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Found 256 results

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Trip: Alpine Lakes - FA--"Bumbling Genius", Wedge Mountain 5.7R Date: 11/3/2007 Trip Report: I was in Leavenworth and was planning to climb with my friend Ben Hargrove. I had been thinking of doing Givler's Crack because it looks so spectacular, and some other climbs in that area, but when Ben suggested doing a second ascent of a route on Wedge Mountain, that sounded more interesting. After an hour drive we began the hike, which after about half an hour turned to a bushwhack across to the notch where we planned to gear up and leave our packs. Ben had forgotten to tell me that there wasn't actually a trail to or from his climb. I love bushwhacking about as much as I love early morning alarm clocks, but alarm clocks help me stay employed and bushwhacking gets you to good places. It was a beautiful day, so I forgave him. We reached the notch only to find a trail...after all that bushwhacking! We made note of it for the descent. We made our way to the face. We picked out an obvious ramp. Ben said he thought that it was our climb. We scrambled up 4th class rock to the start of the ramp, where I built an anchor. We reauxchambeauxed for first lead. I won but then Ben seemed really disappointed, so I relented and let him have the first lead. Here are links to some photos I put in the gallery. I couldn't figure out how to post them in the TR. If someone smart wants to follow the links and fix this post for me, be my guest!!! But please don't email me and explain how to do it, I already looked at the post in Newbies and it's just too complicated for me. Scenic! View of our route from the base. Go up the ramp and belay where the rock changes color, then traverse upwards and over to the flat ledgey thing you see to belay the second pitch. Pitches 3-5 are in the fog. Ben putting on his shoes. Check out the view! The first pitch was almost a full rope length and followed nice granite up a ramp, to a fun little crack and then some face moves, about 5.7 for the cruxes. Ben leading the rampy start of Pitch 1. At the first belay the rock changed from nice granite to some kind of crumbly, chossy gray rock that I decided was shale because of the way it peeled off in layers. I am not a geologist and I am probably wrong. At any rate, I ruefully took the sharp end and proceeded into a full ropelength of the scariest 5.6 face climbing I have ever done. I only found gear about every 30 feet and then I had to scrape off several layers of crappy rock with my nut tool to place a piece that I thought had any chance of holding at all. In addition my footholds had an eery way of coming detached when I tried to stand on them. I honestly felt more than once that at any moment the entire wall I was standing on and holding onto could become detached with me on it. As Ben yelled, "Rope ten feet" I neared a tree that looked like a good belay, and suddenly could move no further. My rope and gotten stuck in a crack below me! I had run out of long runners and hadn't been able to sling the rope loosely enough, so it was running tight over a block. I had been fighting rope drag and had had to pull out slack to move for the last 25 feet. I had wedged the rope into a crack near my cam, and now I was stuck. Fortunately the moves to the tree looked easy, although they went over some huge loose-looking blocks that I was very careful to avoid. I untied from my rope, placed a cam and tied the rope to it, then I soloed to the tree and anchored myself to it. Now safe, I went back down and built a good anchor for the rope, making it a fixed line for Ben to self-belay his way up with prusiks as he climbed and cleaned the pitch. Whew! This climb was getting pretty exciting in my opinion. When Ben reached the belay, I asked him what the rest of the route would be like. He said something along the lines of this not being the same route and he had made a mistake. Hmmm.... Looking down at "The Shale Pitch" Me very cold at the top of Pitch 2. I didn't know you could get screaming barfies in your feet! Looking up there continued to be a clear line and it appeared that it would go, at least as far as we could see. We decided to carry on--after all adventure was what we were after, and the only thing I had to look forward to on a retreat was lost gear and more bushwhacking! Ben led off Pitch 3 for a full ropelength over once-again beautiful granite up some face moves and into a cool corner/chimney, about 5.5. As I belayed Ben I took this photo and then my camera battery died, so I wasn't able to get pictures of the remainder of the route. Ben's rope up Pitch 3. I led Pitch 4 as the rock turned right up some optional face moves (5.7) and then headed up an easy ramp leading to some exposed moves and through a small roof (5.7). Fun!!! Be careful of large loose blocks. As Ben finished Pitch 4 it was getting dusky. He quickly led off Pitch 5, a full ropelength that traversed to the right and up through some fun moss-filled horizontal cracks/face moves and exited the route through a tree. Apparently someone thought I needed to work on my bushwhacking skills. (Actually, he was almost out of rope, and it was a safer bet. But you know, I can't let him get away with leading me through a tree without a little hassling.) We QUICKLY regrouped in the near-darkness and started hoofing it down the ridge. Be careful on the descent as there is another cliff band skier's left of where you get off the route. Traverse around the mountain to climber's right, above the cliffs, and you will find a game trail that leads down the ridge. Head down the ridge to the notch, and then find the tree-choked trail down to the fallen down cabin and onto the real trail. Doing this "trail" covered with blowdown, ice, and snow in my treadless shoes by my weak headlamp was a crux for me, but we made it back to Ben's car with only a couple minor falls on my part, and in no time were enjoying delicious porters! About the rating: Ben and I debated whether to give it an R or an X rating. There are some huge loose blocks up there, and if one did come loose and fall on the rope or your partner, it would be very very bad. But if you are careful, the climbing is pretty easy and there is enough gear to prevent a death fall, presuming it holds, which I think it would. But I can't recommend falling on this route. The route itself is actually pretty fun, an alpine feeling climb with a relatively short approach, under 2 hours, and the scenery is amazing. Two stars. Thanks, Ben, for the great adventure! We'll have to find some more chosspiles to climb in the near future! Gear Notes: 60 m rope (50m won't make it to good, solid belays) gear to 3" nut tool for scraping moss and choss nuts not necessary Approach Notes: Take the rutted back road up to Wedge Mountain from Blewett Pass. Bear left at all intersections. High clearance vehicle or good driving skills recommended. Go up the hiking trail. Go left at the intersection. At the fallen down cabin head uphill following a trail that is often obscured by blow-down, until you gain the notch. Bushwhack down past the first wall to the second wall. The route starts at the base of the most obvious granite ramp which can be gained via fourth class moves.
  14. Trip: Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: tallboys and breakfast burritos III 5.10c Date: 8/29/2007 Trip Report: After completing a route on Ne'er-do-well, we took a rest/scope day. We spent a couple hours checking out all of our options and weighing them with our goals and desired style. The south east face of baron spire caught our eye due to its proxiemty to camp and a prearranged descent. Plus we were stoked to get to use the 1940's beckey bolt ladder up the summit block. Unlike "a bum's rush" we were both feeling a bit apprehinsive about some of the areas on the intended line. the south and east face of baron spire and baron spire lake Tallboys and Breakfast Burritos III 5.10c 5 pitchs 800 or so feet follows chimney and splitter crack right of center highlighted w/ the black line Pitchs two and three worried us in particular because we only had one three and it looked like a good bit of wide hands and then the porblem of having the gear to build a solid anchor was even more in our minds. However it all worked out and went flawlessly. Here you can see the overhanging flared chimney to the splitter hand and the Y in the crack where split off right. The large patch of shrubs were impassable. pitch one: 5.8 start in the white dihedral below the chimney with a butterknife flake 2/3rds up the pitch. Use face holds and scrap out grass and plug in gear until you reach the flake take the right side and follow sweet hand crack up to base of chimney. pitch two: 5.10c fight your way up the flared chimney with the varied crack in the back up and into the splitter wide hand crack. belay just below Y junction here Trevor Bowman begins what he calls one of the most unique and best single pitchs he has done in the alpine. i carried that statement with some weight considering he didn't work all summer and just climbed in the alpine. He likened it to a 5 star pitch in Yosemite. pitch three: 5.10a begin by using both cracks and then transfer to the right crack and pull the technical overhang, continue up the slot throguh some vege and out right around the corner to the chimney system. Belay on the ledge. pitch four: 5.8 take the right side following the inside left facing dihedral. Take to the summit ledge. pitch five: A1or2 1949 beckey bolt ladder, here is what summit post says about it: The peak sees a few climbers each year and some of those never see the true summit- they free climb the rock routes but just under the true summit, they are often spooked by the overhanging bolt ladder. The ladder was put in by climbing legend Fred Beckey in 1949, hence the name the Beckey Bolt Ladder. He, Pete Schoening and Jack Schwabland spent three days engineering the 22 bolt ladder on the corner of the summit block. Their climb nearly ended in disaster as a severe storm hit the area. They made an epic descent to avoid a very uncomfortable bivy. It was reported by Schwabland that the rock was running with water and all the holds were packed with hail. Lightning struck within two hundred feet several times. They somehow made it down and back to camp. The condition of these bolts varies, as some of the originals are still there. Aid climbing doesn't look hard to the casual observer, but it's tough to learn on an overhang near the top of a summit like this. The Beckey Ladder is said to go between A1-A2. All routes converge on the west side of the summit block and must ascend the Beckey Ladder to truly make the summit. Sorry no summit photos, battery ran out before the ladder which was in my buddy' words "biblical" Don't think anyone else had been up there for a little while. We replaced all the webbing on the rap down the east face. we ended the day by coming down, packing up camp, and hiking the seven miles out to the boat dock. We did this so we could grab the first boat out and get a good ole tall boy at the marina and then head in the stanley bakery and order a huge burrito filled with heaven. Gear Notes: same rack as for a bums rush with same recomendation Approach Notes: I would stay at the baron spire lake and hike west up the hill side to the base of the south east face. The chimney is obvious
  15. Trip: Sawtooths: Peak 9211 (Ne'er-do-well) East Face, - FA: A Bums Rush III 5.11- Date: 8/26/2007 Trip Report: This August Trevor Bowman and I spent a little bit of time in the Sawooths, here we stumbled upon this great face near little baron lake. Peak 9211' is not known to have been climbed via a technical route. If no other ascent exsit we would like to give it the "climbers guide" name Ne'er-do-well; a slang on never do well, meaning: A self-indulgent person who spends time avoiding work or other useful activity The East Face of Ne'er-do-well Peak We picked a line up the center face up to the main break 4/5th's the way up and then took the only obvious line up the upper headwall. A Bums Rush: 5 Pitchs, 265meters + 200m of 3rd/4th class to summit Pitch One: 5.7 55m Start in a R trending crack about 40' uphill (left) of the most obvious diagonal crack. Follow this to a L facing dihedral to a good leadge w/ 2 trees. Pitch Two: 5.9 65m Continue straight up the R leaning thin crack past two small buldges and wander up a left (5.6/7ish) then back right and up a cupped hands crack to a ledgyish area. looking down at pitch two as trevor pulls the bludges and begins the sweet moderate climbing Pitch Three: 5,8 60m Follow the big corner system up cracks and dihedrals to a good ledge this photo shows trevor wandering up to no-where land for thirty feet to a table sized flake that gave him shivers. He downclimbed the like 5.9ish corner and traversed right to the ocbvious big corner system. We are recomending to go straight to the corner system. Pitch Four: 5.7 20m Take a R leaning flared chimneyto the major upper ledge that cuts below the upper headwall. Pitch Five: 5.11a 65m Sorry No Pics for this wild pitch Start up a blocky corner to a short awkward chimney 5.9 (get gear in when you can). Continue up splitter 4" -3" crack 5.10 to alcove. Make the strenous slightly overhanging hand traverse (no feet out of the alcove to the left(5.11a), continue up the 3" crack to a short chimney finish(5.9). Take 200m of 3rd and 4th class wandering up blocks + slabs to thew summit. With the Chockstone splitter Gear Notes: Large set of Nuts and pea nuts (the toofs take them so well) single set of small cams doubles .5BD-#2bd 1 of #3 bd. ( you may want to take 2 #3's) Cord cause there all gear anchors Approach Notes: Take same descent as carpal tunnel
  16. Trip: Molar Tooth - West Face - FA - II 5.8 Date: 9/26/2007 Trip Report: This is one of those faces in the North Cascades that is hard to get a look at from popular destinations. Last spring I viewed it from 4 miles away and recognized the profile as seen from the Cutthroat Lake side (but in reverse). I thought that there was probably something to climb there although I couldn't make any detail. Yesterday I went to take a look at it with James Hamaker. We intended to hike up the drainage shown on the Green Trails map but we never found it. Instead we ascended the forested rib east from where the PCT crosses Porcupine Creek and this took us fairly efficiently up to about 7000 ft. At this point we weren't sure exactly what was the summit of Molar Tooth, let alone what we should try to climb and the clouds blowing across the mountain tops weren't helping matters. We decided to traverse south, climbing class 3 over one rib of rock and traversing steep slabs around the base of the next. Up a bit and we found a clean 40 ft slab that we scrambled up to set a belay at a small larch tree (center of photo): James led up some easy 5th class then traversed to the right where there was an exposed 5.7 move around the corner (under the smooth bulge). There were some loose handholds here but solid ones could be found. He belayed closely above at a dead tree. The next pitch started up a chimney (poor rock but easy): Above was some 5.8 face climbing and an interesting boulder-pedestal with a fist crack behind it. This involved climbing up one side using the crack then descending the other side to get back on route, not that hard, but awkward. There was a loose rectangular block at the base that I considered trundling but it was OK to stand on with downward pressure only. Some more 5.8 led to a low angle heathery section. James was eager to lead and I didn't argue as I would have taken longer on the harder moves. Above were some cool slab overlaps. James went straight up and was able to place pro in a crack at the steep part (5.5): We were heading for the gap between the two apparent high points seen from the start but weren't sure where the actual summit was. There was a chimney with overhanging chockstone at the end of this 3rd pitch that went at about 5.7. Above this the summit was an easy scramble. The clouds had cleared and the scenery was great: We descended by the normal rappel route down the north ridge. The rock on this route was good. There were some loose potential holds but they could be avoided. There seemed to be less black lichen than on the north ridge and east face. We didn't see any signs of previous ascents on this climb. Robert Campbell Gear Notes: 50m rope, medium rack up to #3 cam
  17. A few days ago, Kurt Buchwald and I (Martin) climbed a route on the North Face of Chair Peak that I have not been able to find any beta on. It is basically a direct line from the summit proper to the base of the North Face. It is a 5 pitch route, goes at 5.9 and has surprisingly good rock quality. It is in parts the same rock (Snoqualmie Batholith) that you see in the standard descent rap couloir (not to be confused with the loose surface garbage that is laying around in the couloir). We felt it was a good line, worth the trouble and could up the appeal of Chair Peak. A more indepth trip report of the route can be viewed at http://www.proguiding.com/tripreport/view/chair-peak-north-face-direct We are looking for input from y'all to see if this route had been done before. At any rate, we can recommend it. Certainly harder than the NE Buttress, but also way higher quality. The fact that it basically goes straight to the top is nice. Cheers. M
  18. Trip: Mt. Goode - Megalodon Ridge ( IV+ 5.10- ) Date: 9/6/2007 Trip Report: Last Wednesday, my friend Sol Wertkin and I headed out to the North Cascades National Park on an attempt to stretch a little more summer into what was rapidly becoming fall. The intended destination was a climb of the complete East Ridge of Mt. Goode. After seeing photos and encountering the ridge last month, I knew it would be a "big fish to fry" hence Sol coined it the " Megalodon Ridge" in honor of the biggest and scariest fish to ever swim the seas. The ridge runs from L->R across the skyline. On the first day we approached the base of the technical climbing and had a perfect bivy on the ridgeline before it steepened up. A few drops of rain fell on us, but by morning it looked as though things might clear up. After crossing some icy snow in the morning, we started up the ridge, with the summit often lurking in distant clouds. Dan Hilden and I had climbed this first part on a traverse a few weeks ago, but bailed off due to 40lb packs, and very little climbing gear. We made one 50m rappel and began swapping leads along the crest. The position was amazing, with alpine lakes below us, and the sun coming out just when we needed it. The rock wass often pretty good along the crest, with memorable highlights including a 5.8 finger crack and another overhang corner of the same grade. Soon the steep wall of the SE peak began to loom closer ahead of us. Sol fired off the first headwall pitch, which ended up being a splitter 5.10- hand crack to a nice belay ledge. I got the next pitch which started up a perfect corner before stepping left and doing some delicate stemming to the top. A bit of scrambling brought us to the last pitch on the SE peak, which Sol lead through with scanty protection. "No life Guard on Duty" here... From the SE Peak we skirted the steep glacial ice by climbing through the moat. Ross and Sky skied from near here ~5,000' down to Bridge Creek a couple years ago, that just blows me away. Some steep solid rock and an au-cheval crest led us up to the final pinnacle before Black Tooth Notch. We had joked around for much of the climb about all the potential shark-themed names, which was fitting as our crux involved this pitch climbing down into Black-Tooth Notch. I belayed Sol down and across the wall to the notch, with several thousand feet of exposure to bridge creek below his feet. He protected this lead perfectly and memorized nearly every move so as to feed me beta as I seconded the traversy downclimb. It ended up being overhanging 5.10 climbing, but it brought us back "on the map" and past all major obstacles. From there we did one long running belay to the summit. It was late and we were tired, so we did some quick construction and settled in for a night on the highest point in the National Park. An amazing sunset and meteor shower had us in awe all night. The next morning's chilly sunrise was a nice sight as well... As Sol says "Livin' the dream, life is Good(e)" Yesterday we made the 5,000' descent down the south side of the mountain to Park Creek and were thankful for the cool fall breeze on our 19-mile hike back to the car. There was also a forest fire that provided some temporary entertainment. This was a really fun trip with a great partner. The summit bivy spot is (obviously) highly recomended by us both. The register which was there last summer is gone now though... Gear Notes: Standard climbing rack. Should have included goldfish crackers to complete the fish theme. Approach Notes: Up N.Fork of bridge creek for 2 miles, turn left and cross the creek through open clearings when the ridge is obvious.
  19. Trip: Mt. Triumph - FA SW Ridge - Layton/Wallace III 5.8b Date: 9/2/2007 Trip Report: This summer has been a long string of alpine failures. Wayne and I were 0/2 on our big project list, and with a shitty weather forecast, we were thinkin' it was going to be 0/3. Rain, shitty routes not worth finishing, partner failure(Bailure), and too much work finally caught up with me this summer. So with nothing better to do than try another one on the "list", Wayne and I did a lap around Mt. Triumph via a new route on the Southwest Ridge and down the NE ridge for full mountain circumnavigation. Having been told by irate girlfriends, annoyed climbing partners, rangers, and hapless co-workers that I was a bit rough around the edges, I decided to make the best out of my "time to think" at camp saturday night I don't know what the fuck this "Dale" guy is talking about Of course along the way, we followed proper protocol and picked up a permit. Thanks NPS for your permission to use "your" wilderness! Wayne and I had a great time walking on durable surfaces, collecting our waste in bags (to keep next to my Kleenex boxes, jars of urine, and bundled newspapers at home), fishing with dynamite, building huge fires, hunting birds, and stealing picnic baskets from day hikers. Since we were not allowed to bring a machette, we had to use gas powered weed wackers. After it ran out of gas, Wayne hucked it in the lake, and we had to use our trecking poles to hack at plants and wave at bears. Wayne wondering where a good spot to heli-lift the Ski-Doo's into this winter Anyways, up and around Thorton Peak we went, and down to below the South Face of Triumph for our original intended objective. The still unclimbed S.Buttress of Triumph It was much to steep and crackless, also soaking wet (the main line is a watercourse) so we opted for plan B. It could go, but it would require some aid and bolting, also hard climbing. We scrambled up ~500 feet of steep cliffy heather. It wasn't so bad, except for the fact that the sky was turbulent and threating a mega storm to hit any minute. The thought of downclimbing was not a happy fun one. All the peaks had big lenticulars forming, and the thick black wave-like patter of clouds above our heads shouted "hurry up and climb be-otch!" It gonna Rain! The climb started off with a few pitches up steep slab. The rock was solid, lots of good holds, and fun! Pro was scant, so there were a few moments of nervousness. I had to bust out my ice tool for an "M" move to bypass grabbing a very untrustworthy looking flake/key hold. It was solid, and the mixed/moss mantle was unnecessary. It started raining, then stopped. Hurry up! Wayne scoping the route The ridge topped out about ~1100 feet up to the final summit headwall. Wayne had a great fun steep lead. It looked scary but turned out to be a super fun 5.8 pitch. Climb Monkey, Climb! I got the last pitch, traversing some shitty gendarms and up to the summit. 20' up the exposed crumbly gendarme Wayne shouted, "It's about to let loose up there!" A wall of rain headed our way, but somehow it cut north at the last second and spared us a slippery and scary descent. We only got a few drops the whole day, but we did get in a great fun climb and an awesome mountain. Our cramponless hike out wasn't a great idea, but I'm here, so I guess we didn't need them! Heading down the Northeast Ridge just waiting for the douching We got back to the car at 7:30, having left camp at 5:45 a.m., which is funny since the 1500' route took only three hours of impending rain hurried climbing to the top! Gear Notes: Nothin bigger than 3" and no pins or tat needed. Crampons if you want. One rope. Approach Notes: Up the 3rd lake to a col next to Thorton Peak, down and around (long) to the S.Face, and up a steep moss gully to the SW ridge.
  20. Trip: Cutthroat Wall - Easy Getaway (F.A. III 5.10-) Date: 8/29/2007 Trip Report: This TR is going to read like the boring blow-by-blow climb description that it is, but that's in hopes of providing adequate info for folks to go get on it and have some fun. Upon climbing one route on the Cutthroat Wall, I was eager to go back and investigate the clean looking roofs and corners to the left of what we'd done in early August. Last weekend, Dan Hilden and I headed up to check it out. Bryan Burdo was a late scratch on the roster for this climb as well, after he dropped his tennis shoes off a new route on SEWS and was left with just rock shoes and sandals. His Methow valley cragging guide should be out within a month, and his North Cascades Rock (WA Pass Area) guide by next spring... Anyhow, we braved the 45 minute approach from the car and began the climb ~40' to the left of The Perfect Crime on a perfectly flat granite patio. From the base, one can locate a series of clean L-Facing corners which serve as good landmarks for the route. A vertically striped dihedral (the Zebra corner) is especially obvious. The climb went very well, with fun moves, some nice challenges, and a few spots where the cliff seemed made for climbing. Pitch 1 (5.10-) Up left on a slab to a clean crack and obvious overlap/roof. This roof move can be protected from above with a blue alien. From here, climb up and left (easy slab), past another steepface, to beneath a large roof. Pitch 2 (5.9) Start up the R-Facing Corner with stemming and finger cracks. Past tree, move left (delicate undercling) into the clean orange corner. Move right out of the corner and belay. Pitch 3 (5.9) Face climb up and right, then follow clean cracks (layback, mantle) back up and left to a short splitter finger crack, ledge, and belay below short overhung RFC. pitch 4 (5.9) This pitch leads to the base of the striped corner visible from below. Power up the short overhung corner and face climb up and left into a crack. (Don't get tempted rightward into the blank corner) Follow this crack up to a tree at the base of the corner Pitch 5 (5.9) Again begin by fun moves up another overhung corner, then follow the beautiful/clean Zebra Corner crack upward. The top of the corner was seeping from the prior day's rain, so we "walked the plank" rightward across a solid/safe block and along the ledge to the right. If dry, consider following the corner to the top and doing an undercling out right for the directissima. Pitch 6 (5.10-) This pitch looks imporbable but works out great. Face climb up to the base of a L-facing corner below roofs. Jam the corner, climb left through the roofs, and continue jamming and laybacking up into the granite chimney. Follow the chimney to a large pine at the base of an obvious long corner. Pitch 7 (5.10-) Jam or layback the perfect hand crack up past a tree to some roofs. Undercling/jam through the roofs to the very top of the corner, step right, belay. (From here, one can downclimb rightward ~30 to get to the belay ledge before the last pitch of The Perfect Crime, whish is a *** pitch featuring splitter cracks on the far right edge of the buttress.) Pitch 8 (5.9) Head up the obvious chimney straight above. Good pro can be placed deep inside, and one can then move to the outside edge to climb though. I found this great fun. Dan, with a pack on, had a differing opinion. Follow the lower-angle stemming slot to a 5.5 hand crack on a slab, and belay above. From here, unrope or belay one more pitch (low 5th) to the flat summit. The rock quality on this climb is as good as Rebel Yell and better than anything else I have climbed on in the Washington Pass area, but the climb is only an hour from your car. All the cruxy bits are well protected and could be A0ed. I think it'd take a strange climber to not enjoy this route quite a bit. The only drawback is the pine needeles on ledges, but maybe with some traffic this would change. We also found an OLD rusty, and completely unmarked bent piton on p2, so maybe someone did the whole route back in the 60s and didn't tell anyone... who knows. I'd enjoy re-climbing it and leading the pitches Dan took as well, so if you are looking for a partner, send me and email. From the top, you can scramble up to the ridge and look down on the Hwy 20 hairpin, and of course see much of the North Cascades as well. Descent: walk across the flat summit terrace (cairn) to where the crest narrows before you'd need to scramble up again. Look for a pine tree on the right with a yellow runner. Make one 20m rappel down to the right, then contour at that elevation, skier's left around the head of a gulley and walk down/left on timbered rib to the base of the wall. Mini Topo - Big Version Linked Below http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/503/Complete_topo.JPG Green Writing goes with Green Topo, pitch-by-pitch Gear Notes: One set of nuts Cams from finger tips to #4 camalot (only needed if you avoid the chimney and do the last pitch of The Perfect Crime) Doubles in finger-hand sizes Approach Notes: From the Cutthroat Lake TH, walk up the old road bed for ~5 minutes, then head left up the hill into the brush. The brush is moderate at first, then the forest is pretty open and easy until moderate brush for the last couple hundred feet. The route begins at the far right (west) side of the wall. From the base of this route, the toe of the "Snout" is a ~10 minute level traverse across open ground, so one could combine a climb of those routes as well.
  21. Trip: Cutthroat Wall - The Perfect Crime (F.A. 5.9 III) Date: 8/10/2007 Trip Report: A few weeks ago, Max Hasson and I did a new route on what I'm calling "the Cutthroat Wall", near Washington Pass. The top of the wall (and top of the climb) can be seen from the Cutthroat Lake Trailhead, but most of the wall cannot. The climb was done in 5 pitches (most were 60m) and featured very good rock and some fun moves. It was all pretty neat to be anble to walk up to a wall like that, one hour from the car, and climb a new free route of good quality, hence naming it "The Perfect Crime." Dan and I repeated it the other day, and he liked it as well. Here's a small topo, the larger version is linked below. http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/503/Cutthroat_wall_Topo.JPG Climbing begins at the right toe of the buttress, above a small cairn, and just left of ~6 dead silver snags in a group. The first two pitches begin with a steep bouldery step, before angling on nice cracks, slabs, and a couple short/steep corners. Generally begin going up/left and follow the cleanest line of least resistance. The 3rd pitch has you undercling and layback rightward along a nice crack, before overcoming a roof. This roof is smaller and further rightward than the other prominent roofs. another view... You'll know you are on route if you climb to the left of, then above a spiral-trunked "barber poll" tree. The 4th pitch goes up a steep crack from the belay ledge, traverses right across bulletproof orange rock, then follows a hand/fist crack up to a nice patio belay spot. The 5th pitch begins with a face climb traverse right, then beautiful splitter cracks (4" then 1") for most of 60m, to where the angle eases off and the flat summit can be reached. and From the top, you can scramble up to the ridge and look down on the Hwy20 hairpin. For descent, walk across the flat summit (cairn) to where the crest narrows before you'd need to climb up again. Look for a pine tree on the right with a yellow runner. Make one 20m rappel down to the right, then contour at that elevation, skier's left around the head of a gulley and walk down/left on timbered rib to the base of the wall. The rock is overall very good, well protected, and with nice views. Every belay is on a comfy ledge, but with a 50m rope you'd need to do it in more pitches. Every pitch is rated 5.9 except the first pitch (5.7) and cruxes are short. At only 45mins-1hour from the car, this might make a good alternative to other routes in the area, especially if traffic gets more of the pine needles off the cracks. Feel free to email me if you want more detailed info about anything. A written topo is attached. Gear Notes: One set of nuts Cams from finger tips to #4 camalot (needed for last pitch) Doubles in finger-hand sizes Approach Notes: From the Cutthroat Lake TH, walk up the old road bed for ~5 minutes, then head left up the hill into the brush. The brush is moderate at first, then the forest is pretty open and easy until moderate brush for the last couple hundred feet. The route begins at the far right (west) side of the wall. From the base of this route, the toe of the "Snout" is a ~10 minute level traverse across open ground, so one could combine a climb of those routes as well. Climb Location 3785-PerfectCrimeDescription.doc
  22. Trip: anderson river valley, les Cornes - FA of "Voodo child" and FA of " Srung Cock Errect" Date: 9/17/2007 Trip Report: Hello yall. Did a few new routes in the Anderson River valley last year. I've been meening to get a post out forever. Here is some route info so you can do them. the Sprung Cock Errect (sorry but we couldn't stop calling it that) is excelent !!! It has the best climbing on the mountain. I have climbed all the routes on the mountain and can safetly say that it is the best. All pitches are high quality and very clean. Another great option would be to climb the first 3 pitches of SCE and continue up the original route when you hit the easy ramp. This avoids the total choss of the SBA and climbs 2 pitches of 3 star 5.10 and one pitch of 5 star 5.10+ ( overhanging hands!) The first 3 pitches have bolted belays and a few protection bolts as well. Voodo child has a five star Split pillar on the second pitch (very close to the pillar in Squamish, but a harder size) Topo: Discrip: photo of routes: Gear Notes: Voodoo Child, double set of cams from #1 TCU's to #2 BD, Single Small TCU's and #3 and 4 BD. Sprung Cock Errect, double set of cams to #4 BD (you can bring one #4 for the OW if your feeling strong, its only 5.7) extra finger peices for the top 5.11- pitch. Approach Notes: for more info contact me at craigskibum@yahoo.com
  23. Trip: North Cascades - First Ascent N Arete of Varden Creek Spire Date: 6/22/2007 Trip Report: After looking at this fantastic piece of rock for several years while skiing around Silver Star Larry Goldie and I finally overcame our sloth and made the long trek up to try to climb what we thought would be the N Arete of pk 8252. This striking piece of rock rises up from the head of Varden Creek and forms a significant high point along the complete E ridge of Silver Star. We made this foray late last Sept and were sent packing by very thin pro and a thin coating of frost that did not melt. After two longish and very run out pitches on slippery lichen we rapped off trees vowing to return with knifebaldes. The rock quality, position and asthetics of th eline were irresistable. In mid June of this year we ventured back armed to the teeth. The climbing turned out to be all we had hoped and so I think others might like to know about a route of this quality. We reached the toe of the buttress proper and stayed very close to the arete all the way to the last pitch. The rock quality is some of the best I have seen in the WA pass area. And it remains such all the way until a short very easy section just below the summit tower. The climbing is consistantly 5.FUN with a few spicey moves thrown in to keep you on your toes. We placed (and left) around 7 knifeblades in strategic locations so that you won't have to lug in pins and a hammer. Just stick close to the arete unless the climbing becomes harder than 5.9 then follow the easy way but steer back the arete ASAP. We never went more than 20 feet or so off the ridge and most of the time were right on the arete which gave great climbing and nice exposure. I'll post a few photos and a topo here but there are more photos on ncmountinaguides.com. The climbing in general is not sustained with just the odd hard move here and there. The exception to this is the 5.9 variation on P7 which is a sustained finger crack and licheny. View looking up Varden Creek at the proud line Sorry for the squiggly line Sweet rock typical of the whole route Larry following P5 Larry leading P6. Yep, it goes up the RH skyline Larry next to the summit Gear Notes: Light rack of single small cams to number 2 Camalot, runners etc. Like I said we went in loaded for bear and were way to heavy. Most hard pitches have crux protected with fixed pin. Approach Notes: We are nothe guys to ask about approaching this thing as we went the hard way both times. What I suggest would be one of the two following options. 1)Camp at the Larch bench below Burgandy col and approach over the col and cross SS glacier and over the Varden/ SS creek divide to the toe of the route. 2)Ascend Varden Ck but reputed to open trees and not bad by moderately reliable local source. We went up Mudhole lake trail and then cross country to the base. Took us 4 hours to the base. DESCENT; It turned out that this was not the N ridge of 8252 but was its own seperate little sub summit and hence the unique name. So we did two short raps to get us back to the start of the last hard pitch and then down climbed to the snow basin below the E side to the Arete. Pretty easy down climing but it could be rapped from tree anchors too.
  24. Trip: Mount Shuksan - Northwest Arayete III 5.9 Date: 8/6/2007 Trip Report: On August 6th Matt Alford and I climbed an enjoyable rock route on the northwest side of Mount Shuksan. The route follows the crest of a fine arete on good rock for nine pitches to the summit of a prominent horn above the White Salmon Glacier. Though dirty at times, the position is incredible, the rock is solid and every pitch is sustained for it's grade. I had first seen this arete at least twelve years ago while descending the glacier and thought it both beautiful and improbable due to a lack of features. Ever since the idea of climbing it has been knocking about in my head. I'm not sure what took so long but it was great to turn that idea into a reality! As it worked out the rock here (Green Schist) is horizontally banded and the rock is just littered with positive jugs and pockets that allow moderate climbing up imposing walls. We left the car at first light and reached the base of Winnies Slide four hours later. From here a short descent led to the base of the arete. There was significant shrund that made accessing the rock a bit problematic. We end up rappelling off a bollard to reach a ramp on the left side of the arete. A good ledge system on the right side could probably have been used as well. Matt takes the first pitch. Fun, juggy face climbing was followed by a 100' of 5.8 friction right up the crest of the low angle arete. The gear grew increasingly sparse until he had to run it out maybe 40' to the belay. A second short easy pitch led to a much steeper wall. P1 Frictioning up the crest of the Arete The third pitch exemplified what makes establishing new routes such an amazing experience. We're at the base of a steep blank wall. On the left is a filthy corner system full of grass. Out right a few weaknesses lead towards a steep arete and the possibility of good climbing around it's edge. The grassy corner will go, but the climbing will suck. The traverse out right is a total mystery. Will it go? Is there any gear? Whats on the other side? What if I can't make it? P3 Working things out on the crux traverse Intending to head up the corner I find myself heading out right instead. Focusing on protection I find that the apparently blank wall has a few narrow seams obscured by lichen that allow me to place several solid pins. Soon I'm at an obvious crux move. Cleaning some loose blocks off a small ledge I watch them freefall to the glacier. Hesitating I close my eyes, focus on my breathing, feel the chill in the cool shade, listen to the ice creaking and groaning below. Eventually I just run out of reasons to stand still so I commit, stemming wide, finding a small uncling, shifting over and reaching for the crest of the arete. Grabbing solid jugs I pull over the corner and find myself on a beautiful wall of clean, orange rock. IT GOES! P3 Matt pulling around onto the beautiful orange wall So many intense experiences tend to just slide away. Things no longer "stick" like they once did. But this one is different, this one set deep. I'm going to remember exactly how wonderful it felt to pull around that corner for a long time. The fourth pitch was the best of the climb, awesome juggy 5.7 climbing on near vertical rock with great gear. Soon we're at the base of the imposing upper arete. The climbing looks improbable but once again the rock turned out to be covered in positive holds. Staying about 40 feet left of the arete Matt is able to climb more or less straight up the wall on 5.7 rock to a belay in an alcove. P4 More Arete P6 Starting up the steep upper wall Climbing through a grungy 5.8 roof I find super featured 5.6 rock on the crest of the steep arete for a full ropelength. Matt quickly leads another long pitch of fun corners to a fixed pin belay at a small roof. A final short pitch up clean slabs ending with an easy arete brings us directly to the summit. Unreal, the route unfolded far better than we could have imagined! P7 Stellar climbing on the crest of the Arete P9 It Ends like it Begins…. It's late in the day so we snap a quick summit shot and get moving. An easy scramble down the backside gets us to the Upper Curtis Glacier. After following some mountain goat tracks we picked up the boot track leading back down the mountain. In my exhausted state the entire descent seemed somehow timeless as if it took no more than half-an-hour. Yet many hours and a beautiful sunset later we reached the car with the last of the dieing light. Well there's already a Northwest Arete and a Northwest Rib on the mountain so Matt (grudgingly) agreed to name our route the Northwest Arayete after someone I know. Gear Notes: Rack to 3.5" with a double set of very small to medium nuts and small to 1” cams. A few short knifeblades and bugaboos recommended. Approach Notes: Follow Fisher Chimneys Rt to edge of White Salmon Glacier (bivi sites) then descend a few minutes on steep snow or ice to the base of the arete. Potential Shrund problems getting on the rock.
  25. Trip: Gunsight range - West face-north peak Date: 7/25/2007 Trip Report: Inspired by CC.com trip reports Jens (Holsten) and I got on a boat last week and headed towards the fabled gunsight range. Though this website can sometimes be a waste of time, even a repository for spray and slander (mine own included) I feel sort of obligated to return the favor, as without the info gleaned here our trip may have never been. Anyway, enough bullshit. The trail up Agnes creek was uneventful right up to five mile camp, where the trail crew had stopped. Immediately after this we encountered the aforementioned hundreds of blow-downs and developed a cowboy like posture after so much straddling. A light cloud cover didn't do a whole lot to abate the heat, but it was better than nothing. We had hoped (foolishly) to knock off the approach in a marathon afternoon, but after reaching the spruce creek turn off decided to bivy. This was a smart decision, as darkness would have found us stranded on a 50 degree hillside suffering in the rain. Instead we camped on the river and ducked in the tent when the light showers hit. Not a whole lot to say about the next day, just some straight suffering up a hill. Blake and company humbly understated this phase of the journey, we were just glad to find the mountain. Several hours later we hopped onto the blue glacier in the afternoon heat, hoping not to get creamed by an ice fall. We walked right by what was to be our basecamp, intent on making it over to the chikamin. After some sketchy recon we discovered our mistake and settled in to one of the most amazing bivies ever. Wednesday morning we ambled over the pass above our camp and roped up for the super loose step down onto the gigantor chikamin glacier. A mellow crampon session found us at the base of the west face, I only fell into one talus hole where I nearly lost control of my bowels. The route is gained off a rad traversing ledge which beats the hell out of some ungainly moat. As almost everyone else has said the rock quality is superb, if a bit grainy the higher you get. If this wall was a little closer to the road I don't think this would be the case. Anyway, I headed up just to the right of Blake's cairn and wound my way towards the fabled crux pitch. It seems like Nelson and Dietrich (I think that's his name) veered right on the second pitch and climbed a very thin corner before moving back left to the belay which supposedly needs bolts. Again, no bolts were found in situ, leading us to conclude that Jim Nelson had a bad memory. The second belay would be more comfortable with bolts, but they certainly aren't necessary. Jens tentatively made his way upwards, made a tenuous move left of thin flakes and was still unconvinced that the pitch would succumb to our assault. However, move by move, he found unanticipated decent holds, good gear, more positive flakes (a trademark of this wild wall) and uncanny knobs, all of which took him past the crux to a well deserved victory whoop. Here he is crushing. I also managed to scrap my way up this stellar pitch, which left us exhilarated but also a little nervous about the rest of the climb, which wasn't quite over yet. The next crack system looks sort of like a hand crack off the belay, unfortunately its a shallow flaring flake. It does accept gear however, and after a little bit of pansying around I commited to the steep lieback. Another flake follows the first, and I did a little more pansying, unsure if our relatively light alpine rack would get me to the next stance. Luckily the crack finally turns into hands, where I was able to recover enough to run it out to a little knob belay where I plugged in the last of my gear, the four camalot and a blue alien. Here's Jens following. The final bit of steepness supposedly contained some crux wideness, which Jens so graciously allowed me to lead, but it ended up being a little less difficult than the third pitch, which didn't dissapoint me in the least. Jens led one more shorty to "flat ground" and we eventually found a way up onto the crazy summit blocks. The library is about to close so I'm just going to leave it at that for now. I'll give everybody some time to slander and wrap it up when I get the chance. Suffice to say, the rock is good, almost as good as Index. Maybe even better than Mt. Stuart.