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Found 256 results

  1. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Gorillas in the Mist - IV 5.11 Date: 7/8/2009 Trip Report: Mt. Stuart is one of the Cascades' most iconic and complex peaks. With such prominence, fame, and extensive development, one might think that all significant new routes have been climbed. However, excellent routes do at least remain unfinished. Inspired by the pictures from an attempt by Mark Allen and Mike Layton, as well as a desire to climb or unearth a new hard route on the Enchantment's premiere peak, Sol Wertkin and I were excited to give the West Stuart Wall a go. Work and anniversary obligations had cut Sol's available climbing time down to one day, so I contacted Jens Holsten to see if he wanted to head up to the peak with me on day one, in order to fix the first few pitches and have Sol meet us on day 2. Jens was stoked to join the team, but insisted we could go alpine style. Of course Jens also insisted it would be 90 degrees on the summit and we didn't need to bring backpacks. Caveat Emptor when getting beta from Mr. Holsten. NOAA was predicting breezy and cool conditions, so we all brought along windshirts. It's summer right? We left the trailhead at 5am and after a few hours ended up at Goat Pass, near the start of the West Ridge. The West Stuart Wall rises up maybe 900' from the snow... but where the hell was it? The face had seen various activity in the past, and we found 2 bolted anchors (stamped '1993') as well as runners low on the route. Perhaps it was a rappel route, perhaps it was someone's unfinished (or aided) project, or perhaps it had already been sent in its entirety. We didn't know and didn't really care. Roping up at the base, we knew we'd have some solid, memorable, and steep climbing. Edited/explained down below - after contact with the 1993 folks, it sounds like this climb was a new route to the top of the wall and the peak Jens led off pitch one, following the OBVIOUS clean hand crack, mantle, and chimney to a belay on the right. This pitch was probably the crux of the route at 5.11- and would see nearly constant traffic if it were located at a crag in the icicle. Steep, with solid rock and great gear, it set the perfect tone for the wall. Top of P1 The next pitch headed up and left across 2 bottomless corners and hanging aretes, 5.9 with positions to keep the adrenaline going. Jens' final lead was the mental crux for us, but shouldn't deter future parties. He headed up and left from the belay, past a 4" crack, and shouted "Watch me" as he launched into the unknown. Sol and I, unable to see the climber, witnessed a large handhold get ripped from the wall, and the simian sounds of grunting and vomiting as Jens styled the 'monkey traverse.' Did you throw up? No way man... just a little dry heaving Jens would go on to finish the pitch in style. The followers both cleaned out the hand traverse crack, and future parties should find no shortage of solid gear all along this pitch. 5.10+ Sol about to 'go ape' Finishing the Monkey Traverse Did you see that big block come flying off? ...uhh yeah, we thought it was you From here Sol took over, finding a yosemite v-slot, and an immaculate finger crack and stem box to another perfectly flat ledge. 5.10- Pitch #5 headed up and right, with a bouldery 5.10 crux move, belaying at the first significant ledge system on the wall. We continued across the 'skywalk traverse' to the right and set off again. I took the lead for a 30m pitch of 5.8 (but mostly easier) on what we thought would lead up to the West Ridge, but we hadn't finished the wall yet. From a belay in the clean V-slot/groove, I followed up a long immaculate right-facing corner, with hand and fist cracks through a small roof, and finger cracks up a slab to the hanging belay, our first belay spot that was not a comfortably flat ledge. This pitch was 55m of sustained 5.8 crack climbing. From the hanging belay, a short hand crack lead straight up to the West Ridge, and I mantled over the top with a 'whoop' and monkey shout. We started up the West Ridge in a fog, with winds steadily increasing. Winding around towers and hidden pinnacles, the rock was more and more covered in ice. Soon our rope and cams were iced up as well. The wandering terrain and numerous gendarmes kept us guessing, and as darkness fell, we knew it was time to quit fighting the conditions. The three of us settled in for a memorable bivy of uncontrolled shivering, made more so by the presence of 0 sleeping bags, no stove, no puffy jackets, and 2 30liter packs in which to stuff our six wet feet. I don't know the temperature, but Jens' water bottle froze. We joked about getting lost on a mountain which we had all climbed before, but kept our spirits high thinking about the quality terrain we'd covered. In the past few years 3 of the Enchantments' 4 biggest peaks had seen new or 're-discovered' hard, excellent rock climbs. Solid Gold and Der Sportsman had been unearthed on Prusik, Dragons of Eden was re-climbed on Dragontail, and The Tempest Wall established on Colchuck Balanced Rock. With a climb of the West Stuart Wall, the 4th peak had fallen into place and Stuart's modern rock climb established. Our platonic spooning subsided at 4AM, and Jens started things off right by breaking out the breakfast of champions, in the form of one "Worthers Original" for each of us. No longer climbing inside a cloud provided a significant morale boost, and Sol thawed out our semi-functional cams with his mouth, once again establishing the value in being full of hot air. After a quick summit stop to revel in the sun, we headed to the Sherpa Glacier where soft snow allowed us to descend a few thousand feet back to the valley bottom in no time. With today being Sol's anniversary, he knew his wife would be especially nervous about our delayed return (and extra jealous of all the spooning enjoyed by Jens and myself). We hustled back to the car and enjoyed our true breakfast, the creek-stashed beers we'd left 30 hours before. EDIT: It turns out that Mark Makela and Geoff Sherer did some climbing on that wall in 1993 and put in the bolts, going up with full-on wall gear, and fixing ropes. They made it up what would be most of the pitches, using a mix of aid and free, but never completed the last few on wall. In any case, it's an amazing climb that should be on the list for future parties. Approach: Just north (around to the left) from the toe of the West Ridge, near Goat Pass. Route starts in the middle of the face, you can't miss that pitch. Gear Notes: Single Blue and Green Alien, 2x Yellow alien to #3 Camalot, single new #4 camalot. Set of nuts. TOPO: HUGE VERSION
  2. Trip: Burkett Needle - West Ridge "Smash and Grab" (FA) Date: 7/4/2009 Trip Report: Summary: First Ascent of the west ridge of Burkett Needle on July 4th 2009. Dave Burdick and John Frieh: "Smash and Grab" 5.8 M4 IV. Burkett Needle courtesy of the great John Scurlock. The west ridge is the left hand skyline: Alternative view from north; west ridge is the right hand skyline: Itinerary July 3: SEA -> Petersburg, AK -> Burkett boulder -> High camp July 4: High camp -> west ridge -> summit -> rapped South Buttress Route -> high camp July 5: High camp -> Burkett boulder -> Petersburg Burkett Needle climbing history to date: 1964 - North Buttress (5.6) - Layton Kor and Dan Davis. August 9th. (1st Ascent and 1st Free Ascent) 1982 - attempt on the west side by Steve Monks and Damian Carroll. April/May 1995 - attempt on the South Face (V 5.9 A3 difficulty) - Joe Reichert, Gardner Heaton. March-April 1995 - South Pillar (V 5.10 A3+) - Greg Collum, Greg Foweraker, and Dan Cauthorn. May (2nd Ascent) 1999 - Le Voyage des Clochards Celestes (VI 7a+ A3+, ca. 1200m) on the south-east face - Lionel Daudet, Stbastien Foissac. May 29th (3rd Ascent) 2005 - attempt on the South Pillar by Carl and Bill. July 2006 - attempt on the South Pillar by Carl and Kale. July 2006 - attempt on the West Ridge by Dave Burdick and Micah Lambeth. July 2008 - South Pillar ascent to base of final 5.7 pitch by Zac and Nick 2009 - South Pillar ascent with a new three pitch free variation + 1 rappel that rejoins the South Pillar route above the aid pitch (5.10+) - Jens Holsten & Max Hasson. June 10th (4th Ascent) 2009 - West Ridge (IV 5.8 M4) - Dave Burdick, John Frieh. July 4th (5th Ascent) Pictures and prose: This trip was all Dave. Dave had the approach dialed from his last trip in 2006, stalked the daily NOAA updates and always immediatly called the both the chopper pilot Wally and local climbing guru Dieter Klose at the first sign of high pressure. It only took 3 years but he finally nailed a solid window I wasnt expecting a second trip to Alaska this year but the phone rang the Tuesday prior and in a little over 48 hours later I was sorting gear in Dave's garage. We were in Petersburg around 10:45 am on the 3rd... following a quick stop at the grocery story and lunch with Dieter we loaded up the chopper and a half hour later we were deposited at the Burkett boulder. We grabbed enough supplies for a few days, cached the rest and headed for a high camp on the ridge climbers left of the glacier. Drop point; Needle in the background One bag of chips or two? Approach stoke High camp. Radio tunes courtesy of a well positioned MSR windscreen We left camp the following morning @ ~6:30 am and minus a few crevasses to avoid and an almost lost ice tool were @ the base of the ridge with out incident around 9:30 am or so. Fat kids make better post holes Dave drafting; Devils Thumb in the background Can you feel the stoke yet? At the base of the ridge The ridge started with a mixed pitch before leading into clean granite. We changed into rock shoes and started simuling Let's get this party started More please Dave loving it... can you tell? Following a nice simul block we encountered enough snow on the ridge to warrant changing back into boots (this becomes a theme) From hand jams to ice tools A few mixed pitches took us to the top of the false summit. To be completely honest when I pulled over the top of the false summit I wasnt sure if the ridge was going to go. It looked hard... at least to this sucky climber. View from the false summit We rapped in to the low point in between the false summit and the true summit for a better look... from below it didnt look as bad and Dave stepped up to give it a go We changed back into rock shoes yet again It turned out the climbing was significantly easier that it appeared and Dave made quick work of the best pitch on the entire route Dave! Dave was nice enough to let me have the next one My turn Dave following I brought us to the final snow summit where guess what! We changed shoes yet again Boots for the summit 5th Ascent! We rapped the south buttress route per Zac's recommendation and the suspicion Jens and Max had beefed up all the rap anchors. Even though the rope got stuck 3 times this descent is the way to go IMO. We found the south buttress route topo was invaluable in assisting locate the next rap anchor. Hi jinxs Rapping the golden slab The highlight of the descent was rapping the severely overhanging A3+ aid roof pitch. Love the exposure Dave's turn We reached the base just after sunset. Speaking of... Done A quick stroll back down the glacier brought us back to the tent and a late dinner. Headed home The following morning we packed up and headed back down to the Burkett Boulder were we signaled Wally who promptly picked us up and whisked us back to Petersburg. Love the 3 day weekend! Shouting Out: - Dave for putting this together. He made it happen! - Dieter Klose for the beta, a place to dirt bag, rides and letting us browse his black book of climbs and history for the Stikine area. - Emily for the airport service and tracking the spot Gear Notes: We took: 1 tool per person crampons pins picket double rack to a #3 + 1 #4 c4 double set of nuts (one set was burned getting down) 50' of rap tat (used all of it + both our cordelettes) I'd recommend Double set -> 1 camalot + 2, 3, and maybe a 4 c4 double set of nuts (keep one set in the bag for getting down) lots of rap tat tool per person pons picket maybe??? better safe than sorry? Approach Notes: Wally is the man
  3. Trip: Thread of Ice - North side of Twin Needles - Southern Pickets - FA Date: 6/26-28/2009 Trip Report: During a north to south traverse of the Picket Range last summer, I was intrigued by a couple of lines on the north side of Twin Needles: the sweeping north ridge and the 1200-ft snow/ice couloir next to it. I later discovered that these two lines were the "Thread of Gneiss" and "Thread of Ice" named by John Roper on his ascent of the Twin Needles in 1981. As far as I know, neither had ever been climbed. Here is a great photo taken by John Roper in July 1984 of the north side of Twin Needles. The Thread of Gneiss runs up the left ridge, and the Thread of Ice is the central couloir. Thread of Ice is central couloir: Wayne Wallace and Mike Layton had attempted the “Thread of Gneiss” in 2007. They had encountered a rotten fault line that was almost impassable, and deemed the buttress not worth the risk. So I turned my attention instead to the steep, skinny, shadowy, snow couloir that snakes its way to Eye Col between the two Needles. I emailed Wayne Wallace and asked if he was interested. "Heck, yeah." So, on June 26, we headed up the Barrier into the Southern Pickets, hoping that the June conditions in the couloir would be a 1200-ft continuous line of steep snow and ice. On June 27, we hit the route under ideal conditions, and had a great first ascent of what turned out to be a pretty cool route. (Note on conditions: This route is very dependent on conditions. A melt-freeze cycle could result in an amazing water ice route, heavy snows could create the potential for a challenging ski descent, or patchy/nonexistent snow and ice could make the ascent impossible. Under ideal conditions of continuous snow and ice, the route does not pose any major challenges.) I posted the TR on my website, but can't figure out how to make the html work here. So, until I figure this out, here is the link to the TR: http://sabegg.googlepages.com/threadofice Below is a video and a couple of photos to give a taste of what is in the TR on my website... Video taken by Wayne as he climbed up the route: [video:youtube] Steph topping out with the Thread of Ice stretching below: Wayne on the summit of East Twin Needle: Looking down at the Thread from the summit of West Twin Needle: MORE PHOTOS: http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showgallery.php?ppuser=13427&cat=500 Link to the TR on my website: http://sabegg.googlepages.com/threadofice
  4. Trip: Twin Needles, Southern Pickets - Thread of Ice, Twin Needles - FA Date: 6/26/2009 Trip Report: During a north to south traverse of the Picket Range last summer, I was intrigued by a couple of lines on the north side of Twin Needles: the sweeping north ridge and the 1200-ft snow/ice couloir next to it. I later discovered that these two lines were the "Thread of Gneiss" and "Thread of Ice" named by John Roper on his ascent of the Twin Needles in 1984. As far as I know, neither had ever been climbed. Here is a great photo taken by John Roper in July 1984 of the north side of Twin Needles. The Thread of Gneiss runs up the left ridge, and the Thread of Ice is the central couloir. Thread of Ice is central couloir: Wayne Wallace and Mike Layton had attempted the “Thread of Gneiss” in 2007. They had encountered a rotten fault line that was almost impassable, and deemed the buttress not worth the risk. So I turned my attention instead to the steep, skinny, shadowy, snow couloir that snakes its way to Eye Col between the two Needles. I emailed Wayne Wallace and asked if he was interested. "Heck, yeah." So, on June 26, we headed up the Barrier into the Southern Pickets, hoping that the June conditions in the couloir would be a 1200-ft continuous line of steep snow and ice. We hit the route under ideal conditions, and had a great first ascent of what turned out to be a pretty cool route. (Note on conditions: This route is very dependent on conditions. A melt-freeze cycle could result in an amazing water ice route, heavy snows could create the potential for a challening ski descent, or patchy/nonexistant snow and ice could make the ascent impossible. Under ideal conditions of continuous snow and ice, the route does not pose any major challenges.) I posted the TR on my website, but can't figure out how to make the html work here. So, until I figure this out, here is the link to the TR: http://sabegg.googlepages.com/threadofice Below is a video and a couple of photos to give a taste of what is in the TR on my website... Video taken by Wayne as he climbed up the route: [video:youtube] Steph near the top of the Thread of Ice: Wayne on the summit of East Twin Needle: Link to the TR: http://sabegg.googlepages.com/threadofice
  5. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Mixed Blessing (previously undocumented) Date: 5/24/2009 Trip Report: About five years ago, I made a trip in to the North Side of Mt Stuart at Memorial Day with Travis Hammond. The weather turned crappy, and we didn't climb anything, but we did observe three undocumented ice lines on the north face of the West Ridge between the Stuart Glacier Couloir and the NW Buttress Route. I've watched those lines each spring since then, and on a quick recon on May 2 this year, found them coming into perfect shape. Had to work harder than I expected to find a partner, (Shipman was working, Tarver in Alaska, Flick had family commitments, etc. blah-blah)but finally succeeded in recruiting Bill (Dobby) Dobbins for an attempt on the Holiday weekend. Dobby picked me up at my home in 11-worth at 0600 Saturday morning, for a suitably early start on the Stuart Lake trail, then in classic CFCC (if you don't know, you probably don't want to...) form, remembered two miles up the trail that he'd neglected to hang/display his parking permit before leaving the trailhead. So I got an hour nap while Dobby (remember this guy, like me,is in his mid-50s) jogged four miles down to the car and back in his Sportiva Nepals to prevent ticketage. We still managed to stagger to Stuart Lake before noon, although Dobby was actin' pretty whipped by then. Continued on snowshoes beyond the lake to the end of the meadow/swamps at the base of the Stuart Glacier moraines, where we elected to camp and get a good rest rather then try to hump our camping gear up the steep moraine to the glacier in the afternoon sloppy snow. An 0200 start Sunday morning yielded perfect neve for effortless cramponing up the moraine, and we gained the Stuart Glacier just as the morning brightened enough to turn off the headlamps. Of the three lines I'd observed two weeks earlier, two were mostly gone, but the center line still held a decent pillar of ice reaching to snowfields that access the crest of the West Ridge. We ate, drank, roped and racked and started on the pillar. Being the old, frail, lazy guys we are, we'd elected to bring only a single 60-meter half/twin rope, so we doubled it over for the first steep pitches, and limited ourselves to 30 meters between belays. Six pitches of stellar WI3 with the odd mixed move here and there brought us to the snowfields where we unfolded the rope and climbed five more 60-meter pitches to the crest of the NW Buttress where we had to decide whether to continue up the old route, or call it done and descend the NW Buttress with enough time to get all the way out that night. Being old and frail and lazy, and already intimately familiar with the summit, of course we bailed. Unfortunately, the Stuart Deity chose that time to become obstreperous. The lovely snow chute I had identified two weeks earlier, and planned to slide down on my behind, had melted out during those two weeks. We couldn't see far enough to be sure, but the top looked sorta rocky-ugly. We started downclimbing anyway. After several hours, we came to the "edge of the world" just as it was getting dark enough to pull the headlamps back out. Not being able to see past the edge, of course we rappeled. Then we rappeled again... And again... Six rappels later, we finally tagged the Stuart Glacier in pitch darkness - and stumbled on down to our tent, arriving at 1230. Ten hours up, twelve down. I suggest following parties simply rappel the route... As Dobby kept sayin: "Ahm tard!" to which I would respond "me too; does that make me re-tard?" Tard & Re-tard, twin alpine clowns... but we did git-er-done Summary: Mount Stuart, north side of West Ridge: "Mixed Blessing": IV, WI-3, M-0 Gear: one 60-meter half/twin rope; three stoppers from 1/4" to 3/4"; three hexes from 1" to 3"; six cams from 3/4" to 3.5"; one long, one medium, & one short ice screw; one knifeblade, one lost arrow, and two Leeper Z-pegs, eight alpine-style quickdraws, and about 60' of accessory cordage which was almost entirely gone by the end of the descent... and we used pretty much every piece at least once...
  6. Trip: Greybeard Peak - East Face Date: 5/16/2009 Trip Report: Dan Helmstadter and I climbed and skied the East Face of Greybeard (on maps appears as eastern terminus of Ragged ridge just E of Easy Pass, elevation 7965’) on Saturday. I haven't seen any record of this being climbed or skied; would be curious to hear if any of you have heard tales. The climb alone as a moderate alpine objective is worthy and recommended; its proximity to the road makes it that much more appealing. A few weeks ago, somebody had posted a shot of this face, unnamed, on a report from Cutthroat (I think)—looked intriguingly possible. Then last week a couple buddies and I were on Mt Hardy and noticed the east face looking pretty fat—perhaps probable. Greybeard East and North Faces: The obligatory Scurlock photo: http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/53643445 On Friday evening I drove up towards Swamp Creek and saw that the face had melted out some from a week ago, but still appeared relatively do-able. What the heck, give it a try and if it’s not good, bail or descend some other aspect (the southwest is more mellow)… evening east face We started climbing from 6100’ at around 3:30am after a solid freeze, and availed ourselves of a NE-facing couloir to gain a rib and ultimately the east face proper. Runnels in the couloir initially made for ready sticks with axes and crampons, but abruptly morphed into chunder-wonder variability. The climbing on the ribs and faces above was often steep and entertaining; I recall at one point left hand to rock hold, right hand to axe in snice, left foot post-holed, and right foot kicked into ice—what was next was a guess. Route-finding slowed us down a bit, as did two crampon failures for Dan, which he handily repaired. Luckily, clouds kept the sun at bay, urging us upward. above the couloir difficulties on the face last stretch to summit The views from the summit didn’t disappoint. Goode et al Dan and Black Peak sunlit Mt Logan, Arriva foreground Jack Mtn S Face w/ lenticular and Crater Peak The skiing was classic “spring variable”. We had gained the summit at a bit before 8, and as it had been cloudy all morning, waited for the sun to come out and work some magic on the icy patina found on most of the snow we had climbed. When the sun finally came out full-force at 11 a.m., it was forceful, and our worry turned from too crusty to too soft. For the most part we enjoyed soft-snow turns on the face. up at summit turns We had to down-climb a couple sections due to either grave avy conditions or too-rocky chocolate-chip sections. We finally jumped a little step to finish the c. 1700'face, and skied a ridge feature to my bivy site at 6100’, making for a c. 1900’ run. link1 link2 Perhaps this face will come into better shape (i.e., ski-able in full) in future years after a more robust snowfall for this area. Taken later that afternoon with Rainier in hand: route up in red, down in green edit: guess I used the wrong "shortcut" for showing images. will try to fix later...if any of you mods have helpful suggestions...
  7. Trip: Seton Lake - FA-Piss 'n' Vinegar-450m 4+ Date: 3/13/2009 Trip Report: I generally dont write a TR for ice cragging but these routes deserve some traffic! I think everyone who has thumbed through the west coast ice guide has passed the seton lake section and probably thought those are some cool sounding routes. I actually think Don has under estimated the quality of these lines, these are must do routes and every one is 5 stars. I had been trying to get down the lake for the last few weekends but every time we prepared to leave high winds would be forecast causing us to cancel. Our mode of transportation was a canoe, a rather precarious mode of travel when loaded up with tonnes of gear. Therefore we needed a calm lake and we needed it to be calm all day, so not wanting to fully commit we decided to load up bivy gear as well. All for making a low riding canoe. I spent Thursday working and trying to come up with a wind forecast for Seton lake, once I was convinced it was worth a shot I drove up to Whistler picked up Bruce Kay and we headed to Lillooet for the night. Now there just had to be climbable ice. 4 Pines tried to charge us 80$ so we wandered over to the Mile-0. The next morning we were at the lake before sun up and paddling towards the first set of climbs. What a surreal and somewhat frightening experience, Bruce joked that the life jackets would just prolong our death in the icy lake and possibly a gun would be a wiser choice if we were to capsize. First set of bluffs, left to right Deliverance far left then the unformed Squeal Like a Pig and Fishin Musician Click photos for larger shot Fishin Musician Comedy of errors I missed a shot of but it just looks phenomenal as a narrow alpine couloir!!! Bruce and I had our sights on something larger, the 400m+ flow of Winter Water Sports, which lies further down the lake. Looking at the guide this behind Belmore gully may be the biggest line in the guide? A worthy destination so we pressed on. Water Sports from the Canoe, Ice Capades can be seen at the end, its about an hour canoe ride in calm winds Winter Water Sports on the left fully in to the water, as opposed to the first ascent where they climbed rock for 80 m to reach the ice. The right hand line is the new route Piss n Vinegar and looks discontinuous. We continued on the right on the upper wall in total about 10 pitches. Dock your canoe in a little niche at a single bolt then start climbing, make sure to keep the boat out of the line of fire of ice though. views are unique!! Looking up halfway Crux pitch Lillooet and Seton lake Almost done the route and the photo overload We topped out in a strong wind and with white caps on the lake I wondered if we should descend to a barren cold ledge or camp in the forest and make a fire. We decided to head down and see what happens. Besides the sleeping bags were down there. We were concerned about falling ice in the warm temps so we rapped the vertical forested face to climbers right, and after 8 raps we hit the canoe. I was pretty tired and the hour long paddle home seemed hard on my shoulders. However once we hit the middle of the lake the wind picked up and started broad siding the canoe with waves, this brought renewed power and we bee lined for shore, not the quickest route but having land within swimming distance seemed comforting. The waves were larger here though and as we neared the car the wind started howling, I could see the mist from crashing waves in the parking lot lights being whipped against the truck. Thankfully we were close just another 100 feet but the waves were getting big finally one swamps the canoe Bruce yells and then we slide up on the beach, safe. Then it was beer and a long drive home.. So if your full of Piss n Vinegar there are some great routes available and they come with a most memorable experience just an hours paddle away.. Approach Notes: Notes A Row Boat would be better, The wind forecast is for Lytton which is the windiest place in the interior. Either go dead calm or call Environment Canada for a forecast. You can scope Winter Water from just after the bridge going South before Seton lake boat launch. There is a very high possibility that you could walk to Comedy of Errors et al.
  8. Trip: Dewdney Creek/Coquihalla Hwy - FA Toll Free - 200m WI3 M5 Date: 2/8/2009 Trip Report: I did a little bit of ice scouting on Saturday up the Coquihalla. There is very little snow up there except right around the pass. Looks like it was cold enough for ice to form last week from snowmelt, and it is melting out a bit. Jarvis Bluffs had a bunch of rotten ice. Shady stuff higher up was in - Drool In the Lotus, Thinking Outside the Box and the shadier stuff in Box Canyon looked fat and blue. The Box Canyon approach is not in great shape, though, due to the low snowpack although someone was parked there and maybe climbing on Saturday. Driving back down the highway I saw some unclimbed ice up high on the north-facing side of the Dewdney Creek drainage and ended up enticing Doug out to climb it on Sunday. From the road it looked like a large flow of blue ice with a couple of separate possible finishes. I guessed maybe 2 pitches at WI3-4. Sunday morning I met Doug in Agassiz at 7 and we were parked and hiking not long after 8. We wandered up the north side logging road in Dewdney Creek about 2km until right across from the climb then found logs to cross the creek on. The approach is up a shallow drainage betwen two heli-cutblocks, and was easy walking on old avvy debris. Looking up from the logging road at the route. At the top of the cutblocks the drainage splts into two gullies; we took the right-hand one. There was melting rotten ice in this drainage, low-angled but hollow; we had to avoid a couple of short sections in the forest to the right. We gained about 200m up this drainage and then got to fatter ice where the route started. Doug in the approach gully. The route turned out to be a lot longer than I had estimated. The first rope-stretcher pitch (61m WI2+) went up an easy flow to a short wall of steeper ice, and got us into a large bowl with three massive, blue flows of ice in it. The right-hand line was the lowest angle but longest while the central and left lines were shorter but steeper. It was starting to warm up noticeably as clouds rolled in and we saw a bit of ice- and rock-fall so decided to climb the lowest angle line. We climbed a 60m WI2 pitch, then a 40m WI3 pitch to a ledge below the final pillar. It was Doug's fourth ever day on ice and first multipitch ice route - I kept offering him the lead and he kept declining. Maybe the fact he was using my old Pulsars had something to do with it. Doug seconding the long second pitch. We moved the belay 20m left on the ledge to the left side of the final pillar, then I led off. The ice was steppy and rotten on the left but solid and blue just to my right so I was able to get in a few good screws. I got to what looked like the top of the route (25m WI3) only to find it had melted out - I was balanced on the rim of a hollow tube. Between me and the nearest solid belay tree there was a 5m gap consisting of moss-covered, unfrozen vertical and overhanging choss with a couple of perched detached ice blobs about 2m diameter. I tiptoed across the lip of the ice tube and started grunging around with my tools looking for drytooling holds. Everything was pretty slopey and the moss was not frozen enough to turf-tool. I balanced up a couple of holds, ripping out massive clods of moss and mud, and at full reach managed to hook an incut flake under an overhang; it flexed a bit but held my weight. I mantled onto the head of my hooked tool and was able to reach up with my other hand and snag a thick devil's club stem over the overhang and then pull on it like a madman and beached-whale over into the forest above. I got up to a solid cedar tree and carefully felt the back of my pants to see if I had shat myself or not. Just then two of the ice blobs below that I had tiptoed around cut loose, funnelled down the route and laid a beating on Doug at the belay, giving his pack a good pounding while he cowered under it. Doug climbed up to me, climbing the ice easily but using some of the rope to yard his way through the mixed section. We sat down in the forest above the climb and had a bit of a breather to calm down and stop shaking. Rapping back down the route now seemed out of the question so we decided to try and walk off. We found a decent set of benches and ledges to descend to the west of the drainage, although there were a few sections of face-in frontpointing on frozen moss to link the benches. At around the same elevation as the base of the climb we got cliffed out and had to rap 30m off a tree. Forest rappeling. We grabbed our poles from the bottom of the gully and hiked out the way we had come, arriving back at the car around 5. It's great to have the longer days in February Ride'em cowboy log crossing. Overall this was a pretty fun climb except for the last 5m, which were definitely some of the hardest, chossiest and most scary mixed climbing I have ever done. Probably a colder day with the top of the route bonded would be a much better time to do this climb. Gear Notes: Screws and draws and helmet. Thick gloves help when yarding on Devils Club. Approach Notes: Park at Carolin Mines u-turn route and walk south on the highway about 300m to the narrow strip of land between the Coquihalla and Dewdney bridges. Cut into the forest to pick up the gas pipeline and follow it back to Dewdney FSR. Walk up Dewdney FSR to an open gate at around 2km, and just beyond the gate look south to see the route. Cross Dewdney Creek on logs and plug c.500m up the hillside to the route, which is at c. 1000m elvation.
  9. Trip: Enchantments, The Flagpole FWA 2-7-2009 - The Flagpole Date: 2/8/2009 Trip Report: Saturday Kyle Flick and I climbed the Flagpole in amazing weather: Warm sun in the day, full moon at night that was our headlamp all the way back to Icicle Road. We started around 4:30am on skis at Bridge Creek Campground. The dirt patch near the start of the road is slowly getting bigger, but the road is still skiable from the trailhead down to that point. We skinned up to the Colchuck Lake turnoff and stashed the skis, since we knew the trail up to the lake is icy and totally not worth the skin nor the ski down. As it turned out, no where in the Enchantements is worth skiing at this point. Maybe in March? We had perfect cramponing up Asgaard, and across the upper plateau. No postholing whatsoever. We climbed Flagpole last Sprng, so we had the approach dialed in. We approached via the dry gully just West of Little Annapurna. By the time we reached the base of the climbing, 10 hours had elapsed. We knew when we started climbing at 2pm we would be deproaching in the dark, but with these perfect conditions we weren't in any hurry. Kyle led the first mixed pitch, easy terrain with a snow/ice ramp to a bush belay. On the second pitch, I threw on my rockshoes, and Ade's lucky legwarmers. The climbing was on warm rock free of any snow or ice, which brought us to the base of the Flagpole's bolt ladder. I clipped through the ladder, using my rivet hangers on the old bolts which don't accept carabiners of any size. The finishing 5.8 offwidth move takes a #5 (new size) camalot, followed by some easy but very exposed moves on the arete. Kyle lowered me off and clip cleaned the ladder. By the time he touched down, it was dusk. Having two ropes for the two raps is very useful. We slogged back out the gully and popped out onto the upper Enchantments in bright moonlight. We would not use the headlamps again until we got into the trees. I've skied the trail from the trail cutoff three times so far this season, and not once have I done it without the skins still on. It's total survival "skiing". We chatted with a couple poor souls walking the road, who had climbed the Colchuck's NBC, which looked okay by the way. There does appear to be a couple rock steps with no ice in it. However, they had no problems surmounting those. By 1:30am 21 hours after starting out, we staggered back to the car, vowing to never slog that road again until the f$@%er is melted out! Contrived mixed hike up Asgaard Pass. This can be easily avoided. The upper Enchantments. Looking South towards Mt. Rainier, Ingalls Creek. Descent down gully. The Flagpole and Pennant Peak On the approach. Kyle on the first mixed pitch. Me starting the second pitch, replete with Ade's lucky legwarmers. Starting the bold ladder. On top. Looking down from the top of the Flagpole. Kyle Flick photo. Looking East from the top of the Flagpole. Kyle Flick photo. Stuart in the sunset. Kyle Flick photo. Thanks to Ade Miller who let us use some critical gear, not least of which were the '80s era legwarmers, which have quite a bit of magic left in them.
  10. Trip: Strobach - FA: Ponderosa Pillar WI5 65m Date: 2/1/2009 Trip Report: Alpine Monkey and I (Bryan Schmitz) went into Strobach for some ice this weekend and ended up having a great time. The snow conditions were pretty prime, no post holing. We began at the Motherlode area on Saturday. Me looking pretty jazzed for the Hike in after the 2:15am wake up and the three and half hour drive that followed. Hiking In Some cool looking rock or dirt? 2 + hours later we arrive!!! In the words of Frank Snaders, "i am here now" Dropline through Bleeder Project Strobach Unclimbed A & B. Now strobach Unclimbed A & Ponderosa Pillar Me high up the route, the route was about 70 feet longer than we thought, topped it out and rapped off a tree. God look at all those screws what was I doing? First on The Right Left side of the watchtower Area We climbed the tongue and Hidden Delight on sunday A possible "Winter Dance" of Strobach in the upper left of the photo. The Watchtower, NOT Touching, to bad, but a good reason to return later. Approach Notes: Hwy 12 Tieton Road just east of rimrock lake, head through the woods towards Strobach Mountain. Follow directions in WA state ice. You can see the climbs on Strobach across the lake and would be a good way to check conditions if you had a scope.
  11. Trip: Dragontail - Chasing the Dragon Part 2 - Backbone Ridge, FWA Date: 1/16/2009 Trip Report: Here's the TR and some pictures. You can find even more pictures in my gallery here. When John Plotz emailed me last weekend completely convinced that conditions on Dragontail’s Backbone Ridge were going to be perfect I have to say I was skeptical. Previous experience told me the Colchuck Lake basin was bitterly cold most of the winter. But local knowledge is local knowledge and it’s not like I had anything else planned for the end of the week. So… Thursday morning found me standing at the Eight Mile trailhead waiting or John and Kyle to arrive so we could ski into the lake. If winter climbing in the Cascades demands nothing else it demands optimism. We skied up the road in the cold fog convinced warmer air lay above the inversion. Kyle had originally planned to accompany us to the trailhead and possibly further but a fall the previous week had left him with a back injury and he wished us luck and turned back shortly after we left the cars. John and I continued skinning up the trail. The previous week’s rain had reduced the snow cover and it was mostly easy going all the way to the lake. Either that or my skinning has improved which doesn’t seem that likely. At the lake we retrieved a cached rope and some large cams and pitched a tent on the edge of the ice. We planned to climb the route in a single day figuring we might be able to rappel from the base of the Fin into the top of the Triple Couloirs route and climb that for a quick finish if darkness looked like it was going to overtake us. Being benighted would not be fun. An early start was in order… John gearing up at the base of the route. The following morning John and I left the tent just before six and hiked the twelve hundred or so feet up from the lake up to the base of the route at 6,800’. The snow was really well consolidated so we made really good going and reached the base by around dawn just after seven. We geared up on the moraine and I set off to the start of the route. In winter the lower part of the route climbs a shallow gully and then traverses easy angled snow slopes first left and then back right to the base of the 5.6 corner a pitch below the off-width. We simul-climbed the snow to the corner using trees as belays. Soft snow made it seem like hard work but at least it was really easy climbing. There are actually two obvious corners below the off-width, in winter the left hand one looks to be the better option. It had less ice than on my previous attempt a few years ago with Alasdair. The snow ended in a short ice smear up the base of the corner. We drytooled and then rock climbed the corner to the obvious tree anchor. Probably at about M4 or so – because every Cascades route seems to get M4 these days. John following the last of the snow above the mixed corner. We put away the boots, crampons and ice tools and put on rock shoes and, in my case, attractive 80s style leg warmers. The warm temps and rock shoes allowed John to make short work of the pitch Alasdair and I had spent ages aiding on our last attempt. Heavy packs made the first 5.6 moves feel like hard work though. By 9:30 we we at the base of the off-width corner which had some snow deep in the crack but was pretty much dry. We broke out the aiders and big green Camalot. I was worried the corner might really slow us down but a combination of aid, French free and free climbing soon had me hauling packs and John following the corner. The wall above looked largely free of snow. John belaying the off-width. We were able to free climb the 5.8 pitches above the off-width to gain easier ground on the ridge crest below the Fin. We simul-climbed the forth class pitches to the base of the Fin. All really fun climbing without much of the unpleasantness usually associated with winter climbing. In fact other than the overly heavy packs, it was all starting to seem a bit too easy. Leading the 5.8 pitches above the off-width. Very dry conditions. From the base of the Fin we could see directly into the upper of the Triple couloirs. Like everything else on the face snow cover was thin. As we were watching a TV sized block came bouncing down the gully dislodging other rocks and taking them into the lower couloir. This made our cunning escape plan seem a whole lot less cunning. John led the first pitch up from the base of the Fin across the ledges. Which is where Dragontail started to bite back. There was a lot more verglass on the slabs and icing in the cracks than we’d found lower down making the climbing somewhat harder and hard to protect. John did a great job of making it to the belay ledge in the middle of the Fin without being able to get much gear. Working up towards the ledge belay on the Fin. I led a short pitch up the face but was stopped as grove above me was filled with snow. Further up the remainder of the crack system was completely iced in and not in a fun mixed sort of way. I belayed John up to our high point and we examined our options. These seemed somewhat limited given that we are over a dozen pitches up the route and our bailout option of the Triple Couloirs looking very unattractive. Other than the groove leading right there was another set of cracks to the left. I remembered a topo showing the left hand variation so we opted to give it a go, neither of us actually having done it before in summer. It seemed like the only, and therefore best plan. John starting the left hand variation on the Fin. John headed up the first series of cracks to a great belay at the start of a rightwards traversing rack system. While the cracks weren’t iced in you definitely had to be careful where you put your hands and feet as there was much more icing than lower on the route. I climbed the cracks right and ended up in an obvious notch in the crest of the fin and belayed John up. We were rewarded with a fantastic position and amazing view of the surrounding peaks and the lake far below. On the minus side the sun was starting to set over Colchuck and it was getting cold. The Fin traverse. OK. So it's now cold. I’d been to the notch before in summer while exploring another variation – usually called “being off route” - and vaguely remember a loose ledge system on the back side of the fin. The ledges led to another notch, onto the front of the Fin and then ultimately to the summit. Of course in winter this turned out to be covered in either ice or soft snow. We quickly changed out of rock shoes and into boots. It was now past 4pm and darkness would be on us in under an hour. John doing the business on the final section of ridge. The traverse was slow going with many loose blocks waiting for the unwary. After a little aid and a lot of cursing we regained the ridge crest just as it got truly dark. Rather than continue traversing the summer route’s iced in ledge system we opted to put rock shoes back on and simul-climb the crest of the rock ridge. I belayed in the dark as John grunted up another easy (in summer, in daylight) off-width to the ridge crest and continued along it. He ran out of gear just below the summit. I followed the cracks - more swearing and grunting - and finished off the final fifty feet of mixed rock and snow gaining the top just after 6pm (total time on route about eleven hours). I know what you're thinking. We did NOT stop to take drugs on the summit. It just looks that way. We took a few photos and headed down. The descent was straightforward except for a short section of scree at the top of Asgard Pass we were able to plunge step most of the way to the tent for a round trip time of about fourteen hours. Next morning we left camp early the and John skied and I slid down the the trailhead. Yes, there is a difference. How anyone can ski with a forty pound pack on is beyond me, I half expected John to rail slide the handrails on the bridges over the creek. Either way we made it to the trailhead were we were met by Kyle. We swapped stories and then skied down the road to the cars. John skiing out across the lake. By 2pm I was waiting in Starbucks in Leavenworth with the other sheeple trying to get a coffee for the drive home. A full value trip and the weekend wasn’t even half over with. Thanks to... This has been a project of mine for the best part of five years since climbing the Serpentine Ridge in winter with Alasdair Turner in 2005. Numerous winter attempts with Alasdair, including one that failed above the off-width, and several summer rehearsals with Forrest, Justin and John and Kyle Flick all contributed to being able to make the most of the weather this time and get it done. Thanks to everyone who’s tried this route with me – summer or winter – and especially John for watching the weather and being an excellent partner for the trip. Summary First Winter Ascent of the Backbone Ridge (Weigelt-Bonneville, 1970) with Fin Direct left hand variation (Anderson-Brugger, 1974). Ade Miller and John Plotz, Jan 16th 2009 (2000’, 5.9 A1 mixed). The route follows the summer line climbing easy snow to the base of the 5.6 corner. Climb the corner system (mixed) to a tree (possible belay) and continue up rock to the base of the offwidth. The the route to the Fin crest is as described in Beckey. On reaching the crest traverse the south side of the Fin on loose icy ledges (mixed, one pt. aid) to regain the crest at an obvious notch. We avoided further ledge systems on the north side of by climbing up to the crest and traversing towards the summit. Gear Notes: Full rock rack to #6 Camalot with some doubles in the mid-sizes. Pins (KBs and Angles) not used. Ice tools and crampons required, we took one heavy set for the leader and a light weight set for the second. Double ropes increase your options should you have to bail. Approach Notes: Ski or snowshoe from the Icicle road. Good trail to lake. See Colchuck Lake conditions thread for more details.
  12. Trip: Near Hope - F.A - Family Man , 150m WI2+ Date: 12/26/2008 Trip Report: So MikeW and I were going to climb Hell's Lake Falls or something up the Fraser Canyon but just past the gas line crossing the fraser while heading east towards Hope we spotted a line running up a corner/gully on the cliff left of the road. We parked and geared up at a small pullout 100m east of the route and walked over to the base. I took the first lead which climbed low angle thin ice to the right of the prominent right-facing corner. Where the angle decreased and the ice became thinner I moved left to the corner where I scrambled up low angle mixed rock and ice to a blob of ice decent enough for a belay. (50m WI2 M0) Mike climbed a few meters of low angle ice past the belay to a snow terrace then a few more meters of low angle ice to a tree below the main gulley. This could probably just be soloed or some simul climbing could be done to combine pitches 1 and 2. (25m Wi2-) Mike took off on lead again as the last section had been short and easy. He climbed up the gulley on more low angle ice towards a prominent rock buttress where we took the left hand branch (the right hand branch looked like more low angle ice). This narrow gulley to left of the rock buttress had the most enjoyable climbing of the route, climbing up several short, steep bulges then staying to the right to avoid some bushes. Mike then belayed below the most prominent bulge as he ran out of rope. (50m WI2+) I took the last lead up the final steep bulge, then up more low angle ice moving right into an easy rock dihedral(to avoid bushes)leading to the forest above. (25m WI2+ M0) I saw some more ice in the woods above so we hiked up to the base of it. There were many options on this flow ranging from about WI2+ to WI4+. I wanted to climb a fine looking pillar but Mike had to be back in Hope with his family for the evening so we headed down, hence the name of our climb. All lines on this wall remain unclimbed. We rapped the route off V-Threads and Trees in 4 raps. Stupid me did all this in my thin lead gloves and my fingers froze until they were too weak to shove back into my toasty belay gloves. In fact I'm having trouble typing this report as my fingers are still thawing out I will post pics when Mike sends them to me... or Mike will just post them himself. Gear Notes: A few Stubbies, some med - long screws, rap tat... 50m or 60m ropes... Approach Notes: The climb is located between the gas line crossing the Fraser and Hell's Lake off Highway 7 near Hope. Look for a large prominent corner system on the cliffs above the road (where there are no nets covering the cliff) The climb follows this system staying left of the rock rib near the top.
  13. Trip: Near Hope - FA Tradewinds 210m WI3 Date: 12/26/2008 Trip Report: This nice ice line has formed up right of Tailwind, in an area that is often dry or the ice is thin... it may be the same one that David and Nick Jones climbed a couple pitches of on an attempt in 1989 (see WCI guide p.94) In between Tailwind and Tradewinds is a very obvious unclimbed line in a fresh rockfall scar/corner that appears to consist of several pitches of mixed slabs in a corner to a vertical pillar with a huge yellow ice roof at the top that looks like a cobra's hood. Anyways Jesse, Graham, Robert and I scoped this line on the 21st but it is exposed to the down-valley winds and we didn't feel like climbing in 50km/h outflows with gusts to 80... Winds persisted through the 23rd. Shaun and I were ready for an attempt on the 24th but the record snowfall halted that plan. After loading our bodies with a few pounds of turkey and micemeat pie we were back at the climb today with no winds and only light snow. Perfect conditions near -4C all day long. We parked as for Tailwind off Hwy 7 and hiked through forest, prickle bushes and fresh rockfall debris to the base in about an hour. We both simul-soloed the first pitch, towing the ropes up - 50m WI2. The next pitch had a narrow, awkward ramp and then great fat ice and chimneying moves, with a bit of rock pro. I note parenthetically it's way faster to place a bomber nut off to the side of a climb than it is to fuck around drilling a shallow screw and trying to avoid rocking the teeth. Belay was a weird chimney stance, 55m WI2+ Shaun led what turned out to be the crux, a wall with several short pillar steps and several ledges. Lots of opportunity for variation, WI3 to 3+ lines depending on if the pillar you chose was 3m or 8m long. Above this, another long chimney/ramp, to a belay on a giant boulder frozen in the ice (hopefully solidly). 55m WI3. I led the final pitch which was a long ramp with lots (by this time) of snow over low-angle and wet ice, and a couple of steeper bulges, finishing to trees. 61m WI2 (Shaun had to take the belay down and climb up a meter or two for me to make the trees). We rapped the route rather than spend a few hours walking off. Three 55-60m raps trending to climbers left (off tree, off the boulder, and off another tree well left of the ice) got us down to a tree ramp we could downclimb 30-40m to the base of the route. Total round trip time was about 6 hrs. Mike and Marc were climbing Tailwind at the same time, they were just approaching the final crux pitch as we got back to the car. Looks like the bottom of that route was thin and spicy! No photos cause in the post-turkey daze both Shaun and I forgot our cameras! Gear Notes: 10 screws plus a set of nuts. Approach Notes: Highway 7 from Agassiz east 20km then park just past Rockface Trailer Park; hike in: see TR for hiking rt. details.
  14. Trip: Agassiz, Hopyard Hill - F.A - O.C.D Pillar 37m WI4 Date: 12/24/2008 Trip Report: So this morning MikeW picked me up and we went over to a roadside climb in Harrison. I led it but Mike started feeling sick so we left.I was trying to figure out what to do as the day was still young but all the low angled stuff I would solo was getting buried in snow. I remembered that on a little hill named 'Hopyard Hill' 1 or 2 km's west of Agassiz's city center there is a NE facing bluff of dirty, crappy rock. On this cliff there is a rarely formed pillar that is usually just a couple of icicles. I thought it might go this year so after picking up a new pair of climbing pants at the post office, I convinced my GF to come out and give me a belay on a pillar. It took a fair bit of convincing to get her to go out in the cold and heavy snow, she told me that I was 'obsessed' to want to climb the route this badly... thats where the name comes from. It took us about 1/2 hour of walking to reach the base of 'Hopyard Hill' from my house and the pillar looked good but quite small. We hopped a fence, crossed a little field and hiked up snow covered rocks and bushes to the base of the climb. We put harnesses on, I racked up, then started up the ice below the pillar. I started on the right side of the flow, climbing a very short step and then a slightly longer steep step above the first. From the top of the second step I headed up and left towards the pillar on thin, but low angled, ice. Once I reached the base of the final pillar I was surprised to see that it was actually about 10m long, vertical, and chandeliered... I thought to myself, 'dammn, I've never lead water ice like this', and was hesitant to continue. I thought of placing a screw right at the base of the pillar but decided to conserve them (I only have 7) for the steep section, plus I needed the long one to make an Abalakov if neccesary. I started up the chandeliered, dripping pillar and got a screw in partway up, I continued up the steep pillar until I got to just below an obvious crux and fired in a short screw. I did a few more moves and got some bomber sticks at the top of the pillar and pulled into a shallow cave. The very top of the cliff was a few feet above me but getting there would require pulling a roof on a 3 inch thick curtain, the shallow cave had good ice in it and I built a solid abalakov and rapped down. My 70 meter rope didn't quite make it so I ended the rap in some bushes to the right. It then started to snow very hard so we quickly packed up and walked home. Overall the route was much better than anticipated, it was longer and steeper than I had originally thought and made for a nice F.A on Christmas Eve.... My only picture of the route sucks... I'll get a better one tomorrow if visibility improves The route from the base, it starts on the right hand side then diagonal's up left to the base of the obvious pillar. I ended in the shallow cave at the top of the pillar. Gear Notes: Screws, V-Thread Tool.... Approach Notes: Just off Mountain View Road in Agassiz, Look for some bluffs facing the road on the hill... the obvious pillar above the trees is the top of the route...
  15. Trip: Hope - FA Blue Moose (90m WI3+) Date: 12/22/2008 Trip Report: Tyler Linn and I climbed a new route near Hope today. The climb forms on the lower slopes of Hope Mountain about 200m west of the Thacker Creek drainage and I have been eying it for several years. A steep curtain at the base that doesn't always form leads to rolling ramps. You can only see it briefly from the highway but from the east side of Hope near the Coquihalla Bridge on Kawkawa Lake Road it is very obvious. It looked like the curtain had touched down so Tyler and I headed up after a bit of a gong show involving me forgetting my tools in Chilliwack and driving back to grab them. You can't park at the base on the highway so we ended up parking at the Hope crematorium and walking along the highway to the route. A better spot would have been to park near the gas pipeline office. You turn off the highway right at a sign saying "Next Services 100 km" and bushwack up to the climb in about 15 or so minutes. Route line from the highway. Route from the base. The direct pillar was touching down but was sadly spitting wet and horribly chandeliered and I didn't fancy leading it. Neither did Tyler. However I found a dry line along the very left margin, steep with good rests for 20m and then a narrow chimney/ramp line with some tricky and delicate footwork on a narrow ice vein combined with moss drytooling. I belayed after 30m in a clump of bushes and dealt with a loose crampon. Tyler led through on the next pitch which was a long rambly ramp, snowy but with a steep 15m high WI3 in the middle. We walked off to the east (towards Thacker Creek - skiier's right of the climb) down through steep forest, no rappels necessary. Ass shot of me reaching the ramp. The climb was pretty good, the direct column will also be a fine line with short approach when it comes in. Most everything else is in around Hope and the Fraser Valley in general and should last till Friday. Gear Notes: Eight screws or so, a few 10 and 13cms are useful. Approach Notes: See trip report.
  16. Trip: buck mountain - firs: buckshot (an easy way up the north side) Date: 12/3-5/2008 Trip Report: first internet recorded spray (attempt at hype deflation): on 12/4, cappellini and i climbed the line marked in red on the accompanying photo (photo used with permission of john scurlock: http://www.pbase.com/nolock/mountains ). we found conditions thinner than shown on john's photo from 12/7/05. we pitched out the first 4 ropelengths (wi3, wi4, wi4+, wi3). 3 simul-climbing blocks followed (quite a few wi2/3 sections separated by snow slopes). late in the day we were at the head of the main gully below some overhangs (the uppermost point of the blue line in the photo). overcome with a recurrence of alpine chicken syndrome, we downclimbed a couple hundred feet and simul-zigged right up steep sugar snow and neve to a belay. a zag left for 2 pitches (a bit of m4/5?)in the dark led to the ridge. dan was unwilling to slog up to the summit so we descended the west slopes and back to the tent on the moraine. in retrospect, we should have finished up the a ramp system roughly marked by the green line (more sustained and aesthetic) and slogged to the summit. to my knowledge the only photos dan took were during the hike out. as wayne noted, there are other lines to be climbed here. a line of smears directly up the north face would be a fantastic addition. ice forms early and those willing to play roulette with the road condition will be rewarded. watch for cornices (very small this year compared to previous years that i have seen it) and wind deposition. buckshot: iv, wi4+ plus a little bit of m4/5(?) Gear Notes: screws, rack to 2.5" plus kb's/la's Approach Notes: call the usfs wenatchee river ranger station at 548-6977 to make sure all gates are open on the chiwawa river road. 4wd and/or chains highly recommended.
  17. Trip: Courtney Peak - North Face, FA? Date: 7/2/2008 Trip Report: On July 2nd of this year, Tasha MacIlveen and I climbed a new route on the north face of Courtney Peak in the Oval Lakes Wilderness. Courtney is part of a group of high peaks between the Twisp River Road and Lake Chelan, and the north face overlooks Middle Oval Lake. The face may or may not have been climbed before—please drop me a line if you have any information about the history. I knew of the face from having worked in the area with Outward Bound for a number of years. There’s a good deal of salt-and-pepper granitic rock around Oval, Star, and Courtney peaks, and the shape of the face sort of recalls Dragontail in the Stuart range. A pure, continuously steep line was clearly not in the cards; the big snow ramps cutting across the wall suggested moderate terrain. It looked like fun, and I will admit that I was a little driven by the notion that it might be a first ascent. We schlepped up the long trail from the Twisp river, hiding out in the afternoon from a thunderstorm. This part of the east slope can get into a regular daily cycle of electrical storms. Why go to the Rockies when you can be terrified right here in the Cascades? Our packs were big; we brought enough supplies to make a couple of attempts. The last half mile or so saw us wandering across the lingering snow toward a camp on the moraines below the face. The forecast called for more scattered thunder showers, and we knew that our late start might cut the day short as a simple reconaissance. We set out with a comfortably large rack, a single rope, one ice hammer, and a handfull of pins. After some himming and hawing over the line to take, we chose the lowest toe of rock on the face. Several fun-looking arretes appeared as we got close, and it was essentially a coin-toss that decided us. The compact first pitch was a nice 5.7 warmup, a little run-out but fun. Tasha lead out and pulled some thin, 5.10 moves well above a green Alien. I arrived at a complex web of tiny gear she had managed to garden into the granite. We wondered out loud if this was really going to work, and thought of the ramp we should be hitting in a few pitches; it should offer an easy escape downward. I did a dirty mantle right off the belay, yarding shamelessly on a cam. Tasha followed it and called it 5.10, which made me feel like a big chicken. Another 5.8 pitch brought us to an impasse; upward looked hard and unprotectable. We tried left, no luck. Then rightward, we discovered a third-class ledge skirting away under a little mossy waterfall. I brought Tasha up onto the ramp we had been anticipating. Exhilerated by the lower pitches, we looked anxiously at the sky. The clouds certainly had that look, and I knew we could count on some rain, thunder and lightning. But glancing at a picture of the face on the camera, we could see how far we had come. We agreed to continue, keeping in mind that if we could regain our present location, a quick scramble down a fourth class ramp would have us down on the sow. We jogged up the ramp and I lead out up a beautiful piece of white granite, just to the right of a steep gully. Some wandering amongst dodgey flakes brought me onto lower angle terrain—easy but very compact and without the possibility of gear. I stretched the rope all the way out, barely reaching a decent belay terrace and a few thin cracks. The sky flashed as I clipped the first pin, and I could feel the rain coming as I drove the second. By the time Tasha reached me, the wind had picked up and Oval Peak lit up with purple forks of lightning. In retrospect, turning around would have been prudent, but the necessary discussion did not take place. Tasha scrambled up easy ground, then began searching for a way across a big bulge of compact rock. After much climbing, downclimbing, and backseat climbing from me, she found a delicate traverse leftward. This gained her a rib of lovely, greenish rock paralleling a snow gully to the left. I watched her climb smoothly and calmly while the sky above her exploded with bolt after bolt of lightning. The summit ridge of Courtney was getting hammered. She continued up the rib, climbing wet 5.8 moves with no pro for 100’ until the rope got tight. I hollered and began simul-climbing. By the time I reached her belay, I was pretty wet. I whipped on coils of rope and we climbed together through steps of fourth and fifth, toward a little overhang I had spied from below. The storm reached its full, ridiculous strength while we huddled, clipped to a couple cams, under a half-hearted roof of granite. We tossed on the space blanket, nibbled sandwiches, and laughed. Stupid, stubborn climbers. When the hail and rain was done, and when the lightning seemed to have moved along, we started up again. Simul-climbing up through a sea of loose blocks, winding up through depressions toward the summit ridge. Tasha glowed with sunlight against the black clouds in the distance. A short scamper up the blocky ridge yielded the summit. We sauntered back to camp down the west ridge, delighted with our adventure in the wild Cascades. North Face of Courtney Peak, III, 5.10, 1,200’
  18. Trip: Leavenworth, Clem's Holler - White Bird, 1p, 5.6 FA Date: 5/14/2008 Climb: Clem's Holler, White Bird, 1p, 5.6 FA Date of Climb: 5/14/2008 Trip Report: I had been conscripted to work as hod carrier on a big David_W project. If I wanted to upgrade my station I had better learn to hand drill on lead. So, when on a training day at Clem's Holler the week before, I noticed the slab right of the route we were on, Boardwalk, I thought, "It's a Beautiful Day". It looked like a good candidate. David said, "There's your White Bird..." Sure enough, it was easy enough climbing to find good stances at the required spacing. I think it yielded a good addition to a day's outing for the beginning slab leader. Yes, you have to climb at least 5.9+ to get up to it, but perhaps the stronger leader can do that one. By CascadeOtto The second bolt saw the end of my old Forrest Mjolnir hammer. The epoxy gave way and the head flew off, first up the slab a ways, then reversing course past me, in surprise turning to horror, as I saw it bouncing directly down on David and Zack. They actually caught the magic thing! Fearsome no longer, it's another one for the box of memorabilia. David's trusty A5 hammer was a lot better. Heavier, better balanced, it cut my drilling time in half. Three more bolts for a total of five, past some groovy pockets and horizontal cracks, led me to the Boardwalk bolt anchor. Thanks to David_W and Zack Krupp, photo by David_W
  19. first ascent Yet another FA (in Pickets)

    Just in: Alan Kearney on E McMillan Spire.
  20. Trip: Sherpa Peak - Rilikpa (sw face), FA, 5.7/5.8 Date: 9/16/2008 Trip Report: How it got started… “While waiting at a rap station on the convoluted West Ridge route of Sherpa Peak about a month ago, I thought to myself “There has GOT to be a cleaner, direct way to climb this mountain from the south.” As I descended the West Ridge, I noticed a line of cracks, corners and flakes on what could be called the SW face of Sherpa Peak. I thought it looked like a much more aesthetic and enjoyable way up the mountain from the Ingalls Creek drainage. I brought the idea of the climb up with my buddy Ben Kunz (wbk), and he was stoked to give it a try.” – Tim, aka therunningdog Sherpa at sunrise from Longs Pass So Tim (therunningdog) and I climbed, what we are pretty sure, is a new line on Sherpa Peak. A relatively diligent study in the Beckey guide and Cascadeclimbers, and the lichen covered rock and cracks, along with a few breaking holds led us to claim this first ascent. Here’s the line we climbed (excuse the crappy quality of my line wrecking one of Scurlock’s great photos!): We left the trailhead at 6:10am on Tuesday morning, hauling ass up and down Long’s Pass, crossed Ingalls Creek, and were in the wide basin below Sherpa by 8am. After a quick water break, we started up through scrubby trees and boulders toward the climb. Tim on scoring the last available water on the approach! The approach is the same as per the WR, except that you take a right turn uphill of the obvious tower to the south of Sherpa. After the right turn, scramble up 150’ of easy class 3 then take a left turn and head up an easy gully a few hundred feet to the base of the route. We left a small cairn at the spot where we roped up. Shot from the gully I’ll summarize the climb for those not interested in the details. Basically, Tim and I both believe that this climb is way more fun than the typically climbed West Ridge. It’s a good, moderate climb on great rock (better than the W. Ridge) that takes you to summit via a ridge scramble or the choice to hit up great crack lines up the upper south face. If bothering to haul a rope up Sherpa and aren’t in a great rush, I’d recommend taking this line to the summit over the W. Ridge ascent. Another shot of the route Note that we took a half rope and doubled it over because we wanted to haul less weight up and over Longs Pass, etc.. so these pitches are 100ft or less. For the first pitch, we simul-climbed up blocky terrain - 4th and easy 5th class to a ledge where the face steepened. I won the game of roe-sham-boe, and so got to head up the first belayed pitch. Pitch 2 heads up relatively easy dihedral flanked with flakes mid fifth climbing up to base of the hand sized crack on the SW face. (5.5/5.6) Approx. 85ft. Pitch 3 goes straight up the crack, up the face for some interesting face moves up and into a small alcove at the base of chimney. This pitch is really fun and with a few ascents (or if Tim or I go back up there to clean it) will be super clean. Right now, there’s tad too much lichen in the crack. (5.7) Approx. 90 ft. Tim hanging in the alcove Pitch 4 poses some interesting, fun moves up a chimney past the overhanging chockstones. From there, I took a straight line up face and crack to the top of this tower (sweet finger crack at the top). One could easily climb around the tower once above the chimney, but I wanted more climbing. If one opts for the straight up/more climbing option, you get a sweet top out move onto the top of this tower. (5.7/5.8) Approx. 90ft. Tim pulling onto the top of the tower, Stuart in the background A short boulder (not exposed) downclimb puts you onto a ridge that takes you to the summit, but you are looking directly at this: From the top of the “south tower” there are several options. The easiest is to climb one more pitch, heading north, to the true summit. However, the south face of the true summit is riddled with interesting crack systems that enticed us…and this is where we headed. After a short downclimb from the south tower, Ben headed up a 5.10-ish looking off-width roof type pitch, but backed off when it became apparent that it would be impossible to protect with our #3 camalot (a #4 would have probably been sufficient). So, we ended up taking a line a bit further east, and headed up 3 more pitches to the summit ridge. The first two of these pitches were awesome 5.8-ish hand cracks, the second of which finished with an airy traverse to a belay. Once on the summit ridge, it was a short drop down to the north side of the mountain and back up to the true summit. Tim heading up a great hand crack – truly awesome granite! Me on the airy traverse Tim at the summit Gear Notes: Medium rack to 3" (4" if you want to do the overhanging wide crack on the upper south face).
  21. Trip: Mount Sloan - First Ascent South Central (III, 5.9) Date: 9/13/2008 Trip Report: Doug and I climbed the central rib on the south face of Mt Sloan on Sunday Sept. 14. We drove up the Hurley on Friday night and camped near the hydro gauge. Woke up to a flat tire on my borrowed Forester and the spare was almost flat too, got it sorted in Gold Bridge and were at the trailhead around noon and at the lake and campsite around 2. Little bit late for starting a route (we had originally hoped to do two climbs in the area) so instead we went bouldering. Awesome full moon rise over the lake that evening. Up on Sunday morning and up the talus to the base o the face. We chose the rib directly east of the standard scrambling route gully as it has some white headwalls with splitter cracks I have wanted to check out for years. In the event our route avoided these splitters - bring three or four cams in the thin-hands range if you want to sample them. We climbed seven roped pitches (but two were really more like roped scrambling, 3rd class and 5.1ish) and then did about 250m of scrambling above on the lower-angled portion of the rib to summit. Route description: Pitch 1: Beginning right on the arete bounding the gully right of the standard gully, climb cracks and arete to a large ledge (30m, 5.7). Move belay 15m across ledge to next wall. P2: Climb large corner, avoiding greenery via face climbing up featured right wall. Good horizontal cracks for gear. Belay on ledge above (55m, 5.7) P3: Cut back left and pull short bulge to gain hanging slab left of corner. Climb slab to arete, then go right and up short overhanging stemming corner to belay above on arete with many blocks (35m, 5.8) P4: Move belay 30m along low angle arete to base of vertical white wall (30m, Class 3) P5: Move left and climb arete on good holds but poor pro (small wires behind flakes) for 10m or so until able to stem left to corner system. Continue up to ledge below second white wall. Climb right-hand vertical corner (awkward at first, then good stemming) to belay above (40m, 5.9) P6: Move right into large corner/ramp, climb to its end (60m, 5.1) P7: Climb wall left of arete up flakes and blocks, finishing right of fresh rockfall scar. Inobvious route finding but good pro. (45m, 5.7) From here, 250m of scrambling reaches the summit - either the lower-angle ridge crest or the gully immediately to the right can be used. Pics: On the approach Bouldering Moon and fire Approach Da route, and the headwall with splitter cracks we aimed for and then avoided on the left. P1 P2 P5 Routefinding on p7. Actual route went up to the right of this. Scrambling Doug posing down on the summit View south to Sampson area Bridge Gl./Tchaizakan area far to the NW Google Earth topo showing routes: Blue is the Southwest Buttress route from 2005 Green is the standard gully route. Although not shown in the interests of clarity, all of the other gullies on the face have been climbed - see BCM a couple years ago (2004?) for details. Red is the line of our new route. Orange is the SE Buttress Purple is the classic NE Ridge. Gear Notes: Light rack from small wired nuts to #3 Camalot. Bring triples of red TCU and/or red Camalot size for splitter cracks on white headwall. Approach Notes: Ault Creek road is 4wd, need about the clearance of a Forester to make it through - Legacy wouldn't cut it in the waterbars. Trail to upper lake is well-flagged and well-maintained but meanders annoyingly through bush. Direct approach from clearcut next to creek and waterfall as far as lower lake works better.
  22. Trip: Lemolo Peak (erstwhile Hardest Mox) - NE Buttress ("After Hours") V 5.10- R Date: 9/12/2008 Trip Report: Summary: On 9/12 and 9/13/2008, Rolf Larson and Eric Wehrly climbed the NE Buttress of the 8501' summit to the E of SE Mox Peak. The NE buttress on right division of dark and light, John Scurlock photo: A shot from the other side on our descent: From what we can tell, our route shares several pitches with Layton and Wolfe's E Face line "The Devil's Club", somewhere in the middle third of the ascent. "After Hours" (appropriate for several reasons) takes a direct start on the NE Buttress toe, and ends at the summit of what some have referred to as "Hardest Mox", the apparently heretofore unclimbed peak to the E of SE Mox. We continued to SE Mox Peak from there, adding a bit more engaging climbing. I believe that we are the first ascentionists of this peak, and hence can derive a little fun naming it. If this is the case, in keeping with the naming convention of Mox ("twin") Peaks, we propose Lemolo Peak; "Lemolo" is Chinook jargon for wild, or untamed. Klone (Chinook for "three") Peak would also be appropriate, but is already taken in Washington. If this summit is not worthy of a separate name, then no sweat--I already had my fun. I think that Rolf (aka the Bard of Leavenworth) is crafting a TR in iambic pentameter; until then, the following must do... Overview: Day 1, approach from Little Beaver to c. 5000' bivy in Perry Creek basin; 9 hours. Day 2, finish approach to 6000' rock start, and climb to 8200' bivy; 13.5 hours. Day 3, proceed to 8501' summit, then ridge traverse to SE Mox 8504', and descend to camp via gullies and unnamed glacier SE of Mox; 9 hours (ish?). Day 4, thrash homeward; 7 hours even, every minute fun. More detailed notes and pictures (I took all pictures; when the Bard isn't writing, his other job is male supermodel): On morning approach day 1, Jack Mtn and Nohokomeen Gl: Early part of roped climbing on day 2, somewhere around 7000': I was pretty worked from the day 1 approach, and started to get some hand cramps about 1000' into the climb; so Rolf took up the yoke and led the majority of the steep headwall in the middle third of the climb. He drew the crux pitch, which among its cruxes, included pulling a roof over suspect gear. Rolf reached into his puny reservoir of Solid and cruised the pitch—-one of the most impressive leads I'll witness. It was here that I believe he threw an alpine berserker gang-sign. No time for pics, but after following the pitch, I took a shot back at its traverse element: You might be able to make out some tat from MnE's rap 3 years ago. Additionally, looking at this pic from Mike's report, I surmise that while those guys went up and left from that point, we went up and right, cutting back left eventually. Here's Rolf making his way through more roofs: Some exposure from this belay, looking down at the buttress: At about 7500', I led what we jokingly referred to as a "comeback pitch" left and then up one of the few clean splitters we encountered, very exposed, then Rolf zagged back right across the buttress crest: The climbing was exposed and a lot of fun; I like the Bard's term for it, "cerebral", ha. Another shot a bit higher, ~8000': We had enough daylight to search around for bivy sites between 8000 and 8300, and settled on a then-windless site at 8200'. Temps were dropping a bit more steeply than we expected; we'd left our sleeping bags in favor of a lighter jacket-and-backpack bivy, and paid for our insouciance. We were so giddy about our situation, that we giggled convulsively through the night. Here's the alpine rat burrowing in for Led Zeppelin's "you shook me" all night long: Took some solace from the views; underexposed Picket Range: After the sun came up and I drank from my partially frozen water, we scrambled up and roped up for teetering stacked blocks to the summit (Mt. Spickard background): Last pitch to the yet-unclimbed 8501' summit: Shot of Pickets from tippy-top: Now we have to go over there--SE Mox: The traverse involved a 60m rap, a scoot around a gendarme, then a few more pitches of climbing on a ridge--actually very cool climbing. Even more pics, first is looking back at Rolf and the gendarme, I think: Then Rolf leading toward SE Mox, Mt Redoubt background and NW Mox foreground: Finally, views of 1) Lemolo from the summit SE Mox; 2) Challenger et al; 3) Bear's NF etc.: Then the ultra-brutal chossy galore descent of several gullies to the glacier: This tried our dessicated patience. Staggered into a deserved camp celebration of the finest 2-course meal (I guess everything does taste better with tuna), brews, bourbon, chocolate. Last day parting shot: And then beers and plunges at Ross Lake while waiting for our boat; deeeeluxe. I can now fully appreciate and salute Mike and Erik's journey into the unknown 3 years ago. Pretty certain I'd not take 4 days off to go after this big endeavor without their information posted here--thanks fellas. I remember reading about the brotherhood you guys shared, and held hope for similar with Rolf--nope. Our partnership is built on mutual disrespect and loathing; we share a vile and putrid love, and feed most from each other's misery. I'm not happy until you're not happy. Nevertheless, the Bard is a solid partner and I look forward to future adventures--this was an exceptionally stellar one. Gear Notes: -medium rack, with pins that did not get used. tri-cams employed often. -while no metal used, much extracted; our route intersected rap stations enough such that we bootied bountifully. -no plants were harmed in the development of our product. Approach Notes: Jungle fever Nihilism (or Zen Buddhism, according to one’s preference)
  23. Trip: Sloan Pk.-(FA)-SE Ridge - Probable FA of the SE Ridge of Sloan Peak Date: 9/7/2008 Trip Report: It was time to follow up on a few lines that I have schemed on in the past. 12 years ago I saw a super steep ridge directly above the Corkscrew route where it exits the glacier. It is the cliff on the right skyline. The Corkscrew (CS) Route is the grassy ramp below. Jared and I mounted a spirited attempt the Labor Day weekend before, only to get snowed out half way up the Bedal Creek approach. With renewed vigor and yet still more clouds, Lane an I went after it this weekend. All clear pictures were taken late Saturday or summit day, Sunday. Seems the west side sogginess was to prevail. With newly soaked shoes, we dispatched the approach . Up high, the clouds began their dramatic uplift. Lane and the "Snowpatch Spire of Washington" Monte Cristo Backdrop We then settle into an amazing bivy light show-yet again I am a lucky photographer lately I know I drove Lane nuts with taking a 100+ photos of him. A cold night led to the same in the am. At 8 am we got after the snow-crossing and the lower ramp and got above and into position to do the obvious Dihedral that caps into a big , crackless roof. Route goes up the Black Blocks(pitch 1, 5.2) on left and into the thin cracks on right of dihedral. Lane following 5.7 , pitch 2 I then traversed right onto the crazy-angled East Face! On to a fist crack, and then into the steep thin face section that also served as the crux. Pitch 3, 5.10a, Reachy, "Reach for the Nickel Pitch" Scary, steep and committing! After a crazy mantel left, I sent the final mossy, wet, yet fun dihedral finish. Pitch 4 , 5.10a. We were then stoked to be at the top of the steep part of the lower buttress. What is amazingly fun about Sloan is the upper bench to the left , lets you "Shop" for your finish. I have done 2 lines now on the SE Face and they have both been 4 stars! Pitch 5, contrived, yet 5.9+ Our route takes the lower left dihedral and goes right and straight up from there > Sloan is a blessed and cursed peak. It is blessed with great granite in places,and soaring walls. It is also cursed with huge ledges and western dampness and weather. I have had several great trips there, and it will be the sight of many awesome routes in the future! Cheers to your future with the highly-accessible -Sloan Peak Gear Notes: Cam to 3, several bugaboos
  24. Trip: Distal Phalanx - North Arete (FA) Date: 9/6/2008 Summary: First Ascent of the North Arete of Distal Phalanx 5.10, A0 Grade IV. Sept 6th 2008 John Frieh and Craig Gyselinck Distal Phalanx courtesy of John Roper Connecting the dots... Sure enough. Surf Mr Scurlock's long enough and you'll find something that'll make you swear under you breath and scramble for your stack of CAGs... seems to be a weekly occurrence for me. Only this time the offending picture had a link..? Click. Hook. Line. Sinker. Dr Roper roped me in with this: "Distal Phalanx (7615+) is the central climax of the long, untouched north arete above Neve Creek" I immediately fired off an email to the good doctor only to learn the untouched had recently "been touched though was still unclimbed" Touched but still unclimbed? Why I wanted to know... Too chossy? Too hard? Beta? Details? The good doctor forwarded my request for details and got this in return: "They went up to McAllister Creek bridge to cross Thunder Creek." Hmmm... But whatever it was... chossy, hard, etc... it didnt really matter. I had sent the pic to Craig (Alpinemonkey) and he was stoked! Both of us had to be @ work Monday morning so we figured we had to be at minimum halfway up the arete on Saturday if not on the summit to allow enough time on Sunday to get out and home. After examining the terrain and mileage we would have to cover before the actual climbing we agreed we needed to be underway by 2:30 am. Unfortunately both of us had to work a full day on Friday so we didnt get to the TH until late... I had time for 2 hours of shut eye in the parking lot next to my car before having to puke and rally. (Funny side story: some walking by around midnight felt the need to tell me to "get a tent" ) We were on the trail @ 2:40. We reached the bridge across thunder creek quickly and promptly began the schwack up Thunder creek to Neve creek and on up to Distal Phalanx. Neve Creek Craig in a sea of Stinging Nettles Craig and I joked "When I first saw the route my skin tingled! Then I realized it was just the stinging nettles" Local riff raff Neve Falls Other falls (summit in upper left hand corner) We started the arete around 11 am. Taking advantage of ramp systems and vegetation (veggie belay!) we were able to simul solo the lower half the arete (maybe a move or two at most of 5.6). As we didnt know where the next water source would be we started the arete with 4 liters each in addition to overnight gear on our backs... unfortunately the heavier packs, lack of sleep and effort already expended getting up Neve creek was starting to take a toll on each of us... it was apparent we were moving slower than normal. I was worried we werent going to make the summit by night fall. We busted out the rope at the halfway point where the arete gets much steeper and began simul climbed until the terrain demanded we pitch it out. I think we each found our second wind or the fact that dusk was coming quickly and the upper arete lacked bivy ledges but we started climbing much faster. Craig Neve Falls visible below Closing in Ask me about my windshirt! Summit! We barely made the summit by nightfall... I followed the last pitch by headlamp. In the interest of finishing before dark we opted to A0 one or two moves instead of hauling packs (we both climbing the entire route carrying bivy gear + water for the next day). We spent two hours trying to get a head start on the awaiting descent but more or less created more work for us the next day. We passed out in some bushes SE of the summit around 10 pm... 20 hours of effort on two hours of sleep had finally caught up with us Craig: So you're going to make coffee... right? The next morning we sorted out where we were and proceeded to climb back up over Styloid Peak and down to Thunder Creek. We searched in vain for some way across Thunder Creek to the easy trail on the other side... no such luck. Two days of schwacking had driven us we spent a good 15 minutes trying to prop a bean pole across one narrow point of the creek Down thunder creek we marched... I repeated "one less step... each step counts" over and over in my head. To our surprise we made much much better time on the way out than back in and we back to the TH around 4:30 pm. Epilogue: I had a blast. Yeah... the approach is brushy but it is no way as bad as going into Bear. In fact... if you've climbed the CNB of Bear and felt the climb was worth the approach chances are you'd like this climb. It is after all awaiting a FFA! Gear Notes: green, red, yellow c3 x1 0.3 x2 0.4 x2 0.5 x3 0.75 x2 1 x2 2 x2 3 x1 3.5 (old style) x1 4 (old style) 70 m rope 5-13 nuts hammer/pins (didnt use) Approach Notes: Ill edit my post with some maps and such.
  25. Trip: Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: The Royalty Ridge IV 5.10+ Date: 8/25/2008 Trip Report: O.. My. I first got a look at this ridge when John and I completed my first route in the tooths, Carpal Tunnel on Baron Falls Tower which sits to the North West of Baron Spire. As soon as I spotted it I elbowed John in the side and said "I have to do that man." At this time I had only completed two alpine routes and knew I wasn't ready to take on such an endeavor. The next summer Trevor Bowman and I spent some more time in the Baron Spire area completing two FA's and once again I got to look at the full ridge. This time it didn't look as daunting and I thought that I might be able to pull it off with a couple years more experience. This summer Trevor and I went back to the Baron area for three trips. The first trip we attempted the east Face route that ascends a splitter hand crack, we did the crack and then got stormed off. We spent two days in the tent and then went out. We came back two days latter and completed lawdog's lament and deliverance and then left the next day. Storms were brewing for the next couple of days so we rented harness's at the YMCA in Sun Valley, and headed off to the "City" to get dialed and wait out the weather. The city was sick, no one was there but we were limited with the meager rack that we had with us. So back to Baron we went after five days of cragging. The plan was to hike in, scope the next day, sleep, get an alpine start and finish before dark, and hike out. Luckily for us that is how it went. So here it is..... sorry about the picture I need to upload a bigger one so you can see the lables of the spires. The route begins on the West side of the bottom shield it ascends up the face to a 90ft splitter in a clean white wall. Take this to the top of the first spire. From here we climbed all of the major spires and pinnacles except two small ones that didn't appear to have any descent options. We continued to stay on the true ridge until it joins the south ridge. We took the south ridge north towards the summit of baron. Looking up at the lower shield. Trevor and I soloed up to 5.8 to get to the splitter in the face. From there we continued with low 5th class to the right facing corner/ chimney directly below the upper summit block "the queen". Take the corner to the north east side of the queen and make a 5.7 move to get to the summit. We figure the first shield was about 650ft of climbing to reach the queen. Since I got to lead the splitter on Deliverance I thought it only fitting to let Trevor eat this thing up. I was kinda glad that I didn't because it turned out to be a bit more strenuous then we both initially thought. Belay on ledge and head up the scrappy crack. 70ft 5.10+ There was a little crack on the summit slab which we might have been able to place a nut but we decided that a needles style rappel would be safer and less of a hassle. So we rapped off with the rope in a notch on my right side. The Serf also turned out to be a small 5.6 solo up to the top, starting on the north west using edges and the arete. side note* From here you can see the south ridge we joined it directly below the high point on the right and downclimbed and made a short rappel and then downclimbed to the notch. We are not sure if we were following the same line as Beckey but we do not think so. We went up ledges and steps on the west face below the ridge proper until we joined it a went up a large left facing corner at 5.6 to a small notch. From here we downclimbed ten feet and went up a short awkward crack created by a large chockstone at 5.9 The Jester: The next spire in line proved to be a bit more challenging and offered up some great chossy chimneying. The gear kinda sucks but it wasn't bad the route ascends a wide crack/chimney on the north west side of the jester. 5.9 90ft Downclimb the east ridge of the jester to reach the notch between it and the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight: From the true west ridge traverse right into a set of cracks that offer decent but not great protection. Take the flakes and finger and hand cracks to a notch. Belay in the notch next to a tree ten feet below summit. Climb up to the summit and rappel to the south west off a large block. 5.9+ 100ft This is looking back down the west ridge with baron behind me. This is me rapping the King Spire. This is a view of its shortest side the south west side drops away more than 400ft. Climb a series of cracks and wedged blocks to large ledge.50ft Climb a short slab to a series of flaring cracks up high, take these cracks to a notch 8-10 feet below the summit next to a small tree. 140ft 5.10-R Climb to the summit and rappel off a large horn. I was pretty strung out on this pitch by the end. I thought I was going for my first whipper in the alpine. From here put your regular shoes on and scramble up ledges, faces, and cracks to the south ridge. see side note above for description of upper south ridge* Overall the climb took 8.5 hours start to finish, and covered over 1700 vertical feet of rock. Gear Notes: Double to .75 BD and Single to #4 BD Approach Notes: From Baron head 500ft up to the low notch between Baron ans peak 9211'. Drop 1200ft down to the lake and head up the drainage to the south west. Head up this drainage 800ft to the base of the route.
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