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[TR] snoqualmie mountain - possible fa: the turf testament 03/31/2018


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Trip: snoqualmie mountain - possible fa: the turf testament

Trip Date: 03/31/2018

Trip Report:


marko and i went kickin', scratchin', 'n stabbin' yesterday and unearthed a previously unheralded book of the bible: the turf testament. 


start a few hundred feet up the slot couloir at the large right facing book. pitches 1-2: two 60m pitches up rock & turf in the corner and some thin ice on the right face. pitch 3: climb a short corner, move easily left to the next book, & climb it to tree belay (<50m). [pitch 3 alternatives: a. possibly rightward escape on a treed ramp (may dead end on the ridge bordering the slot), or b. finish directly up very difficult looking roofs above.] pitch 4: climb up shallow right facing book with overlaps to difficult exit moves overlooking the roofs directly above the second belay (30m). [pitch 4 alternative: straight up through a short squeeze chimney to a difficult looking roof in main corner.] hike up the ridge between the slot and crooked couloirs to the summit rock band. pitch 5: up central chimney/gully to exit immediately left of cornices (30m).

a pretty good photo of this route appears in martin volken's "backcountry skiing: snoqualmie pass". the route is very obvious to anyone skiing the slot so i would not be surprised if it has been climbed: any info would be appreciated.

the route cannot be seen from the start of pineapple express. however, a party could climb the first 4(?) of p.e., then scope the route from there. if interested, they could cross the slot to the turf testament. if not, continue up p.e. 

are you ready to testify?

Gear Notes:
rock gear to 4"; screws to 13cm (for us); your choice of turf gear; a few pins (not used)

Approach Notes:
best via standard approach to nw face. dropping down the slot may work but has drawbacks (can't scope the route, pissed off skiers).

Edited by rat
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Just one shortie Snarg, used 3x in the blessed turf blobs.  Some very crappy phone pics follow...

The first page of the newest Testament:



The first 3 meters off the ground:



The next 15 meters, which set the tone for most of the climbing:



Looking straight up last pitch and summit cornice.  (The few other pics I took during the climb were too crappy for publication):



Summit shot.  If you look closely you can see the chiseled Fingers of Fate:



This climb, in the conditions we found it, is harder and more sustained than NYG and PE and all their variations.  Though Rolf said that's because we're old now.

Praise be Turf for without it we are NOTHING!


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

Hey there Rat & Marko,

It's 4 years after your post,  but I stumbled upon it and want to offer my congratulations. I made 3 or 4 serious attempts on this route from 2013-2015 or so, and chatted with a few other people about it including Jim Nelson. Nobody knew of any serious attempt, let alone a successful ascent. And it's a damn hard mixed climb.  

I think you can safely assume yours was the FA. 

The earliest reference is a Mountaineers report quoted in the Becky guide. I actually went down to the Mountaineers Library and looked up the original report at some point. It wasn't helpful.

It's certainly been looked at a million times, but on my attempts (and on one summer scouting trip) I never saw any gear or evidence of prior attempts. (besides my own bail pitons) I believe the combination of the remoteness and difficulty of the route, the distraction of all the good skiing to be had, and the fact that you have to walk past several other easier and more enticing lines on the way meant that it was neglected until you made it up there.

You didn't rate the climb, but as you know, the route is pretty damn hard, with the angle of the face and the lack of pro being the main problem. If it were more vertical it would actually be less scary. Any fall would be a face-scraping tumbling disaster. One time, the conditions were ideal and there was solid rime ice all along the face, for the right foot and tool, but not enough for a screw. Pro was hard to find. 

I would be curious how you would rate it.

Big props to you both for getting it done. Especially climbing up into that overhanging stuff and finding a way. I never got higher than your 2nd pitch. One up there I concluded it was too scary and beyond my abilities, so I abandoned the project. 

I doubt your route will see many repeats. Turf Testament was an act of faith. 

Congratulations on the FA.


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Thanks for the history & your efforts. Perhaps thankfully, we didn't see any of your bail pins.

I suppose it's rated about the same as other routes on the NW face, however one wants to rate those, but is of a slightly different character & pretty run out on the first pitch. Since then I have seen photos where that pitch looks like hero WI3.

I'm surprised that it wasn't done before & I haven't heard of an ascent since. It's a good route with plenty of opportunities for new variations with a summit at the end. 

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