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tvolk

[TR] West McMillan, The Barrier, Mt. Terror - 7/13/2017

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Trip: West McMillan, The Barrier, Mt. Terror - West Ridge

 

Date: 7/13/2017

 

Trip Report:

Thursday Jul 13th: Approach via Goodell Creek and camp in Terror Creek Basin

Friday Jul 14th: Climb West McMillan, cross Terror Glacier, cross Barrier, camp in Crescent Creek Basin

Saturday Jul 15th: Climb Mt. Terror, cross Chopping Block Saddle and exit via Barrier crest and Terror Creek crossing

Sunday Jul 16th: Back to car at 2am, sleep in Little Caesars parking lot, drive to Seattle

 

Sammy, Cliff and I decided to increase our Pickets appetite this year and add some objectives to the fun we had last year. With that mindset we planned to make a small loop and spend several nights climbing the West Ridge of West McMillan, cross The Barrier and climb the West Ridge of Mt. Terror and finally exit by descending The Barrier and crossing Terror Creek. Last year The Barrier looked absolutely intimidating and we approached it this year with a healthy respect and expectation that we very well might get turned back by moats/loose rock etc.

 

After a quick trip up West McMillan we crossed the glacier, which is still nicely filled in, and chose the upper Barrier crossing, because the lower crossing ledges looked terrifying (though moats appeared fairly small from our vantage point on the glacier). There is one remaining snow finger crossing the moat to the rock on the upper crossing, which may or may not last much longer (it was rather thick, but when it falls it could either plug the gap or just disintegrate). LOTS of loose rock, slick veg, and awkward scrambling characterized the somewhat harrowing upper crossing. We ended up pitching out about 20 meters for the worst of it.

 

Friday night we were treated to a fantastic flat-ish rock bivy spot in the Crescent Creek Basin fairly close to the approach gully for Mt. Terror. Very little wind and a bajillion stars made for a super night!

 

Saturday ended up being a fairly long day... Solid snow led to within 30 feet of the notch below the West Ridge route on Mt. Terror - steep sand remained for the final 30 feet. Once at the notch is the crux of the route (as described well by Steph). A thin snow bridge across the moat North of the notch forced us to climb up over the large block on the right side of the notch and then drop down on the snow finger from above before we could start the climbing. 2 pitches of low 5th came next, which ended up being very fun! Enjoyable scrambling then lead to the summit. We rappelled the 2 pitches we earlier climbed. The last rappel ended with a necessary jump across the moat while on rappel. In my mind I had hoped for something SWAT-Team-like, but what I got was far far from it. Oh well.

 

Once back to our packs and gear we made the decision to head for the car rather than spending another night and risk Cliff eating/digesting his Chili Mac and Beef dinner. So at about 4pm we set out for the Chopping Block saddle. At the saddle we heard/saw a team of 3 topping out on the Chopping Block (congrats guys)! From there we descended snow fields until the crest of the Barrier. We followed the faint trail down the crest of the Barrier until we lost it and due to the oncoming dark we made the decision to head down and attempt to intersect the Terror Creek log crossing. Incredibly we managed to avoid all of the rock bands in our chosen line of descent and ended up with a pretty non mentally damaging bushwhack. There was, however, lots of the following: falling through devils club, exploding rotten stumps/logs, moss crevasses, alder to the face, and general slap-stick comedy. In the end we found 'A' log crossing, but not 'THE' log crossing. Now full dark and past Terror Creek we found and lost the faint trail 3 separate times. It was with great joy that we finally hit the cairn that marks the road grade and from there it was a mind numbing stumble back to the car where a bag of Pepperoncini Kettle chips met their demise in about 5 seconds.

 

All in all in was an excellent time in a wild place that we hope stays wild :moondance:

 

West McMillian

West_Mac_1_of_1_.JPG

Upper Barrier Crossing

Upper_crossing_1_of_1_.JPG

General Feeling at the top of The Barrier

Top_of_Barrier_2_1_of_1_.JPG

Sunset Chopping Block

Chopping_Block_1_of_1_.JPG

When in doubt just wear everything

Just_wear_everything_1_of_1_.JPG

Views of Despair

Bivy_2_1_of_1_.JPG

Scrambling below the summit

Cliff_scramble_1_of_1_.JPG

Terror Summit

Terror_Summit_1_of_1_.JPG

Terror Summit

Cliff_Terror_summit_1_of_1_.JPG

Descending snow below Terror

Cliff_on_the_snow_1_of_1_.JPG

Looking back from the Chopping Block saddle

Terror_Group_1_of_1_.JPG

Fighting the veg on our descent

The_Woods_1_of_1_.JPG

 

Gear Notes:

60m rope

small rack

Cliff wore the TX4 shoes and these seemed to be the perfect footwear choice for the whole weekend (with strap-on crampons)

Edited by tvolk

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Nice guys! That is a pretty bold move to start the hike out from the Chopping Block at 4pm. It sounds like you were rewarded accordingly.

 

Terror is a proud summit, glad you made it up and down safe. I remember a lot of loose rock perched everywhere!

 

Next time, check out that 5.6 route on the Chopping Block- a classic!

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Thanks Jason!! Our punishment fit the crime :battlecage:

 

Terror was a lot of fun, if rather loose! I would love to check out Chopping Block next time through; that NE Ridge does look like a really fun route (it goes around 5.6? I couldn't find much detail on that one)

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(it goes around 5.6? I couldn't find much detail on that one)

 

That is what sticks in my head, though I can't remember where I read it. We wore rock shoes, since we had them, and I remember thinking I was glad for them. It is a steep 5.6 (photo below of us rapping the route)!

 

IMG_6911-XL.jpg

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nice one!

 

and yes, Chopping Block is highly recommended. the first pitch or two are kind of wander-y, but then it gets very fun as you head up the prow.

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WOW that is an awesome pic Jason, thanks for sharing that!! And definitely steep! I know I would need rock shoes for that. Sounds like it would make for a great weekend objective and with that nice bivy spot right on the ridge it would be perfect :D

 

 

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Definitely adding to my list after everyone's strong recommendations!! Now that my bruises are starting to fade I am already plotting my next return..

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Another vote for that Chopping Block NE Ridge route. It's stunning, but short. Love that area.

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My buddy Don and I spent a few days last week up there, too. Camped on a perfect granite patio 100ft above the Chopping Block col. Climbed the Block (raps good now for a single 50m rope), the (unnamed?) peak west of the Ottohorn, and the normal route on Terror.

 

Great traveling now with all the snow.

 

Love them Pickets!

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Marko, snow conditions right now seem definitely prime! Did you guys approach via Terror Creek crossing and the Barrier crest?

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Awesome write up and photos Tim!

 

This is making me rethink some of my summer plans in an attempt to get out to the Pickets. I sure have spent enough time staring at them from various peaks around.

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tvolk,

 

Yep, Barrier Crest; not as bad as I expected, all in the shade!

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