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Michael Telstad

[TR] Little Liberty Bell/Cutthroat Creek Wall - (Partial New Route) Narcos, 5.9 600ft 07/11/2020

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Posted (edited)

Trip: Little Liberty Bell - (Partial New route) Narcos, 5.9 600ft

Trip Date: 07/11/2020

Trip Report:

 

Yesterday I went up to try and do a new route solo on little liberty bell. It’s entirely possible that some or all of this route has been climbed before, I know for sure that the first and last pitch have been climbed, but I really couldn’t tell about the rest of the route. With that being said, I’m calling what I climbed Narcos. I’ll explain the name at the end.

 

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You may be able to approach straight up the basin from the road and cut off some distance but add some gain.

 

P1, 5.7+—Start up the clean cracks up the big left trending ramp to the tree. If there is still snow you can climb up small corners and overlaps to the left that meet up about half way. This is what I climbed to avoid snow. Build a gear belay in a 1” horizontal below the tree, this is a much better stance. 

There were slings on this tree when I got there and some placements seemed to be cleaned out.

P1021965.thumb.JPG.b86a1963ddd043d429d3cabe93662724.JPG

On the last rappel. P1 follows the cool looking cracks up the ramp on the left. I ended up climbing the flakes to the left of the ramp to avoid the snow.

 

P2, 5.9—Follow the horizontal straight right and up a bit. Follow good edges and cracks until you reach a nice looking finger crack, climb it up to some good ledges. From there follow ledges back left past a small tree (your last pro) and two large loose looking blocks sitting on the ledge, maybe don’t pull on them. Once you reach a good belay ledge, climb up a little further to a solid horizontal. Build your belay here and extend it down to the ledge if you can. 

There seems to be a more vertical option going straight up and right to a nice looking LFC. I didn’t climb this as I had intended on climbing new ground. It may have been climbed before. It is marked in blue on the topo.

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Looking up the improbable traverse on pitch 2. There is much more pro than in the picture. This is after cleaning the pitch.

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The 5.9ish finger crack, it's steeper than it looks. P1 visible below.

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The blocks I traversed across and tree I slung at the top of P2.

 

P3, 5.7+ PG13—Go up the bush choked corner for about 15 feet until you can step left into good flakes that parallel the larger right facing corner. Follow these up to a series of ledges and a large chimney/flake. Chimney up the outside edge of this flake to avoid lots of pine needles and bushes until you can reach a cleaned out .75 crack, place something there. Down climb a little bit until you can step right onto a series of ledges/ramps. Follow these up the slab passing one Piton (my first pin placement on a route) and up the sharp arete. From the top of this climb back down left to a ledge below an arching right facing corner. Belay here on finger sized gear. 

This pitch could avoid the runout chimney and arete climbing in the future if the cracks were cleaned out.

I had originally tried going straight up some solid cracks on this pitch, but after the cracks petered out and encountered some very hollow rock I left a nut and bailed on this option.

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Looking up P3. I only followed the bushy corner for a few moves before stepping left. This is after cleaning the pitch on the way down, the red c3 is a directional, not the only piece.

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Looking down the good flakes in the middle of P3 on the way back down.

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The runout chimney on P3

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My very first pin placement, I had to document. There is no rope drag in the rope solo system, hence my sketch "quick draw"

 

P4, 5.8+ —Climb up the fun arching corner and then right via hollow sounding but fun flakes (place nuts here not cams). Step right around an arete into a nice right facing corner, you are now on the Wright-Pond. Follow this up to a bolted belay. 

 

P5, 5.8, 45m—Same as P4 of the Wright-Pond. Description taken from MP. Climb the blocky corner/chimney up past a tree until you gain a low-angled slab. Head left across the slab to a wide hand and fist crack hidden in a left-facing corner. Exit the corner up and right on blocky but easy ground to low-angled ledges. Belay on a tree with slings. 

 

From here you can scramble to the summit. Descend via the Wright-Pond with 4 double rope rappels on bolted anchors.

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Good views of Silverstar & co!


I think this route could clean up nicely and be a good 5.9ish option up the feature. It is hard for me to grade it accurately as the dirt, lichen, and self belay results in things feeling harder and scarier at times. I tried to grade it for someone who knew where they were going and had a hand on the break strand of their grigri. 

On the hike down I got a little off route (there is no route) and ended up in some pretty damn thick brush. While trying to force my way down the hill I stumbled upon a pile of white crystals under a small tree. My first thought was “wow, that’s a weird Fungus”, then I took another step and saw black canvas in the bush in front of me. My heart stopped as my first thought was I had found a dead body of a missing hiker, or murder victim. I got a better look and realized that it was a large black duffle bag, unzipping it I finally realized what it was. A 35lb duffle of crystal meth, street value of about $350k give or take. I dragged the bag to a slightly more visible location and marked the spot on my phones GPS. 

I drove down to Mazama the next morning to report what I’d found. I ended up leading some heavily armed cops up and helped them carry out the “package”. It’s possible that I made a very big mistake. I could have bought so many new skis!

It was either a recent air drop with intent to pick up, or one of the bags from THIS event that happened last year.

 

I will provide a topo/overlay soon if I get permission to use Chris’ photo. I'd be very curious to hear if anyone knows some history of ascents on this feature.

Gear Notes:
Double rack micro to #2, single #3 and 4. Single set of med nuts. 2 60m ropes. Crack Pipe.

Approach Notes:
Start as for Cutthroat wall by walking down the old road bed for 1/4 mile until you see an obvious double cairn on the left side of the trail. Enter the woods here and point it straight up until the terrain lowers a little in pitch. At that point you can start arching left to get to the ridge next to the wall. I highly recommend using the slope angle shading map feature on caltopo and trying to stay on lower angle terrain. it’ll make things a little more pleasant. From the ridge it is pretty self explanatory where to go.

Edited by Michael Telstad
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"New skis!"? Who needs skis when you've got 35# of crystal meth?

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3 hours ago, Michael Telstad said:

Gear Notes:
Double rack micro to #2, single #3 and 4. Single set of med nuts. 2 60m ropes. Crack Pipe.

:laf:

 

Awesome! Looks like a good adventure!

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Does the duffle full of crystal automatically qualify this TR for "Best of CC.com"??!! 

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Sweet, you found my duffle!  Meth is the only way I am climbing 5.9 trad these days.

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Posted (edited)

For anyone wanting to score, there's still a few oz worth that spilled in the woods somewhere. Just watch out for those tweaker deer, they have been known to break into cars in the parking lot.

Edited by Michael Telstad

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Sweet! Why no pic of the duffle or crystals? Did law enforcement ask you not to post them?

 

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18 minutes ago, Rad said:

Sweet! Why no pic of the duffle or crystals? Did law enforcement ask you not to post them?

 

I deeply regret not getting one when I first found it. I was freaked out and wanted to get out of there ASAP. When I wen't back up with the cops they didn't want me taking any pictures and I wasn't gonna mess with someone holding a very large rifle in the middle of the woods. 

 

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One question, how did you know it was crystal meth and how much it was worth? Are you like a Walter White type of dude?

 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, DPS said:

One question, how did you know it was crystal meth and how much it was worth? Are you like a Walter White type of dude?

 

It was crystals of some sort, either meth or crack. It looked quite pure so I'm guessing meth. Cops thought the same. I got the price from googling "street value of crystal meth", I'm probably on some list now. 

If I was a Walter White type you wouldn't be hearing about this and I wouldn't still be driving a 92 Accord.

I chose the name Narcos when I thought it might be coke. The routes new alternative name is Breaking Bad.

Edited by Michael Telstad

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Here's the overlay. Red is the Wright-Pond, Yellow is Narcos, and blue is the P2 var that might have been climbed before. 

I suspect future routes on the face will also finish with the last pitch of the Wright-Pond, It just seems to be the best option.

5f0d1c6118bd0_NarcosTopo.thumb.jpg.f72b809d565d8284ba5e72f45ff2d3e0.jpg

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Thanks Michael! 

Fun exploration on good looking rock. I appreciate the approach beta too. F'in crazy about the meth?!!

The wall you are calling the "Little Liberty Bell" is referred as First Light Wall or First Light Spire. This was named shortly after Mike and Chris put up their line and we needed a reference. The wall gets sun before most features at the pass and calls everyone to wonder WF is T.... Wall of Morning Light felt a little pertinacious, and there should be only one of those :)

As for the slings...The only other exploration I now of up there was Mikey Schaffer (also solo I believe) . Might be worth asking him. I have a tacit report of his activity via this brother John. I have a fading memory he took a like line from the report of the roofs down low. 

Let me know if you want a belay.  alpinelines@gmail.com 

Mark 

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On 7/12/2020 at 7:03 PM, Michael Telstad said:

It was either a recent air drop with intent to pick up, or one of the bags from THIS event that happened last year.

Kinda makes you wonder where the other bags are. Maybe it’s not too late for new skis 

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On 7/29/2020 at 9:39 AM, MarkAllen said:

 

The wall you are calling the "Little Liberty Bell" is referred as First Light Wall or First Light Spire.

 

That's pretty funny that a wall that gets so little action has so many names. Chris and Mike called it Little Liberty Bell/Cutthroat Creek Wall. Since that was the only info I found on the wall, I went with their name. I'll ask Chris if he can change the Mountain project listing. Dawn Wall it is!

I'll definitely reach out to Mikey. One of the slings seemed very new while the other might have been his.

10 hours ago, JonParker said:

Kinda makes you wonder where the other bags are. Maybe it’s not too late for new skis 

There are definitely more out there somewhere. The chances of intentionally finding them have got to be almost zero without some sort of drug dog.

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Crystal Meth!  Wow.  In the bushes.  Off of Liberty Bell.  I wonder who was hauling that stuff up Liberty Bell.

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@MarkAllen Mikey says it wasn't him, but who knows what he called the feature when/if he climbed it. Hopefully the walls up there get more traffic, and a trail emerges soon. I already would have been up there a few more times if it wasn't for the schwacky approach. It probably only needs a days worth of work with a hand saw and cairns to bust through the lower section.

I might take you up on the belay offer some time soon. There are a few more lines calling my name.

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On 7/13/2020 at 7:49 PM, Michael Telstad said:

Red is the Wright-Pond

Whats the grade? looks kinda interesting

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