of Mt Sloan on Sunday Sept. 14. We drove up the Hurley on Friday night and camped near the hydro gauge. Woke up to a flat tire on my borrowed Forester and the spare was almost flat too, got it sorted in Gold Bridge and were at the trailhead around noon and at the lake and campsite around 2. Little bit late for starting a route (we had originally hoped to do two climbs in the area) so instead we went bouldering. Awesome full moon rise over the lake that evening. Up on Sunday morning and up the talus to the base o the face. We chose the rib directly east of the standard scrambling route gully as it has some white headwalls with splitter cracks I have wanted to check out for years. In the event our route avoided these splitters - bring three or four cams in the thin-hands range if you want to sample them. We climbed seven roped pitches (but two were really more like roped scrambling, 3rd class and 5.1ish) and then did about 250m of scrambling above on the lower-angled portion of the rib to summit. Route description: Pitch 1: Beginning right on the arete bounding the gully right of the standard gully, climb cracks and arete to a large ledge (30m, 5.7). Move belay 15m across ledge to next wall. P2: Climb large corner, avoiding greenery via face climbing up featured right wall. Good horizontal cracks for gear. Belay on ledge above (55m, 5.7) P3: Cut back left and pull short bulge to gain hanging slab left of corner. Climb slab to arete, then go right and up short overhanging stemming corner to belay above on arete with many blocks (35m, 5.8) P4: Move belay 30m along low angle arete to base of vertical white wall (30m, Class 3) P5: Move left and climb arete on good holds but poor pro (small wires behind flakes) for 10m or so until able to stem left to corner system. Continue up to ledge below second white wall. Climb right-hand vertical corner (awkward at first, then good stemming) to belay above (40m, 5.9) P6: Move right into large corner/ramp, climb to its end (60m, 5.1) P7: Climb wall left of arete up flakes and blocks, finishing right of fresh rockfall scar. Inobvious route finding but good pro. (45m, 5.7) From here, 250m of scrambling reaches the summit - either the lower-angle ridge crest or the gully immediately to the right can be used. Pics: On the approach Bouldering Moon and fire Approach Da route, and the headwall with splitter cracks we aimed for and then avoided on the left. P1 P2 P5 Routefinding on p7. Actual route went up to the right of this. Scrambling Doug posing down on the summit View south to Sampson area Bridge Gl./Tchaizakan area far to the NW Google Earth topo showing routes: Blue is the Southwest Buttress route from 2005 Green is the standard gully route. Although not shown in the interests of clarity, all of the other gullies on the face have been climbed - see BCM a couple years ago (2004?) for details. Red is the line of our new route. Orange is the SE Buttress Purple is the classic NE Ridge. Gear Notes: Light rack from small wired nuts to #3 Camalot. Bring triples of red TCU and/or red Camalot size for splitter cracks on white headwall. Approach Notes: Ault Creek road is 4wd, need about the clearance of a Forester to make it through - Legacy wouldn't cut it in the waterbars. Trail to upper lake is well-flagged and well-maintained but meanders annoyingly through bush. Direct approach from clearcut next to creek and waterfall as far as lower lake works better.
  10. Trip: Lemolo Peak (erstwhile Hardest Mox) - NE Buttress ("After Hours") V 5.10- R Date: 9/12/2008 Trip Report: Summary: On 9/12 and 9/13/2008, Rolf Larson and Eric Wehrly climbed the NE Buttress of the 8501' summit to the E of SE Mox Peak. The NE buttress on right division of dark and light, John Scurlock photo: A shot from the other side on our descent: From what we can tell, our route shares several pitches with Layton and Wolfe's E Face line "The Devil's Club", somewhere in the middle third of the ascent. "After Hours" (appropriate for several reasons) takes a direct start on the NE Buttress toe, and ends at the summit of what some have referred to as "Hardest Mox", the apparently heretofore unclimbed peak to the E of SE Mox. We continued to SE Mox Peak from there, adding a bit more engaging climbing. I believe that we are the first ascentionists of this peak, and hence can derive a little fun naming it. If this is the case, in keeping with the naming convention of Mox ("twin") Peaks, we propose Lemolo Peak; "Lemolo" is Chinook jargon for wild, or untamed. Klone (Chinook for "three") Peak would also be appropriate, but is already taken in Washington. If this summit is not worthy of a separate name, then no sweat--I already had my fun. I think that Rolf (aka the Bard of Leavenworth) is crafting a TR in iambic pentameter; until then, the following must do... Overview: Day 1, approach from Little Beaver to c. 5000' bivy in Perry Creek basin; 9 hours. Day 2, finish approach to 6000' rock start, and climb to 8200' bivy; 13.5 hours. Day 3, proceed to 8501' summit, then ridge traverse to SE Mox 8504', and descend to camp via gullies and unnamed glacier SE of Mox; 9 hours (ish?). Day 4, thrash homeward; 7 hours even, every minute fun. More detailed notes and pictures (I took all pictures; when the Bard isn't writing, his other job is male supermodel): On morning approach day 1, Jack Mtn and Nohokomeen Gl: Early part of roped climbing on day 2, somewhere around 7000': I was pretty worked from the day 1 approach, and started to get some hand cramps about 1000' into the climb; so Rolf took up the yoke and led the majority of the steep headwall in the middle third of the climb. He drew the crux pitch, which among its cruxes, included pulling a roof over suspect gear. Rolf reached into his puny reservoir of Solid and cruised the pitch—-one of the most impressive leads I'll witness. It was here that I believe he threw an alpine berserker gang-sign. No time for pics, but after following the pitch, I took a shot back at its traverse element: You might be able to make out some tat from MnE's rap 3 years ago. Additionally, looking at this pic from Mike's report, I surmise that while those guys went up and left from that point, we went up and right, cutting back left eventually. Here's Rolf making his way through more roofs: Some exposure from this belay, looking down at the buttress: At about 7500', I led what we jokingly referred to as a "comeback pitch" left and then up one of the few clean splitters we encountered, very exposed, then Rolf zagged back right across the buttress crest: The climbing was exposed and a lot of fun; I like the Bard's term for it, "cerebral", ha. Another shot a bit higher, ~8000': We had enough daylight to search around for bivy sites between 8000 and 8300, and settled on a then-windless site at 8200'. Temps were dropping a bit more steeply than we expected; we'd left our sleeping bags in favor of a lighter jacket-and-backpack bivy, and paid for our insouciance. We were so giddy about our situation, that we giggled convulsively through the night. Here's the alpine rat burrowing in for Led Zeppelin's "you shook me" all night long: Took some solace from the views; underexposed Picket Range: After the sun came up and I drank from my partially frozen water, we scrambled up and roped up for teetering stacked blocks to the summit (Mt. Spickard background): Last pitch to the yet-unclimbed 8501' summit: Shot of Pickets from tippy-top: Now we have to go over there--SE Mox: The traverse involved a 60m rap, a scoot around a gendarme, then a few more pitches of climbing on a ridge--actually very cool climbing. Even more pics, first is looking back at Rolf and the gendarme, I think: Then Rolf leading toward SE Mox, Mt Redoubt background and NW Mox foreground: Finally, views of 1) Lemolo from the summit SE Mox; 2) Challenger et al; 3) Bear's NF etc.: Then the ultra-brutal chossy galore descent of several gullies to the glacier: This tried our dessicated patience. Staggered into a deserved camp celebration of the finest 2-course meal (I guess everything does taste better with tuna), brews, bourbon, chocolate. Last day parting shot: And then beers and plunges at Ross Lake while waiting for our boat; deeeeluxe. I can now fully appreciate and salute Mike and Erik's journey into the unknown 3 years ago. Pretty certain I'd not take 4 days off to go after this big endeavor without their information posted here--thanks fellas. I remember reading about the brotherhood you guys shared, and held hope for similar with Rolf--nope. Our partnership is built on mutual disrespect and loathing; we share a vile and putrid love, and feed most from each other's misery. I'm not happy until you're not happy. Nevertheless, the Bard is a solid partner and I look forward to future adventures--this was an exceptionally stellar one. Gear Notes: -medium rack, with pins that did not get used. tri-cams employed often. -while no metal used, much extracted; our route intersected rap stations enough such that we bootied bountifully. -no plants were harmed in the development of our product. Approach Notes: Jungle fever Nihilism (or Zen Buddhism, according to one’s preference)
  11. Trip: Sloan Pk.-(FA)-SE Ridge - Probable FA of the SE Ridge of Sloan Peak Date: 9/7/2008 Trip Report: It was time to follow up on a few lines that I have schemed on in the past. 12 years ago I saw a super steep ridge directly above the Corkscrew route where it exits the glacier. It is the cliff on the right skyline. The Corkscrew (CS) Route is the grassy ramp below. Jared and I mounted a spirited attempt the Labor Day weekend before, only to get snowed out half way up the Bedal Creek approach. With renewed vigor and yet still more clouds, Lane an I went after it this weekend. All clear pictures were taken late Saturday or summit day, Sunday. Seems the west side sogginess was to prevail. With newly soaked shoes, we dispatched the approach . Up high, the clouds began their dramatic uplift. Lane and the "Snowpatch Spire of Washington" Monte Cristo Backdrop We then settle into an amazing bivy light show-yet again I am a lucky photographer lately I know I drove Lane nuts with taking a 100+ photos of him. A cold night led to the same in the am. At 8 am we got after the snow-crossing and the lower ramp and got above and into position to do the obvious Dihedral that caps into a big , crackless roof. Route goes up the Black Blocks(pitch 1, 5.2) on left and into the thin cracks on right of dihedral. Lane following 5.7 , pitch 2 I then traversed right onto the crazy-angled East Face! On to a fist crack, and then into the steep thin face section that also served as the crux. Pitch 3, 5.10a, Reachy, "Reach for the Nickel Pitch" Scary, steep and committing! After a crazy mantel left, I sent the final mossy, wet, yet fun dihedral finish. Pitch 4 , 5.10a. We were then stoked to be at the top of the steep part of the lower buttress. What is amazingly fun about Sloan is the upper bench to the left , lets you "Shop" for your finish. I have done 2 lines now on the SE Face and they have both been 4 stars! Pitch 5, contrived, yet 5.9+ Our route takes the lower left dihedral and goes right and straight up from there > Sloan is a blessed and cursed peak. It is blessed with great granite in places,and soaring walls. It is also cursed with huge ledges and western dampness and weather. I have had several great trips there, and it will be the sight of many awesome routes in the future! Cheers to your future with the highly-accessible -Sloan Peak Gear Notes: Cam to 3, several bugaboos
  12. Trip: Distal Phalanx - North Arete (FA) Date: 9/6/2008 Summary: First Ascent of the North Arete of Distal Phalanx 5.10, A0 Grade IV. Sept 6th 2008 John Frieh and Craig Gyselinck Distal Phalanx courtesy of John Roper Connecting the dots... Sure enough. Surf Mr Scurlock's long enough and you'll find something that'll make you swear under you breath and scramble for your stack of CAGs... seems to be a weekly occurrence for me. Only this time the offending picture had a link..? Click. Hook. Line. Sinker. Dr Roper roped me in with this: "Distal Phalanx (7615+) is the central climax of the long, untouched north arete above Neve Creek" I immediately fired off an email to the good doctor only to learn the untouched had recently "been touched though was still unclimbed" Touched but still unclimbed? Why I wanted to know... Too chossy? Too hard? Beta? Details? The good doctor forwarded my request for details and got this in return: "They went up to McAllister Creek bridge to cross Thunder Creek." Hmmm... But whatever it was... chossy, hard, etc... it didnt really matter. I had sent the pic to Craig (Alpinemonkey) and he was stoked! Both of us had to be @ work Monday morning so we figured we had to be at minimum halfway up the arete on Saturday if not on the summit to allow enough time on Sunday to get out and home. After examining the terrain and mileage we would have to cover before the actual climbing we agreed we needed to be underway by 2:30 am. Unfortunately both of us had to work a full day on Friday so we didnt get to the TH until late... I had time for 2 hours of shut eye in the parking lot next to my car before having to puke and rally. (Funny side story: some walking by around midnight felt the need to tell me to "get a tent" ) We were on the trail @ 2:40. We reached the bridge across thunder creek quickly and promptly began the schwack up Thunder creek to Neve creek and on up to Distal Phalanx. Neve Creek Craig in a sea of Stinging Nettles Craig and I joked "When I first saw the route my skin tingled! Then I realized it was just the stinging nettles" Local riff raff Neve Falls Other falls (summit in upper left hand corner) We started the arete around 11 am. Taking advantage of ramp systems and vegetation (veggie belay!) we were able to simul solo the lower half the arete (maybe a move or two at most of 5.6). As we didnt know where the next water source would be we started the arete with 4 liters each in addition to overnight gear on our backs... unfortunately the heavier packs, lack of sleep and effort already expended getting up Neve creek was starting to take a toll on each of us... it was apparent we were moving slower than normal. I was worried we werent going to make the summit by night fall. We busted out the rope at the halfway point where the arete gets much steeper and began simul climbed until the terrain demanded we pitch it out. I think we each found our second wind or the fact that dusk was coming quickly and the upper arete lacked bivy ledges but we started climbing much faster. Craig Neve Falls visible below Closing in Ask me about my windshirt! Summit! We barely made the summit by nightfall... I followed the last pitch by headlamp. In the interest of finishing before dark we opted to A0 one or two moves instead of hauling packs (we both climbing the entire route carrying bivy gear + water for the next day). We spent two hours trying to get a head start on the awaiting descent but more or less created more work for us the next day. We passed out in some bushes SE of the summit around 10 pm... 20 hours of effort on two hours of sleep had finally caught up with us Craig: So you're going to make coffee... right? The next morning we sorted out where we were and proceeded to climb back up over Styloid Peak and down to Thunder Creek. We searched in vain for some way across Thunder Creek to the easy trail on the other side... no such luck. Two days of schwacking had driven us we spent a good 15 minutes trying to prop a bean pole across one narrow point of the creek Down thunder creek we marched... I repeated "one less step... each step counts" over and over in my head. To our surprise we made much much better time on the way out than back in and we back to the TH around 4:30 pm. Epilogue: I had a blast. Yeah... the approach is brushy but it is no way as bad as going into Bear. In fact... if you've climbed the CNB of Bear and felt the climb was worth the approach chances are you'd like this climb. It is after all awaiting a FFA! Gear Notes: green, red, yellow c3 x1 0.3 x2 0.4 x2 0.5 x3 0.75 x2 1 x2 2 x2 3 x1 3.5 (old style) x1 4 (old style) 70 m rope 5-13 nuts hammer/pins (didnt use) Approach Notes: Ill edit my post with some maps and such.
  13. Trip: Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: The Royalty Ridge IV 5.10+ Date: 8/25/2008 Trip Report: O.. My. I first got a look at this ridge when John and I completed my first route in the tooths, Carpal Tunnel on Baron Falls Tower which sits to the North West of Baron Spire. As soon as I spotted it I elbowed John in the side and said "I have to do that man." At this time I had only completed two alpine routes and knew I wasn't ready to take on such an endeavor. The next summer Trevor Bowman and I spent some more time in the Baron Spire area completing two FA's and once again I got to look at the full ridge. This time it didn't look as daunting and I thought that I might be able to pull it off with a couple years more experience. This summer Trevor and I went back to the Baron area for three trips. The first trip we attempted the east Face route that ascends a splitter hand crack, we did the crack and then got stormed off. We spent two days in the tent and then went out. We came back two days latter and completed lawdog's lament and deliverance and then left the next day. Storms were brewing for the next couple of days so we rented harness's at the YMCA in Sun Valley, and headed off to the "City" to get dialed and wait out the weather. The city was sick, no one was there but we were limited with the meager rack that we had with us. So back to Baron we went after five days of cragging. The plan was to hike in, scope the next day, sleep, get an alpine start and finish before dark, and hike out. Luckily for us that is how it went. So here it is..... sorry about the picture I need to upload a bigger one so you can see the lables of the spires. The route begins on the West side of the bottom shield it ascends up the face to a 90ft splitter in a clean white wall. Take this to the top of the first spire. From here we climbed all of the major spires and pinnacles except two small ones that didn't appear to have any descent options. We continued to stay on the true ridge until it joins the south ridge. We took the south ridge north towards the summit of baron. Looking up at the lower shield. Trevor and I soloed up to 5.8 to get to the splitter in the face. From there we continued with low 5th class to the right facing corner/ chimney directly below the upper summit block "the queen". Take the corner to the north east side of the queen and make a 5.7 move to get to the summit. We figure the first shield was about 650ft of climbing to reach the queen. Since I got to lead the splitter on Deliverance I thought it only fitting to let Trevor eat this thing up. I was kinda glad that I didn't because it turned out to be a bit more strenuous then we both initially thought. Belay on ledge and head up the scrappy crack. 70ft 5.10+ There was a little crack on the summit slab which we might have been able to place a nut but we decided that a needles style rappel would be safer and less of a hassle. So we rapped off with the rope in a notch on my right side. The Serf also turned out to be a small 5.6 solo up to the top, starting on the north west using edges and the arete. side note* From here you can see the south ridge we joined it directly below the high point on the right and downclimbed and made a short rappel and then downclimbed to the notch. We are not sure if we were following the same line as Beckey but we do not think so. We went up ledges and steps on the west face below the ridge proper until we joined it a went up a large left facing corner at 5.6 to a small notch. From here we downclimbed ten feet and went up a short awkward crack created by a large chockstone at 5.9 The Jester: The next spire in line proved to be a bit more challenging and offered up some great chossy chimneying. The gear kinda sucks but it wasn't bad the route ascends a wide crack/chimney on the north west side of the jester. 5.9 90ft Downclimb the east ridge of the jester to reach the notch between it and the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight: From the true west ridge traverse right into a set of cracks that offer decent but not great protection. Take the flakes and finger and hand cracks to a notch. Belay in the notch next to a tree ten feet below summit. Climb up to the summit and rappel to the south west off a large block. 5.9+ 100ft This is looking back down the west ridge with baron behind me. This is me rapping the King Spire. This is a view of its shortest side the south west side drops away more than 400ft. Climb a series of cracks and wedged blocks to large ledge.50ft Climb a short slab to a series of flaring cracks up high, take these cracks to a notch 8-10 feet below the summit next to a small tree. 140ft 5.10-R Climb to the summit and rappel off a large horn. I was pretty strung out on this pitch by the end. I thought I was going for my first whipper in the alpine. From here put your regular shoes on and scramble up ledges, faces, and cracks to the south ridge. see side note above for description of upper south ridge* Overall the climb took 8.5 hours start to finish, and covered over 1700 vertical feet of rock. Gear Notes: Double to .75 BD and Single to #4 BD Approach Notes: From Baron head 500ft up to the low notch between Baron ans peak 9211'. Drop 1200ft down to the lake and head up the drainage to the south west. Head up this drainage 800ft to the base of the route.
  14. Trip: Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: Deliverance 5.10c A2 III+ Date: 8/13/2008 Trip Report: I first noticed this line two summers ago and put it in the pie in the sky list. The Splitter on the upper shield looked like perfect cupped hands and it was. An improbable and demanding line linking features up to and through the amazing splitter crack on the golden prow. The first three pitches are excellent, with challenging climbing up great rock; the last two pitches are pretty poor, especially the "Bickle Wiggle"...too bad really, otherwise this would be a classic. With some work, most of the aid could be eliminated, but the section getting established into the splitter on pitch 2 doesn't look promising. The Route Pitch 1 free climb as far as you can this pitch may go free except for the small pendulum Pitch 1: Stem and jam up the shallow right-facing corner until it gets hard and flared near the top, then aid up about 15' and make a small pendulum right into a groove with a moderate crack to a belay stance. 5.10c C1+ 100' Pitch 2 Tink Tink, Turn, Tink Tink, Turn Pitch 2: Continue up a handcrack to double finger cracks on good rock (5.9+/.10-). Tension traverse right 10' to a semi-circular flake, clip a bolt and layback up a groove/crack to a small ledge(5.9). Two hook moves, a bad bolt (aid only!), and into the splitter crack which is thin at first and gradually widens with good gear in an airy setting. Semi-hanging stance belay past the second small bush, where the wide handcrack begins. 5.9+ A2 170' This was an impressive lead by my partner, the lead took three hours one day and another three hours the next Pitch 3 Notice my good luck hat under my helmet Pitch 3: Gorgeous, sustained cupped hands for the whole pitch! Start up a steep zig-zag and then rollover onto splitter goodness up a slab. Set up a hanging belay where the crack ends in a wide horizontal. 5.9+ 90' Pitch 4 No Pics for this shit hole The "Bickle Wiggle" a truly heinous horizontal traverse along a grungy wide crack/groove with much strenuous, weird and unpleasant climbing. Belay on the arete to the left of the massive upper dihedral system of Tall Boys... Unrated 45' Pitch 5 Pitch 5: Make a cruxy traverse left off the arete into the huge dihedral system and pick the best line up this long corner with much dubious rock. 5.9 180' Pitch 6: the bolt ladder Gear Notes: double set through bd#4 and 3-4 BD#3's hooks and blades
  15. Trip:Silver Horn - Playin' Not Sprayin' - III 5.10 Date: 8/31/2008 Trip Report: Armed with the prospect of cold and stormy weather on an August weekend, myself an David Trippett (AviTripp) headed east to a beautiful valley on the forgotten side of Silver Star Peak with thoughts of unclimbed granite and storm avoidance. The objective was a clean-looking spire known as The Silver Horn, an apt name given the white granite on its flanks. Red arrow marks the spot. We woke up on the morning of the 31st to ice and frosty conditions, a theme that would continue throughout the day. After some steep alpine travel to get the blood pumping, we reached the base of the wall. From the base we climbed 8 pitches of cracks, flakes, and corners, with the occasional loose funk. A ledge splits the face at mid-height. Below the ledge we were to the left of " The Chalice" (Berdinka/Thibault '05) and it looks like we started off the halfway ledge to the right of their climb. The finishes were certainly separate, but we may have shared some ground around p7. P1 Begins with a big clean flake, before moving right to the base of a long corner. P2 & P3 Follow the corner on nice cracks. P4 Avoids the chossy roof with flakes and splitters off to the right. Snow and ice began to fall on us during this pitch, and frosty white flakes continued for much of the day. P5 From the ledge, David drew the lead, and embarked on a really nice pitch sustained at 5.10. This involved some roofs, mantles, and a long corner crack. P6 Stayed through the corner, before moving out right to a pedestal belay. The man in black rockin' the white CiloGear Pack... P7 Began with some loose funkiness before a great stemming corner and steep crux moves. P8 We finished straight up the chimney to the summit. Pictures don't do it a whole lot of good, but the climbing was really fun, solid, and hard to the finish. From what felt like a cave in the middle of the summit, a frozen-fingered pullup and mantle move around a little roof landed us on the top of the spire. Overall this was a fun time in a beautiful and less-frequented corner of the Washington Pass. Thanks to Darin for the trip suggestion! Gear Notes: Doubles of cams and a set of nuts. Bring Rappel stuff or be prepared to use what was probably Fred Beckey's shoe string... Approach Notes: Up The Cedar Creek trail - turn right at the creek crossing draining the objective face.
  16. Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - FA: The Tempest Wall IV 5.10 A2 Date: 8/28/2008 Trip Report: In order to be a succesful climber in the Pacific Northwest you have to be able to adapt. Plans set in stone for weeks, even months, can be shut down at the last minute with alarming regularity; fickle cascade weather being the main culprit. Such was the case last week as the slowly increasing chance of precipitation crescendo'd at 4 in the afternoon with 100%. Our second attempt at a large north cascades project would have to be postponed, and we were back to the drawing board. Worse yet, blake could ditch me completely and head out on an extended trip amongst clearer horizons in the Idaho Sawtooths. The Enchantments were are best bet and i had to think fast. The Google chat box quickly filled with ideas for the range: Boving Route to Solid Gold, the Girth, Der Sportsman. Blake shut each one down. I was scrambling for ideas when he replied: new route on CBR? i saw a line to the right. It was on, and i was hyped. He claimed thin cracks through headwalls, aid for sure, so we brought the kit and caboodle. The approach was more comical than usual, quite cold, and a bit stormy. The first day we scoped things out, found a line, and fixed the first pitch. Blake threw down a mix of mostly free with a bit of aid, a badass heel-hook, and even placed a knifeblade while free climbing. Pitch 1: We went to bed that night a bit intimidated by our chosen line. The next day we woke up early to a brisk morning and numerous cups of coffee. I taught Blake how to jug on pitch 1: The weather was worse than the day before, clouds were blowing through, and we were being hit by intermittent mist and drizzle. At least we'd be dry under here: What really can i say about the roof. The lead felt like I was in a trance. Did it take me 20 minutes, or 2 hours? I had to stop at the base and ask myself if I really was going to do this. The problem being, enough gear to get me to where? In the end it worked out fine, and yes, I think it will go free, it's mostly gold camalots! Colchuck Reality Crack. Cilogear! Being that it was all the same size i had to backclean our two two's out the last half of the roof and then all the way up to the belay. I tagged them to Blake and he embarked on his first real aid pitch ever. Self-portrait of Blake enjoying a steep learning curve: We named the ledge atop the roof the "yin-yang ledge", and the next pitch which starts with the more moderate aspect of the roof crack, "The Lighter Side of the Moon." Fun free climbing up good dirty cracks. Blake starting out: Myself seconding: An easy 5th class pitch led us to the base of the headwall which began with akward free up a pillar then onto the face. It soon turned to aid up a series of dirty corners and roofs. I short fixed a couple belays when the ropedrag got bad or i needed gear. The finale involved an aesthetic set of triple cracks and brought me to a great stance ontop of the headwall. I was stoked to give up the lead up to this aid gumby: Actually Blake was doing a great job his first day out aid climbing and he pushed us on up the next pitch. Aid through a flare lead to a fun moderate corner crack and a slightly sketchy belay. Darkness fell as I seconded, and i quickly remedied Blake's nest with a solid angle that we fixed. We could tell we where near the top and we really wanted to be off the face. The day had been cold and long and we were getting pretty worked. Aid led up to a dirty wet corner, a heelhook mantle, then a short chimney put me on the ridge, "The Great Escape." I hooted and hollered and then Blake did too. Three simul pitches got us to top and the Tempest Wall was sent. A moderatly painful morning-after was tempered by the idyllic alpine ambience. The Tempest Wall With a scrub, everything but the roof will proabaly go free at 5.11-. I think the roof will go somewhere around 12c or so. It'll be one hell of a fight at the lip. Rack of doubles from black alien to .75, 3 #1's, 4-6 #2's, 2 #3's, a single #4, set of nuts, dbl set of rp's, few pins or not.
  17. Trip: Sawtooths - FA: Lawdogs' Lament III 5.10- A1-2 Date: 8/24/2008 Trip Report: baron in all its glory We climbed Lawdogs' Lament and Deliverance this August and climber Tallboys last summer. Pitch 1 65m 5.9- Squeeze and go, run the rope out to the best belay place. Pitch:2 55m 5.10- Head up the chimney/offwidth and then step out left to a slab to gain a RFC. Take this up under an offwidth on the left side of the chimney. Traverse out to some airy moves and head straight up finger and hands five feet left of the offwidth. Belay just below the Splitter RFC. Pitch 3 90ft 53.9- All the Red and Gold BD's you wanna give it. Belay on a ledge Pitch 4 Take the far left line off the ledge and wiggle up the squeeze to a finger crack in a flake up to an off hands crack. 5.9- 35m Pitch 5: go around to the west face of the summit block and start up the bolt ladder. This pitch took three days and was put up in 1949. We finally put a summit register on the top. This thing is kinda crazy. One of the last aid bolts is a metal dole sticking six inches out of the hole. Rappel: You can now rappel down the east face with a 70M rope and some low 5th class downclimbing. It's are belief that this is the best moderate route in this area. All of the pitch's are on bomber rock and provide an excellent route to the top with all the pitch's climbing between 5.9- and 5.10-. Gear: Double set through #3 BD and 1 #4 BD.
  18. Trip: Tillie's Towers - Austera Ridge - W Tillie's Tower N Arete Date: 8/17/2008 Trip Report: Inspired by J. Scurlock's photo, Rolf Larson and I climbed an approx. 1100' route (6.5 rope-stretch cysmastfu pitches) on the half-sunlit arete of the right hand tower, just left of center in pic below: credit: J. Scurlock. Tillie's Towers are basically the most prominent NW terminus of Austera Ridge or Austera Towers (point 8260' on USGS map), of which Beckey comments: "The name is for austere, barren rock towers consisting of many massive rock blocks and spires. The N flank of the western towers is above an unnamed glacier where there is the steepest wall of the ridge...These are two impressive towers..." We found solid, mostly clean and featured rock--Eldorado Orthogneiss--offering both nice cracks and gear-protected face climbing. The route featured gobs of 5.8 and .7 climbing, with a few moves of .9 sprinkled along the way. Joking about a route name, I liked "Nutmeg Tilly" (you better lay your nutmeg down), but Rolf rightly observed re our route: "an unearthed obscurity destined to return to obscurity." "Unearthed Obscurity" is better because the adjacent Piltdown Tower (see pic below) refers to Piltdown Man, an archaelogical hoax comprised of part man, part monkey--like our team. This is an out-of-the way rugged corner of the NCNP; I dug the cool position and alpine ambiance. Pardon the pictorial play-by-play, I got a few decent pics--wildfire haze has its pros and cons...but the rock and area are photogenic. After hot long hike in from Colonial Cr Campground on Aug 16, sunset light on Primus peak and Borealis Gl from our camp: On up/down/up approach morning Aug. 17, it started raining, but we decided to go to the base of the route and see what the weather decided. Looking back at Tricouni at sunrise, Ragged Ridge L background: Showers stopped, we ascended over blue glacial ice to base, and were stoked to get on it. Pitch 1, crack and face on neat-O rock: We generally stayed either on or w/in spitting distance of the Arete. However, on pitch 2, I did a curve right to access a chimney system to bypass an overhanging pillar. Belay from cleft, top p. 2, hard to see Shuksan in background: Rolf heading up scrappy .9 section of p. 3, from deluxe alcove belay: I drew these nice cracks on pitch 4: Pitches 1-4 are pretty steep; from 5 on the arete backs off a bit. Here's a shot looking down 6 at the glacier: From the summit, views of the McAllister Gl icefall and Austera Ridge (towers): Descent beta: rap S face c. 100', then traverse E and downclimb steep 4th to gully between the Towers. Descend gully only a little, looking to ascend/traverse E to Austera ridge crest. Find your way down and onto to N Klawatti Gl (deep moat). On rap, half man half monkey Piltdown Tower: Tag E Tillie for good measure (dry Buckner background): We had time, and a poor next-day forecast seemed to prohibit climbing the N side of Primus, so we went over Primus en route to camp. Along the way, snuck a pic of contemplative curmudgeon with more Eldo Orthogneiss, rare opp to avoid the finger: From summit Primus, view of our camp at outlet of Borealis Gl: Lightning and thunderstorm that night, with next morning dawning temporarily clear: Such a purty place, with a dapper Pinocchio to boot: (clem done found him a tattered hat) Parting shot of Tricouni and Primus, happy to hike in the rain: Having only cragged once this year in March (long ski season, busy summer), this was an ideal alpine shot in the arm with--dare I say it--an easy-going and downright fun-to-hate partner. The route's certainly not destined for any guidebook, but if you like untrammeled lines, a fine place. In light of all that, prob. moot title: West Tillie's Tower - N Arete ("Unearthed Obscurity") III 5.9 Gear Notes: med. alpine rack, brought pins did not use them axe and crampons 4 12 oz. Rainier 1 flask bourbon (Porter: can you guess?) Approach Notes: icy hot become what you hate destroy what you love
  19. Trip: Castle Peak - Middle Buttress Date: 8/3/2008 Trip Report: Blake Harrington and I, Peter Hirst, climbed the Middle Buttress of Castle Peak in the North Cascades. The Middle Buttress hosts one other route - the "Colorado Route", climbed in the early 90's. Our route probably shared some of the same terrain as the Cod route, but probably a lot of independent terrain as well. The rock was high-quality for the most part, though some of the cracks higher up were choked with sod. Blake led two challenging 5.10 pitches and I led one, though his was more runout than mine. The other pitches were in the 5.7 - 5.9 range. A good route that felt very alpine in natute, in that it followed a feature rather than a crack system. Here are some pic's (taken by Blake). I have more I'll post when I get a chance. Gear Notes: Climbing equipment involving the use of pitons. Approach Notes: Oh the Wildflowers.
  20. Trip: Rostrum Peak, B.C. - Attempted new route East Ridge, 2 first ascents Date: 7/7/2008 Trip Report: My original plan was to climb Mt. Sir Donald and Mt. Forbes, but between daily rain and a washed out access road, the plan changed to Rostrum Peak and it's surrounding mountains. Larry Dolecki, a professional guide I had climbed with in Switzerland, wanted to try a new route on Rostrum's east ridge. We did a fun river crossing, bushwack (no trails) and set up camp in the rain. The next day we crossed a moraine and started up an interesting icefall. There were some 70 degree to vertical steps of ice, but mostly crevasse dodging up to the glacier below Rostrum's east ridge. After a steep snow slope/arete we reached a rock band, when the weather turned to a mini blizzard and the rock got very slick and hard to protect. So, we descended and did a first ascent of an unnamed peak adjacent to Rostrum's east ridge. The next day we did a first ascent of Ruby Peak (near Icefall Peak)as a traverse in the rain up the northwest ridge (lower 5th class) and down a steep snow gully down to a nicely unbroken-up glacier and back to the tent. It wasn't the classic Sir Donald and Mt. Forbes, but for a casual weekend old fart climber like me, it was a good adventure. Gear Notes: Standard glacier gear, small alpine rock rack. Helmet a must with the loose shattered limestone. Approach Notes: Transcanada Highway 1 east from Rogers Pass to the Bush River road. 4 wheel drive helped over a log and washouts. We parked just below Mt. Aras next to a big washout. A thigh deep river crossing, bushwack through small trees to a canyon, onto the moraine and a nice camp spot on heather benches.
  21. Trip: Behind Yak Peak - FA Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen WI3+ 90m Date: 3/16/2008 Trip Report: winter isn't over just yet Don, Graham, Jesse and I got a hot tipoff from Chris Link of the Coquihalla avalanche crew that there was ice at the back of the Falls Lake basin behind Yak Peak. We skiied in and climbed a nice 2-pitch WI3+, fat blue pillar now called "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen". To the right of this route there is a broad curtain with lots of potential slabby ice lines - like a 80m high, 200m wide sheet of continuous blue and gray ice. Avy hazard from above. There are also at least 3 separate 2-pitch nice looking mixed lines up corners and gullies choked with narrow veins of ice. If you haven't worked off your winter ice stoke yet this would be a good place to go get some over the next few weeks. It snowed on us all day. The spindrift was pretty ridiculous at times on our route, and the climb sort of felt like being stuck in the rinse cycle on a washing machine filled with powder snow. Pretty alpine ambiance. Gear Notes: A bunch of screws and draws. Approach Notes: Ski west from Falls Lake off Coquihalla Highway about 1km to find the north-facing ice on the south side of the valley.
  22. Trip: Hells Gate/Fraser Canyon - FA "Styx" 105m WI3 Date: 1/26/2008 Trip Report: This line is located 200m north of Cerberus on the west side of Hells Gate. I had scoped it earlier and it seemed pretty easy, with a couple steep steps dividing rambly-type ice. My friend Sarah was down from PG and looking to do her first ice leads so this appeared to be a good choice. We left Agassiz at 7:30, had some Triple O's in Hope and left the car parked at Hells Gate around 8:30. Hiked down to the river, waited for 2 trains to pass, crossed the bridge and 2 sets of fences, and hiked up the tracks past Cerberus gully to below the route. Crampons on at the tracks and 100m of easy approach hiking up low-angle ice led to the route. First pitch was 45m with 5m and 15m WI3 steps separated by easy ice. Second and third pitches were led by Sarah for her first two ice leads. P2 was 20m WI2, mostly moving the belay up an easy ramp. P3 was 40m WI3 with a 5m near-vertical wall halfway up and easier ice elsewhere. Two raps down. Snow started on first rappel. On the way back out it turned out one of the locked gates we had climbed over was not really locked. Slog back up to the highway, as always, is crux of climbing at Hells Gate. Gear Notes: 8 screws, 2 ropes, waterproof gloves Approach Notes: Hike down trail, cross river, walk up tracks
  23. Trip: First Ascents in the Stikine Area - Various Date: 8/9/2007 Trip Report: Well, I know that the title promised multiple first ascents, but what we really have is one first ascent, one failed fA, and one second ascent. But, that is a rather long title. I'll be brief here, and direct people with more interest to my website: http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html'>http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html'>http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html'>http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html The website has vastly more photos and text. Myself and two Vancouverites headed up north for another trip into the Stikine-Edziza area. We float planed into Yehiniko Lake, shown on this fine map: From Yehiniko, we bushwhacked and swam our way (70 stream fords!) up Quattrin Valley and onto Quattrin Glacier, climbing it to a col that was to be a basecamp for about a week. We first tried a new route on White Rabbit: The West Ridge. White Rabbit has been climbed once before, via a different route, mostly snow and a short ice pitch. The West Ridge is substantially longer and all rock. Below is a shot showing White Rabbit and our general route: We approached up a glacier, climbing approximately 1500 feet to the top of a ridge that we called Blaster. Even in August, the glacier was in excellent condition. From the top of the ridge, we traversed along and then descended deeply to a notch, where we could gain the West Ridge itself. The rock quality changed radically from the notch. Blaster Ridge was generally solid and strong, whereas the West Ridge of White Rabbit was truly a horrifying experience. I would have loved to be on the nice, solid rock of the Olympics. It was poor enough that we only roped for one pitch, as there were few places strong enough to take protection and not rip out. The route is mostly exposed fourth class on crumbly rock, with some extensive sections of mid fifth class work. A white out came, making it difficult to gauge our progress. After approximately 8 hours of climbing, we decided to turn around on the ridge, as we had not brought bivy gear with us. The photo below shows our approximate ending location Being in a white out, it was difficult to tell exactly where we ended our climb. From subsequent observations, I believe the higher one to be correct, though there is a chance the lower one is. We pounded two pitons to rappel past a particularly difficult section of rock. On this rappel, rock broke loose (oddly enough, not caused by the rope or us - It just came loose) and cut most of the way through one of our half ropes at the 40 meter mark. This left us with 60, 40, and 20 meter strands. We rappelled once more, slinging a large block with webbing. We made it back to camp in the middle of an ice/rain storm around 7 pm. I,personally, was glad to have survived. After a day of rest, we headed to the other side of the col to try for a reasonable looking peak above us. As far as we know, this has not been climbed before by any route. We've taken to calling it Doormouse, a bastardization of Dormouse, from Alice in Wonderland, wherefrom White Rabbit is also taken. The Doormouse yielded easier than did White Rabbit. From our camp at the col, we climbed scramble up rock and snow to gain the moderate glacier below the peak. In the photo below (taken from two days earlier on White Rabbit), you can see the approximate approach route. The glacier started at a moderate 30 degrees, but quickly stiffed to 40 degrees, and eventually to 45-50 degrees near the top. The glacier gained us approximately 2000 feet and dropped us at the base of the East Ridge. The rock here was much better than that found on White Rabbit. We climbed 4th class and low fifth class rock, trying to get on top of the ridge. We roped for one pitch of 5.6 rock and that got us to the top of the ridge itself.In the below photo, you can see me coming up this pitch. From there, easy class 2-3 terrain, non-exposed, led along the ridge. The ridge narrowed to a knife edge and then dropped into a notch. We built an anchor there and set out 20 meter strand to rappel down into the notch. We left the rope in place to use to climb back out on our return. This was a fine idea, as none of really wanted to lead the off width to get back up. It runs about 5.9 or 5.10a. From the base of the notch, we built another anchor and Mike led the 5.6 pitch up and out of the notch. The below photo shows us rappelling it on the way down. The climbing route runs to the right of the rope. Once we were all up, the rest of the route was easy class 2 walking over talus to make the summit. Views from the summit are extensive. The below photo shows the Scud glacier. The prominent peak to the left is Mount Hickman, which has seen one ascent, by Fred Beckey and others. To the far west, there was several prominent peaks. The right most peak is, I believe, Mount Ratz. The left most is, I think, The Devils Thumb. Sorry for the grain, but this is a 100% crop taken from a 70 mm lens. To the south and east is Mount Hoole, named for a Matis guide for Campbell, one of the early explorers of the region. As far as is known, it has not been climbed. It doesn't look easy,though the approach isn't too difficult. It is the prominent peak in the center of the below photo. Finally, we got a good look at Dokdaon, which was first climbed in 1967 by a group of four from Seattle and Alaska. It has not been climbed since. We built a cairn on top and then retreated back down the peak, retracing our climbing route. The climb up and out of the notch proved to be a rather challenging off width affair, with lots of the obligatory cursing and swearing. It is in the 5.9-5.10a range, but because we left the 20 meter strand, we could do it on top rope. Round trip was in the 12 hour range. After another day of rest we moved our camp from the col down to the base of Dokdaon, where we also had a food cache. Weather was cooperating and we intended to summit Dokdaon the next day. However, this is the Coast Range and good weather just doesn't last. For five days we were pinned down by unpleasant weather. It usually didn't rain/sleet too hard or too long, but visibility was poor enough that climbing wasn't really an option. The above photo shows a stretch of nice weather when Mike and Bob went for a stroll to the top of the Scud. They summited a minor peak, presumably also a first ascent, in a white out. We called it The Count, though they thought it more of a bump than a peak. Our time was running out, so one morning we forced the issue and went for it. From our camp on the Scud, we climbed glacier, generally in good condition though with some snow bridges of dubious quality, to gain the south face of Dokdaon. We should have continued traversing the snow around the mountain, but instead took to a snow finger than gained us a lot of elevation. Here is shot of Bob on the traverse around the mountain. You can see that here, on top of the glacier, the terrain is really rather moderate. Why we gave it up for the snow finger is unclear at this moment. In the below photo, the red route is the climbing route, the blue the descent. It would have been better to take the blue route on the way up. Our climbing route eventually dumped us onto more difficult class 4 terrain that was necessary, with some loose rock thrown in. There were some exposed sections. Here is a shot on a higher up snow finger. The weather, of course, closed in on us and we were in a complete white out when we summited. Fortunately, there wasn't much precip. Below is summit shot of Bob with the cairn that we found from the 1967 group. We also found an empty tin of sardines. As we descended it was clear that there was a better route down: Just go straight to the snow. This was much easier than our climb and we got to the glacier fairly easily. In the white out we had to be careful not to get lost (visibility was under 20 meters), but came across some cougar tracks in the snow to follow back to our ascent tracks. Round trip was about 10 hours. Our time was more or less up, for we still had to traverse the Scud glacier, then the Scud Valley, out to the Stikine for a jet boat pick up. Here is a map showing our entire route. In the below photo, the top lake is Yehiniko, where we flew in, and the ending point is the Stikine. The big glacier is the Scud. The traverse out was, shall we say, painful. The bushwhacking was really nasty and I would not do it again. Instead, I would fly in and out of Yehiniko. Here are some shots of the traverse out. Looking north back to Dokdaon. Looking south down the Scud - our route out. Nearing the end of the Scud, we start to worry about ice falls, as we getting close to the 1000 feet in elevation level. We reached the end of the Scud and found nothing to worry about for ice fall. The next day the weather took a turn for the worse, and this misty crappy would sit on us for the next few days as we bushwhacked. For a while the flood plain of the Scud was nice walking, except when we got stuck in quicksand. But the river is big enough that we were not about to try to ford it, and when the river pinned us against the edge of the valley, we had to bushwhack through thick Devils club and slide alder to get over these headlands. This is a "clear" section of bushwhacking. When we were lucky, we found some rocky areas to traverse, instead of fighting the bush. Below is one of the headlands we had to cross. Here is Mike on a nice section. We frequently found grizzly trails to help us along. Bushwhacking is never fun, but when you have a mountain axe, two technical tools, and a picket on your pack, it is even worse. To get down off of one headland, we rappelled down a steep gully using slide alder as a rope. Bob's mother made us about 15 pounds of raspberry fruit leather. We never got tired of eating it. Here, you can see true joy in Bob's face as he digs into some of it. The sun also came out for the first time in 3 days, so we were able to dry out soaking gear. On the next to last day, we had some furious bushwhacking to do. Here, I fight my way into a wall of green. Believe it or not, I found a squirrel trail to follow. The "trail" was perfect for someone standing 10 inches off the ground. We had a harder time of it. We made it to the Scud Portage, a short cut between the Scud and the Stikine. We had hoped it would be a pleasant meadow walk. Well, it wasn't. In fact, the first time we tried it we got so turned around that after 2 hours of work, we ended up back at the Scud. The next day we walked a bearing instead. The devils club was thick. Finally, we made it out to the Stikine. I was very happy. Our jet boat got us a few hours later and took us upriver to the hamlet of Telegraph Creek. Along the way, we passed the spectacular Sawtooth Range. From Telegraph Creek, we flew back to Yehiniko and then drove back to Vancouver. -------------- So, what is left to do up there? Everything. Almost nothing has been climbed. The 1967 group also summited Ambition and Endeavour. We had plans for these but weather didn't work out for us. Here is the east face of Ambition. The 1967 people did not take it, but instead snuck around the left. Their route is a scary class 4 traverse, according to them. I suspect their class 4 is rather more difficult than what we think of class 4. Endeavour is the mountain to the right of Ambition. It is in the left of the below photo. The peak to the right is unnamed and unclimbed, but we took to calling it The Nipple. The snow route on the left we scoped out from Dokdaon and looked like a good climb in the 50 degree range. Access to the area, via Yehiniko Lake, is very straightforward and much easier than most in the Coast Range. Again, lots more information and text can be found at http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html One last photo before I end this thing. Taken on the flight out. It speaks for itself. Gear Notes: See http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html Approach Notes: See http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/scud/index.html
  24. Trip: Mount Brice - FA North Face "Graveyard Shift" ~1000m, IV WI3 Date: 12/8/2007 Trip Report: I have been eying up the unclimbed North Face of Mount Brice for a while. It rises c. 1200m out of the valley of Twentysix Mile Creek and can be seen in partial view from a few nearby summits and from one narrow section of the Hope-Princeton. The face is bushy low down and split by many parallel gullies - not a great choice for summer but perfect for winter conditions climbing. A few people I know have climbed Brice over the years via Silver-Skagit Valley and the Star Creek mine road to Mt Andrews then a traverse around and up the SE ridge of Brice. They reported the rock to be not bad. How to get to the base of the face? Two options. One was to come in via the Silverdaisy Mne road to the high col east of Hatchethead and descend into the valley to the base of the face. I skiied that a couple years ago as far as the col and it was not the greatest as a climbing access route. Tha left an approach from Sumallo Grove and a shwack up the valley of Twentysix Mile Cr. from near Delacey Camp. Checked this out with a hike a few weeks ago and it seemed OK. With apparently excellent alpine winter-style climbing conditions prevailing, Jesse Mason and Graham Rowbotham decided to come along with me and check out the face. We made plans for a 4am departure from Chilliwack, planning on making Delacey by sunrise and having daytime vis. for the bushwack. I thought it would be about 3 hours to the base of the face. From the views I had of the face I expected that the main gully on the face would give a climb like a longer North Ramp on Harvey and we could solo it all pretty quickly, maybe 4 hours up. Then a quick descent back down Brice's SW ridge and back to the cars in around a 15 hour day. NE face from Hatchethead Col. It turns out that you can only see the top half of the face in this photo. Our route took the main gully line in the centre of the face. View of the upper NF of Brice from Skagit River. You can see the finishing ramp of our route on the left. So my alarm went off at 3:30 AM (oi! alpine start!) Jesse and Graham picked me up at 4:20 and we were at the parking lot at 5:30 AM. We started hiking down the trail by headlamp. Along the way we heard scary loud drumming noises from the forest. Apparently a tree in a log jam in the river was thumping or something? It was unusual, anyway. Around 6:15 we got to Delacey Camp and found the spur trail off up 26 Mile Cr. that actually apparently leads up the ridge to the Moles and Hatchethead. Headlamps off on this trail, the sun came up and we could see the rhododendrons, bear tracks in the snow, etc. Sunrise on Silvertip Well, the valley was cliffy and canyony and bushy and travel was much slower than anticipated. Not hideous, but time-consuming. By the time we got to the base of the route it was 12:30, in fact. Graham crossing a log over 26 Mile Creek. We had a brief discussion about how much it would suck to turn back and about how we needed to move fast, then geared up and started climbing. The first section of the route was not a nice snow ramp like I had thought it was going to be. It was a series of ice pitches in a narrow gully, with snow slopes and spindrift pouring down. Real alpine climbing yeehaa! A couple went at solid WI3 with short sections of up to 80 degree ice and dinner-platy conditions. We all soloed the first couple pitches. Then Jesse and Graham did a bit of simul-climbing and I soloed one pitch and avoided another via a mixed snow and tree 60-70 degree ramp on the right. There were 8 or 9 ice pitches in all, but lots were WI2, maybe 3 or 4 were WI3, and the one I avoided via the ramp may have been WI3+, it was pretty steep and Graham placed a couple screws. Graham soloing the first pitch And the third pitch. By the time we got into the upper gully it was getting pretty late in the day. The gully forks and we took a mixed traverse across snow and tree and rock ribs to get into the left fork that leads to the upper ramps on the face, putting on headlamps just after getting established in this fork, and climbing the rest of the gully via headlamp. The upper gully was mostly 35 to 60 degree neve and powder with a couple of short 50-60 degree ice and neve bulges. The very top of the gully had 20-30cms of windloaded spindrift and was a bit slabby but serious avalanche conditions did not occur. Graham found a way through a short section of overhanging cornice and we pulled onto the summit ridge around 6:30 PM. Sky looking up the gully at headlamp time Sunset We started walking off and by some fluke of luck, were able to link together features I had remembered from a brief scan of the topo map the day before, and find our way onto, and follow, Brice's SW ridge all the way down to the Skagit Trail. By this time we were mostly out of food and our remaining sips of water had frozen so we started to go slower and slower what with stopping to rest evry 15 minutes or so. We followed goat tracks for part of the way down the ridge and did not get cliffed out too many times, too badly. It took about 7 hours to descend the SW Ridge and then another 4 or so to hike the relatively flat and level trail back to the car, we were really dragging our asses by the end - 3 or 4 5-minute nap breaks between the gold mine and the trailhead in fact! That strange drumming thing was still drumming when we hiked by on the way out too. By the time we reached the car it was 4:40 AM, 23h 10m car-to-car. We put on some cold, dry clothes, ran the heater 15 minutes, then drove to Hope. At 5:30 AM not even the Husky truck stop was open so we napped for an hour until it did then had trucker breakfasts washed down with coffee, tea, pop, anything liquid in fact. If the soup had been on I would have had soup too. What with work and school and life and stuff it has been more than a year since my last big alpine route so it was nice to finally get up something serious in 2007! Thanks Jesse and Graham for the fun day out Gear Notes: Carried a light alpine rack but only the screws got used by J and G while simulclimbing. Did not see many possibilities for rock pro placements. A couple of trees could have been slung off to the side for belays but screw belays were better. Approach Notes: Hiking trail for 4km then the bushwack starts
  25. Trip: Sumallo Bluffs - Unnamed WI3 - 60m Date: 12/1/2007 Trip Report: I went up to the Sumallo Bluffs today with Matt Kidd and his buddy Cam. We climbed a WI3 a few hundred meters to the left of 'the mess'. The ice was super thin and sketchy for Matt to lead because of lmited screw placements. We all made it up and I was ecstatic after my first ice climb ever. Here's some pics... Here's details about our climb. We drove past the Buzowski Kippan and Landmark gullies for at most 1km and pulled over at a small parking lot across from a couple small clearcuts. We headed into the trees about 50ft back from where we parked and crossed the creek on a small log bridge we contructed over a shallow area. We bushwacked up the trees for 20 mins to find ourselves at the base of a small gully with some low angled ice at the bottom, we then traversed east into the next gully and ascended snow covered rocks to the base of our climb. The 60m rope was about 15ft short of making it to the anchor tree (above and left of the route)..so a 70m rope would be a good idea unless you want to simul climb 15ft of the route while your partner climbs to the anchor. To descend we did one single rope rappel down a cut in the trees to the left of the climb and then one double rope rappel down the last bit of trees. These two rappels bring you to a little slope 25m left of the base of the route. We then bushwacked straight down through the forest back to the car. If this is an FA I dont really know what to name the route..suggestions would be cool.. I was thinking of calling it Stairway to Heaven because the route reminded me of three big steps.. but I'm pretty sure that that name has been used a million times before.