Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'first ascent'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • General Discussion
    • Climber's Board
    • cc.news
    • Events Forum
    • Access Issues
    • Climbing Partners
    • Rock Climbing Forum
    • Ice Climbing Forum
    • the *freshiezone*
    • Newbies
    • Kids
    • Personal Climbing Web Pages
    • Author Request Forum
  • Route Reports
    • Alaska
    • British Columbia/Canada
    • North Cascades
    • Alpine Lakes
    • Southern WA Cascades
    • Mount Rainier NP
    • Olympic Peninsula
    • Central/Eastern Washington
    • Oregon Cascades
    • Columbia River Gorge
    • California
    • Idaho
    • Montana
    • The rest of the US and International.
  • The Rack
    • The Gear Critic
    • The Yard Sale
    • Lost and Found
    • Back Country Permit Exchange
  • The Yellow Pages
    • Local Gear Shops
    • Climbing Gyms
    • On-Line/Mail-Order Gear Shops
  • Fitness
    • Fitness Forum
  • Spray
    • Spray


  • PNW Climbing/Skiing Event Calendar

Found 256 results

  1. 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:
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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)
  13. 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)
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. Climb: Coquihalla Ice-FA - The Drool In The Lotus (100m WI3) Date of Climb: 2/18/2006 Trip Report: After driving out to Hope yesterday and scoping the available ice I spent last night hunting for a partner. One friend was flying in from Edmonton for the weekend but I thought it would be cool to go as a party of 3... many partners had other plans. Finally my friend got off the plane and called me "Uh, yeah... I looked at the temps online and thought it was too warm so I didn't bring my ice gear." So this morning I woke up late grabbed some tools and drove out to checkacheckacheck it out and maybe find something I could solo. There were a couple lines out by Sowaqua Creek I had been eying for a while. This thing is still unclimbed. It is what I had hoped to climb. It catches a lot of sun and might be rotten but it looks real purty. Seemed too hard to solo. Hidden in the gully north of the next buttress north there is more ice. I parked and walked to where I could see it. It looked pretty thin. I decided to bail. However, while I was driving to the turnaround I got a better view and saw more ice. OK, I'll go take a look. The route from the highway. red dots are bottom and top of the ice. The approach was the usual one hour plod uphill through talus and vine maple. I saw quite a few deer and coyote tracks and one set of what might be bobcat. Seems like a popular spot for the wildlife. When I got to the base of the ice it seemed climbable so I racked up. I had carried two ropes up in case it might be a rap descent but it seemed like I could walk off or downclimb so I left the ropes at the base. There was a WI2 start on the left but some fun mixed bouldering straight up so I climbed that. Thin ice and good turf sticks, probably M3 or so. Route from the base with mixed boulder start visible, before I knocked half of it down. Once above the bottom mixed step I climbed onto the ice. There was 30m or so of thin WI2 with some snow and running water, then a terrace. Above the terrace was a fun, narrow WI3 corner with some good stemming off the rock behind and generally thin shitty ice. I was glad I was climbing solo because there weren't many spots where the ice would have taken screws. The last section was about 35m and was a wider curtain with options ranging from a WI4 looking pillar to a soaking wet WI2 gully. I picked a dry line between the two extremes that featured a body length vertical step and some thin ice bulges, good WI3 with nice rests. The ice emerged from some munge at the top so I turf-tooled and bushwacked through the prickle bushes into the forest above. I figured I could walk off climbers' right. So, I wandered over that way with my crampons still on. After traversing a bunch of ledges I got into another gully system that had a beautiful, overhanging black-and white streaked basalt rock wall covered with wind-whipped icicles growing out in crazy directions. It was also catching sun and running with water and ice was falling off regularly. It had been -6C when I left the car but was considerably warmer in the sun. I stuck to the base of the overhanging wall and all the ice fell away from me instead of on me. Downclimbed a rubble chute and traversed back to my pack, then headed down. As soon as I took my crampons off for the descent I took a good fall and slid about 50m down frozen talus on my ass before stopping in a snowdrift fortunately with no holes in my new pants Red line shows ascent and descent. After getting back to the car I decided to call the route "The Drool In The Lotus" which is a pun on one of the names for Buddhism. Unlike Muslims I don't think Buddhists are going to hunt me down for joking about their religion? This was a fun little climb that seemed a lot like Rambles Centre in terms of overall difficulty and style of climbing. and best of all I was back in time to meet some hiking friends in da Wack for beer Gear Notes: two tools crampons Approach Notes: Park at Sowaqua Creek exit, route is visible from north end of onramp. walk across highway bridge then follow pipeline road for 200m then straight uphill thru vine maples for one hour.
  17. Climb: Lake 22 Headwall-NW Chutes, IV, AI4, 13 P Date of Climb: 2/12/2006 Trip Report: Ok- Here goes: 11 years, including 6 attempts of this north facing 2300 foot wall has at last been completed. This is perhaps a new route, one that has held our thoughts and aspirations since a recon hike in 1995. The typical weather patterns of low elevation Puget Sound basin have generally dictated poor unconsolidated snow and ice in recent years. In 2005, however, we noticed a trend towards upper-level inversions, which (presumably) are responsible for the unlikely abundance of Snoqualmie and Lennox Mtn fun stuff. Here is the overview from Lake 22. Leaving the trailhead @ 3 am, we were at the base of route and geared up at 6 am. P1- screws, pickets, veggies, tree belay Pitch 2 was continuation of ramp @ approx.AI 2, with roots, screws, and lousy pickets for pro, tree belay Stephen ready for P3- kind of scary traverse over steep terrain- we have been here before. Ice was noticably thinner than 2003. Stubbies, pickets, trees, hope..., tree belay Sunrise at last... P3 Glacier Peak and Big Four Two simulclimbed steep snow rope lengths followed by an AI3-4 pitch led to a semi-hanging tree belay on an exposed rib. Screws, pickets Stephen had the crux pitch with bulging AI4 for 30M. Screws, pickets to tree belay Lake 22 far below Three Fingers/Liberty Bell group: Gully steepens and constricts. Pickets, simulclimb... Stephen seconds P10- 2 small ice crystal avy's from the sunny summit made for painful reminder of location-Pickets, LA's KB's, cams. KB/LA belay Stephen leads the "Gentlemen's Highway" where we thought the climb ended at the ridge. HaHa- two more pitches to go- pickets, tree belay Top out @ 4:30 pm- Nice views of Rainier, Pilchuck, Vesper, and Index Mt Pilchuck view to west We thought about rappelling the route, then finally decided on the "walkoff' as described in the Kloke Winter 1 Day Ascents. Due to relatively large cornices on the ridge to the East, we were continually cliffed, and ended up rapping in the dark to the Hemple Lake basin. From the basin we had to ascend steep loose snow (1000 ft) to the saddle that overlooks Lake 22 to the north. Descent to the lake was not particularly straightforward in the dark, and required several more sleepy raps. Overall, the descent we took from the climb's summit entailed approx. 2 miles of corniced ridge hiking, 7 hours, 15 headlamp driven 35M rappels, and many vertical to overhanging ravines and gullies. Needless to say, we would strongly recommend descending the route, bringing an extra zip line, bail web, pins, and extra headlamp batteries to get off this "low elevation sub summit". I returned home almost exactly 24 hours from the previous day's departure. Yes- being the good employee, I slept a couple hours and drove to work a full day. Good weather this weekend- Go get it!! Gear Notes: 70M rope, 10-12 screws, screamers, 2 kb's, 2 La's, #1&2 Camalot, 1 set nuts, lotza slings, rap gear Approach Notes: Lake 22 trailhed to lake=2.8 miles, cross lake and follow WSW (.5 mile)to base of climb (left of major gully separating towers from main wall) Begin at rocky right trending ramps. Descend route or be prepared for a very long ridge traverse
  18. John Kelly has been attempting several new routes on Yukla over the past year. He already put up a new route on the Northwest face earlier in 2005 and has tried several others since. I finally got a chance to join him on an attempt at a line on the Northeast face. Our line is just barely visible under the snowfield on the far left Another better view of our route, which is just to the left of the obvious white smear under the snowfield on the left. Yukla, first climbed in 1967 via the Icicle Glacier by famed Alaskan mountaineer Art Davidson (first winter ascent of Denali and auther of the book 'Minus 148') sees little traffic due to its hearty approach and difficult access, and has probably seen less than 25 ascents, even though it is only 8 miles from the road. At a height of over 7500 feet, it is the fourth highest mountain in the western Chugach, and dominates the skyline around Eagle River. The Northwest face is one of the biggest walls in the entire Chugach, and is still, for the most part, virgin...with the exception of two or three routes. I flew back to Anchorage on Saturday, December 31st at 8 AM and was on the trail by 2 PM. We bushwacked through the tedious Icicle Drainage and finally arrived at our first bivy site in the valley at 2:30 in the morning...a great place to bring in the new year. On the way to the drainage, we met a nice girl sitting alone at the Echo Bend camp who hooked us up with some great...stuff. We really owe that girl, she made the rest of the approach go easier. We woke up the next morning in true Alaskan style, and were on the go by noon. We simulclimbed up the snow fan to the base of the virgin Northeast face and spent the next three hours chopping out an awesome bivy ledge on a 60 degree slope, 500 feet over the valley floor. All the while, small sluff avalanches continued to pour over our route-to-be. John leading pitch two. We awoke at 4:30 the next morning and were climbing well before six. It finally started getting light at 9 and we were up the first two pitches by then. John lead most of the hard pitches, which consisted of M5-M6 climbing with overhanging rock and long runouts at parts. His most amazing lead took place at the chimney, on the fifth pitch. He started at 2:45, and spent the next 2.5 hours meticulously inching his way up the virgin terrain while I belayed and shivered inside the cave. By 5:30 it was dark and John had finally lead his way up the crux and had established a belay station. After tediously following John's line and cleaning the pro, I unlodged his pack from the overhanging section and he hauled it the rest of the way up and I carefully finished the crux, wishing I could have watched him lead what he called "one of the most amazing pitches of his life," big words coming from John, who has done some big climbs in his day, to say the least, We knew we were getting close to the top of the face, where we would meet up with a lower angled snowfield which would allow us to top out and then walk off on the Icicle Glacier and then back to our high camp. I led the next pitch, which started off in a narrow hourglass below a five foot tall rock buttress that steepened to a steep snow slope, then to a 20 foot step of WI3 crumbly ice with crappy protection. I put in one snarg and a 16cm screw and continued climbing. I slowly climbed up the couloir in seemingly endless unconsolidated powder snow that dissolved whenever my hands or feet touched it, and ran down right onto John. For several hours, I went left and right, up and down, diagonal and zigzag, trying to find suitable places for some protection...but there was none. The cracks were seemingly nonexistant, all to common on the Chugach rock. I managed to get in one #3 stopper at the base of a seemingly gravity defying vertical wall of powder snow that was about 15-20 feet high and had a 5 foot tall overhanging powder mushroom on the top. I stuggled in vein for several hours, trying to find more protection and a way to surmount the powder wall. If I had had better pro in the walls, I feel I could have gotten up the wall, but I was not willing to take a lead fall on a poorly placed stopper with at least a 100 foot runout behind it. The lights of Anchorage illuminating the sky At about midnight on the 2nd, we decided to can it and retreat, figuring we were close, but still had another pitch or two to go. It was a dissapointing defeat, especially when we saw how close we were to being finished and getting our names on a new route. We spent the next 5-6 hours making a total of six rappels. I had lost my cell phone in the cave on pitch five and was convinced I would never find it again...oddly enough it was waiting for me at rappel station number four...how it stopped right there I will never know. We got back to our high camp at six in the morning, planning on walking back down to the boulder camp and sleeping there...we woke up at 10 AM with our feet sticking out of the tent and we weren't even in our sleeping bags. I still had my helmet on. We had been climbing for 24 hours straight, had both consumed less than 2 liters of water during that time, and had hardly eaten anything. For me, it was my first big experience in alpine climbing and I learned a lot. For John it was another defeat on the walls of Yukla. You can clearly see our line. It follows right up the middle, through the chimney, and then to the hourglass snow couloir. Our highpoint was just at the base of the hourglass. In different conditions, that powdersnow headwall might be easier to surmount, but conditions weren't favoring it at that time. From there it is merely a walk up. John really deserves most of the credit for the climb. He lead the hard pitches and was patient with me as I learned the ropes. If time allows, we might go back and finish the line in February. Last March, John and his friend Dan completed first ascent of the Heritage wall on Heritage Point in Eagle River, which was featured in the American Alpine Journal.
  19. Climb: Castle Peak-FA: Sod-On-Me III 5.10+ A2 M4 Date of Climb: 9/29/2005 Trip Report: Well Darin was supposed to write the TR, but i guess he is too busy with the homelife. I'll just add my photos and let him tell the tale. The larches are turning and it was just gorgeous outside just before the storm. Darin is cool, it was very cold, we missed the storm by a hair, and it was the worst route i've ever done up top, one of the best down low. Quote of the trip from Darin, "Oh God what have I done!" after a particularly serious and irreversible moss mantle to a wet blank steep slab runout into drippy moss mushroom land. Very funny in a not so funny kinda way. Do tell the tale of stormin' the castle oh Darin, won't you!?!? Gear Notes: rack up to 3" ice tool for moss mushroom manteling Approach Notes: prettiest damn trail in the world
  20. Climb: Green Creek Wall-Evil Twin Arete - III 5.9 Date of Climb: 10/10/2005 Trip Report: Yesterday David Trippett (AviTripp) and I finished the climb of the Evil Twin. It wasn't fantastic weather, and up high, not fantastic rock either. David lead some wet thin, hard stuff that took major guts. The first pitch begins at the very toe of the rock, and followed a solid vertical crack system for nearly a full rope's length. The crux involved chimneying-becoming-stemming before turning a roof just before the belay. The pitch ends at the shrub atop this roof, just left of the light-colored rock. From here, the next two pitches were steps of low-mid fifth (fun finger cracks) with amounts of easy scrambling between. We simulclimbed these. Pitch 4 is a wide crack, then a broad slab leading to a headwall, with chimneys on the left and right. Take your pic... both about the same difficulty. Left side protects better with smaller gear. Definintely a good pitch. From here we belayed the next pitch in the rain, and I lead out right then back to the ridge crest. Tougher and funner climbing could likely be had by going a more direct way. After a bit more simulcimbing, we got to the base of a steep, soaked corner. Large slabs of smooth green rock lead to the ovious dihedral. I belayed from the shelter of a nice roof, which guarded me from falling rain and rocks. Several times I almost suggested David try to put pro in and lower off, but I held my tongue. His lead through the toughest climbing of the route, and then the most friable rock, definitely made me glad to be on tope-rope. The top couple hundred feet were 4th and low-fifth that we simuled as well. The rock quality deteriorates up high, definitely a lot more exposed to the elements up there. We hit the arete's high point, then did a mostly down-climb descent to the west. The schwack out to the trail couldn't have ended soon enough, it was almost headlamp time in the forest. Green Creek is a beautiful stream. Gear Notes: Medium rack up to 4" I forgot a 3.5 dmm cam somewhere on the top two pitches. It's probably forever lost to humanity. Approach Notes: In early October '05 the Nooksack River changed its course, and the bridge now ends 1/2 way across the stream. Wading back through the water by headlamp was really fun.
  21. Climb: South East Mox Peak-The Devil's Club, First Ascent of the East Face Date of Climb: 9/1/2005 Trip Report: THE DEVIL’S CLUB -First Ascent, East Face of "Hardest Mox", sub peak of SE Mox*. Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe 8/31-9/1, 2005. 2,400' climbing, approx 25 pitches. Grade V+ 5.9+ A2-** *According to John Roper, the E Face of SE Mox is on what is known as "Hardest Mox" and the summit still remains unclimbed. **what the heck is V+, 5.9+, A2-??? Not a clue. It took 18 hours of climbing, so a bit longer than any of the grade V’s with the extreme seriousness of the situation factored in The 5.9+ is a "conservative" free grade. The small amounts of aid we all freed by the leader or the 2nd, but due to the poor pro and funky placements, we felt it a bit harder than A1, but a bit easier than A2. We wanted to make sure there was plenty of room for squabble and speculation by giving this route our plus and minus ridden rating. Go climb it and make up your own grade if you want. The following trip report is written by both Mike and Erik, but under my screen name. Any direct quote or use of Erik’s voice will be in italics. We both enjoy writing about climbing very much, so this is going to be long. In fact, this is less a trip report and more of a short story about the grand adventure we had. If your as ADHD as I am, we included a TON of photos and maybe some bold font if you can’t read this whole thing. I know I wouldn’t be able to.. Blue is our line, red is the descent. Sunday. Pre-Trip Briefing . "Why does every alpine climb I do involve someone puking before the climb?" My question remains unanswered while Erik is in the bathroom of the Waterfront Tavern vomiting up the remains of his rotten halibut during a "logistical briefing" of our upcoming climb we had been meticulously planning for weeks. Monday. Bellingham to Perry Creek. 12 hours on the go. "Are we really epicing this early in the trip?" Yes is the answer to this question, fully realized only partway into the approach! 4am. I’ve gotten 2 hours of sleep and I’m driving through pouring sheets of rain. Erik sits in the front seat, mowing down on his Jack-in-the-Box Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, desperately trying to tune out my crapulent vocalizations of Carly Simon’s, "Nobody Does it Better." "No, but somebody is doing it a lot worse." Boy scouts on a canoe trip ruin a perfectly good rainbow while we patiently wait in the drizzle for our water taxi to take us up from Ross Lake Dam and into the heart of darkness. Will, the ship’s captain, told us that Fred Beckey had taken a few trips on his boat, and that "he was the one who always wears polyester dress pants because they never wear out, and a backpack that looked like it had been through a war." Erik tells Will some pirate jokes I'm ready for my Tom Collins now, Buffy We had packs loaded for six days in the backcountry with every piece of technical equipment and clothing known to modern man...and 2.5 liters of Canadian whiskey to boot. The heavy packs ruined a perfectly good and flat 4.5 mile trail up Little Beaver Creek to Perry Creek. Luckily for us, huckleberries abound and we gorged ourselves to the full capacity of our stomachs. 2 hours, 4.5 miles. We were makin’ some pretty good time! ....until.... Without pause or exaggeration the Perry Creek drainage remains the worst approach we have been a part of. We were raped and sodomized by the forest. We tried to go up the steep riverbed only to by shoved around and bullied by the slippery rocks. It was drizzling on and off the whole time. One mile. Four Hours. Enough said. We made camp only 1.75 miles from leaving the main trail after 7 hours of intense slogging and stumbling on a soggy gravel bar, utterly worked over. I will need years of therapy to deal with the dehumanizing, savage, brutal beating we received. The forest seemed to mock foreward progress and took delight at fucking us over almost every slow horrid step of the way. But and evening in my betalite tarp all but dispensed our emotional trauma and physical abuse that day had ruthlessly dealt. Erik dealt in his own way: a deck of cards and game of cribbage. While we sipped our whiskey from cups and cereal bowls the evening’s activities took an intellectual nose dive when the game turned to crazy 8's and we decided to build a fire. This is when the notion of the "Devil’s Club" came into our heads. We were both initiated by cuts and splinters, and the plant seemed to rule the land. Erik played DJ on the walkman speakers as I used our machete to cut and sacrifice the plant to the gods. Things get weird...really weird Tuesday. Perry Creek to Mox Peak basin. 8.5 hours on the go. "Erik, put em on, it’s GREAT! They’re kinda like a pre-moistened towelette!" We cringe as we dawn our cold wet socks and shoes. We were immediately back in the river after a rainy night. The sky was thick with clouds and our only sun break oddly occurred at the exact same time it started to rain again. By 2pm we were hypothermic and drenched. Our path took us in and out of the ice cold river and the car wash of sopping wet slide alder, devil’s club, and blueberry bushes. We were making better time than yesterday’s 1/4 mile an hour - today we were up to a full ½ mile an hour. We stopped to build a fire, dry out, and have some hot coffee and whiskey to ease the soul. Things went from shitty to wretched in the forest. It just went on and on and on in an endless valley of tangled vegetation. Spirits we so low the trip would have probably ended if we weren’t so far back there and the easiest way now was to keep going into the unknown. We cut out of the river and headed up to a more open forest when the devil’s club finally let us through (with a little help from the machete). "It’s getting better already, and I’m going straight uphill," Erik sighed as we grabbed roots and vines to claw our way up the dirt slope. Erik voiced concern about fallen trees in the forest to which I relied, "Who cares about deadfall? I just want my dignity back!" We were able to try and keep some levity by joking and screwing around. We invented a whole new sport, Log Walkin’, and constantly exclaimed, "Oh! There’s the trail." Going under logs we exclaimed, "I hate me some underlogging," and over them, "I’ve loves me some log walking!" Finally, when an entire tree was pulled through our crotches, we’d call it "Arbor Birthing." "I love me some log walkin !!" We could finally make out the lower 1/3 of the peaks in the cirque and camp seemed just a stone’s throw away when the suffering downshifted into Dante’s 9th circle of hell. The thickest bush I’ve ever encountered (worse than a hike from Talkeetena to Denali in Alaska I’ve done) slowed us to a soul crushing crawl. I inhaled a mosquito and doubled over in a seizure of coughing spasms. My eyes ran with tears. I wasn’t sure if I was crying from the cough or from being so fully beaten down. I let the tears flow as I uttered the most violent string of expletives to ever pass my lips. I managed to curse every rock, tree, bush, tree, river, mountain, and valley in this godforsaken hole. "GOD HAS NO PLACE IN THIS VALLEY!" I was in my own personal hell. We made camp in the Alaskan bush with Mox and a dizzying array of walls, buttresses, and glaciers encircling us, but never getting a good view of anything. We went to sleep just as the rain once again began to fall. We were exhausted from the 16 hours of approaching. Never again, we both said. Never again. We were joking about route names that night, and a few good one that captured the approach were, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and SUCK," and "Kingdom of Sodomy." Wednesday. Mox basin to 7200' bivy on East Face. 9hours on the go. The clouds were breaking up as we headed off, terrified, sore and beaten with our smaller, considerable lighter packs, ready for 2 days on the wall. We reached the base of the wall at 10:30 to clearing weather and got our first look at the immensity of our project: 1000 feet of steep slab to 1500 feet of undulating vertical gneiss. Holy Shit. The entire approach from the trail had taken roughly 16 hours of hiking. If a team went the fastest way possible, it would be hard to get to the base of the wall in under 14 hours. It could be possible to come in from the West on better trails, but it would be a big risk to get to the Mox Peaks col, and not know the condition of the glacier below. It was quite broken and descending down in heavy packs was out of the question. We put 50 feet of rope between us and stared simul-climbing from the center of the base of the wall for the 1st 400 feet of climbing up to 5.9. The rock was solid, but protection and route finding was the biggest challenge. This would prove to be a consistent element of the rest of the climb. Erik proudly led the next 600 feet and I led the next 400 feet. We passed a rap sling around a tree and a button head bolt, the final high point of the last party to attempt the wall - 37 years ago by a party from Portland, according to Harry Majors from his post on cascadeclimbers.com. We (and the Portland party) found that the best rock and easiest route finding was on the far right side of the east face. spider on the route Erik on route Thankfully there was a small ledge to bivy on. We cleared a small space, barely big enough for both of us to lay squeezed up next to each other. The wall above got drastically steeper for the final 1,500 feet, and the way looked pretty improbable. To get a head start on the next day, I led a pitch up the vertical wall, and took forever trying to get the courage to run it out on very hard terrain while fighting for gear. My placements got increasingly creative, but a solid pin halfway up the pitch eased my mind. When I rapped back down to the bivy, the pin came out with two easy whacks from my ice tool and two pieces popped from the tight rope. We sipped on our small bivy flask to wash down the sleeping pills and hunkered down to a cold and windy night. The wind didn’t let up the whole night, coming in large gusts to remove any gathered warmth from our bags and ½ bags. Thursday. 7200' back to Mox Basin camp. 17.5 hours on the go . "is it gonna go?" Instead being warmed by the sun on an east facing wall in the morning, we woke to cloudy skies and threatening rain. We had better get a move on! Pitch after pitch ate the day away, many of the pitches zig-zagging across tiny run-out ledges to find ways through overlaps and overhangs. Protection continued to be a battle of nerve and creativity, the run-out got worse, and loose rock threatened to end the climb and our lives like missiles from the wall. Mike on route "Fatigue, hard climbing, and the commitment level were taking a toll on my energy and mind set, and after a while I told Mike I couldn’t lead any more. He grabbed the rack without hesitation, and proceeded to tear up pitch after scary pitch. At one point, I poked my head over onto the belay and said, ‘Mike? Honestly. You are my Hero." Mike on route At some point during both days of climbing John Scurlock flew over us several times. I told John to look for a red emergency flare to shoot from the wall if we were in trouble. Not for a rescue, that would be impossible, but more to have John NOT see a flare and ease his mind. Thank you John. You provided me the inspiration to do this, I never would have had the psych to go do this wall unless I got a bird’s eye view from your plane with my own eyes. And thank you for flying by both days to check on us. It was a sight for sore eyes to see your familiar yellow plane circling overhead. Erik on route When Erik gave me the sharp end for my extended lead session I kept saying, "Okay. One more pitch and I’m calling it." The climbing got out of control and Erik told me later that he knew I must have really wanted this thing the way I was climbing, "So much sketchy shit, the mind boggles." My mind did boggle. We were now fully committed. Every pitch of the upper headwall felt like I was playing Russian roulette with the rack. The pressure of forcing a way up, constantly trying to dig for gear and getting very little, worrying about poor belay anchors, not knowing if I’m gonna totally blank out, and just the whole enormity of the situation almost got to me. I cried on one of my leads. I tried to seize control of my mind and calm down before Erik got to the anchor so he wouldn’t see how fucked up I was. Mike finding a way We both pushed and pushed until we were spread to the limit of our physical and mental capacity. Erik ran out of food and water hours earlier and I was hoarding the last few sips I had left to get us up and down alive. It was full on until the very last pitch. Our route stuck to the right edge of the east face and I could see the summit up ahead. Above the rock was devoid of cracks and solid rock, so we traversed over to the NE ridge to get a look at the decent. A short scramble to the summit of "Hardest Mox" led to a heartbreaking fully day’s climb over ridges and gendarmes to the summit of SE mox, an unknown amount of rappels into the extremely broken glacier. One more easy pitch to the summit would have committed us to another full day of trying to get off the peak. John Scurlock told me later that he saw this on his flight and hoped to God that we wouldn’t try going that way to get down. Mike totally committed We had to regain control of the situation and get off this mountain. We had completed the East Face and were so close to topping out, but we felt that if we summited we would have climbed past the point of no return. So we put a Joker playing card in a plastic bag to mark our ascent, shook hands, and decided to rappel the entire route! Joker on top Erik did the most amazing job of getting us off the headwall. I honestly cannot believe how he pulled out all the stops to do full rappels in the dark through overhangs and unknown gear for anchors. Of course, the ropes got stuck immediately after our 1st 200 foot vertical rappel. I tried to jug up on Tiblocs on single line and just got totally cluster fucked and was taking forever. Erik has way more experience jugging, and he proudly and courageously began the shitty jug up the 200 feet of rope, completely exhausted and dehydrated. Shadow of Mox and the Perry Creek approach "The ropes got stuck within 10 feet and I felt a twang of THE FEAR. I started to jug the line, and after about 20 feet, I looked at Mike and said, ‘I can’t do this, Mike!’ He replied, ‘You HAVE to. There is NO OTHER WAY. We will die up here.’ The seriousness of the situation really sunk in then, and with that understanding, I found the reserve to do the rest of the ascent. We were not going to die on the wall. When I got to the top, I was tripping hard from the effort, the world seemed to take on a surreal quality. When I pulled up the ropes to re-toss them, they were horribly tangled and I almost began to cry. It seemed as if the mountain was unwilling to let us descend." Erik giving it all he's got The first rappel took an hour and a half. Not a good start. Fortunately that was our only stuck rope in the 13 rappels down the east face, and tree ridden NE ridge. We had many near misses of rocks bombing down from above, and one chopped the lead rope. It was pitch black and the both ropes were tangled in a pile on a thin ledge on my rap. I saw an almost complete cut in the lead rope in the tangle, so I had no way of knowing how far into the rap the rope was cut. To make matters worse, the rope looped around a horn 30 feet above me when I wasn’t paying attention on my way down. The question was, when I pull my way up to get the rope unstuck, will the chopped section appear during my ascent? I got the rope unstuck and began my search for the core-shot. We were both so relieved when the rope was cut only 5 feet from the end. It was fortunate too, since we were now out of rappel slings, so we used the chopped end to rap off of. Future Routes I told Erik he was my hero for jugging the line when he had nothing left already, and for setting such amazing anchors so quickly with nuts and pins, and stretching the raps to the full lengths of the rope in the complete darkness. Nobody could ask for a better climbing partner. Our relief was overwhelming when the ropes made familiar "whoomp" sound when they hit the talus at the base of the mountain. We had finally finished our $200 rappel. Future Routes We were forced to bushwack through intense alder in the middle of the stream, because we could not find our tent in the darkness! We knew it was in the talus right next to the river. Cold and wet, and this time tired to the limits of our endurance, we found the tent at 3:30 am and collapsed inside. Erik and I chillin after the climb Friday. Mox Basin to Little Beaver trailhead. 10 hours on the go . Since our boat pick-up was on Saturday, we had no time to rest. We were pretty sure it wasn’t going to take us the 14 hours it had coming in, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat. That day was agonizing, as was every day, but we were so numb to misery by this point, we just kept plodding away. Final Goodbye to Mox...maybe? As we were traversing a ridge, I crushed a bee’s nest in the ground, and Erik, being right behind me, took 3 stings. The descent out took only 10 hours, with better weather, drier less slippery rocks, 20-20 hindsight of the best way to go, lighter packs, and going downhill. As well, we had stashed a 6-pack of Rainier Ale at the launch, with some salmon and crackers. We just kept thinking about the beer. We put batteries into the mini-speakers, and the Beastie Boys brought us back a little, setting a good rhythm. Erik’s foot and hand were swelling considerably, as well as the "sting in the tail." The descent had a sting in the tail as well, two actually. The last mile to the launch crosses up a 500' switchback, and the word "suck" came up a lot. Time slowed to a crawl on the last two hours. It's tiring being a supermodel We finally reached camp at 7:30 to much celebration, put off only a little by the absence of one of our beers. We still had ourselves an fine Irish drunk, finishing the remaining whiskey as well. Mike somehow found the energy to "house-party" dance on the bear box and grill. An unbelievable amount of shit was talked from climbing to the low quality of Bellingham radio stations before we both passed out. Psycho Dance Party 8:00AM Saturday. The Last Mile. The inevitable hangover was supposed to be tempered by a swim in the lake, but the clouds were rolling in fast and heavy and it was too cold, so we nursed our coffees and packed leisurely. The boat ride dumped us off to a crowded launch of people out-bound. We totally forgot it was the start of Labor Day weekend. Erik bummed some ibuprofen from a hiker for the swelling and hangover. When it kicked in he exclaimed, "Now I be profen!" The final sting in the tail awaited us, as the last mile to the highway was another 500' grind. Constant calls of "take!" and threats of bivying just before the car, or setting of the red flare were uttered during the final bit. We popped some music in the stereo, and ignored the disdainful looks from passing hikers. At 11:00, The General 2000 was a sight for sore eyes. Erik looked at me with tired eyes and summed it all up by saying, "Mike, if you ever do this to me again, I’ll fucking kill you!" Our Serious Moment For Pause and Reflection (b.s.) Not so dashing on the ride out Final Thoughts. As for the climb, there are numerous walls and buttresses in the Perry Creek basin. Adventure awaits on these, and on the left and middle sections of the East face of our peak. Our packs weighed about 65 pounds for six days worth of food, and a free rack with two ropes. The other parts of the East face have way less cracks and more bulging sections, and substantial aid climbing far exceeding our ability await. It would be a monestrous task getting extra aid gear and the inevitable extra amount of food for a much longer stay on the wall. There are few, if any, ledges to bivy on. I want to take a moment to thank Erik Wolfe for being such an outstanding and competent partner. There were hundreds of times our hearts sank and we should have given in, but he remained determined to finish the job...regardless of the fact that he knew nothing about the approach or true magnitude of climb. I only provided him with enough detail to fuel his imagination and get him excited about the trip. And even though the suffering scale peaked into the red zone many a time, he never blew up at me, instead he stoically took the abuse, or yelled at the ropes and trees instead of me. I am amazed at his skills as a climber, and he absolutely knocked my socks off with his amazing job on the descent. We would have spent another night out for sure if he didn’t did deeper than he ever had before and pull off such an amazing job. Thank you so much Erik! I also want to thank John Scurlock for taking time to send me photos on his slow connection, asking me to fly with him even though I had never met the guy or annoyed him with requests for photos. Thanks for believing in me John. Darin Berdinka was one of the few people that said, "I bet you guys pull it off" when everyone else I told about my plan scoffed or said it wouldn’t go. Thanks to Justin Thibault for letting me borrow your crampons and pins when I was too broke to buy any gear for this. And thanks to Pete Herst for letting me borrow your haul bag in case my 3500cu pack couldn’t manage 6 days worth of crap. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone who actualized this long term goal of mine. Wonder what’s next? (note. erik's quote got cut off at a very bad point. i re-included it. sorry erik) "I have to start off by saying I shouldn’t have done this off the couch. Too much work and not enough climbing this summer have left me heavy and out of shape. It seems that more our unwillingness to accept defeat, and our inexhaustible positive attitude were what got us up this approach and wall. Mike is an amazing partner. He seems, like Shackelton, to know when to stare fear in the face and smile back at his troops. His patience about my slower pace was inexhaustible, and route-finding ability sterling. I would have brought about a 100 lb pack if Mike hadn’t walked me through the essentials. This was my first multi-day back-country trip, you see. Also: Thank you Darin Berdinka for having faith in our abilities, John Scurlock for making us feel not so quite alone. Thanks, Justin, for the pins: they were invaluable. This was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will not soon be forgotten. I’ll never do it again. One’s life expectancy become severely foreshortened by too much of this foolishness. Oh, and to all of you that said I was a sport-climber, go get the second ascent, Fools." Gear Notes: Alpenglock for possible partner bailure, or for taking the easy way out. Deadly nightshade berries are growing on the approach just in case you forget the alpenglock. Approach Notes: Dante's tour of nine circles of hell I took this from John's Plane Last Month. Can you name all the peaks? I knew you could.
  22. Climb: TR- Johannesburg Mt. -CK route F.A. Grade V, 5.10b, AI 3+ Date of Climb: 8/27/2005 Trip Report: I figured I'd take my first stab at a trip report with this format: Several summers ago Loren Campbell and I attempted a direct line on the North Face of Johannesburg but had to retreat due to steep blank sections of rock. After some planning, we went back for round two with the same line. Johannesburg has always been a favorite mountain of mine to climb because on each trip J-burg seems to pull out something new from up its sleeve. In addition, the approach is perfect for someone as lazy as myself. The trend in the last couple of years has been to traverse lots of peaks or run routes together to get one big "climb". For those looking for a good adventure, Johannesburg delivers plus I was told that the North aspect has the greatest vertical rise in one horizontal mile anywhere in the U.S. outside of Alaska? --- Last Saturday I picked Loren up at 1:00am in Issaquah, and after packing gear we left the cascade pass parking lot at approx. 4:30a.m. We traversed below the fan and the beautiful steep red wall that I always thought would make a great sport wall and passed several more sections of rock until we got to our start. We climbed through various pitches up to 5.8 until we were cliffed out by an World Wall 1-"esque" overhanging wall that ran all the way right to a waterfall. (The 1985 Kloke route takes slabby ramps to the right of the falls and goes up and onto the other side of a huge prow). After tryiing three different options we were ready to throw in the towell. I felt stupid because I'd promised Loren we'd make it through this section even if meant aiding through with pins, hooks, mashies, or whatever other monkey business was required- At the lot, I just packed a free rack. I decided to give on last overhanging chimney that was just left of a 15 foot horitzontal ceiling a try. I started up a face and then cut into the mossy chimney. Luckily it was late August and the moss was dry. Any earlier in the summer it would have been wet and unclimbable. I pulled through and let out a whoop of joy. The packs hauled easily out in space for the pitch. The belay would allow a base jumper a clean jump all the way to the talus. It wasn't like penguins in bondage at squamish or anything but the pitch was solid "index" 5.10. We scrambled up the slabs with the huge snout of the glacier looming above us. We were going to climb the left of the two beautiful hanging glaciers. The 1985 route was on the other side of a huge butress and pulls on to the right of the two hanging glaciers. We scrambled up 1,000 feet of low to mid fifth class rock.until we came to a prow of rock to the right of the start of the left hanging glacier. Just then, a huge section the size of 3 houses of the glacier calved off and scoured excatly over the rock we'd just climbed. Then as we were uncoling the rope, another mini willis wall size section cut loose. We were scared shitless. Had we stopped for 5 extra minutes lower on the route we'd have been toast. The snout of the glacier was overhung and onion peeling away. We agreed we'd have to get up a little ways on the rock and then climb onto the glacier. The snout of the thing looks small from the road, but when you are by it it makes the ice cliff glacier on Stuart look like snqoqualmie's bunny hill. We climbed about 200 feet of 5.7 rock untill we were able to downclimb onto the glacier. As soon as I saw the upper glacier, I was afraid that we were stuck and would have to traverse onto the slabby wooded ridge route that is in the Nelson Volume 2 guide. We figuered we'd give the glacier a go. Loren masterfull led off and we were using two tools right from the get go. We spent hours climbing in and out of crevasses trying to pick a line through. It was the most monkey business I'd ever done on a glacier in my whole life. Near the top, our hearts sank as we found oursleves dead ended. One crevasse that overhung a whole pitch blocked our path. We found a moat wall to the right that we were able to climb. Loren masterfully led a beautiful vertical AI3+ pitch to pull us through. We were thankfull for spending the last five winters doing a lot of waterfalls. We reached the top and traversed onto ramp where an ice wall brought us to the end of the snow arete of the before mentioned select climbs route. We trudged on to the summit. The glacier was like climbing up the ice cliff glacier on Mt. Stuart in mid summer two or three times. I was beat. We topped out and decided to descend beacuse the weather forcast for Sunday was poor. We descended and reached the CJ col at 2:30am and bivied. We'd been climbing for 22 hours except for the 1 hour of hiking across the talus. Next morning we hiked out Doug's Direct. The route was by far more committing than any of the numerous grade V's I've done in the Cascades. Pictures to come. Go do it! I'll give you a topo. Gear Notes: full rock rack, rock shoes, 2 ice tools each, ice screws packs were hand hauled on vertical and overhanging pitches. Approach Notes: easy 1 hour approach
  23. Climb: Dragontail Peak-Puff the Inflatable Sex Dragon Date of Climb: 8/23/2005 Trip Report: With Sharma and Davey G bailing on us to go on their summer European tour, our plans to burn incense and grid bolt super top-secret Renton granite were dashed. It appeared Eric (Lunger) and I would have to make other plans. It was a good thing gas was cheap, because we dream big. The Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, the Sierra, it was all within the grasp of our greasy claws and my gas slurping ’91 F150. Since our country invaded and occupies one of the world’s largest oil producers, we can afford to go anywhere we want! Not so fast, son, said Eric. Petrol is at a record high and according to my calculations it will cost us approximately 1.2 million dollars to drive to Banff and back. It’s a good thing my climbing partner has a PHD in international finance. In reformulating plans, our long term goal of adding a sit start to Liberty Crack and renaming the route “Enumclaw Sex Farm,” just didn’t sound prudent as neither of us had really been bouldering much and everyone I know who owns a boulder pad sleeps on it in the back of their truck every night. Eventually, after drinking way too much coffee, consulting the oracle at Delphi and slaughtering lamb or two, we settled on making another attempt at the abstruse and phantom Dragonfly route on Dragontail. Eric and I had attempted the route late last year on a blustery late summer day. Unfortunately, our lazy 9 A.M. start from the trailhead didn’t prove effective as Eric repeatedly peeled off the kitty litter 5.11 funky undercling crux pitch. With the unknown still above us and only couple hours of daylight left we reluctantly fixed a couple nuts and bailed. We had, on the first attempt, gone a bit left (we think) of the original ascentionists line, adding a powerful 10+ variation pitch to the lower section. This year, when we got there, Eric, intended to find an easier line by going even further left. Unfortunately, he ended having to power through not only the 10+ section from the prior year, but groveling up another dirty 10+ finger crack to finish up the pitch. In the middle of this section, Eric took the BIGGEST WHIPPER I have ever seen in the mountains. I’m talking a rolling down the windows, calling the tower up to come in for a landing whipper. Some serious air time. Good thing the wall was steep, because Eric only ended up with some minor flesh wounds on his arm from the fall. Of course, Eric got back on the horse and finished up the pitch. All in all, a burly 5.11 affair indeed. Eric and I regrouped on the big ledge where the two crux pitches of Dragonfly begin. Even though the rock on the buttress is a bit dirty and flaky, some of the most beautiful splitters I’ve seen in the Cascades emanate from that ledge. I noticed a choice splitter starting on the far left side of the ledge, and since Eric and I were justifiably feeling a bit worked after the burly pitch and whipper, I suggested we climb it and try to take an independent line to the ridge. Eric concurred. The steep splitter would have been a four star classic at any crag if it was clean. I had to throw down a substantial amount of soil and vegetation to the belay, but I enjoyed the moves in between the plant matter. The splitter continued up a beautiful and featured steep hand crack with two roofs, but was dripping with black lichen and flaky rock, so I made some face moves and took a cool undercling around left to an easier crack with led to a small ledge and another undercling. Here I had to pull on some gear as the undercling turned into a blunt and smooth super awkward layback. Eric and I felt it would be solid .11 free. From there a 5.8 off width and some easier climbing led the ridge, where we simul-climbed on the northwest side of the ridge all the way to the notch at the top of the northwest colior. From there, we descended on some shitty kitty litter rock to the east to easy slabs and a short walk to the top off Asgard pass. All or some of our route may have been climbed before, so feel free to call us on that if you know. We did decide to claim a FA and name the route though, because the route was real dirty and we didn’t see any tat or fixed gear. Also, I guess it technically is a variation to the Northeast Buttress since it shares the same finish along the ridge more or less. Gear Notes: Standard Rack some extra small shit, but no pins this time. Approach Notes: Easy. I didn't whine once.
  24. Climb: F.A. "The Washington Pass Traverse"-Silverstar-Vasiliki. (VI 5.9+) Date of Climb: 8/24/2005 Trip Report: Washington Pass Traverse. First Ascent Mark Allen and Mike Layton 8/24-8/26. VI 5.9+ Mark and I finally completed a dream of ours we’ve talked about, but never found the time between the two of us for the past three years It’s gonna be hard to write this up since my memory is terrible and I don’t really know how to begin. I guess I’ll start from the beginning... Day One: East Ridge of Silverstar V 5.9+ We had 4am wake up at Mark’s unibomber cabin in Mazama, downed some eggs and coffee, shuttled a bike to Silverstar creek and dove the shaggin wagon to the Cedar Creek trailhead. It was pitch black out Mark realized when his petzel “weaka” barely illuminated his shoes as he tied them. It was calm and the stars were blazing. The Northern Lights pulsed across the night sky. Truly spectacular start to a long long trip. There’s a horse trail that leaves the Cedar Creek trail about 100 yards from the start and is basically a wooded spur off the east ridge of Silverstar. We took the steep trail about 4 miles of uphill grind wondering the whole time, “where the hell does the east ridge of Silverstar start?” Our hearts sank for the 1st of many many many times when we fist saw the beast, the East Ridge of Silverstar, put up by Childs in the early 90's. It’s only seen a handful of ascents and we had zero beta. Sweet. The climbing started TWO MILES from the summit of Silverstar along an exposed ridge with lots of scrambling and climbing. Our first two raps occurred after about an hour of climbing. We could see the ridge lead up steeply to junction of ridges that block our view. The summit must be just behind Nope, our hearts sank again after we pulled off some really spooky exposed soloing when we saw the summit another full mile away up an enormously long and confusing ridge with an unbelievable amount of sub peaks and high points. Crap, our noon summit estimate is out the friggin window Lots and lots of soloing up the ridge (up to 5.6) brought us to the base of the Silver Horn. We tried a new route up the east ridge, but we kept blanking out in 5.10 land in tennis shoes and a long way to go still. More raps and some traversing (below Berdinka/Thibaults route on the middle ledge section...looks great ) brought Mark and I to a steep chimney system that we soloed using full stemming between walls. Very exciting. We topped out on the Silver Horn, rapped back onto the ridge and wondered where in the hell folks were going on this ridge. All our raps were new ones, so we assumed that the people who were doing the regular E.ridge route avoided the silver horn. Who knows? Route finding is full on. Hours later of continuous climbing (to 5.9+), rapping, mind blowing exposure, dead ends, heart sinking moments of “crap, we gotta find a way through this ), and making sure we stuck to the ridge to keep a clean line (unsure where reg e.ridge goes) we reached the summit. We had one hell of a time getting around huge gendarmes that block passage on the entire width of the ridge (a major problem on this climb) and there were lots more sub summits than we could have possible anticipated. Also there was fresh snow and frozen moss to keep us on our toes for when we were on the north side of the ridge. Wasting no time (we took zero breaks during the climb on all 3 days) we dropped down to the saddle below the main summit. 11 hours of climbing, 13.5 hours from the car. The way we went on the east ridge was a grade V 5.9+. Full on climbing all day long. Time to bivy. We melted snow and filled our long dry bottles. It got down to 28 degree that night with a brisk wind, so our bivy pads of 8mm rope didn’t make too comfortable of a sleep. Luckily the whiskey I snuck in my pack helped. Then I burned my sleeping bag on the stove and had somehow lost my tape, so I had to ridge a down tourniquet with some perlon. Feathers float about as we slept on and off. DAY TWO: West Peak Silverstar-Old Woman-All the Wine Spires V 5.9+ It took a huge amount of willpower to get out of “bed” as it was still in the high twenties when we got going. Mark chugged his water the night before while I hoarded mine. I started to make some more water when I got about 8 ounces before the stove quite. Fuck. Mark shoved his water bladder full of snow hoping it would melt against his back during the day. It actually worked The “easy” west peak of Silverstar took way longer than we expected and we had to rap a few times b/c our crampon less tennis shoes didn’t really want to stick to the steep frozen dirt snow. The frozen dirt snow proved a constant pain in the ass. Then getting to the Old Women took longer than we thought. But when we got there and peered down the abyss 400 feet straight down to dizzying and impossible looking array of wine spires our hearts really sank. Both of us wanted to quit. Go home. Bail. Screw this, we’re gonna die. But we rapped off anyway on our nth rap we had to set up with the 50 feet of dwindling tat I brought. We traversed around to the East Face of Chablis and did the beckey route. Great fun. 2 pitches, some runout steep face climbing, and some simul climbing to the wildly exposed summit. We looked across to Pernod spire. How the hell are we gonna get up this? The east was sheer, the west was a huge ridge we’d have to rap forever to get to, and the south face rose impossibly up from the col. But the s.face did have cracks. I gulped and told Mark I’d give it a go. I climbed extremely timidly up the vertical wall wondering at every moment if the cracks would continue and if I fell would my gear hold. I pulled the roof and ran outta gear. Mark came up and finished the pitch up a great handcrack/layback. We had no idea it had been climbed before. More rapping, downclimbing, and climbing up a horrible horrible chimney/gully system took Mark and I to the North Face of Chianti Spire. My lead. This pitch was hands down the scariest, loosest, worse, most run-out piece of shit pitch I’ve ever climbed. The rock was “blow your brains out before you go fucking insane” shitty and scary. Mark called it “a life or death” lead. I was glad to be done. More rapping. One more to go Mark did a terrifying pitch up the south face of Burgundy from the notch. An exposed fingertip traverse with 3 foot tall pedestals that we so loose you HAD to only push down with your feet. Unfortunalty those were the only footholds, and I stepped on the 1st one the wrong way and it started to totter over and fall, so I hooked it with my toes and tipped it back into place so I could 2nd the traverse. Two more pitches took us to the top. I forgot what Mark called this "new" route but it was also 5.9+ (see a trend?). Four double rope raps and we were at Burgundy Col. 11.5 hours of climbing. Out of water once more. Mark and I were excited to be done and go home. Mark said he only had two days cuz he had to work the next day. But then Mark said something that changed everything “Yeah, I gotta work Saturday morning, tomorrow. Bummer” To which I replied, “Mark, today is Thursday” We had another day. There was still more to climb We took stock of our food situation...we had enough for a small dinner of snacks, and a couple bars for the next day. No water though. We bombed down burgundy col east toward Chianti and found trickles in the ice. Thank you whiskey bottle It was the only thing small enough to collect our water. With full bottles we slogged back to the col and had another minimal bivy. It was great Day Three Vasiliki Ridge IV 5.9+ Vasiliki Tower starts it right off from Burgundy Col. We encountered some unbelievable shitty rock on this climb (from the south east ridge) and I had yet another hate filled vomit inspiring I’m gonna fucking die lead. My cams for the 1st part were probably more dangerous in the rock than running it out since when the inevitable ripped out of the rock if I fell, the block that would come down would kill Mark. Good times. Then I began gardening. All Mark saw was a waterfall of dirt pour down 75 feet up. He had the cam I needed in the belay too, so I doubled up in the same spot and went for it. Thank god it went too. Yet another 5.9+ The Acropils, Charon and Ares tower went down way easier than we thought and our hearts almost didn’t sink when we headed for the “final bit,” Juno-Jupiter tower. Jupiter was the before Juno and an exposed but easy crack took us to the top. Then our hearts sank. It was impossible to get to Juno tower. We tried a lot of crazy shit to make things go over the past three days, and this wouldn’t go. We had to do lots more rapping and very scary down climbing to the west Long ribs shot down boarded by deep gullies of shit rock and we climbed up rapped down them looking for a way up. By the time we found a way up we were past Juno. We were way outta water and food and getting up the remaining turds of horrid rock seemed so forced and contrived. So we got back on the ridge and finished the traverse . 8 hours of climbing on day 3. Bitch mode was on extreme by the decent, and somehow we found the energy to run the last section (the trail to the car) of the Silverstar creek decent. Mark got the privilege of biking to the car (made it back in less than ½ hour ) which I wanted b/c I get bored sitting and waiting. All told we did 24 high points/summits and 28 rappels, took 3 full days of climbing, and did 4 miles of rock climbing (not including the approach or descent). It was a major traverse of the longest unbroken section of ridge in Washington Pass, thus the name “The Washington Pass Traverse”. We feel confident in our grade 6 rating, and our 5.9+ is a conservative estimate of the pitches of “not quite 5.10 . We needed two ropes and about 100 feet of tat. God only knows how many "pitches" We stuck to the ridge crest as much as possible, dropping off the ridge only when absolutely necessary...sometimes sticking to the ridge too much We had a full rack up to a 3 cam and emptied the rack on several pitches. Future parties can add to this traverse by climbing the E.ridge of the silverhorn, and figuring a way up Juno to the south. We weren’t very sad about not tagging juno, 1/24 of the climb and ten feet from the summit we were on anyhow...not such a big deal for us. We are very happy about the whole thing and will be happy to provide beta, or get beta from past ascensionists of some of the more obscure peaks and routes we climbed. And before you (you know who you are) start bitching and wining and thinking of little things to say to call our bluff, go climb it yourself. Mark and I tried doing this climb in the best style possible, no stashes, carrying everything, no topos execpt for chianti and chablis. We made it up as we went along. Hat’s off to you if you read the whole thing. That’s a feat in itself. Photos are coming soon. Some are really good so please check back. if someone can email me or post a topo of silverstar-vasiliki i'll photoshop in the line. -Mike
  25. Chad Kellogg and I spent a few weeks in the remote Kichatna Mountains of the Alaska Range. We managed to climb Kichatna Spire by a new route. This was the eighth ascent of the mountain by its seventh route to the summit. The Black Crystal Arête is the first route to tackle the peak’s southern aspect by climbing the slender ridge that splits its south and east faces. Kichatna Spire from the Shadows Glacier. Aerial view of Kichatna Spire from the south. Paul Roderick flew us into the Shadows Glacier on the evening of July 6. Immediately upon landing we went for the route but were turned around by rain. On the third day we made a second attempt only to be stopped on pitch four by more rain. After spending 5 hours with our feet in plastic garbage bags we pulled the plug and rappelled back to the ground. A few more days of bad weather came and went as we scouted other route possibilities. Finally a splitter two day weather window arrived and we were off and running. We left in the morning of July 11 and made our way quickly to the base of the spire’s south arête. The first six pitches climbed the east wall of the feature. However, what had been dry rock before, was now drifted in with fresh snowfall from the previous day’s storm. What had been relatively straight forward pitches became quite tedious. Pitch 2 proved to be the first crux. I led a small wet roof, followed by a thin detached flake led to a super mantle-reach. Delicate moves with thin gear above a ledge finally moved into more positive terrain. Chad following up the east wall. Once on the ridge proper, a few gendarmes provided interesting route finding. The first major one we climbed in three pitches and were able to traverse around its right side just 50’ from its top. Climbing along the ridge crest. The Sunshine Glacier is in the distance. A short downclimb off the backside, led to the “Ore Chasm” – a 5-foot wide cleft that require a wide stem. The first gendarme. Chad can be seen down climbing toward the “Ore Chasm”. A few easier pitches led to another gendarme only passable by a rotten chimney on its right side. Chad led up the “Bombay’s Away” pitch – named after a huge booger of rock five times his size that flushed out of the chimney as he climbed up and stood on top of it. Unscathed, he continued aiding and climbing up huge overhanging flakes to the top. The actual ridge was pretty short lived, however, as it completely dead-ended into the upper south face. The only way to continue seemed to be a set of horizontal twin seems that led out left. Gaining instant 2,000+-foot exposure, Chad led across the thin traverse to the base of another nasty looking chimney. Chad leading the key horizontal traverse high on the route. I got the next pitch – a vertical ice-smeared chimney we dubbed “Icebox Desperado”. It might have been a brilliant M6 pitch had we had crampons and ice-tools. But with only rock shoes it proved to be an interesting mix of aid and free up disintegrating ice filled cracks. This gave way to slightly easier terrain and after a few more pitches we crested the summit ridge, just 200 horizontal feet from the true summit. We topped out on a beautiful, albeit smoky, evening, as we watched the sun make its long descent towards Mt. Foraker. On the summit looking northwest. A view to the west. Middle Triple peak is on the left. We sat on the warm and windless summit for about 45 minutes, before starting the long and dreaded descent. The 2nd rappel. We rappelled throughout the night. The crux was having to repeat a few of the key traverses with frozen fingers and toes. Repeating the key traverse just after midnight. About 20 rappels later, we returned to the Shadows glacier just in time for the sun to warm us up again. A short stroll back to camp and we were back just 25 and half hours after starting. We named our route after the most amazing black rock crystals we found on the summit ridge, some of which were upwards of 2 feet long! The next 10 days or so we spent attempting the Citadel. We spent a week in a portaledge on the peak’s east face, but were thwarted by weather and bad rock. We also made another single-push attempt on its unclimbed south ridge, but we fell short of the summit by about 800-feet (that might be considered a new route by some people. ha!) We knew our time on the glacier was drawing to an end with the rapid recession of the fern line toward our landing spot. Soon we would be camped on top of ice and after another week, we may not have been able to be picked up. So we packed it up, dialed Paul on the Sat phone and headed home.