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Kyle M

[TR] Sloan Peak - FA: Superalpine (WI3-4, 1000') 02/28/2020

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Posted (edited)

Trip: Sloan Peak - FA: Superalpine (WI3-4, 1000')

Trip Date: 02/28/2020

Trip Report:

 

On February 28th, 2020, @PorterM and I made what we believe to be the first winter ascent of the West Face of Sloan Peak. We climbed an incredible line approximately 1000 ft long of WI3-4 and steep snow climbing before our route joined the final 600 ft of snowfields to the summit. On the very final ice step, I suffered a short fall on rotten ice and a heinous top out and broke a few bones in the right side of my face. We bailed down the route and skied out. So technically, I guess we didn't finish the route, so say what you want about it.

 

Our route started with a WI4ish pitch followed by hundreds of feet of stellar WI3 rambly flows in a gully just to the climber's right of the true west ridge spur on Sloan Peak. In our eyes, this was the only way up the true west face under WI4+/5. The whole face is loaded with huge free hanging daggers and wild lines. A competent WI6/M6 climber in the right conditions could send some absolute world class lines up there.

I shared a lot more details, reflections on the accident, and route beta on my blog: https://climberkyle.com/2020/02/28/fa-sloan-peak-superalpine-wi3-4-1000/. Hopefully some others can get up there and finish this magnificent climb or poach some of the other unclimbed lines.

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Our route. up to where I fell. We were about to join the corckscrew route and head out.

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We climbed the gully on the right side of the photo.

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First pitch crux.

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Moving into the wonderful ice gully.

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Porter leading on that fat, fun, rambly WI3. The climbing in the gully was generally easy, sustained, and super fun!

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Incredible flows on the west face.

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Some helpful beta.

Gear Notes:
Screws, maybe a few small rock pieces and a picket.

Approach Notes:
Skin/hike forest service road 4096, then meander up Bedal Creek to the base of the west face.

Edited by Kyle M
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Super job! Doesn't matter if you summitted, only that you accurately report what you did and have fun with it all!

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Your face!!!!!  Gaaaaaahhhhhh.:noway:

Glad you survived, wow.

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Wow, fantastic work! Hope you have a speedy and uncomplicated recovery. 

Thanks for the compelling write-up and thoughtful analysis in your blog post too. There are a few take-away lessons for me, and I appreciate the opportunity to reflect. 

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Really impressive that you and especially Porter were able to keep your wits.  After looking at your injury and being 1,000' up an alpine route with a storm coming in, I would be needing a change of underwear.

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Damn that looks like it hurt. Glad you're alright! Great write up, thanks for posting. 

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Yikes!  I just read the blog post and saw the photo.  I hope that doesn't leave a mark!  Reminds me of some idiot that managed to fall off the Girth Pillar.

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Wow! Scary and inspiring all at once.

I'm really glad you're going to be OK. Doing a self-rescue from a serious injury that high on a face is something you should be proud of, and perhaps will be in time. It seems you guys did a lot of things right.

Many years ago, in early fall Alex and I ascended a rock line right around where your red line is. The rock climbing was super fun and solid and moderate, but the line meandered back and forth, ascending from ledge to ledge, so the aesthetics weren't quite so great. The upper half of Sloan is like a multi-tiered wedding cake. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be with winter frosting. I'm glad to see someone get up there.

Great job and thanks for posting!

 

 

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Thank you to everyone for their support! It was a wild adventure, that's for sure.

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Thanks for sharing, that looks like a great route and adventure, even if the end wasn't quite as planned.  That looks like it hurt!  Heal up and get back out there!

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My friend Sean and I went for the FSA (First Second Ascent) this weekend the slow and heavy way, Unfortunately the weather gods had different plans. When we got to camp in the basin it had snowed more than expected, and kept snowing hard through the night. We called it as we were going to bed to the sounds of large natural slides ripping down the north and west face. Luckily I brought my fat (read only) skis and we got a few laps of knee deep powder in the basin before skiing out. I had been looking at your guys line earlier this season as the obvious line of weakness up the face but I lack the motivation to venture that far into the unknown. Thanks for dreaming big and I hope you heal up fast to get back out there this summer!

 

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Laps in knee deep pow sounds like a pretty good consolation prize.

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Posted (edited)

@Michael Telstad glad you gave it a shot! Definitely snowed more than was forecasted. I hope you can give it another shot since the weather is staying cool. Next weekend looks good! I think it'd be a FCA (first complete ascent) since our FA is debatable...

Edited by Kyle M

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@Kyle M I think we tried to force it this time around. We should have known it wasn't gonna go after hearing that baker got a surprise 2ft of fresh the day before. Going forward I'm definitely gonna wait for firm safe conditions and a bombproof weather forecast. 

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Posted (edited)

@Michael Telstad exactly, that's why we waited until the face had not seen fresh snow in 4-5 days before going up. Hard to get sometimes. We waited all winter for it. There was still a lot of spindrift. The other (ideal) condition would be a high rain event, then hard freeze to lock everything up. Then you'd be able to boot everything.

Edited by Kyle M
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Be thankful you get another day.  thanks for the extensive writeup!

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Good attempt! Hope you heal up!

 I had a pretty good attempt up the middle a few years back. Ran out of time on a car to car attempt. Some very thin unprotecable climbing to be had! 

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Snow free besides one patch until a mile up, then consistent snow the rest of the way as of yesterday.  A few strong dudes with tacoma, chains and a chainsaw could probably drive to the end with half a days work.

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@PorterM and Tavish went back and finished the step where I fell and got a few hundred feet higher onto the upper snowfields. Check it out: 

 

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