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Found 239 results

  1. One week ago my partner and I attempted the unnamed and unclimbed Strobach D on page 220 of the WA Ice book. The begining of the climb begins with a 25 foot free hanging ice curtin, aprroximatly 95 degrees. While attempting the route a loud bang, like a gunshot came from the curtin and a fracture line appeared. I bailed. We returned one week later (12/29/06) to find the hanging ice in a little better condition, resulting in the FA of a fine route. Name/Difficulty: Tower of Power - WI 5 FA: 12/29/06 Length: 50 meters Avalanche Danger: Moderate Approach: The right most flow in the Motherlode Area Route: Ascend the 25 foot 95 degree free hanging curtin leading to moderate ice climbing above Descent: Rappel the route
  2. Trip: Banks Lake - Brush Master II, WI4+, 5.7 (FA) Date: 12/28/2006 Trip Report: What do you do at Banks when it's not "in"? You go mixed climbing. Today Matt (NYC007) and I established a new route that is mentioned as a "rumor of ice" in the Washington Ice Guide. It is located between "The Cable" and "H202". We named the route "Brush Master" after it's slight resemblance to Mixed Master (which we just climbed last week). We found no traces of prior ascents. The route starts on fractured basalt, by the road, left of the ice runnel to gain a snowy ledge. Traverse out right to the icicles and ascend the brushy ramp, protected with many many crappy knifeblades, to thicker ice above. I belayed after about 50m, just after the first ice step (yellow/gray aliens helpful). The last 50' of ice were sunbaked and partially detached, but the sun was shining and it was a great, although quite technical, pitch. After that, one double rope rappel from the now slung bush brought us back to the ground. A nice little mixed route. Brush Master (click for topo) Me leading the first mixed crux Higher up on the sun baked and detached pillar. A good day out "Brush Master" II, 65M WI4+, 5.7 FA: Kurt Hicks, Matt Cusack Gear Notes: An arsenal of knifeblades (8 or so) small cams #1 or 2 camalot (optional for last pitch) a couple screws & screamers slings double ropes to rappel Approach Notes: Park about 100m south of H202.
  3. Trip: Hedley Ice - Private Reserve WI3+ 45m FA Date: 12/9/2006 Trip Report: There are some advantages to knowing a meteorologist. Jmace is a meteorologist. On Friday night he told us that a 200 foot thick layer of freezing air would persist in the Hedley area through Saturday when it was +5C and raining in Lillooet and Pemberton. Fuck ya! So Jordan and Steve and Jesse actually woke up at 4 AM and picked me up at 6. Off to Princeton. Somebody said that they emailed Serl about ice climbing this weekend and that he told them a lobotomy would help if you wanted to find climbable ice with this weather Surprisingly enough, we got to Princeton and it was still cold. Actually Landmark Gully was even in at Sumallo Bluffs albeit a bit gray and melted looking. Drove from Princeton to Keremeos scoping for ice. When driving to Rossland to visit snoboy last year, I remembered seeing some ice on the wrong side of the river. We even brought hip waders in case we had to cross the river. But we saw the ice, looked in the Backroads Mapbook, and it turned out that there was a road to the base. Fuckin' A! It turned out that the road crossed native reserve lands. Well, I'm 1/32nd First Nations so I figured it would be Ok if we drove up the the "Private Keep Out" signed road. We did. We did run into a truck with two native guys in it while racking up. They smiled and waved. We smiled and waved. They didn't stop. End of access worry for the day. The hike up Larcan Creek to the route sucks. Jordan, Steve and I got covered in tiny burrs. Jesse dodged it somehow. It took us about an hour to make it to the ice. We roped up. Jesse got the sharp end. 45m of blue plastic goodness. Knowing that it was +7 and raining in Vancouver made it all the sweeter We ended up taking two laps apiece to fill out the day. You could climb this rig at WI3/3+ on the left or chandeliered WI4 on the right, good stuff. I forgot my camera but everyone else remembered theirs. Pics will come. Hiking out we found a better way out via game trails on the north side. No prickle bushes but "approach crampons" might help. Ate dinner at the Greek place in Princeton and drove home. Steve went to some party and got hungover. End of story The name of this thing is "Private Reserve". Seemed appropriate somehow. It went up to +2 in Princeton today Gear Notes: Fat ice takes good screws. Approach Notes: Drive to Keremeos. Take Ashnola Rd. Just before pavement ends go right and follow dirt road through reserve to Larcan Creek. Park and gain 300m on slopes right (north) of drainage then contour on game trails to the ice. 45 minutes to an hour from vehicle. Ice cannot be seen from parking area or most of approach but can be scoped from Hwy 3 about 8 km east of Hedley. LENGTH OF DRIVING: ~600 km LENGTH OF ICE CLIMBED: ~2 laps @ 45m per person
  4. Trip: Hope - Frost Heave (WI2+ R) - F.A Date: Today Trip Report: So I drove out to Hope today to meet my friend Justin Brown. Justin has done rock and alpine climbing but never water ice. He showed up with a pair of old straight-shafted Grivels with tied webbing leashes. "Ok, let's climb something easy. Warm up, first route of the season, yup!" So pretty much everything in Hope is in and fat right now except for Rickets. JLTR is quite big. Moustrap is solid. But we headed over to the gas pipeline crag on the north side where there is this big low-angle flow set up that I had only seen formed once before. On close examination the big flow does not really touch down, it vanishes into some turf about a pitch up. But a subsidiary flow on the left ran up to more or less the same height so we thought maybe we could climb that and traverse over. JB at the bottom This thing had a short steep start (WI2+) and then a long slabby section with some turf and scary thin ice (WI2R). I had a couple of 10 and 13cm screws mostly in and one tied off 16cm halfway in . At the top there was a comical mantle onto a huge moss blob and then a traverse left to a belay tree (40m). Justin finishing the pitch into the bushes. Getting across to the rest of the ice looked kind of sketchy with some snow-covered prickle bushes and bare slabby granite to contend with, also Justin had just bent the tip of his Grivel at 45 degrees So we decided to call it a day. Descent was a walkoff to climbers left down a ramp. Fun fun Hope might not be in by this weekend because of this warm front coming in but it should still be in tomorrow if you need an ice fix cxlose to Bellingham or Vancouver. Like I said, pretty much everything is in and climbable at Hope*. Bridal Falls area is still forming, only Never a Bridge and the Fox/Webb looked climbable. Bridal Falls itself was running in the middle, Decent Divorce was not touching down on the middle pillar, and White Wedding had 2 or 3 icicles waiting to touchdown. Easy Intro was in but really chandeliered. There was some unclimbed stuff in and fat by the Diviner and Hunter Creek looked fat and sassy except Medusa looked a bit thin at the bottom (maybe harder than 4 right now?) Seabird is in. Tailwind is in. * Hells Lake Falls is forming, looked too thin to lead but could be toproped? Gear Notes: Stubbies Warthogs for turf if you have them Strong rated picks (I can never remember if B or T are the thicker ones) Approach Notes: Drive Highway 7 east from Hope and park at the gas pipeline. Walk back on the gated road on the north side of the slough about 200m to the obvious roadside ice.
  5. Climb: WA Pass: LA PETIT CHEVAL-F.A. NW FACE : Paul Revere II+5.9+ Date of Climb: 10/22/2006 Trip Report: LA PETIT CHEVAL Northwest Face Paul Revere II+ 5.9+ FA Mark Allen, Ben Mitchell October 22, 2006 Trip report by Mark Allen Northwest Face of Washington Pass’s La Petit Cheval showing the new line Paul Revere a II+ 5.9+. Photo By Ben Mitchell It is hard to drive down the 20 without noticing it. As one travels over the pass it is staged in front of the Silverstar Massif and under the Shadow of the Liberty Bell Group. The three almost triplet flatiron features have caught the eye of many. The group form the three “Chevals” making the Western and Northwestern base of the Big Kangaroo Massiff. Being the main paleoglacial valley these walls have overstepped and exposed solid granite for the taking. Little exploration has been done here. The faces have been subtly documented first in the Red Fred as the “Pale Horse Rock” and the “White Horse Rock” on the Washington Pass overview map (p.292 ). The next time they are mentioned would be by Bryan Burdos North Cascades Rock guide showcasing the Black Horse Point Buttress. Burdo references the Chevals by calling them the “Buttress that faces the highway” in the Black horse figure. After reviewing the references it would seem that we have more names than features. I reckon that Black Horse Point Butress and White Horse Rock to be the same feature. This is the North facing long lichen-black buttress in the Willow drainage (best seen from the approach to the Wine Spires on the Burgundy Creek trail) and white it is not. The Pale Horse Rock seems to be the right (southern most) and highest of the three Chevals. The 2000ft of 2nd and 3rd class approach to this feature extinguishes any desire to climb the grade II face. The central Cheval has a similar approach but looks to yield far better climbing. The left Cheval (northern most Cheval and southwest of the Black Horse) is the closest and has an approach that is quite tangible. The first time any of these features were climbed and named wasn’t until Larry Goldie and Scott Johnston in June of 2004. Their account mentioned driving to climb the East Buttress of SEWS and caught the Southern arete of this feature and turned the car around and sent it. They named the feature the La Petit Cheval sticking to the horse theme and their route appropriately named Spontaneity Arete II+ 5.7. A farmed guide-route that has received several ascents and mixed reviews some love some maso manos. Exploratory and noteworthy for now climbers simply refer to these three-like features as the Chevals. Here is the Large Format link for Higher res prints or files http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=22375&size=big&sort=1&cat=500 On October 22, 2006 Ben Mitchell and I would no longer drive past the Northwest face of the La Petit Cheval. For years I was curious about its character. To be honest I am surprised nobody has ever bothered. So many times I have stared up at it. So many times I have just climbed something else just like everyone else. Its close proximity to 20 and its relatively short stature looked like a last good fall project for the closing short days. Ben and I made it to the base in 1.5 hrs. Instead of parking at the Mile post 165 for Spontaneity Arete we chose the next northern pullout directly in front of the NW face. We dropped directly into the forest and headed across the creek to the drainage climbers left of the walls center. To say that it was chill would be a bold faced lie, but very do-able. 75% was rather quick and uneventful. The later 25% would have 3rd to 4th sections covered in moss and needles. The green belay was helpful. 5th class bush wacking. Finally we made it to the landing just below the center of the face at 10:30am. Mark Allen on the second pitch 5.9 fingers aiming for the twin cracks on the skyline. Photo by Ben Mitchell We both had an uneasy feeling. The face was not riddled with obvious cracks or fantastic weaknesses but rather crackless dihedrals, impossible cracks to nowhere, or unfeatured slabs. Yet, the wall did have a main weakness looking like an easy 5th class scramble. Both freezing we settled on starting the wall simul climbing to gain better terrain. Pitch 1.After 200ft Ben established a belay on a good ledge with a tree. We had a few interesting options. We switched to pitching.Pitch 2 I cast out trending right into a super fun hand to finger crack. I got to fingers and was getting schooled. I still had a rope in my pack …clipped it and pulled a stiff 5.9 finger crux on solid rock through a small tricky bulge and set up the belay at 70ft to deal with the pack. Pitch 3 I told Ben that since my pitch was so short I would take the next pitch also. Now set up for success I left the belay with doubles and up a fun short dihedral. After gaining a small ledge I saw the remainder of the weakness to the near summit looking to be easy fifth class again. I climbed 15ft and passed twin hand cracks splitting the upper shield of the feature for the next 350ft. “Oh my…” I would have to be mad not to try. I stepped in and for the next 70ft would be pure 5.9 crack bliss. I wouldn’t say that I styled it. I had a lot on my mind. The cold, my pack, my pump, my last shity piece, not having any gear that I needed to ease my mind in this sustained size. “Thank-God” jams finally! The pain was over and I could see a stance. I pounded a knife blade, set up my belay. Ben wondering what the hell is taking so long since my last report of chill 5th to the top. Dink, dink, dink, ping, ping, ping! His patients is admirable. Once Ben climbed the cracks himself he was happy with the new deviation that launched us into classic cracks. Ben reached my perch. He looked cold. Pitch 4: I tried to take as much of the hard climbing to not sand bag him on his lead but it was stiff right off the anchor and definitely the routes crux. Ben launched into a hard 5.9+ lay-back off width and cruised into the rest of his relatively sustained pitch. Hand cracks, jugs, diherals, fingers…this 130ft pitch was full value and fantastic climbing. Ben did had an amazingly cool head and just hypnotically climbed it. At my belay I had time to admire the steepness that the wall took on. I had a fantastic view of the East faces of the Liberty Bell group and Tower. I knew now that the wall was going to fall to this ascent and I felt the pressure instantly release. Now my focus turned to fun. Ben was jazzed and got chatty once he reached the belay. Pitch 5 It was time to jam now it was 3:30 and finally made high enough on the wall to be in the sun. Moral was getting much better. The climbing let up and I strecthed out the last 200ft of 5.6 crack and block climbing pulling a final 5.8 move before the lines end. Ben showing the horns before toppin out pitch 5. Photo Mark Allen Ben came up and we celebrated and I was warm for the first time since leaving my house. Much rejoicing. We scramble to the summit and topped out at 4:30pm. 7 hours from the car. Knowing darkness at 6:30 we waisted little time and jammed down the Spontaneity Arete raps and deviated into the gully for the down scramble after the 5th raps. Grabbed the fixed lines and out. Car at 6:30 beer by 7. Mark Allen (left) and Ben Mitchell (Right) on the Summit after completing there new line Paul Revere on the Northwest Face. Photo-self It was the first time Ben and I have climbed together. We had a great time and look forward to it again. The line is alpine dirty and will not need much cleaning to be classically fun. The simul-climbing we did in the begin could be potentially avoided and replaced with a much classier crack pitch to the left. This would yield 4 really nice 5.9 pitches in a row taking a central line up the face. Adventure climbing is a constant theme in the approach and stays with you all day! ROUTE INFO Paul Revere II+ 5.9+ Pitches: 5 (5 new) Pitch style: free Date/Time: Oct 22, 2006: 8 _ hrs total car-to-car Trad anchors: one KB (still remains) Paul Revere (January 1, 1735 – May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith and patriot in the American Revolution. Because he was immortalized after his death for his role as a messenger in the battles of Lexington and Concord, Revere's name and his "Midnight Ride" are well-known in the United States as a patriotic symbol. Revere later served as an officer in one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War, a role for which he was later exonerated. After the war, he was early to recognize the potential for large-scale manufacturing of metal goods and is considered by some historians to be the prototype of the American industrialist. Later he would help write one of the Beasty Boys most renown tracks. ~Wickapedia Gear Notes: Rack: Cams: 0.3”-4” Doubles sizes: 0.5-3” Triples sizes: .75” and 1.0” Nuts: Single set A few with slings 1X 60M Rope
  6. Climb: WA Pass: South Early Winter Spire-F.A. Mojo Rising III 5.11 A1 Date of Climb: 10/14/2006 Trip Report: NORTH CASCADES: WASHINGTON PASS South Early Winter Spire (S.E.W.S) F.A. Northwest Face Direct “Mojo Rising” III 5.11 A1 Mark Allen, Joel Kauffman, Tom Smith Oct 13-14th 2006 Trip Report By Mark Allen I am reminded that the warm Indian summer is slipping. “Line is fixed!” My hands are nipped by the cold as I turn up the ibox. Not accustomed to classic wall style I impatiently wait at the belay but the Doors bootleg is helping me pass the time. The wall being technical it’s faster for both seconds to jug the line. We have been in this style for three pitches on a new line that the group had been cleaning from fixed lines days prier. I look down mouthing the words to Break on Through to Tom Smith as he jugs past the first three pitches covered on Friday Oct 13th. He gives me the thumbs up. Joel and I are re-racking getting him ready to cast off into the unknown pitches. Our excitement is highlighted by the strange tunes of Jim Morrison. Joel Kauffman Jugs fixed line on pitch 2 during the First Ascent of Mojo Rising. Photo By Mark Allen The Northwest Face of SEWS dominates the Western side of the Liberty Bell group in Liberty bowl. For years I have admired the aesthetics of this face. Its solid golden granite holds the afternoon light bringing out the contrasting black water streaks. The moonlight on this face is even more impressive. I never thought of climbing it until this year. During many trips to other spires I kept drawing lines on the face and then referencing the Red Fred. It seamed that several proud crack lines had been explored in the 70’s and 80’s. C. Northwest Face: FA Boving and Pollack 76’ FFA Boving & Kerns 77’ route III 5.11a begins low on the NW face and traverses to the West face into the famous Boving Roofs pitch finishing on the SW Rib. E. Northwest Face Var: Riders on the Storm FA Jim Yoder & Lee Cunningham August 15, 1989 A route that Becky recorded little about (but strangely knows exactly when it was climbed). From what I can piece together from studying the face, Becky’s description, and several topos of the Boving & Pollack 76’ route I can only see one available option. It appears that the party deviated from the Boving route during the third pitch into a vertical flake forming a flaring chimney or OW (This feature looks like a hand crack from the ground). At mid-pitch the crack doglegs left up an undercling ramp to a large ledge located directly plum under Dolphin Chimney. Then the most obvious thing to do was to get on the direct splitter 5.9ish corner hand crack to the Dolphin Chimney. I stood under this hand crack pitch several times and every time was disappointed it was not a part of our line. A. North Face: FA Doug Ingersoll & Andy Selters August 88’ III 5.10 A2 (5.12?) A steep face starting just below the chock stone raps takes a nearly straight line in cracks then traverses left on an arching crack. This leads directly to the false summit and avoids the SW ridge climb. Others seem to have attempted this line by the looks of the bail-tat that I always spy on the first pitch when coming of the N.E.W.S. After comparing the references to the rock it seemed the main breadth of the Northwest face appeared to remain undescribed and more importantly unclimbed, and for good reason. The most fantastic feature was a massive golden right facing dihedral that magically continues arcing across the top of the face intersecting high on the SW ridge just above the infamous Dolphin Chimney. Below the golden dihedral ramps and cracks incipiently completed a line except one area, the first pitch. This blank section guarded the upper pitches. During a climb of the NW corner of NEWS with Paul Butler earlier this summer I got a closer look at this crackless first pitch. Our imaginations were intrigued by the fun sporty face as our eyes moved from feature to jug to seam to finally crack. My hopes were now rekindled that this could and just might go. “Wow, that looks sweet!” I exclaimed then and the next three times I stood under the face this summer. But it would have to protect with bolts. The thought of bolting from the ground looked sketchy due to the nature of the face. I spoke with several route setters and first ascentionists that are historically prolific in the Methow valley to get their thoughts from a separate generation on the best approach. All thought that the classic nature of the pitch deserved to be properly (perfectly) bolted. So the approach was top-down for the first pitch. The rest of the climb would be discovered on the first attempt. Joel Kauffman on the first ascent of Mojo Rising Pitch 1 going at 5.11 sport. Photo by Mark Allen The second week of Oct I rap-reconed the face to confirm the lines continuity before one hole was drilled. It looked good. The belay stances rocked but not the gear. I established bolt anchors at three belays and we all cleaned/gardened the cracks that needed it the most, Pitch 3 and down (the steepest section). The first pitch required seven pre-placed bolts over 90ft and a short A0 bolt ladder to the belay. We pulled the lines and took a rest day. Mark Allen on pitch 2’s A1 seam. It is thought that this will one day go free. Photo by Tom Smith We left the car at 8:45am. Alpine starts were not an option during the fall cold temps and the dark morning of October 13th. The face does not get sun until afternoon. This made the first pitch a little sand bagged until the morning air warmed the rock. Pitch 1: Joel started climbing Pitch 1 at 10:30am. Joel just coming off his RMI guiding season was feeling floored by the sustained pitch but climbed excellent. We jugged the fixed line and congratulated Joel. Everyone raved about this classic pitch and can’t wait to get on it separately. Pitch 2: I left the anchor in full aid-mode and scrambled up the first ten feet plugged in my second cam and weighted it. It has been a while since my trip with Tom to the Valley but my aid skills were resurrected and then somehow peaked during this pitch. While top stepping fully extended off my fi fi I somehow slotted a stopper with the tip of my middle finger. The gear was good but small and sometimes tricky. We originally hoped that this pitch would go free. After the gardening recon it was not the 5.10 hand crack we had hoped but a steep aid seam. It appears to look freeable for some unearthly climber. With this futuristic vision in mind, I wanted to cater to a free ascent but thought it should go as clean as possible. We did not use pins. At mid-pitch the crack fades to a closed seam where a pin or gear could not be placed for two moves. I fixed a 3/4 inch bolt here for the aid and free ascent to come… Pitch 3: Tom Smith is off up a wide crack and moves over to a small ledge were he stares up at a short overhanging dihedral with a limited fingertip layback crack. His gear is just as cruxy as the climbing he reckoned at 5.11PG. Not able to trust his stances for placements he submitted to aid for three moves then pulled the roof of the dihedral on stellar finger locks at 5.10. He continued up for 30ft on ring locks and traversed left on a rail to the third stance. It was getting late in the afternoon, and we knew darkness fell at 6:30pm. At 4:15pm we fixed the lines to the ground. We knew we didn’t have enough time to explore and clean the last three pitches. Joel Kaufman on the “skywalker pitch” headed for he Golden Dihedral. Photo by Tom Smith On Oct 14th at 11:45pm Joel left the belay to the sound of the Doors on the ibox. Pitch 4: This is the traverse pitch to the Golden Dihedral. This is a fun exposed 5.7 ramp we called the “Sidewalk in the sky” shortened to the “Skywalker pitch”. Joel lowered 15ft from the anchor and pendulumed over to the ramp. Along the way he gardened for placements and established a belay. Tom and I separately rapped of the bolt anchor and pendulumed over. Mark Allen working Pitch 5 just below the 1 Ton belayer slayer. Photo by Tom Smith Pitch 5: I’m up. Originally I had planned to work the line up the laser corner crack formed by the dihedral. This did not directly connect with our summit cracks. On the other hand, just to the left was a much simpler 5.9 crack that did connect. The choice was simple. I got into an insecure layback with dirty flaring ring locks. This led to a dihedral with a cool stem box on edges while lay backing the wide crack. I climbed to the top of the dihedral and examined the status of a wedge shaped 1-ton block precariously perched in the corner. Touching on two points it seemed to levitate. There was no way not to climb on it. Planning my moves I committed to the hand jams with the same deliberate way I used to sneak back into my house in high school. Uneventfully I did not kill everybody. Good. I now entered the money section. A 100ft 5.8 finger crack dihedral. “This is the End my only Friend the End” Jim sang confidently with each brain-off finger lock. After 160ft, I clipped my old recon anchor. I brought Tom and Joel up hooting and hollering the whole way. Tom Smith enjoying 100ft of finger crack bliss on upper pitch 5. Photo by Joel Kaufman Pitch 6: The last new pitch took us to the simul-climbing ridge of the SW Rib. I was most familiar with the terrain so I cast off to seal the deal. We stashed one rope on Tom’s back and tied in like glacier climbers to the other. I pitched out the last 100ft on classic dirty alpine 5.6 and brought every one up to the ridge. Pitch 7: I re-racked with Tom. We were now staged for Simul. The three of us finished to the summit at 4:00pm. This was a fantastically fun line. Tom likes to refer to it as our Mini-big wall commenting on the classic wall style, the technicality, and the steepness. The rock is some of the best in the area. This was a worthy project that we are glad to have completed on the last day of Indian summer. Mark Allen on the summit after completing Mojo Rising. Photo by Tom Smith Storm front over Cutthroat Peak marking the end of Indian summer. The last clear day in our two-week streak. Photo by Tom Smith My approach to the Mojo Rising project was with the vision that in the future the route will go entirely free. So I made the effort to create a user-friendly line. I left cracks that were just protectable bolt free and bolted the faces to preserve an honest free ascent. The first three belays are bolted and rigged to rap with one 60M so it can be easily worked. I am guessing the 20M A1 pitch 2 will free at hard 5.12 or in the 13’s yet classic. ROUTE INFO Mojo Rising III 5.11 A1 Pitches: 7 (6 new) Pitch style: 1-4 climbed classic wall style. Pitches 5-7 the seconds freed Date/Time: 1-3 climbed on Oct 13th in 5 1/2 hrs. Pitches 4-7 Oct 14th in 4 hrs: 9 _ total (Due to party size and the fact that we are Gumby wallers, plus dirty cracks, and cold temps this is a recommended max time) Belays: Bolted at 1-3. Rigged for rap with one 60M. Trad anchors 4-7 (It is easy to bail during pitches 1-3. I suppose a party could bail into the NEWS gully from the 4th belay with one 60M rap or two 30M raps requiring a hanging stance and left gear) Gear Notes: Rack: Cams: 00”-4” Doubles sizes: 0.0, 0.4-3” TCUs helpful. Nuts: Single set with doubles in smaller sizes to 4 (Pitch 2) RPs a good range of smaller size 11 draws a few with slings 1X 60M Rope
  7. Sorry this post is a little late. The route was done on labor day weekend with Trevor Bowman and Neil Kaufman in the Beartooths, up rock creek outside of Red Lodge. The Pensive Spire on had one other route on it that followed the left ridge on the picture below. The route was a good rock and went farily well. We hiked in on saturday and set up camp and took our spoting scopes for a little hike and went out to pick a line and this is what we cam up with. The route we choose faced north west and did not get sun until noon so the first few hours were pretty cold to say the least. The pitchs were long we had two 70 meter ropes and five of the pitchs were a full 70 meters. Here is how the pitchs went: Pitch 1: 5.6R 120 feet scramble across scree Pitch 2: 5.4R 140 feet up to the firt step Pitch 3: 5.9 65 meters up the thin crack Pitch 4: 5.8 70 meters up around the corner and back on to the step Pitch 5: 5.9 70 meters up the around corner up the inside corner Pitch 6: 5.8 55 meters up the corner system Pitch 7: 5.10 70 meters through the roofs and chimney Pitch 8: 5.9 70 meters up the corner and scramble to end of rope. Scramble to the top Descent: Hike over to whitetail pass and take the easy switch backs back to camp. Gear Notes: Doubles of everything up to #2 and one #3, many small cams and nuts. Topo: Some other photots from trip: There was a crazy layer of smoke one night and it reflected the light weird and gave us these crazy colors on the range behind us.
  8. Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe 8/26/06 Wednesday Mike and I met at the Marblemount Ranger Station to sort gear and secure our permit into the Southern Pickets on Wednesday evening. Geared up, we set out up the Goodell Creek and set up camp at the base of the boulder field around 4100' after dark. Thursday. In the morning we had fairly cloudy conditions as we continued our approach up and across the hill. Clouds drifted around us, allowing glimpses of the cirque, but visibility was decreasing. Towards noon we found ourselves completely socked in with clouds somewhere in the middle of the McMillan Cirque. Rather than wait and get cold, we spent the afternoon picking our way around the cirque with 200 feet of visibility, trying in vain to find our way to the Barrier, but more so to keep from getting bored and cold. Snack time: To show how poor visibility was, we ended up camping at Azure Lake Col!!! At 6:00 PM the clouds just weren't clearing. Shortly after dinner the storm set upon us for a bracing hour of torrential rain, wind, and hail. Mike predicted the fog to go away a 6pm. He was right! Just at 6pm the fog lifted and we got our views. Unfortunately, the fog decided to consolidate into a thunderhead, as we dove frantically under the tarp we foolishly pitched in a large patch of dirt. It took a few seconds for the water to come crawling under the tarp...so we dug a moat frantically. We were safe for another few minutes until the damn broke and our spot became a lake. We furiously shoved everything into our packs, and sat on top of them until the storm let up enough to move our tarp to a better spot. The rest of the evening was spent revising plans for the lost day, contingency plans if the weather continued, etc. ...to be continued...
  9. Climb: Mongo Ridge-W.Fury F.A.- VI-5.10- Date of Climb: 8/28/2006 Trip Report: Quicky tr to tell about an amazing new route done on West Fury . The SW buttress of Fury proved to be very challenging, but was done in a 5 day solo effeort . The Trip Report is developing as I have time to write it, It is now located half - way down this page, Enjoy and Thanks, Wayne Gear Notes: lots(no porters)
  10. Climb: Boola Boola Buttress-Black Velvet (possibly new) Date of Climb: 8/16/2006 Trip Report: Last Wednesday Jens and I (Max) climbed Boola Boola Buttress up a possible new line. The 1000' plus formation is riddled with nebulous cracks and face features, making identification rather difficult. We, like parties before us, planned to climb the 1984 Yoder et al route, however, the supposed "bullet-shaped formation" was nowhere to be found. Possibly one of the worst descriptions I have ever encountered, Jens and I spent some quality time reviewing the face from far and near, but eventually decided the only logical course of action was to start ascending by whatever path looked pleasing. To back up a day, we began our little adventure on Tuesday afternoon, strolling up to Colchuck Lake and then up the ever pleasant Asgard Pass. My first time up the much talked about pass, I'd say it deserves some of its reputation, but is over sort of quickly and deposits you in a spectacular location. I certainly wouldn't reccomend the Snow Creek trail for objectives near dragontail. In either case, we paused for a brief bouldering session, and then proceeded on to lovely Brynhild Lake, finding an adequate bivouac in the slabs leading to the plateau. After a restful night, we ditched all but the climbing gear, trudged over the col, and began the descent to the base of Boola. It would be helpful if one could gain a better vantage to scour the cliff, however, it is rather difficult to gain such a perch. What is clear is a distinction between several darker formations to the left, and a clean, white slabby section to the right, where I believe many of the newer routes have gone. (view of buttress, with our climb taking the far right side, barely visible) (the fine canadian liqour which inspired the routes' name) After deciding that Yoder's line is completely impossible to identify, we decided to head for a striking, left-facing corner about 200 feet above the ramps found at the base. I led up a beautiful 5.9 corner crack, through a small undercling roof, and gained the large ledge below the aforementioned corner. (first pitch, i'm just above the small roof) Although striking, the dihedral looked a little thin and possibly quite difficult to exit, so Jens chose a splitter flake to the right. I believe the Thank You Baby Jesus route begins to the right of this crack, after reviewing the pictures in that TR. Jens had not planned very far ahead, and soon found the feature ran out, leading him a few feet right, into another, more tenuous crack which, alas, also petered out to nothing. This left him with a daunting slab traverse back left (.10c), gaining a large black knob. After mantling this it was about ten feet to an uncomfortable alcove belay. (jens heading into the unknown on pitch 2) The next pitch turned out rather short, after a 5.6 chimney section and some blocky cracks I made a belay under a thin looking, left-facing corner, which I was a little wary off attempting before consultation with Jens. After deciding that it was either up or down, Jens sacked up and attacked the corner, luckily finding just enough gear to make it feasible (.10+R). From here the rock quality deteriorated greatly, much like the description of the 1984 route. Four pitches of 5.4 chimneys would pretty much describe it, though of course it was a little more complicated than that. After 3 loose ropelengths I arrived at what, from below, had appeared to be the buttress' summit, however, it was clear that some climbing still lay ahead. Another chossy pitch took us to a large ledge below the final "headwall", topped with a distinct double pronged summit, from the base it had appeared much farther away. There we were, though, hoping to get off in a few pitches and back to the lake for more delicious water. Jens tackled a short but physical 5.7 chimney to another ledge, where I racked up for the last pitch. Though not the hardest, and certainly not the best, this pitch tested my skills with loose rock and left me more than a little frightened. Thankfully, it did turn out to be the end, depositing us on the ridge just below Dragontail Plateau. (jens striking a victory pose with stuart looming in the background) A short hike found us back at the col above our bivy, all in all a speedy descent once at the actual summit. All that was left was a ton of downhill hiking, sure to give our feet some long term damage. Back at the trailhead, we found our bikes conveniently stashed, along with a couple victory beers. We'd found a ride in, but with no phone reception, it was easier to hop on the bikes and roll down to leavenworth. Another victory beer at ducks, along with a giant burger, gave us just enough energy to pedal back to peshastin and crawl into bed. (mmm, victory beer) P.S. Oh yeah, anyone who has ventured to this formation please submit any info, pictures, etc. you have. The TYBJ TR is the only one I can find, but I know more of you have been out there. Let's consolidate boola boola beta! Gear Notes: doubles to one camalot 1 two camalot 1 three camalot small selection of wires Approach Notes: Pretty obvious approach, car would be nice.
  11. Climb: Baron Falls Tower – Carpal Tunnel (FA) Date of Climb: 8/19/2006 Trip Report: Summary: Baron Falls Tower – Carpal Tunnel. 5.11- A0 grade IV. John Frieh and Bryan Schmitz August 19th 2006. SW Face of Baron Falls Tower: Note:Due to foreshortening upper pitches appear to be shorter than lower pitches. All pitches with the exception of 4.5 and 6 were a full 60 meters and in most cases 70 meters. We would recommend (and used) a 70 though a 60 is adequate. Pitch 1: Start in the right of the two chimneys on the sw face. Climb to the top of the chimney and exit left into the left hand chimney. Continue to the top of the chimney until roof flakes force one right and up. Belay at a tree. Pitch 2: Aim for RF dihedral that turns into wide flake. Continue up open book. Belay when rope runs out. Pitch 3: Move up through series of roof to a slab move right into a left facing corner finger crack. Follow up to ledge. Pitch 4: Angle up and right until able to turn corner and down climb 20’ to ledge next to dyke below large chock stone. Pitch 4.5 Walk up dyke until a point where one can find a way to climb up onto the top of the chock stone. Belay here. Pitch 5: Climb onto top of chock stone. Exit chock stone on right and continue up and right. Belay when rope runs out. Pitch 6: Climb short finger crack in left facing dihedral. Top out. Gear Notes: Approach Notes:
  12. Climb: Spectre Peak-Haunted Wall. FA. IV 5.9+ 2100' Date of Climb: 8/14/2006 Trip Report: Wayne and I had a big adventure and then I got home with the pre-spray all rigged up. Then I went to sleep and woke up tired and had to wait to type the real trip report until I finished eating breakfast and getting some shit done aroudn the house goddamnit
  13. Climb: Gunsight Range-Various Date of Climb: 8/7/2006 Trip Report: My good friend Martins Putelis and I spent Aug 1-8 in the fabled Gunsight Range. We spent the first couple days slogging our way up through Bachelor Creek and over to the Dome/Chickamin col with some pretty monstrous loads. We climbed Dome, and then traversed the Chickamin Glacier to an immaculate bivy on the nunatak directly beneath the W Face of the North Gunsight Pk. The Chickamin had a few thin bridges, and was gained via a sketchy downhill leap across a five-foot gap in a broken snowbridge. Near the summit of Dome: Tower of Babel Bivy: We gave the W Face of the North Pk. a shot on our first day. P1 went fine, but we had a hard time locating the line to pull the roof and access the prominent cracks above on P2. Figuring we had plenty of time we bailed off with intentions to return. With plenty of time left in the day we scoped a different line in the cirque and gave it a whirl. The first pitch lived up to everything we had heard about the range, splitter fingers on perfect, clean, well protected granite, it clocked in at about 9+. P2 was a differnt deal a loose yet fun 10a chimney we dubbed the Hall of Hollows: We rapped from the top of p2, stoked on an adventerous and fun first day in the range. Day 2 saw us traversing onto the Blue Glacier to see if this hook-em-dook-em about the top of the 1979 Skoog/Brill line on the E face of the Main pk. falling off was really true. Well, it was, its gone. Not wanting to waste the day, we looked to the right of the line onto the NE face to see if anything else would go. We spotted a few nice looking cracks that lead to a prominent flake breaking the headwall above. what the hell, lets do this. The climb couldn't have gone any better, splitter, mostly well-protected, onsight, and all free at 10c. FA: NE Face Main Gunsight Pk. III 5.10c Sol Wertkin and Martins Putelis August 7, 2006 P1: from the moat crossing at the very bottom of the face work left on ledges and ramps to the base of two prominent hand-sized cracks to the right of the 1979 line, just left of a dark corner 5.6 P2: Climb the twin hand cracks to a ledge, move just right and climb wild eroded out dyke fist crack, move left, mantle, and continue via face holds to a good belay 5.10b Martins getting ready to mantle: Looking up the twin cracks from the base: P3: Traverse right via prominent flake, mantle and continue up, look left around corner to perfect splitter, climb splitter to arete belay 5.10a. Martins seconding P3: P4. Work up thin corner on right, move left to prominent flake seen from below. Pull bulge on left-hand side of flake into mind blowing splitter in amazing position. Continue up to slab of E face and climb left via runouts to good belay on base of the SE ridge. A long pitch 5.10c Beginning of P4: Pulling into the splitter: P5: Continue up moderate and airy ridge to summit. 5.7 SE ridge with Sinister in the background: The next day we woke up late and climbed the unique and fun South Cannonhole Ridge on the S Gunsight Pk. Its a super fun ridge that besides the memorable traverse is quite easy. Martins starting the traverse: Myself contemplating the Cannonhole: Stoked, we bowed down to the Gunisight gods and thanked them for the great time. Gear Notes: NE Face: Glacier gear, double set of cams to #3,one #4. Double ropes. Cannonhole ridge: single set to #3, nuts, single rope. Approach Notes: just pm if you really want this stuff.
  14. Climb: Mt. Buckner-Southeast Ridge (F.A.) IV 5.8 Date of Climb: 8/6/2006 Trip Report: On August 5th and 6th Gordy Skoog and I climbed the SE Ridge of Mt. Buckner. Gordy had been eyeing this climb for 25 years, ever since seeing the line from a climb of Goode. I had been interested in the line for about 25 days, since seeing it while windsurfing in front of my house. I asked Colin Haley if he was keen to have a go at it, but he was busy with some other little climb , and he mentioned that Gordy had shown an interest in the Ridge. We met up at the toe of the ridge and the base of the Buckner Glacier on the evening of the 5th, after I approached via Park Creek and he came down Booker-Buckner Col. We soloed the lower 1/3 of the ridge in a couple hours that evening finding nice 4th and low 5th class climbing. (Gordy still looking photogenic after 12+ hours on-the-go.) We slept at a notch where the glacier reaches the ridge and began pitching things out the next morning. The climbing was initially quite loose, but the rock quality improved and good cracks were found as we climbed up the first of several major towers on the ridge. We made one rappel to get down the backside of this tower and decided to try bypassing future towers in order to avoid more up-and-down than needed. After skirting around to the left side of the ridge, we climbed back to the crest and topped out on the SE summit at 5:30. We scrambled over to the true summit and enjoyed the views all the way to Puget Sound before heading down towards Horseshoe Basin. I spent the night in Horseshoe Basin and hiked home yesterday, while Gordy headed out via Sahale Arm. We creatively named it Southeast Ridge of Mt. Buckner – grade IV, 5.8 If you do the climb from Stehekin mid-season onward, you won’t need an ice axe, crampons, or even boots. Ditching my crampons and approaching in light running shoes definitely made climbing easier on the carry-over. We figured if you climbed up and rapped off the towers we bypassed it would likely be a grade V route. Thanks again to John Scurlock for some excellent photos and to Gordy for the climb. Gear Notes: Rock gear to 2" Approach Notes: Leave the Park Creek trail in open meadows 15 minutes past the 5 mile camp, cross the creek and head directly to the base of the route. Two hours from the trail to the start of the climb with no brush and no steep snow this time of year.
  15. Jed Brown and I just returned to Fairbanks after making the first ascent of Mt. Moffit's North Wall on July 10-13th. The Entropy Wall (VI, 5.9, A2, WI4+), approximately 1,500m and 33 pitches, is followed by approximately 900 meters of snow and ice slopes leading to Moffit's summit. It was the most serious and commiting climb I've ever done. Some rock was poor, but some was excellent and splitter. Highlights included a perfect snow-mushroom bivy, a 3m horizontal roof, steep water-ice pillars, and lots of free climbing and aid climbing up steep cracks. More pictures to come eventually! Picture of the face: http://59A2.org/hayes/200607/route.jpg
  16. Climb: Pernod Spire -Direct West Face, III-IV 5.10+ Date of Climb: 7/15/2006 Trip Report: Tony and I climbed a new route on Pernod Spire, the tallest of the Wine Spires near Washington Pass. We climbed the Direct West Face. III-IV 5.10+ We left the car at about 6am and quickly made our way up to the bench below the spires. We traversed right below the spires and started up the gully below Pernod Spire we scrambled up the gully which was mostly shittly kitty litter and big loose blocks...fun fun as we approached the face we were wondering if the rock would improve at all When we got to the base of the face we wandered around looking for a line with climbable rock. The face has a large wave like roof about a pitch up and we had thought that the line would go to the left of the roof. We finally found a crack and corner sysem with solid granite and started up. The first pitch was nice hand cracks and a corner that led up to slabs below the roof Tony led the second pitch which climbed a thin crack and a slab up and right, right up to below the roof. The third pitch was the crux. I traversed on slabs left around the roof and launched up an incredible corner with an off-fingers crack...steep, with a nice bulge, this led to some wild stemming moves and finished with a leftward move into a seam and grooves, a full 60m pitch at 5.10+ The 4th pitch started with an interesting leftward step across a slab into more cracks. Intermittent finger cracks led up for a full pitch between a corner and a huge freestanding horn. The fifth pitch started with another interesting move right off the belay, and then up an arching corner with a thin finger crack under the lip and finished with a really cool move up and over the lip and up ~30' of face/slab. Tony led the 6th pitch up a broken face and through a little notch and then left on nice cracks. the 7th pitch was another nice crack that seamed out for a few moves and brought us up to the ridge crest, where I traversed the airy narrow ridge, until...OH CRAP! We can't get to the summit from here! Damn! what to do? We ended up rapping a full 60m down to sandy benches and finished the climb on the 5.10 corner of the Nelson/Bale route, which is a very fine pitch. The summit block has 2 old aid bolts, the first with no hanger and the second about 1/2 way out of the hole with a rattly hanger, made for a couple exciting moves. The summit is spectacular, the highest of the wine spires...but no time to waste, the sun was low on the horizon and we still had to get down. A long rap brought us to the Pernod/Chablis spire. Major rope issues, ended up with me with shorter ropes, but enough for 2 more raps to get off. The snow on the east side of the spires was just soft enough for us in our tennies, and once below Chianti Spire there was a nice boot pack up to Burgundy Col. A long jaunt down from the col led to a much needed frosty brew! We both feel that this is a great route. Varied, and sustained climbing, fun moves on high quality rock. p1-5.8 p2-5.8 p3-5.10+ p4-5.9 p5-5.10 p6-5.9 p7-5.9 p8-5.10 -Ross Gear Notes: 2 60m ropes full rack incl. 4" (could use one larger maybe) left a fixed rap station of equalized nuts on the ridge crest below a blank face to rap to benches below Approach Notes: Easy approach up trail to bench below spires. Traverse right until gully below Pernod Spire Up gully to toe of west face 1st pitch starts just around the left of the toe in an obvious corner with nice hand cracks on nice dark, solid rock
  17. Climb: Sherpa N. Ridge & balanced rock 1st free ascent- Date of Climb: 7/11/2006 Trip Report: After recenly meeting Scott GG, we decided to climb the north ridge of sherpa peak in a day and along the way, try to make the first free ascent of the sherpa balanced rock. Scott picked me up early in the morning and we started up at the stuart lake trailhead at 4:45 am. Scott passed my litmus test for new climbing partners which states that they must like either coffee or beer-at least one of the two. People that dislike both scare me. We trodded in and eventually thrutched up a dirty chimney where Scott tied the rope around his waist and placed a piece on his way to the notch. Once on the north ridge, we put the rope away and soloed the entire route to the summit (The final steep rock above the final tower puts the climber in a spectacular position). After summiting, we went over to have a go at the balanced rock. I had climbed it several years ago and new how much fun it was. I climbed up on the east side of the balanced rock where a short section of overhang with very thin face climbing led to a small ledge. If you were to slip at this section, you'd break both your ankles for sure. You have to commit to the move. I traversed right and jumped for a small edge and managed to stick it. Scott followed the pitch. We descended down the east and decided to descend the NE couloir. We had tennis shoes with crampons strapped on so down climbing the thing was quite slow. We reached the basin and hit the creek and eventually reached the car that early evening. beta: The mosquitos are really bad right now. Hopefully Scott will post some pics. Summary: Sherpa- North Ridge & Sherpa Balanced Rock FFA 5.10c, Jens Klubberud & Scott Gg. - Gear Notes: Bug Spray Mosquito headnet red bull for the drive home
  18. Climb: Gunsight Peaks-West Face & South Ridge Date of Climb: 7/10/2006 Trip Report: Just The facts: July 8-10 saw myself and John Frieh climb the North, middle, and South Gunsight Peaks. We did the 2nd ascent of the North Peak's W. Face (new route or variation of the 1986 route), and we believe our route on the South Peak was a new line entirely. It was a great trip to a very remote spot. The Narrative: On the morning of the 8th, we set out from the Agnes Creek trail, and climbed to the Chickamin Glacier where we set up camp for a few days in the "Patagonia of the North Cascades." We were really hot, tired, and dehydrated from the approach, but decided to give the 1986 Nelson/Dietrich route a try, on the towering West face. I led a 40m pitch of sustained 5.9 on awesome granite. I climbed past two sets of bail gear, one of which we believe belonged to Forest Murphy's attempt a few years ago. (He had previously told John that they were off-route). After stopping at a saucer-sized belay perch and bringing up John, he lead up about 20' to where a wide roof intersected our line and all cracks thinned out. I was nervously trying to balance on my one-foot belay ledge when I heard a sasquatch-like scream and saw John flying through the air. He had taken a ~20' fall and was luckily caught by a 1/2" cam he'd placed below the roof. We decided to call that our "recon" attempt and go back to the shade of our tent and re-hydrate. On the 9th we braved the 5 minute approach back to the route, climbed back up to the first day's belay spot, and John led out again. We were able to work together to ID a likely looking crack to get past our prior high spot, and some A1/A2 moves on hand-tied aiders got us past the roof and into a set of good looking flakes. The next pitch (#3) was my lead, and I started out with some free moves up to 5.10ish before resorting to A0 cam-hanging as the crack widened and flared. With a mix of aid and free moves I lead to the next belay and John got the security of a top-rope on a beautiful fist-jam flake pitch. Too much fun... For pitch four, the flake/corner system went through a couple of small roofs and continued to be fairly vertical the whole way. John was grateful for the #5 camalot as he climbed up more vertical granite to a belay at the first moderately comfy ledge on the face. I followed mostly free, but with some definite rope-tugging on sections as well. From here I grabbed, the rack, and led straight up into P.5, a dark corner straight over our heads. This was a really fun free lead for me, as I knew we were getting close, and the climbing was a good mix of stemming, face features, and crack jams. The top of the corner visible from the belay spot is the top of the route. You literally mantle up from the corner onto the flat summit terrace. From the exit move atop P.5, you could easily flick a rock out a few feet and it would free-fall to the base of the wall. We didn't see any of the three bolts used by the 1986 party, we climbed the wall in 5 pitches (as opposed to their 7) and we encountered bail gear of other climbers who felt that they were NOT on the previously established route. We don't know how much is shared between the two lines, but maybe Jim Nelson could add some input. It's rad to consider that the only other ascent of that face was done the year I was born. After looking at the old summit register and reading the autograph of some guy named Fred Beckey, we scrambled to the North/Middle peak notch, and climbed a solid pitch of low-5th class to that summit as well. On the 10th, John and I decided to try to climb the South Peak as well. From the Gunsight-Blizzard Col we climbed North along the ridge crest, before dropping off the ridge to the right. It would be best just to stay to the right of the ridge on easy snow and slab. Eventually we reached a clean right-facing corner and began the route. The corner went at 5.7, and I led up and continued to the ridge crest on cool chickenheads and face features and belayed up John. From here John took the lead on a balancy and memorable traverse pitch across a giant cannonhole, and into the last notch before the South Peak. From here, one more pitch of mid-fifth class led to the south summit. From this summit, you can rappel the last pitch, and then make one overhanging 90' rappel onto the snow down the east side. We're calling this the South Ridge - South Gunsight (Grade II, 5.7, 3 pitches) Overall this was an amazing few days in the mountains. Thanks John Scurlock for the really inspirational photos! (Scurlock's shot of the 3 summits) Gear Notes: glacier gear, full set of nuts, full set of cams, pink tricam. Approach Notes: Should have been a week or two later for ripe huckleberries.
  19. Climb: Rexford-South Pillar of The False Summit -FA - III 5.11 Date of Climb: 7/2/2006 Trip Report: Shaun Neufeld and I first saw this feature in 2005 from Labour Day Summit in the Slesse Group. Although hidden from many vantages to the north, from Labour Day and points south the pillar stands out cleanly. We first tried the route in August 2005. At that time we ended up climbing three short pitches P1 : 30m traverse and climb up flakes and ramps to belay ledge, 5.8 P2: 30m, 5.11b? and one point of aid (Shaun) or 5.10+ and 3 points of aid (me) - climb amazing corner after making one aid move at bottom to get past giant sod guarding corner. Crux at top where corner thins to tip size. P3: 15m 5.10 Climb corner to giant scary loose block. Traverse left to offwidth. Decide it is too hot and the OW looks scary with no #4 Camalot. Set up belay on opposed nuts. Escape by rappel. While rappelling down the face left of the corner we saw this amazing finger crack, and decided to come back and climb it this year. Shaun in the corner - 2005 Topo - red line is this year, green line is 2005. So this year we hiked in after leaving Chilliwack at 4:30 Am Sunday morning. we got up to Rexford base camp, kibitzed a bit with other climbers and took a nap. Slesse from hike in Climbers on lower west ridge of Rexford South Nesakwatch Spire from camp. Around noon-thirty we decided to go and climb something. Somehow our plan changed from climbing something easy as a warm up, to hopping on the pillar. We got to the base around 2. Descending into the south bowl from the west ridge. Left view of the pillar. Right view of the pillar. I got the first pitch which turned out to be an excellent 5.9 up flakes and chimneys. From a perfect ledge belay Shaun took over and jumped on the finger crack which turned out to be the crux of the route, and pretty hard. Shaun barely managed to onsight it, saying it felt like the hardest thing he'd ever onsighted and felt harder than the first pitch of the Daily Planet, but not sure of the grade because he was not in perfect climbing shape. as a guess it would be in the 11b to 11d range. Anyways when I heard it was that hard I decided to follow on prussiks in order to be able to make it up. Prussking in the hot sun is not fun, which is why Jumars were invented. Still I made it up. This pitch has perfect clean rock except for the scary "Caulk Boot Flake" 1/3 of the way up which is barely attached to the wall. You can layback it and stand on it, but don't put any gear behind it, and stay out of the fall line... It's gonna peel sooner or later. Shaun climbing the crux pitch. From this belay, where we met our 2005 highpoint we climbed three more pitches. The next pitch started with a steep (overhanging) offwidth, maybe 10c or 10d, in a right facing corner and then turned into lower angle cracks and flakes with a very weird bulge move to finish. This put us at the base of the "Patagonian Headwall", a vertical wall of clean featured granite with many cracks. The crack Shaun picked went at 10+ or 11a and varied from fingers to offwidth to back-and foot chimney, with lots of strange exfoliation flakes inside the main crack system on which you could pinch, layback, or jam. Again the exit move was weird, chimneying out a flared roof with an offwidth in the back. On both of these pitches, Shaun managed to send them cleanly, and I managed to follow by freeing as much as I could, dogging to rest, and occasionally pulling on gear. The 5th and final pitch took 5.8 corners and got us to the top of the wall. We scrambled up one more pitch of 4th class, and then traversed through a notch, and below the west face of the false summit to gain Rexford's west ridge route and the descent. We got back to camp just at sunset, and spent a while socializing with the other climbers camped up there. This morning we slept in until 9. We felt too worked to do another climb and so decided to bail. The other parties that had camped up there all ended up climbing routes on South Nesakwatch that Shaun had put up - two parties on the West Butt and one party on Dairyland - he can be very persuasive when recommending a climb. As we hiked out we saw one more party climbing on the west ridge of North Nesakwatch. We also ran into a pika in the meadows. On the trail down, two hikers warned us about a mother bear and cubs but they were gone when we arrived at the clearcut. We got back to the cars around 1, and went to Vedder Crossing in search of ice cream. Then home to beer! We couldn't decide if the route name should be "In The Loop" or "Common Knowledge" but both names reference people in the Chilliwack area, and in general, who think that certain crags are their own "secret areas" and get upset when you post about them on teh Interweb The grade is III 5.11, maybe 11+ but needs a repeat for confirmation. The route consists of 5 pitches plus scrambling but most are about 40m long, the pillar is only about 200m high. Grade III may be pushing it but it did take us about 6 hours to climb the route. Gear Notes: Full rack of wires (BOOTY ALERT: two nuts left or dropped on the climb) One 60m rope Full set of cams to #4 Camalot with doubles up to #1 Camalot - could also use double #2s, and three or four yellow TCU size for the crux pitch. Five Tricams - won't need these if you bring the extra cams. Fourteen assorted draws from dogbone to shoulder sling length. Didn't take a stove as there is lots of snow, but finding drips can be hard - better to take stove. Approach Notes: Almost 2wd to Slesse trailhead (saw a 2wd car parked there but it looked pretty beat up by the drive, with grated bumper and bust headlight) 4wd to rexford trailhead Little bit of snow high on the trail - snow in the boulderfields but approach shoes OK as snow is firm.
  20. Climb: Lesser Wedge-North Face - FA Date of Climb: 4/24/2006 Trip Report: I have a bad habit of being too optimistic about alpine conditions in the spring. No matter how good the ski season has been I always start to crave alpine climbing by mid March. This year has been no different, so after two days of cragging in Squamish with Nick Elson and a large group of VOCers I managed to convince Nick that the North Face of James Turner would be “the thing to do.” After all, the alpine lows were getting below zero around Whistler and the highs were getting into the mid teens so there would be plenty of melt thaw right? With the forecast looking good for the upcoming week and only one more exam left on Nick`s schedule we made tentative plans to climb the North Face of James Turner and leave late on Monday morning. Alpine climbing plans are never set in stone. While Nick was making great use of his “study time” late Sunday night he was busy on bivouac.com where he found a great photo of the North Face of Lesser Wedge contributed by Jordan Peters. This sparked his interest and we hatched a plan to scope out the peak on the way into James Turner. Into the pack went a large rack mainly of rock gear but with several ice screws “just in case.” On Monday morning Nick was back at his Westside home by 11am and we finished packing. We decided to go as light as possible taking only mountaineering boots, skis, avy gear, tools, crampons, the rack, and sleeping bags. We made sure that the mountaineering boots worked with our bindings and after a few adjustments we were ready to roll by 12pm. Not exactly an alpine start but considering that Nick had been writing his last exam just an hour and a half before we felt it was a pretty good effort. We made two more stops along the way, one for groceries at Save-On in Squamish and one at Valhalla to buy a single knifeblade after Nick realized he had forgotten the pins at home. The girl at Valhalla was very friendly. She seemed to be stuck in her decision of whether to make tea or coffee for the afternoon and asked Nick to choose. Nick helped her through this extremely difficult decision by suggesting the Earl Grey. I hope she liked it! Unfortunately there is still quite a bit of snow on the road to the Wedgemount Lake Trail and we were only able to get a few hundred meters up the road before being stopped. We poked around a bit more with our packs and I did a few more tweaks to my bindings to make sure they would work with my Scarpa Alphas. The sun was blazing and Nick decided to go John Clarke style because he had no shorts and only long underwear. Nick reminded me that John`s marks had suffered during his last year at UBC because the weather in the mountains had been so good during the Spring. He also reassured me that he had done well in his film studies exam and that his grades had not been affected by his love of the mountains! Nick going “John Clarke” style over the broken bridge on Wedgemount Creek On the way to the trail a kind fellow in a sturdy 4 wheel drive jeep helped us get almost all the way to the trailhead. Thanks for the lift and I hope you were able to get out OK. After a 3.5 hour slog we were finally at the hut. There had been a lot of postholing but we were able to ski half of the trail in our mountaineering boots which had helped us in our effort to move fast and light. We had planned to continue all the way to the Wedge-Weart col but it was already 7:30pm and the sun was starting to go down so we decided to crash at the hut. After all, the hut was amazingly warm and Nick noticed that it smelt a bit like a sauna with the smell of cedar (?) lingering. It was warm enough for shorts in the hut and we slept well, especially Nick who had been going all day on only 2 hours of sleep. Sunset over the Coast Mountains The next morning dawned cold and clear, just the conditions we were hoping for! The snow was very hard and our edges scraped across the icy snow as we made our way down towards the Wedgemount Glacier at 4:30am. We skied as far along the east side of the glacier as we could just to be extra cautious and avoid crevasses. The conditions were very fast and we arrived at the Wedge-Weart col by 6am. The sun was starting to come up, exposing James Turner and Lesser Wedge in all their glory. The route looked steep and technical, following the central couloir directly to the summit. We hoped to climb the route while the snow stayed hard and the avalanche conditions remained low. James Turner from the Wedge-Weart col Nick and Lesser Wedge from the Weart-Wedge col the line of ascent We skied to within a few hundred vertical feet of the route and we slogged up through powder to the base. As the angle steeped and we entered the couloir proper the snow conditions became much better and we were able to kick steps up the firm snow. We simul soloed what would have been two or three pitches and then built a belay at the start of the first steep runnel. setting up the first belay This was my pitch to lead and I was delighted as the climbing looked fantastic. The climbing was mixed with just enough ice for some delicate pick placements. I worked my way up to a belay at the beginning of the next rock section and took this photo of Nick seconding. Nick seconding the third pitch The 4th pitch started off quite difficult with lots of frozen blocks and tricky pro. Nick did a great job leading it and then went up out of sight. He didn`t move for very long time and judging by the huge amount of spindrift shooting down the gully he had to be doing some significant excavation at the top of the pitch. Turns out Nick had indeed been busy and had to remove the snow mushroom at the top of this pitch to continue climbing through a steep, overhanging chimney. He had also left his pack clipped to a piece of gear to pull the final moves through the chimney with some delicate dry tooling. Seconding the 4th pitch The final pitch to the summit brought me out into the sun and I set up a rock belay on the summit ridge. Nick led the final 20 meters onto the true summit where we sat, took in the views, and enjoyed a nice warm lunch in the sun. Descending proved to be quite pleasant as we belayed the narrow ridge to the west and then dropped down some snow slopes on the Northwest side of the mountain. This section of the ridge kind of reminded me of the North Arete of Wedge except it was much shorter but steeper on both sides. Nick on the summit Skiing down the Wedgemount Glacier was “interesting” in mountaineering boots. It definitely put my skiing abilities to the test and I made more than a few faceplants with my heavy pack. By late-afternoon we were back at the hut brewing tea and making soup for dinner. We also enjoyed some imported coca matae tea I had brought back from Peru and had been saving for a special occasion. At 6pm I went for a “nap” and never woke up. Perhaps I was “coming down” from my matae high but I ended up sleeping for 14 hours! One of the longest sleeps I can ever remember having. Nick apparently crashed out by 7pm so at least he didn`t wait around for me to cook the proper dinner! Wednesday morning was very cloudy and snowy so we were reluctant to leave our warm hut. The visibility was also poor and the snow had turned to concrete without the warm afternoon sun. We skied down the upper trail with much trepidation. The combination of the steep trail, poor skiing conditions, and lack of ski boots made us take off our skis part way down the trail and post-hole down. We were happy to see the car that afternoon and we finally made it to the Brew Pub in Squamish by 3pm. The India Pale Ale tasted delicious and after being disappointed by their burger on the last few occasions I came away feeling satisfied with my meal for a change. Route Summary: 5-6 pitches, 50 degree snow, AI3, M4 Gear Notes: tcus, small nuts, #1 and #2 camalots Approach Notes: Wedgemount Lake Trail then skis to the Wedge-Weart col
  21. Climb: Abiel Peak-It's All-Der Date of Climb: 3/25/2006 Trip Report: After changing plans at the last minute, Keith, Pax and I decided to check out Abiel Peak on Saturday. The approach trail is popular with day hikers, and was packed down so well that we didn't need our snowshoes at all. Having hiked up in here this past fall with Keith, we sagely knew not to follow the picknic-table-nature-trail loop trail out of the parking lot. If you're coming in on skis, I would just go up the valley which is to the right once you reach the railroad grade (as Ade mentioned in his TR). As it has been mentioned, there are a ton of lines up there. The rock is like the sourrounding peaks: compact and fairly crackless. mixed lines could be bold. (big topo in the gallery) Fun climbing with two pitches of AI3 and one of AI4 on the right side of the face. We easily walked off right and down a wide gully to the west. more pics/details on my website Gear Notes: 4 screws, short and medium length lots of slings #1 camalot Approach Notes: Exit 47 off I-90. Take the Annette lake trail
  22. Climb: Abiel Peak-North Face Direct (First Ascent) Date of Climb: 3/19/2006 Trip Report: So Kurt (wazzumountaineer) and I decided to check out Abiel Peak this weekend. This seemed like a good idea given the snow conditions and good reports from another TR a few weeks back. Fantastic weather, good times all around! Route Description: This route is easily identified by large hanging icicles just left of the North Face Couloir (topo to follow). Pitch 1: From a small rock outcrop, climb left up 45 degree snow to the base of the waterfall. Screw belay. 50M Pitch 2: Climb the waterfall (WI3) to a belay under the overhang on the left. Rock belay (use the crack up and right of overhang with small cams). 35m Pitch 3: From the overhang, traverse right onto the pillar. Continue up good WI4 that eases to AI3 after 30m. Tree belay on the right at 60m. Pitches 4-6: Climb up the gully on snow to 60 degrees (near top), trending left when it splits. Tree belays. Once on the ridgecrest, unrope and walk easy slopes to the summit (~2 ropelengths) Grade: III, WI4 Descent: Rappel the route from trees. From the head of the gully, do 2 60m rappels down the gully. On the 3rd rappel, traverse towards climber’s right, descending into the North Face Couloir. One more 60m rap and downclimbing brings you to the bottom. (2 60m ropes recommended/required). Retrace ski tracks back to the car. Gear Notes: 8-10 screws & screamers, KBs, LAs, green - orange aliens, double length slings, 2x 60m ropes. Approach Notes: From the Annette Lake TH (exit 47), hike up the summer trail until it intercepts the railroad grade. Turn right (west) and ski a few hundred yards to the valley bottom. Turn left (south) and ski up the valley bottom to its end. Abiel’s North Face will be visible to the southeast. Ski to the base of the route. 4 hours. (We actually skied/hiked the summer trail on the approach and descended as described above. On balance skiing the valley bottom is much easier)
  23. Climb: Abiel Peak-North Face Possible FA Date of Climb: 3/11/2006 Trip Report: I have been intrigued by this peak, the “Ben Nevis of the Northwest”, since reading the brief description of its many unclimbed lines in Washington Ice, by Jason Martin and Alex Krawrik. Jason shared his take on the peak’s potential, and gave me beta on the line he and Gene Pires attempted in 2002. My usual partner was un-amused by my cryptic midnight ravings about this “sick line”, and excused himself with a newfound interest in geo-caching. So Mark Bunker agreed to join me on what would turn out to be a great adventure. After a scenic bus ride, I met Mark in Federal Way, and we were off. The approach hike was straightforward, if long. A ton of fresh powder needed to be blazed through, and we kicked in a nice trail to Lake Annette, across its frozen surface, and up to the base of the Peak. Our route in red, North Face Couloir entrance marked in green. We hiked up the highest snow finger right of the summit, left the snowshoes and my pack, and headed up to the fun stuff. Mark offered me the first lead, which clocked in about WI3 and ended up at a rock belay on the right side. After grabbing the rack, Mark traversed onto the main flow, approx 80degrees, and ran the rope out to a tree belay, just below the ridge. Swinging up the second pitch in great neve! This second pitch was great, two steep pillars connected by 60degree neve…sweet! We unroped on the ridge, wallowed up to the summit amid snow flurries and took in the seldom seen (for me) view of the peaks south of Snoqualmie Pass. Summit Shot, with Granite Mountain We descended the route via two double-rope rappels, and hiked out, where Mark was gracious and patient enough to occasionally wait for me to catch up. Headlamps stayed warm and dry in our packs on the descent, so we are not sure if it really counts as a winter ascent, ha-ha! This was a fun line, guarded by a slightly longer approach than other Snoqualmie Pass climbs. There is, as noted in Washington Ice, several awesome, unclimbed lines across the breadth of the north face. Many burly mixed climbs await their first suitors, so go check it out! Thanks for a great climb Mark! Gear Notes: Black Sabbath, large malnourished rabid dog to guard car and aforementioned Black Sabbath, screws, slings, and a small rock rack. Approach Notes: Hide your car in a ditch then snowshoe/ski up Lake Annette Trail (exit 47 off I-90)
  24. Climb: whitehorse mountain-east face Date of Climb: 2/19/2006 Trip Report: here's the hype: peter and i climbed the major chimney/gully weakness shown in john scurlock's excellent photo http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/40358778 of the east face. the approach into buckeye basin on saturday was straightforward. we left the truck on the squire creek road, crossed squire creek, headed up the ridge and eventually contoured into buckeye basin. good neve through small trees and up avalanche chutes led to the upper basin and a tent site not far from the route. after a short problem over the 'schrund, i think we led seven 60m+/- pitches before simul-climbing ~4 pitches of steep snow to the summit. the climbing was a mixture of good neve/water ice and entertaining snice. pete had a couple fine but short sections of vertical/slightly overhanging snice. pro and belays were good/adequate....a recommended route. downclimbing and 2 raps led down the south face/southeast ridge. being tired of downclimbing, i convinced pete to rap the first descent gully we came to though we both knew we could walk down the next one to the south. anyway, my stupidity won the day and we did three more raps before arriving back at the tent late in the afternoon. we initially thought the route might go in two days roundtrip (still might) but we opted to sleep instead of thrash. i cut the fuel supply a little short so we had to drink our urine. ten hours of sleep and a few hours of walking took us back to the truck. unfortunately, the bedliner i was cleaning as justin and darrin drove up would not fit in my rig. if you need one for a small pickup, it's sitting by the side of squire creek road. pete has some photos that he'll likely share. grade: III/IV, AI 4. Gear Notes: small rack of pins, nuts and cams to 3" plus a handful of screws
  25. Climb: Three Fingers-FWA East Face Couloir Date of Climb: 2/19/2006 Trip Report: Three Fingers East Face Couloir a.k.a. "The Last Hurrah" a.k.a. "Journey to the Heart of the Spirit World" Darin Berdinka and myself climbed the East Face Couloir on Three Fingers. We believe this to be the first winter ascent of the route, which was a fine climb in a spectacular alpine setting, positioned as it is underneath the complex east face. We chose to forego any summit bid, deciding instead to traverse steep sugar snow above a 1500' abyss and descend mysterious snow slopes on the North side of the mountain. One rappel was made on the descent from a picket set as a deadman. No spirits were met at the Heart of the Spirit World, which was a good thing from our perspective. -Justin Thibault oops...picture HERE