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first ascent [TR] Mt Cleator - Tubby Needs Cheese 5.8+, 9 pitches, 1,000'+ 09/01/2019

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Trip: Mt Cleator - Tubby Needs Cheese 5.8+, 9 pitches, 1,000'+

Trip Date: 09/01/2019

Trip Report:


It's been a spell since my last report; I offer a tale of an ascetic and a hedonist climbing yet another irrelevant obscurity in their quest for entertainment and raw truth.



The weather forecast pointed them east, and Mt Cleator appeared to fit the bill. After a pleasant trail tramp past Buck Mtn and establishing camp, the dialectic duo scouted and debated a number of lines available, and provisionally settled on the cleanest looking one. The line emanates from near the main summit (not the N tower), and is a NW jutting rib that appears to share the granitic character of the pluton on nearby Berge--very little schist encountered. (Other options abound on the N side of this peak up to the N tower, but even these impaired codgers reckoned unappealing the primarily grubby schist on these longer lines toeing down more directly to Buck Cr. They agreed to buy beer for any whippersnapper climbing one of these lines.)

For the full Cascades sub-alpinism experience, approach directly from a camp near Buck Creek, where the trail passes close to the creek. Romp up pleasant alp slopes to a band of cliffy terrain, then bunk-jungle up steep alder to pass a waterfall. This approach grants access to the upper basin and the several lines available on the northwestern quadrant of the mountain. For the descent enjoy the scenic trail tour return via Buck Creek Pass.  Lots of wildlife encountered--bear, coyotes calling at each other (probably about the bear), deer, etc.

The climb's more-technical and mental challenges are concentrated in pitches 2, 3, 8 and 9.  (Unfortunately, not many climbing pics taken.)

Pitch 2: while the self-styled epicurean showered his pathetic self with sod digging for pro and holds, the wannabe stylite laughed derisively. Pitch 3: the ascetic got his come-uppance, "I wanna go home", but eventually pieced together a lead to the crest of the rib. The middle pitches were more scrambly, mostly mid-fifth and easier.  Pitch 8: a sweet, relatively steep and juggy corner. Pitch 9: interspersed short splitters and varied climbing, beautiful and exposed ridge rambling with steeper steps.






P6(?), climber low center:


On average, the over-indulger and the self-depriver make for a balanced human. In an alternate universe the roles could be switched, and maybe the pair would climb splitter cracks on impeccable stone; but in this one, they reconcile themselves to seeking new lines on inconsistent rock with their mercifully impaired memories. On this climb, a somewhat dirty beginning becomes more enjoyable higher (and with distance). 

It's difficult to get a well-defined shot of the line. Here's a flavor: T9bxEZgdYUfWy2yHn_TudElajJA8bYA47Bql1mMr

Tubby Needs Cheese begins to the left of the shaded red streak on far right, a few hundred ft below that tiny spot of sunshine on the ridge, and continues up to and then on the right skyline. Tubby tops out in the horizontal strip of sunshine, or perhaps just out of view behind the pyramidal feature to the left of it. (The sunlit tower is in the foreground relative to the main summit.)

Beckey's CAG vol 2 (2nd ed.) has a good pic of it along with Buck on page 160, swooping down from the main summit clearly marked MT CLEATOR.

And from the west, hiking toward Buck Pass:



A shot on the way home on Labor Day, TNC in the shade on right toeing down just left of the snow in the basin:



More pics (recommend click on 'info' to see descriptions for many): https://photos.app.goo.gl/P2U5SJgB8jU1eQBo8


Gear Notes:
Double rack through 3, a 4, some nuts. We didn't use our pins, but some folk might want to.

Approach Notes:
Park at Trinity. Buck Creek trail, etc. -- see above.

Edited by lunger
Buck *Creek* Pass
  • Like 2
  • Rawk on! 5

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Nice, E$ -- I heard a little bit about this last night when I got home from Canadia, but as usual had to wait to read your TR for the details. 

Nice extra photos too—that's quite a load of garbage you guys packed out!  Was that all from one site?


Edited by tanstaafl

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Very cool. Thanks for sharing the story and pics.

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Did the hedonist forget his food?

Looks like a cool area and maybe more enjoyable than the majority of your climbs, although of course I suspect a sandbagging.

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Nice work! I remember running by that ridge 2 years ago and wondering if the rock was any good and how the climbing would be. Props for going out there to check it out! I was on the east ridge of Berge in the rain the weekend before...

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glad you guys enjoyed the report.

tanstaafl: yeah, some bad humans left a bunch of junk at one site--got most of it, but lacked capacity for a shattered cooler. 

Kam: oh, tubby had cheese alright. a lack of cheese threatens his essence.  I think you'd enjoy the route and the whole package, it's a beautiful area, and a nice weather option for poor west side wx.

Kyle: saw your Berge report; good stuff, that route looks comparable in tech difficulty but of higher rock quality. it probably helps that it gets more 'traffic'.

Here's another pic I forgot to post, with Cleator (visible) and Berge's (blocked behind Cleator) grand-daddy Buck looming in background: 



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In that photo above @lunger there is that uber prominent rib/ridge on Buck.  Is that one of the routes described in Beckey on the North side or something #unclimbed?

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ahhhhhh....right.  My old brain vaguely remembered traffic on that mega ridge, but I was too incompetent to search the database.  Thanks @rat!

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