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


Kyle M
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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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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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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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@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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