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Found 239 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. Climb: FRA-Acid Baby III+ 5.10 approx 1000' climbing-Dan Cappellini, Rolf Larson, Mike Layton Date of Climb: 7/31/2005 Trip Report: "Now that we've climbed together, I think you're ready to meet Dan," Rolf stated at 6am in Leavenworth. The three of us had a blast doing a fantastic climb up on Asguard Pass across from the NE face of D-tail. All three of us knew of the line, although they tried to get me to do d-tail madness or the boving route instead. i made lies why we needed to do this route. We get to the base. Crap, this is gonna be quick. What looked like a 4-5 pitch climb now looked like 3 pitches max. At least it'll be over quickly...We got back to the car at 10:30pm. I posted a topo (too big for here) in my gallery. I'll add the link on my next post when i put up the photos. Anyway, our climb ACID BABY turned out to be unrelently steep, quality, and a clean line. I pegged out the contrive-o-meter when my pitch came up by trying to go directly up the roof in the center of the face. After an hour-long battle with gear and fear I backed off. I had a 1/2way in nut, a grey tcu that kept pulling out when i moved, an RP between two removeable stones, and a belayer-slayer i was standing on trying to make the impossibe (for me) reach up over and aroudn the roof. I fell and nearly shat myself in the process. The nut pulled, but came to a stop when the remain metal that was touching the rock somehow held. My RP and TCU blew out. I got real bloody! After a lot of "gosh mike, you're retarded" Rolf slung his balls over his shoulder and gave the roof a go. Much swearing and "careful" grumbling later, Rolf downclimbed my horror show, not as excited to be lowered off my nut as I was. "Well if Rolf couldn't do it," I though.... Anyway, I got the seat of SHAME while Rolf took the obvious and way better way to go up super exposed cracks, ridges, and traversing. Dan and I got stellar pitches, and more stellar pitches led to the top. Turned out to be about 1,000' of climbing all pitches very physical and almost every pitch in the 5.10 range, two being very sustained 5.10. Maybe my photos will do it more justice then my not so good TR (i'm tired and don't have time to post this later). We topped out on top of Enchantment peak after fully burying the CONTRIVE-O-METER on top by doing a sweet pitch of climbing on a large steep slab covered in cracks. We just couldn't stop climbing....well actually we all we bitching pussies by the summitt. If I think of anything else important to the actual route, i'll post it. Rolf and Dan are free to call bullshit, i don't care. feel free to downgrade it to I+ 5.6 55meters. anyone know the name of this tower? if it has one that is. Gear Notes: set and a half cams up to 4", nuts Approach Notes: can't see the tower till you're almost there
  11. Climb: The Mythical Bellingham Big Wall Date of Climb: 7/21/2005 Trip Report: For many climbers in Bellingham the Twin Sisters Range is the place were we first cut our teeth in the mountains, climbing the west ridge of the North Twin or more often than not failing on an attempt of the South Twin Sister. The rest of the range is somewhat of an enigma. During the month of July I made several forays into the east side of the range. While the west side of these mountains is a wasteland of clearcuts and decomposing logging roads, on the east side we discovered soothing old growth forest, wild rivers, impressive glaciers, lots of solitude and some great multipitch climbing on the unique and enjoyable olivine these peaks are composed of. Last February my wife and I decided to check out the Elbow Lake Trail. After we navigated the washed-out crossing of the Nooksack River the trail immediately began a gentle climb through impressive stands of huge trees in the drainage of Green Creek. Occasional openings in the forest afforded glimpses of steep walls near the creeks headwaters. Green Creek Arete II 5.6 On July 1st Allen Carbert and I returned to see if these walls measured up to the grandure of my memories. After a half hour on the trail we plunged straight into the forest and began traversing further into the Green Creek drainage. While the underbrush was thick and wet we made good time and after an hour of thrashing we broke out along the bank of the creek. This is a wild spot with great views of the Green Glacier to the west and Mount Baker and Lincoln Peak to the east. After crossing the creek we headed up the enormous talus slopes that define the upper regions of this drainage. One east facing wall stood out, steep, clean and bordered by an impressive gendarmed arete. Four hours after leaving the car we stood near its base. Intimidated and running short on time we decided the arete would be a perfect choice for the day. Like many routes in the Sisters the climbing was much easier than it looked. We scrambled up delightful 3rd and 4th class rock before slipping into rock shoes for a clean exposed slab on the crest of the arete. The horizontal section turned out to be exciting 3rd class scrambling right along the massive drop of the east face. We roped up for a 100' pitch of 5.6 cracks on more clean, solid rock before a final bit of scrambling led to...nowhere. The arete simply ended on a minor high point of the long ridgeline seperating the drainages of the Green and Sisters Glaciers. We built a small cairn and ate lunch while enjoying the unique views of the Sisters Glacier which looked to be no more than a 45 minute walk away. We had choosen to carry over and decided to descend by heading east along the ridgeline. After cresting a highpoint marked 5179' on maps we headed down through open meadows then more thick forest. At 3600' in elevation we hung a hard right, dropping back into the drainage of Green Creek. A steep descent led to an even steeper gorge where we once again crossed the creek before climbing back up to the trail. Eight and half hours after leaving we were back at the car, satisfied with a great day in the local hills. The Mythic Wall III 5.10 On July 21st Michael Layton and I climbed the wall. The huckleberries in the forest were now in prime season and we stopped every five minutes to gorge ourselves. Somehow we still managed to reach the face in a little over three hours. As we roped up an enormous black spider crawled across the start of our route. What in the hell is this thing? The climbing was excellent. Almost every pitch was steep, solid and sustained with adequate protection. Stemming up corners, linking face cracks, pulling over roofs on jugs, we had a great time. What loose rock there was we would pitch off into space watching it freefall for hundreds of feet before exploding into shrapnel. Michael led the crux pitch, a series of discontinuous cracks up the center of a steep, clean face. On the next pitch, intimidating roofs were passed on great holds. As Mike followed he easily pulled off the only belay-slayer on the climb, a 5' tall flake that exploded over the previous belay ledge. Four and half hours after starting we topped out in the still blazing sun. We had climbed the route in 6 pitches ( 5.8, 5.9+, 5.4, 5.10-, 5.9, 5.7) and decided to call it The Mythic Wall as it felt like we had just done that mythical alpine rock climb we've always wanted to find in the mountains near Bellingham. We downclimbed the Green Creek Arete (easy 4th class from topout) reaching our packs in about an hour. On the way out we cooled off in the creek before thrashing back out to the trail, the truck and, to celebrate, the North Fork Beer Shrine. Either of these routes are well worth doing, particularly if you live in the Bellingham area. While the approach certainly takes some effort it sure is nice having multi-pitch alpine rock climbs so close to home. Mythic Wall Route Description At the top of the scree gully below the wall the route begins on the left side of the large wet chimney (year round water?). P1 (5.8, 55m) Start directly below the only tree on the lower face. Pass a horizontal fault at 40', pull through steep black rock then follow ramps and corners to the tree. P2 (5.9+, 45m) Hard moves off the belay, then climb up and right until you can traverse right into discontinuous corners. Follow these to a large ledge splitting the face. P3 (5.4, 25m) Walk left then traverse up and left on a loose-looking but solid rock. Belay near another tree below face cracks on the smooth wall. P4 (5.10-, 40m) Link face cracks up and right (crux). When they end at a L-facing corner pull out right around the corner onto an easy face. P5 (5.9, 40m) Climb a nice L-facing corner, then pull a roof. Hand traverse left below the next roof into a fun dihedral. Below more roofs move out left to a belay. P6 (5.7, 20m) Steep flakes lead to the ridgeline. Gear: rack to 3.5", including a full set of TCUs or Aliens, micronuts and a double set of cams from 2" to 3.5". The wall can be seen in shadows on page 41 of Red Fred. It's above the "ek" in "Green Creek". Approach From Mosquito Lake Road follow the Middle Fork Nooksack River Road about 11 miles to the signed Elbow Lake trailhead (elevation 2200'). Ford the river on log jams and reminants of the old bridge then pick up the trail again 100' downstream. Follow the trail about a mile to a sharp switchback at 2700'. Leave the trail here dropping down into gentle forest and a crossing Hildebrand creek. Continue traversing up valley through thick huckleberrys and occasional dense firs trees. The best travel seems to be around 2750' in elevation. Once you reach Green Creek the wall and the long talus slopes to reach it should be obvious. 3-4 hrs. Descent Down climb the arete or hike east along the ridgeline passing a high point then descending into forest. At 3600' turn right and head straight down to Green Creek. We forded the creek around 2300' then climbed back up through devils club reaching the trail around 2500'.
  12. Climb: Northern Picket Range-Surviving the Fence (N Picket full ridge traverse) Date of Climb: 7/16/2005 Trip Report: FOR IMMEDIATE AND PREMATURE RELEASE Seattle, WA - On July 16, 2005 Wayne Wallace and Josh Kaplan completed the Northern Picket Range summit ridge traverse, also known as the "Cascade Nonfecta." Sponsering and recording the event was their chief sponsor, "Uncage the Bowels." UTB coordinated the timing effort, hiring experts from Mountaineering Inc. to make sure the effort was "official." The final time came in shortly less than 6 days. In the highest standard of UTB productions and mountainspeedclimbing.org records it must be disclosed that the two elite alpine mountain endurance speed climbers did not operate the speedboat used to travel ross lake. For additional information please contact Uncage the Bowels productions. Summits: Luna -> E Fury -> W Fury -> Swiss -> Spectre -> Phantom -> Ghost -> Crooked Thumb -> Challenger Gear Notes: Used: 60m 8.1mm half rope 50m 7mm perlon rap line BD firstlight tent ghetto-rigged with skipoles instead of real poles super light bivy gear 1 akpine hammer each medium alpine rack Should have had: I should have had rain gear like Wayne did. Approach Notes: Used Access Creek for approach and Eiely-Wiley Ridge for the deproach.
  13. Climb: WA Pass Burgundy Spire-Ultramega OK: Northeast Buttress Date of Climb: 7/24/2004 Trip Report: BURGUNDY SPIRE, NORTHEAST BUTTRESS, "ULTRAMEGA OK" GRADE: 5.10c/d (A0) or 5.11 III FA: MARK ALLEN, TOM SMITH July 24,2004 Tom Smith and I spied a route up the Northeast aspect of the Burgundy Wine Spire during the second free ascent of the East Face, Action Potential, on July 22nd. The line caught my eye and I was able to carry it for several imaginary pitches on anastomozing crack systems in solid granite. On July 24th we left the North Cascades Highway at 7:30am after consuming jet fuel at the Mazama store and approached the base of the wall. We started up the first pitch of an independent line, 10ft right of Action Potential's Bugaboo pitches and shared the first belay. We trundled some good belayer-slayers and cast off into a chimney that was succeeded by an amazing right facing corner. The system continued via hand and finger cracks as predicted by our previous scouting. Later the route unexpectedly forced us to explore an interesting weakness that loomed above. We stood on a ledge below an open book seam leading to an amazing double-roofed hand-to-first crack with changing corners. Lichen made it impossible to free climb. Tom aided the seam and freed the difficult roofs at 5.10c/d. As the second I was able to free the newly clean seam and concluded that it should be 5.11. We continued to discover finger and hand crack systems made more exciting by great exposure and position to the galcier below. We followed the system with enthusiasm provoked by views of Vasaliki ridge and the Silver Star Glacier drainage. Tom led the amazing last spicy pitch and topped out on Burgundy's north shoulder joining the Original Route (Becky, Hane, Parrott, 1953) for a final pitch to the summit block at 8:30pm. I was amazed at the quality of another unclimbed Burgundy Face. This route retained high quality climbing at a consistent 5.8-5.9 rating with a stellar 5.11 crux; this is the most attactive line that Burgundy has to offer on any aspect to date. V*S*O*P* old boy! But we would not reap the rewards without a price. Upon our descent of the the North Face our rope hung up on two separate consecutive occasions forcing us to re-lead the descent and once via headlamp. After repeating the third rappell, falling rock core-shot one of the lines. Finally, at the Burgundy Col we reclined in our pile of rope, rested and exchanged a few words of celebration. During this reflection we were rewarded with the Aurora Borealis, which Tom had never seen, across the silhouetted North Cascades. At 1:00am, we returned to the Highway and to the cold Pabst Blue Ribbon chilling in the Early Winters Creek. The route was done car-to-car, free of tat or bolts. Two Lost Arrows were placed at the crux belay and one remains. Climbing at 5.11( 5.10c/d A0) III+ with seven pitches at 5.8, 5.9, 5.8, 5.11, 5.9+, 5.9, 5.8, the route was named Ultramega OK Here is a topo created out of an original Jordop photo showing all the routes. Thanks for the photo bro. Topo can be found in my Gallery in larger format at http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=10540&size=big&sort=1&cat=509 Photo of Mark at last belay taken by Tom Smith after the second ascent of Action Potential and final scouting of Ultamega Ok. Gear Notes: Small aliens/rps to 4" doubles in .25-2 two ropes 60m a few pins if you bail or for belay Approach Notes: 3:00hrs
  14. In the last 3-5 years? Personal experience/rumor/links/thirdhand k-nowledge? PM works good. Thanks.
  15. Climb: Welch Peak-NE Face FA/FWA Date of Climb: 3/13/2005 Trip Report: The relatively poor rock in the Cheam Range is best enjoyed when nicely frozen together, and it's no surprise that the few hardish routes that exist in the group are mostly winter climbs. And given the fact that the 15km of approach road via Jones Lake is usually impassable because of snow from December thru March or April, it's no news that such ascents are very rare. It does surprise me some, however, that the biggest face on the highest summit in the range has apparently passed thru the 80 years since the first ascent of the mountain without (so far as I am aware) a single attempt, especially since the discerning eye can pick out a pretty reasonable-looking line weaving around and between impregnable cliffs. With a high snow-line, several weeks of warmish daytime weather to consolidate the snow-pack, and a solid weekend forecast, it was obviously time to go. Andrew Rennie and I relaxed out of town mid-morning and started the walk up the Lucky Four trail at 1 p.m. Actually, the first hour-and-half of the walk is on old back-filled logging road [from about 750m to about 1220m], but after that the trail is remarkable pleasant. At 5 p.m. we pulled into camp, on a super-scenic knoll at about 1650m. We could see Fern and Jesse camped about 200m higher, but we were headed off on a traverse next morning, so there was no point in climbing further. We set the alarm for 2 and got away at 3:15. We surprised ourselves by reaching the glacial basin beneath the face in only 1 hour - fast cramponning on hard-frozen crust, but a considerable strain on our ankle ligaments. We had a bite and put on the harnesses on the flats [about 1700m], then started up the still-dark initial slope at 4:45. There were two or three crevasses to cross/bypass, and a sorta sketchy bridge at the schrund, but the snow was good and the frost inspired lots of confidence. We gained about 250m, then left the major snow-cleft leading to the col between Welch and the eastern gendarme and angled up right maybe 50m or so to confront our first significant challenge, a 10m Grade 3 waterfall step. 5:45, the ropes and gear came out, a belay went in, and the fun began. I got the first lead, placing both our screws in the ice to back up the rather mediocre belay, then climbing a right-angling snow-gully beyond to a good rock belay on the left at full 60m length. Andrew climbed the remaining 20m of the gully, then fought thru a short squeeze chimney, then continued up snow with intermittent ice beyond. I abandonned the belay and moved up about 10m to allow him to reach a secure stance - it pays to be sure of your partners in this kind of climbing, cuz you can't really communicate effectively, and you need to understand what is going on at the other end of the rope, and to have confidence that the other guy is not going to fall off for no good reason. My practise is simply to give a big yell when there is 10m of rope left, to give another big yell when the rope runs out, and if tension stays on the rope for a couple minutes, to tear down the belay and start climbing. I popped around the corner from Andrew into a left-angling gully, the key to the upper face, not visible from the campsite, but plainly visible from back down the valley. This had a tricky, thinly-iced exit, then we had to move together nearly 30m for me to reach a belay on the left side of a snow trough. Andrew continued right up the trough, passing above a little promontory and climbing a couple ice-steps. I moved with him about 20m to allow him to reach the rock-wall at the top of a major snow "Y". Here we needed to choose. We could continue right up and across a snow shelf maybe 2 pitches, then break back left thru the final significant rockwall to reach the summit snow-slopes, or we could go left and kinda end-run the rockwall. I went left, and in 60m just reached a flow which took 3/4 of a screw, backed up with a poor nut, for a belay. Andrew climbed the flow and disappeared around the corner. The rope fed out slowly while I got colder in the intermittent north wind, so I knew there was "interest" to the pitch. He finally ran the rope out and eventually a call came to follow - and what a fine pitch it was, with considerable ice, and two short vertical steps. Unfortunately, there wasn't much gear, most of what there was was poor, and since we only had two screws and one of those was most of my belay, his belay consisted of his two tools buried into a snow-fluting. Most uninspiring, but you can't be going falling off on these things anyway. The cornice beckoned a ropelength above, and I got a pretty good screw into ice after maybe 10m and another at 30m, then 3 rock pieces into a wall 5m below the crest. The snow under the cornice was horrendously powdery, and collapsed away underfoot to reveal slabby rock, but I managed to squirm my way up to where I could reach the crest by kinda semi-chimneying between the snowy slabs and the underside of the cornice overhang. There was a crack that I had convinced myself would be easy to enlarge to enable exit, but I fought and hacked and pulled and struggled and swore and came close to pitching off a couple times over the next half-hour before finally managing to belly-flop out onto the sunny east ridge. It was 2:45, and we were up. We were tired, and it was late, so we declined the pleasures of trudging up thru the sun-softened snow the extra couple hundred metres to the summit. We rapped once on the east ridge, into the first south-facing gully, then the descent and trudge back to camp were uneventful. By 8:30 we were well-fed, well-hydrated, and soon deeply asleep. Fern and Jesse must have cruched by sometime in the dark (ah, the perils of Monday to Friday work...), but we didn't hear them, and after a fine breakfast and a relaxing morning, we wandered out to rejoin the world Monday afternoon. Seldom can I recall a climb of such seriousness coming together so smoothly and - despite wishing it otherwise - I'm sure it'll be quite some time until the next such event. Isn't it just so great to be alive when these special climbs and special times happen though? Gear Notes: 2 screws (4 woulda been nicer) 6 nuts (smallish to medium) 5 cams (finger to wide hand) 7 pitons (2 long thin LAs - don't ever leave home without them! 1 medium blade and 1 long blade. 1 baby angle. 2 Leepers, which we did not use. Approach Notes: the Lucky Four Mine trail is a delight! go there!
  16. Climb: Mount Outram-Ghost Passenger (FA/FWA East Face) Date of Climb: 3/12/2005 Trip Report: I have been scheming to climb the East Face of Outram for a couple of years now. The large, gullied face is hard to see from most roads but you can get glimpses from some other peaks, and the view from Snass (Justin Brown has some awesome shots on bivouac.com) is quite impressive. In August 2003 Fred Touche and I hiked up the standard route on Outram and I took a look see down the face and deemed it possible. In 2004 Merran and I hiked in in May planning to go up the standard route, drop down a gully at the S end of the e face and climb back out up another gully. However this approach, due to weather and also the fact that all the gullies are too steep to be comfortable descents, failed and we ended up bagging the standard route once again. I know Justin and Jordan also made one attempt and had the same problem. For 2005 I decided to head in via the old Ghost Pass trail and up the creek draining the east face. I gleaned some beta on this approach from the usual online sources and prepared for windfall and thrashing. The nice descent down the standard route means the best climbing choice is to carry over bivi gear and I packed accordingly. No stove, cold food, two tools, crampons, a few jacket layers, a -7C sleeping bag for a possible long night bivi and a 3/4 length z-rest. I parked at the wooden marmot around 12:30 on Saturday and started hiking the Ghost pass trail. this leaves the old Engineers' Road about 2 km east of the Outram Trail and cuts over the ridge into the valley of Eighteen Mile Creek. The trail was overgrown and had lots of windfall but wasn't as hard to follow as I had feared it would be. After about three hours of hiking I left the trail and cut up an obvious side valley towards Outram. By the time I reached treeline it was getting near dark and I was tired. There were lots of possible lines so I elected to bivi overnight and make an early start instead of picking one line and giving it by headlamp Fred Touche style. There were no real flat spots to bivi not covered in wet snow but I found a good hollow in the ground, filled it in with dead branches and laid the z-rest down on that; it was quite comfortable. For some reason all I could think of all night long was zombie movies and wild animals. I had found fresh cougar tracks not far from my bivi site when approaching and kept waking up in the night in a state of mild panic whenever the wind blew through the trees. Around 5 AM I got up, packed my bivi up and got out of the trees onto the approach slopes to the east face. The face is a very large one with numerous gullies, and is composed of a long face on the SE ridge, and a higher face directly below the summit, in a bit of a cirque. Because of the slanting valley and ridge slopes pretty much all the options on the face are about 400 to 500m high and there are at least a dozen unclimbed gullies here, They pretty much all had a mix of ice and snow in them too. It was hard to make a decision but I ended up heading up to the headwall, mostly because I couldn't see it from lower in the valley and didnt want to pick a good looking line only to find out that the headwall had better lines that I couldn't see. East face at sunrise from treeline near bivi Unclimbed gully with WI3? step Narrow and potentially mixed unclimbed couloir line. When I got up into the east face bowl there were three options... a shady, scary looking couloir and chimney line with chockstones on the left, an open face with a couple of vertical water ice steps in the middle, and a slanting line on the right. The slanting line looked the easiest and had the smallest cornices above it so that was what I chose. It had one narrow kink but most of it looked like snow climbing. East face headwall. Arrow marks line climbed. NS and SS are north and south summits (I had no idea where the summits were when I took the photo). Details might be too small to see in thumbnail, in that case check the gallery. I climbed up into the couloir and the climbing turned out to be awesome with well-frozen neve and little bits of ice where seepages from the sidewalls came in. It was mostly 45 degree climbing with short steeper steps. There was a constant flow of 'hail' on the gully bed as ice fell off the sidewalls and broke up, but almost nothing larger than golf ball size...only two fist size chunks came down and both of them bounced well clear of me. Looking up the gully from near the bottom. I was not climbing too fast and I was also worried about the cornices. The climbing was fun but I wasn't enjoying it much. I came around a corner into the kink I had seen from below and found a 25m step of 70 degree WI3. After climbing this I got above most of the falling ice and the snow relented to 45 degrees again. A few hundred meters higher I got close to the ridge exit and came very close to a big looming house sized cornice. Fortunately the cornice line was not continuous. I picked a line up to where the lip was amost non existant, and although the angle steepened through 50 to almost 65 degrees (tools over head) the exit move was only vertical for less than a bodylength. I pulled onto the ridge to find I was exactly half way between the two summits, which was the point I had been aiming for, but did not know I was about to arrive at. Also, the ridge between the two summits, which is Class 2-3 rock in summer, and that I had thought might be scary and double-corniced, was pretty much a broad easy walk. Almost immediately on topping out my fear went away and I felt a great sense of happiness and relaxation. Tracks on the ridge with north summit behind. By the time I got to south summit it was probably 11:00 or 11:30 AM. I drank the last of my water, ate some PowerGels and took a few photos before starting to descend. Rideout and Payne - Sumallo Valley Mt. Grant, Eaton Peak and Cheam Range behind. The uppermost slopes were pretty wind-blown and icy, then as I went lower the snow softened and the temperature rose. I shed crampons and layers as I descended and even got in some good glissading. It is a very long way back down to the highway (almost 2000m) which I reached around 2:30 for a car-to-car time of 26 hours or so. Obviously that includes a 12 hour bivi and so theoretically a day trip is doable, but if I did it again I would still biv in order to get good early morning snow conditions. The approach is not onerous but does take about 5 hours all told. Since there are so many other unclimbed lines on the face I decided to give the climb a name to distinguish it from other routes that will later be done. I ended up calling it "Ghost Passenger" since the approach is via the Ghost Pass trail and because I was somewhat scared for a lot of the climb. The overall difficulty is probably Grade III, Alpine Grade AD+, WI3 and snow to 65 degrees. The climbing felt quite similar to Central Couloir on Joffre, not as sustained and no rockclimbing exit but with a slightly harder crux than existed the one time I climbed CC on Joffre. Gear Notes: 4 screws, 2 pickets and 2 pins would be an adequate rack for a party of two. Approach Notes: Via Ghost Pass trail, 4-5 hours in. Plan on taking bivi gear up and over. Food notes: In 26 hours I ate 5 powergels, 1 halvah bar, one chocolate bar, a couple of fruitleathers, and a sesame snap packet. I think this is the least amount of food I have ever eaten on an overnight trip. Certainly for most of the climb I did not want to eat at all. I'm still not very hungry. it is possible thatt if I had eaten more and had higher blood sugar levels I might not have felt so scared, I have noticed before that I start to get spooked sometimes when climbing and not eating.
  17. Climb: Chiwawa Mtn.-NW Face Date of Climb: 3/6/2005 Trip Report: Dave Burdick and I climbed a new route on Chiwawa Mtn this past weekend, after spotting the awesome-looking line in John Scurlock's new pictures. On Saturday we snomobiled up the Chiwawa River Road (with a snowmobile generously lent by Phil), and then skied up the Chiwawa Basin Trail (lot's of dirt skiing involved). We woke up early yesterday and hiked up to the Chiwawa-Fortress col, and then made a descending traverse to the base of the NW Face. Our route climbed the very obvious gully/chimney in the center of the face, starting mostly on ice, and gradually becoming more mixed. The climbing was fantastic although hard, and the route was the best mixed climb I've ever done. Our last pitch bailed out of the chimney onto the face on the right, but if some strong mixed climbers head in there they'll probably do the direct finish. Dave had his digital camera, so I expect we'll see some pictures soon. Chiwawa Mtn, NW Face New Route: "Intravenous" - IV, WI4, M6. Gear Notes: Reccomended Gear: -60m rope -5 knifeblades -a few small nuts -cams up to #1 camalot -2 stubby, 2 17 cm screws Approach Notes: The Chiwawa River Road is starting to get bare, so snowmobiling won't be a good option soon. However, the route sees no sun, so it will probably be in for at least a few more weeks, and perhaps the road will be drivable by then.
  18. Climb: White Chuck - East Face Couloir Date of Climb: 2/27/2005 Trip Report: Look at the pics then read Justins post "A Message from Necronomicon:" a little further down the page. It's far better than my slop In the beginning of February, when Dave Brannon and I were finishing up the Northeast Ridge, it became readily apparent that the east face of White Chuck was big, steep and split by a very deep coulior. With a little help from John Scurlock I managed to get an excellent photo of the east face. Ummmm....that looks good. Gene Pires, Justin Thibault and I climbed the route on our second attempt on February 27th. First climbed in September 1970 by Ron Miller and Ben Guydelkon, it had all the making of an un-classic. The CAG admonishes, "best climbed in late summer when dry", "scare protection" and "hard hat recommended". In a veil of ice and neve we figured it might be a very good climb. On the first attempt too much new snow and too little time turned us around before we even saw the face. Though the weather had become unseasonably warm we returned over the weekend to try again. On Saturday morning Justin managed to coax his truck up to 3100’ on FSR 2435. From there we slogged up logging roads and a scenic wooded ridge reaching the basin below the south side of the peak in the late afternoon. At around 5000’ temps in the shade hovered around forty degrees. But north-facing slopes still held fine powder snow giving me some sweet turns, and us hope for decent conditions in the shady couloir. Justin and I passed out in the sun while Gene summoned the energy to pack down part of the approach for the following morning. Just before sunset John Scurlock made a serious of terrifyingly fast and tight circles around the peak in his yellow rocket plane. Sunday we left camp at 4 AM and traversed up to a “chair-like” pinnacle on the southeast ridge of the peak. We dropped down a very steep ramp to the base of the face and began a long, miserable traverse through breakable crust. At first the route appeared to start with a blank rock wall. As we ascended the debris cone at its base a beautiful ice-choked chimney appeared, leading up to the left. Starting up the first pitch Ultimately the climb was far better than we could have imagined. With occasional simu-climbing we broke the climb into seven long pitches, the last ending forty feet from the summit. Two pitches in the middle consisted of steep neve. The other five were primarily beautiful runnels of water ice sometimes no more than 1’ wide. While a majority of the climbing was WI3 or easier the second pitch had a difficult crux of vertical and rotten snow covering thinly iced chockstones with hard-fought protection that felt pretty serious. All photos by Justin Thibault. Below the long, beautiful runnel of pitch 3 Leading off for the summit Descending the Northwest Ridge One of the boyz below P6 We topped out maybe eight hours after starting the climb and took a long rest before beginning the exposed and tedious descent back to camp. Justin, Gene and I all felt that this route was quite classic and deserving of repeats. During a normal snow year there would likely be more wallowing, less ice and a big cornice to surmount at the top. We thought a fair rating in current conditions was WI3 mixed 5.8 R. Gear Notes: Plenty of screws Pickets Pins - KB to Baby Angle small rack to 2.5”
  19. Rolf Larson and I climbed a line on the north face of Mt. Buckner on Sunday the 20th. Friday, after bivying at the trailhead, we skinned up the road and started up the trail to Boston Basin. Coincidentally a group of 3 skiers were off to ski the north colior on Buckner that same morning. Thrashed through the brush and above tree level by early afternoon up to within about 800 feet of the Sahale Boston col that day. Skiers continued on to make the traverse to Boston Glacier. Next day some weather moved in and vis was shitty at the col. We began the traverse. Good neve, exposure, heavy packs. Traverse, Down the Boston Glacier in light north face pow and across to the north face of Buckner that day. Scoped lines. Line we originally intended to climb looked too filled in with snow. Another line caught our eye that started with an ice flow then went into some snow and ice runnels. There was a direct start to this line that just looked too much like powder snow on rock. After another cold night in the Bibler, Rolf roused early with his usual sunny disposition and made a brew while I kept my head stuck in my sleeping bag. We trudged up to the ice fall. After some fucking around I finally started up the ice - a fun pitch with a decent steep section. From there we continued up steep snow and fun aesthetic mixed climbing. Here's a bad photo but gives an impression of the climbing. The neve was superb. Everything that looked like powder snow from the glacier was thick thunker neve. We realized we should have taken a steeper line or the direct start. About half way up the face we were able to look down at the direct start and it looked rad - with a classic ice and neve filled chimney with decent rock pro. What little girls we were for taking the conservative approach. More fun climbing led to the of the ridge and a classic ridge traverse with exposure and amazing views of the North Cascades in winter led to the summit. We paused in the sun and descended the north coliour back to the Bibler. It was only 1:30 by the time we got back to camp, so we made a brew and I told Rolf I was over spooning with him in the Bibler let's go home. We packed our shit and bolted. The skiers who had skiied the north coliour the day before had been farming the north facing slope from the Boston Sahale traverse notch down the glacier that day and had kicked a bitchin skin highway back up. Thanks skiers!! Got down to truck by 8:00 after a long exhausting day and had a beer. Named the route "Copa Cabana" after a friend who spent his President's Day weekend kiteboarding and drinking margaritas in Mexico with bikini babes instead of the Rolf Larson lovefest of freezing ass and killing ice. Shot of the route from bro's arial photo page: The Copa Direct remains. If this high pressure holds someone should go crush!!!
  20. This is my first attempt to post a TR with pictures so in advance please excuse my ineptitude with this. Will send them soon. No TR function for posting? So two weeks ago, I took my two dogs for a walk up the Mt Dickerman trail on a rainy/snowy day. About two hours out at the 4500 foot level, there was a small creek which the dogs lapped up the cold water. Above was this patchy system of ice up the rambly cliffy section. The rest of the hike was pleasant in the snowy/rainy Washington kind of way. I knew though that the climb could form if it stayed cold and didn’t snow too much. This last week was good for creating ice. Fairly cold and clear. Alex was up for a good day and I was also able to convince a new buddy, Robert on a temporary assignment from LA, to come along. We got a good early start for the hike in, climb and follow up with a hike to the top. Two hours walking on solid boot pack (must be hundreds of switchbacks) got us to the ice, right above the trail. The ice is a cool little WI2 and about 75 meters, give or take a dozen meters. It can be split into 2 pitches at a convenient tree belay 30 meters up. The ice was thin with frequent hitting of rock but plenty of good medium and stubby screws were placed the whole way up. The angle of the ice compensates for the thin ice conditions. I hauled a bunch of standard rock gear and pins but was unable to find any cracks to place anything. Two raps off trees get back to the ground. Farther left, there is the possibility of some shorter ice climbs, some easier, some mixed. All involve wallowing through the deep stuff. After our climb, we got back on the bootpack trail and continued another hour to the top. We carried our ice gear with us to confuse and/or frighten the more sane hikers. No one seemed to notice. For those who haven’t been on top dickerman, there are good views of n and e face big 4, n face sperry, n face vesper, w face sloan, glacier, pugh, whitechuck, e face Whitehorse, e face 3 finger and baker. Many possible winter objectives can be checked out from this vantage point. Note for dog lovers, lots of people with dogs on this trail last week. I would not expect this climb to be exposed during a more normal season. It seems that it could easily be buried. But in early season, this could be a good climb to knock the rust off the swing and get a leg workout. It seems that this climb must have been done before due to the access. Whoever may have done it never bothered to mention it to Jason and Alex for the ice guide. Maybe it is too easy to bother reporting? But whatever, it is ice, it is in Washington, it has a nice trail, and it is fun for hacks like me. For those alpine suffering types, there is no visable ice on the west face of Sloan, east face of Whitehorse and Three fingers. BUT there is a very interesting ice formation on Big 4’s east face. Maybe three pitches of very steep terrain. It has a complicated approach but the reward is equally big for those willing to suffer. I will try to post some pictures later when I figure out how to zoom in on the photos I got. Gear: standard ice gear, medium and stubby screws, maybe some KB’s, snowshoes needed if there is recently snowfall. Skis not useful.
  21. Climb: Mt. Snoqualmie, NW Face-Pineapple Express Date of Climb: 2/9/2005 Trip Report: On my third attempt this year, Roger Strong and I finally climbed the line going up the longest part of the NW Face of Mt. Snoqualmie. It starts just left of the lowest point of the face in a hidden right facing corner. 7 long mixed pitches lead up and then right to an intersection with New York Gully. Follow last 2 pitches of NYG to the top. 1000' of primo Snoqualmie pass mixed climbing. We dubbed the route Pineapple Express, grade IV, 5.8, M6, WI3+ R. Gear Notes: 60M rope,pins,nuts, cams, and lots of slings Approach Notes: Straight up Phanthom Slide, then drop into Thunder Creek basin and traverse to lowest point of face.
  22. Climb: Hope-Powerhouse Falls, WI 2/3, FRA Date of Climb: 1/14/2005 Trip Report: McBee and I were getting ready to hike to Piccadilly Circus, but saw a tempting target directly behind the Power Station 11km west of Hope on Hwy 1. A great short approach up a gravel road led to two full 50 meter pitches of WI2 or 3. We continued on up the gully system for another 500 feet of elevation gain, soloing four more Grade 2 steps before ringing the bell and descending. Even though this climb isn't in Don's new guide, I am very skeptical that it hasn't been climbed already. We did see boot prints on the approach, filled in slightly by the last storm cycle, but saw no signs of passage on the climb. McBee and I joked about naming it "Shock and Awe." Gear Notes: Standard ice rack Approach Notes: Exit at the Power Station, an unmarked exit ramp immediately before Herring Island exit. Park on the shoulder of the pavement. Walk up the gravel road heading behind the Power Station. When you reach the Battery Room building, head left on an old FS road to the creek. Powerhouse Falls will come into sight, just a few more minutes uphill.
  23. Climb: (TR) Sharpen The Saw-Complete Sawtooth Traverse FA- Date of Climb: 8/9/2004 Trip Report: This is a quicky tr that tells of an adventure ,whereby David Parker and myself believe we were the first to traverse the entire Sawtooths from Mt. Alpha to Mt Lincoln. Aside from the main 14 summits we also did 5 other minor pinnacles on this amazing traverse. It took us 3 days in all and covered much technical ground . I will do a longer and more detailed tr later. Cheers ,Wayne and David
  24. Climb: Stonerabbit Peak-Southeast Face Date of Climb: 8/1/2004 Trip Report: What do you call 1,200+ meters of bush free, loose rock free, and lichen free big wide open slab scrambling? Base of Stonerabbit's southeast face. Go ahead...scramble and climb straight up! Reinhard going solo. 1000 meters of air from the summit of Stonerabbit A little summit bouldering on the Rabbit. We called our route Rabbit's Coat. Gear Notes: Food, water, rock shoes, and tranquilizer if you get nervous on big slabby face. Approach Notes: Chehalis FSR, Skwellepil road
  25. Climb: Burgundy Spire-F.A. Action Potential. East Face Burgundy Spire Date of Climb: 7/19/2004 Trip Report: 7/18-7/20 2004. Mark Allen & Mike Layton. "Action Potential" 1st ascent of Burgundy Spire's East Face. Grade III, 5.10a-5.10c, 5-7pitches. Seagram's Five-Star. Action Potential: an electrical event along nerve; a wave of rapid depolarization, or a "firing" of a nerve impulse. Mark and I had both spotted the line on separate trips over a year ago. It sat heavy in the back of our minds until after a rather heft spay-down, we both mentioned the potential for a route on the maybe unclimbed east face of Burgandy Spire. Well the last three days we acted on it... Day 1: I knew we were off to a rough start. Mosquitoes tried to make roost in my ear hole as my 5am alarm went off. The taste of stale tobacco and cheap beer kept my mouth sealed from the agonizing groan, the realization that I had some work to do that day. Two and a half hours of sleep. We were going to pay for last night's debauchery. Luckily the chickens provided us with eggs, and strong cups of cowboy coffee churned our bowels. The 1st hour of the slog up Burgundy Col was an exercise in will-power. The accelerated blood flow through my liver speeded filtration, but pushed the chemicals deeper into my brain. As the last ounce of last night's fun left my system, we crested the col and blasted down to the east face of burgundy. It had been two or three years since I had been under the east faces of the wine spires to do chianti, so I had no memory of what the east face of Burgandy looked like up close. All I had we blurry photos taken from trips up the Vasiliki ridge the two previous years. Would there be cracks? Or would there be compact granite seams of overlapping roofs and death blocks as usually is the case? Dragons? A moat Troll? The sky was laden with rain and despair. Lo and behold! The fist part of the mountain was SPLITTER WHITE BUGABOO GRANITE!!! And legs that went all the way up! Heck Yeah! We did the old ro-sham-bow(sp?) and I got the 1st pitch! A 5.8 handcrack flake soared up to a weird off-width-like roof. There was gear! To my left a long layback with some lichen, to my right a spooky hand traverse into an a-cheval. Then it started to rain. I'll take the way with bomber hands and go right, I thought. Fun as hell! Natural belay spot at about 30 meters. Mark came up and it stopped raining. Good. Keep going. This lead took quite some time to credit Mark's will-power and routefinding tenacity. There was a blank looking slab to a blank looking headwall, to a blank looking ramp, to another blank looking overhang. Gonna get shut down. Mark went to go take a look. "Dude, this slab has a PERFECT 5.7 fingercrack up the center," "Dude the headwall had a fingercrack with positive holds" "Dude the ramp has a fingercrack in it" "Dude the headwall has a long steep fingercrack" Everything had a fingercrack! By the time Mark got to the overhang/headwall fingercrack it started to rain. The key slabs for feet were covered in a black lichen carpet. He began to aid, and just as he reached for his 1st free move CRACK-POW. Thunder and lightning overhead. We rapped off and headed home. Much debauchery with special guest Eric, SpecialEd and Lunger. It dumped rain all night long and into the morning. We ate much bacon that morning before we headed back up the pass (AGAIN) this time with overnight gear, dark skies, and a 1:30pm start. Day 2: At the pass by 3:30. Started the climb (AGAIN) by 4:30. We were a little late. We swapped leads so Mark could enjoy the 1st pitch and I could free the 2nd pitch. Mark went up the layback instead of the handtraverse and continued up the headwall and slab to below the 5.10 fingercrack. A FULL pitch of 5.9 (about 3 5.9 cruxes) to a semi-hanging belay. Future parties should split this up, we were in a hurry. I tacked the lichen fingercrack. My body needed to pull one way, with the crack jammed the other. No feet. Gotta scrub this. Some scrubbing and sequencing got us up the crux to insecure handjams. I continued up a handcrack covered in lichen (5.8) to these WILD system of flakes. You can see them from the ground. Huge fingers of rock pointed wildly into the east. There were several of these overlapping flakes creating a wildly exposed and fun jug haul to a major ledge system. There I found a very old looking fixed hex. Shit! The route had been done! Wait....I looked down to my left and saw a 4th class scree ledge system that led to my stance. Must've been an exploratory pitch cuz no-one had been the way we came, and very doubtful that they continued up. This was the only piece of fixed pro on the whole route. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not. This 2nd pitch was also a very long 55 meter pitch. Mark's next 80 meter (simul) pitch took us 1/2 way up the massive corner system that splits the upper face. It was the MOST fun in a chimney (except epinepherine of course) I've ever had. as characterized on this route and the variations every time you needed a foot, one appeared, everytime the hands got to thin, there was a hold, sidepull, or undercling. What a blast! My pitch started of a big mungy with a couple interesting moss mushroom, but after a few pieces, it got stellar again and I stemmed and chimneyed and face climbed up the corner to the big split at the top. I took the right hand chimney (fun) b/c the left looked quite hard. Now we were on the huge ledge just below the summit. Mark finished the mountain with the 5.7 or 5.8 arete that I guess is part of the N.F. route. We did our last rap in the dark with big giant smiles on our faces! Day 3: A 7:30 wake up (slept through the alarm) woke us to seriously looming skies and chilly conditions! Luckily the face was mostly wind protected. Mark started up a crack to the left of the bugaboo crack that was a big easier and led to below the headwall below the ramp. It was a great pitch also, but I like the flake to roof to layback pitch better. Instead of doing the fingercrack pitch, I headed right up a thin crack open book that stated as a thin crack left facing corner. A little bit of lichen cleaning and I fingerlocked and laybacked up the 10a crux. This led me into the open book where I jammed, stemmed, and fingerlocked to a ledge. The wall on my left loomed above me with a HUGE AMAZING HANDCRACK that went all the way up to below a massive overhanging roof with a slab traverse below it. It fist-jammed, foot jammed, hand jammed, toe jammed, and finger locked (it has everything!- including a BEAR HUG!) until I was outta breath and outta gear. Mark finished the crack and was discouraged that it blanked out. No, I shouted, I think I see a crack that splits the slab! There was! Mark delicately switched cracks and led below the big roof to where it ended on the arete. The roof ends at the arete where the two come together creating a heady step around. Mark took his time choosing holds and gear. He dissapeared. Then I heard, "I am at the ledge above the flakes!!!" No kidding! It went, and linked up with our route! We just established a fantastic variation. Both ways are fun in their own way. This one had this awesome pitch I led, the other has the hard fingercrack and the wicked flake pitch. Mark had to be at work by 6pm so we decided to rap since we had already down the other pitches. A giant diagonal rap got us to our 1st anchor. Mark had a wire brush and spend and hour and a half on rappel scrubbing the shit out of the steep finger crack pitch. It may be easier than 10c now? The desperate insecure handjams above the fingercrack has good jams now and you should be able to use your feet on the slabs alongside the fingercrack. Future parties are encouraged to take a big wire brush to freshen up this pitch and also the step-around variation to expose key footholds. After shivering my ass off waiting for mark, we started to pull the ropes to do the last rappel. After three feet of pulling, the ropes got stuck! We did eveything we could to get them down including some very sketchy shit. Mark HAD to get to work, and it was very steep to prussik up the ropes, so we did not have time to retrieve them. Mark is going to try and get them back asap, but there are beers involved if you get them for him. Please don't booty our ropes after we put all that hard work in, please. Just coil them up and huck 'em off from the ledge. I will post some photos soon (they suck, I used the wrong speed film and the lighting was terrible). Mark took better photos, but are slides, so it may be a bit. Mark is working on a topo and is probably done. He will post it online soon. It contains all 11 different pitches. It will also be available at the board near the Mazama Store. Mark and I had such a fun fun fun and amazing time. What a great three days. And what a classic line! Folks who want to climb Burgundy but don't want to do the N.F. route are highly encouraged to repeat this route. There is no sketchyness involved. I reccomend carrying shoes in the pack and rapping the N.F. to the col . The N.F. is 4 60 meter raps straight down. Gear Notes: Rack: One set of thin gear and big gear to 4". Double on fingers to fists (i.e. double set of yellow alien to yellow camalot). Double ropes if doing long pitches. Single rope and rap line if doing shorter pitches (more fun that way). Wire brush to spruce up the route. P.S. Mark left his brush on the summit rap by accident so if you want to grab that, rap the route, and scrub, go for it. Approach Notes: A 2 hour grunt to the pass. There is a cairn on the pull out where to drop down. Soft snow on the col with some steepness. No tool neccesacry, can bypass the steep bits until it gets icy later on.
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