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Blake posted a topic in North CascadesTrip: Gunsight Peaks Traverse - "Gunrunner" IV 5.10 Date: 7/11/2007 Trip Report: John Scurlock Photo A long-winded TR from a long, windy climb... The Gunsight range is a N-S trending ridgeline of fantastic granite near the southern end of the Ptarmigan Traverse. With four named summits over 8,000' tall and several intermediate pinnacles, it made the perfect candidate for an early July destination. Dan Hilden (Dannible) and I spent 3 full days climbing up there this week, and completed 2 new routes, plus the second ascent of the E. Face. The first day we were tired from the approach, so we didn't aim for anything too big, but found an exciting climb anyhow. I'll let the pictures tell the story... The route begins in the obvious corner which splits the face. We had to downclimb into the icy moat, so the first pitch is about 15' longer than it looks. The first pitch was splitter fingers/hands and ended at a nice ledge. Dan escapes the moat... The next pitch Dan lead around to the right, then straight up through wild loose overhanging chimneys. Here's looking straight down past my shaking toes: The last pitch was an easy romp to the summit where we found great views of Dome and Sinister. Artsy rope throw photo on the descent After playing in the spotlight of a natural cannonhole, we headed back to camp and sorted gear out for the next day. On July 9th we circled around the range along the Chickamin Glacier to the north end, well past the NE peak. We found some great hand cracks which lead to the ridge crest at its terminus and began the traverse. Wide stemming into a perfect hand crack... From the ridge crest we climbed south on fantastic granite above the Chickamin and Blue Glaciers. N->S allows you to climb the steep North faces and descend the south sides of the peaks. Pitch 2 climbs to the left (East) side of the crest and featuresan amazing 5.8 corner and face crack. The day definitely had more of a "climb" feel than a level traverse, and we'd both fully recomend it if you have a complete day in the area. Along the way we had one single rap from the NE peak and one double rap from the middle peak. The fourth pitch on the route was a well-protected face climb leading to an exposed roof on golden rock. We summited the Northeast peak in 7 or 8 pitches, and the climb to there would be a fun grade III. The last pitch to the NE summit actually began by circling around to the right (West) and climbing a chimney and then through the hole in the back of an enormous roof to the top. From there it was on to the North and Middle summits. The West face, in profile on the right, is still awaiting a FFA. There was one spot while climbing up the the North Peak where we were in a face crack which ended, so we pendulumed to the right to join other features. Apart from this bit of aid, the entire climb was done free, and I think we could have avoided it if we had looked ahead more carefully. By the time we summited our third peak (the middle one) I was feeling dehydrated and exhausted, but Dan found his second wind and led on as the sun set. He lead up to the top of the South Peak as the stars came out in force, and we rappeled down onto the Blue Glacier in the dark. The next morning we went to the East Face of the middle peak to climb the route which Sol (Frosty_the_tradman) and friend did last summer. (By the way, congrats to Sol on getting married last weekend, your route is fantastic too!) We broke up the pitches differently, and belayed on comfy ledges. See their trip report for more details. Above this splitter hand crack step right then up the finger crack and continue up the crack in the R-facing corner, over the lip(crux .10d), and to a big ledge. This elminates the need for a hanging belay and as long as you save one hand-sized cam for the last 15', it should be easy gear-wise, because of changing crack sizes. The second to last pitch features a beautiful delicate slab climbing. This face is in shadow all afternoon, and the sunset topout gets a Blake-and-Dan thumbs up. This was a fun trip and Dan is a great partner and camp chef. It was nice climbing with another young punk for once, as we have a combined age of only 41. [edited to add topo -porter] Gear Notes: Single cams Blue alien, #3 Camalot, #4 Camalot Double cams Green alien - #2 Camalot One set of nuts Crampons, Ice axe Should have brought more pringles... Approach Notes: Agnes Creek via Stehekin 3786-3784-Gunrunnertopo.doc
maxhasson posted a topic in North CascadesTrip: Gunsight range - West face-north peak Date: 7/25/2007 Trip Report: Inspired by CC.com trip reports Jens (Holsten) and I got on a boat last week and headed towards the fabled gunsight range. Though this website can sometimes be a waste of time, even a repository for spray and slander (mine own included) I feel sort of obligated to return the favor, as without the info gleaned here our trip may have never been. Anyway, enough bullshit. The trail up Agnes creek was uneventful right up to five mile camp, where the trail crew had stopped. Immediately after this we encountered the aforementioned hundreds of blow-downs and developed a cowboy like posture after so much straddling. A light cloud cover didn't do a whole lot to abate the heat, but it was better than nothing. We had hoped (foolishly) to knock off the approach in a marathon afternoon, but after reaching the spruce creek turn off decided to bivy. This was a smart decision, as darkness would have found us stranded on a 50 degree hillside suffering in the rain. Instead we camped on the river and ducked in the tent when the light showers hit. Not a whole lot to say about the next day, just some straight suffering up a hill. Blake and company humbly understated this phase of the journey, we were just glad to find the mountain. Several hours later we hopped onto the blue glacier in the afternoon heat, hoping not to get creamed by an ice fall. We walked right by what was to be our basecamp, intent on making it over to the chikamin. After some sketchy recon we discovered our mistake and settled in to one of the most amazing bivies ever. Wednesday morning we ambled over the pass above our camp and roped up for the super loose step down onto the gigantor chikamin glacier. A mellow crampon session found us at the base of the west face, I only fell into one talus hole where I nearly lost control of my bowels. The route is gained off a rad traversing ledge which beats the hell out of some ungainly moat. As almost everyone else has said the rock quality is superb, if a bit grainy the higher you get. If this wall was a little closer to the road I don't think this would be the case. Anyway, I headed up just to the right of Blake's cairn and wound my way towards the fabled crux pitch. It seems like Nelson and Dietrich (I think that's his name) veered right on the second pitch and climbed a very thin corner before moving back left to the belay which supposedly needs bolts. Again, no bolts were found in situ, leading us to conclude that Jim Nelson had a bad memory. The second belay would be more comfortable with bolts, but they certainly aren't necessary. Jens tentatively made his way upwards, made a tenuous move left of thin flakes and was still unconvinced that the pitch would succumb to our assault. However, move by move, he found unanticipated decent holds, good gear, more positive flakes (a trademark of this wild wall) and uncanny knobs, all of which took him past the crux to a well deserved victory whoop. Here he is crushing. I also managed to scrap my way up this stellar pitch, which left us exhilarated but also a little nervous about the rest of the climb, which wasn't quite over yet. The next crack system looks sort of like a hand crack off the belay, unfortunately its a shallow flaring flake. It does accept gear however, and after a little bit of pansying around I commited to the steep lieback. Another flake follows the first, and I did a little more pansying, unsure if our relatively light alpine rack would get me to the next stance. Luckily the crack finally turns into hands, where I was able to recover enough to run it out to a little knob belay where I plugged in the last of my gear, the four camalot and a blue alien. Here's Jens following. The final bit of steepness supposedly contained some crux wideness, which Jens so graciously allowed me to lead, but it ended up being a little less difficult than the third pitch, which didn't dissapoint me in the least. Jens led one more shorty to "flat ground" and we eventually found a way up onto the crazy summit blocks. The library is about to close so I'm just going to leave it at that for now. I'll give everybody some time to slander and wrap it up when I get the chance. Suffice to say, the rock is good, almost as good as Index. Maybe even better than Mt. Stuart.
Climb: Gunsight Peaks-West Face & South Ridge Date of Climb: 7/10/2006 Trip Report: Just The facts: July 8-10 saw myself and John Frieh climb the North, middle, and South Gunsight Peaks. We did the 2nd ascent of the North Peak's W. Face (new route or variation of the 1986 route), and we believe our route on the South Peak was a new line entirely. It was a great trip to a very remote spot. The Narrative: On the morning of the 8th, we set out from the Agnes Creek trail, and climbed to the Chickamin Glacier where we set up camp for a few days in the "Patagonia of the North Cascades." We were really hot, tired, and dehydrated from the approach, but decided to give the 1986 Nelson/Dietrich route a try, on the towering West face. I led a 40m pitch of sustained 5.9 on awesome granite. I climbed past two sets of bail gear, one of which we believe belonged to Forest Murphy's attempt a few years ago. (He had previously told John that they were off-route). After stopping at a saucer-sized belay perch and bringing up John, he lead up about 20' to where a wide roof intersected our line and all cracks thinned out. I was nervously trying to balance on my one-foot belay ledge when I heard a sasquatch-like scream and saw John flying through the air. He had taken a ~20' fall and was luckily caught by a 1/2" cam he'd placed below the roof. We decided to call that our "recon" attempt and go back to the shade of our tent and re-hydrate. On the 9th we braved the 5 minute approach back to the route, climbed back up to the first day's belay spot, and John led out again. We were able to work together to ID a likely looking crack to get past our prior high spot, and some A1/A2 moves on hand-tied aiders got us past the roof and into a set of good looking flakes. The next pitch (#3) was my lead, and I started out with some free moves up to 5.10ish before resorting to A0 cam-hanging as the crack widened and flared. With a mix of aid and free moves I lead to the next belay and John got the security of a top-rope on a beautiful fist-jam flake pitch. Too much fun... For pitch four, the flake/corner system went through a couple of small roofs and continued to be fairly vertical the whole way. John was grateful for the #5 camalot as he climbed up more vertical granite to a belay at the first moderately comfy ledge on the face. I followed mostly free, but with some definite rope-tugging on sections as well. From here I grabbed, the rack, and led straight up into P.5, a dark corner straight over our heads. This was a really fun free lead for me, as I knew we were getting close, and the climbing was a good mix of stemming, face features, and crack jams. The top of the corner visible from the belay spot is the top of the route. You literally mantle up from the corner onto the flat summit terrace. From the exit move atop P.5, you could easily flick a rock out a few feet and it would free-fall to the base of the wall. We didn't see any of the three bolts used by the 1986 party, we climbed the wall in 5 pitches (as opposed to their 7) and we encountered bail gear of other climbers who felt that they were NOT on the previously established route. We don't know how much is shared between the two lines, but maybe Jim Nelson could add some input. It's rad to consider that the only other ascent of that face was done the year I was born. After looking at the old summit register and reading the autograph of some guy named Fred Beckey, we scrambled to the North/Middle peak notch, and climbed a solid pitch of low-5th class to that summit as well. On the 10th, John and I decided to try to climb the South Peak as well. From the Gunsight-Blizzard Col we climbed North along the ridge crest, before dropping off the ridge to the right. It would be best just to stay to the right of the ridge on easy snow and slab. Eventually we reached a clean right-facing corner and began the route. The corner went at 5.7, and I led up and continued to the ridge crest on cool chickenheads and face features and belayed up John. From here John took the lead on a balancy and memorable traverse pitch across a giant cannonhole, and into the last notch before the South Peak. From here, one more pitch of mid-fifth class led to the south summit. From this summit, you can rappel the last pitch, and then make one overhanging 90' rappel onto the snow down the east side. We're calling this the South Ridge - South Gunsight (Grade II, 5.7, 3 pitches) Overall this was an amazing few days in the mountains. Thanks John Scurlock for the really inspirational photos! (Scurlock's shot of the 3 summits) Gear Notes: glacier gear, full set of nuts, full set of cams, pink tricam. Approach Notes: Should have been a week or two later for ripe huckleberries.
Climb: Gunsight Range-Various Date of Climb: 8/7/2006 Trip Report: My good friend Martins Putelis and I spent Aug 1-8 in the fabled Gunsight Range. We spent the first couple days slogging our way up through Bachelor Creek and over to the Dome/Chickamin col with some pretty monstrous loads. We climbed Dome, and then traversed the Chickamin Glacier to an immaculate bivy on the nunatak directly beneath the W Face of the North Gunsight Pk. The Chickamin had a few thin bridges, and was gained via a sketchy downhill leap across a five-foot gap in a broken snowbridge. Near the summit of Dome: Tower of Babel Bivy: We gave the W Face of the North Pk. a shot on our first day. P1 went fine, but we had a hard time locating the line to pull the roof and access the prominent cracks above on P2. Figuring we had plenty of time we bailed off with intentions to return. With plenty of time left in the day we scoped a different line in the cirque and gave it a whirl. The first pitch lived up to everything we had heard about the range, splitter fingers on perfect, clean, well protected granite, it clocked in at about 9+. P2 was a differnt deal a loose yet fun 10a chimney we dubbed the Hall of Hollows: We rapped from the top of p2, stoked on an adventerous and fun first day in the range. Day 2 saw us traversing onto the Blue Glacier to see if this hook-em-dook-em about the top of the 1979 Skoog/Brill line on the E face of the Main pk. falling off was really true. Well, it was, its gone. Not wanting to waste the day, we looked to the right of the line onto the NE face to see if anything else would go. We spotted a few nice looking cracks that lead to a prominent flake breaking the headwall above. what the hell, lets do this. The climb couldn't have gone any better, splitter, mostly well-protected, onsight, and all free at 10c. FA: NE Face Main Gunsight Pk. III 5.10c Sol Wertkin and Martins Putelis August 7, 2006 P1: from the moat crossing at the very bottom of the face work left on ledges and ramps to the base of two prominent hand-sized cracks to the right of the 1979 line, just left of a dark corner 5.6 P2: Climb the twin hand cracks to a ledge, move just right and climb wild eroded out dyke fist crack, move left, mantle, and continue via face holds to a good belay 5.10b Martins getting ready to mantle: Looking up the twin cracks from the base: P3: Traverse right via prominent flake, mantle and continue up, look left around corner to perfect splitter, climb splitter to arete belay 5.10a. Martins seconding P3: P4. Work up thin corner on right, move left to prominent flake seen from below. Pull bulge on left-hand side of flake into mind blowing splitter in amazing position. Continue up to slab of E face and climb left via runouts to good belay on base of the SE ridge. A long pitch 5.10c Beginning of P4: Pulling into the splitter: P5: Continue up moderate and airy ridge to summit. 5.7 SE ridge with Sinister in the background: The next day we woke up late and climbed the unique and fun South Cannonhole Ridge on the S Gunsight Pk. Its a super fun ridge that besides the memorable traverse is quite easy. Martins starting the traverse: Myself contemplating the Cannonhole: Stoked, we bowed down to the Gunisight gods and thanked them for the great time. Gear Notes: NE Face: Glacier gear, double set of cams to #3,one #4. Double ropes. Cannonhole ridge: single set to #3, nuts, single rope. Approach Notes: just pm if you really want this stuff.