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Sam Boyce

[TR] Mt. Index - North Norwegian 06/25/2020

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Trip: Mt. Index - North Norwegian

Trip Date: 06/25/2020

Trip Report:

Bringin big walling back! 
I’ve grown up in a vacuum, an existence in climbing severely lacking a critical component. There’s no fucking wall climbing in the NW! Or at least nobody does it, and when they do they retrobolt it for the sport wanking mutants. This is a trip report and a calling. 

Last year I caught a bug and became obsessed with a specific wall, the North Norwegian. Maybe the largest proper wall around and no one climbs it, 5.9 A3, that’s a damn moderate. I scheduled attempts and got shut with weather and work until sept. I convinced my friend Lani to go and check it out, work of course cut into the plans and shattered our window from 6 days to 3. So we cut the bolt kit down to the minimum “Peter couldn’t have put that bad of bolts in could he?”, oh how naive we were. We ran up there with like 6 bolts and a handful of rivets in case any blew. We climbed the free pitches up to the “bivy” in the topo and climbed the 2 pitches above. The anchor for the first pitch was a rusted carbon 1/4” wedge and a excavated #3. The 3 fell out when I kicked the rock above the anchor and the structure of the rock in the belay changed a bit. Needless to say the first few beak placements were moderately stressful. Reaching the second anchor we found a couple more gnarly rusted 1/4” carbon bolts. One I pulled out with a light tug of the hammer. I slugged one of our stainless bolts in there and we decided to head down. Not enough bolts with us to tackle that whale! The thought of that bail festered all winter and plans percolated into the spring. Weather persisted to be quite shit for quite too long. We escaped down to the valley for a lap on the captain and raced back to wa to impulse take advantage of a weather window. A last minute call to my friend Kyle and we were 3. 3 bumbling idiots lumping way to much shit up to lake serene. After the taste of the doorish route we determined it would be the same amount of effort to climb a new line. We choose a weakness that runs the left side of the buttress, opposite of the two existing routes. 

On our first stint up the wall, we pushed the route about 700’. Of course the cascades had its way with us and we got plenty of rain half the time we were up there. Turns out our line happens to blast straight up a seasonal water streak, hence the nice cracks... so even when the sun was out the soakage continued! It was mud wrestling, manual labor, much trundling and plenty of hilarious fuckery. We set up the route to return and our window of time off is narrowly approaching and stoke is high! Hence the spray!

Pitch 1 is more or less shared with the doorish line (or at least what we could discern from the mank topo). Getting to the base was entertaining and involved with a couple hundred feet of neve unexpectedly gaurding the wall. We had very minimal snow gear so I ended up hauling the pigs off a single ice axe anchor, which mostly worked, until it didnt and all parties went flying. Quite entertaining for a little 20 degree slope. Eventually we got the bags up there and docked on an axe and we could climb. A delicate saunter up the pitch was mostly familiar, but I veered left towards our crack. I think I found 1 piece of gear in some 200’, but at least two points of contact were mostly attached to the wall most of the time, that’s redundancy right ther. I stretched the rope and got to a horrid low angle stance on the “ledge” and drove a shit beak in to tag the anchor kit up. The sloping shit ledges would become a theme of the route so far. Bolts in I started to haul, Kyle helped the bags surmount the chossy 5.7 as dusk rolled. Lani finally gets up to the lake having climbing baker that morning and we decide to convene on the ground for some sleep. We had to bring one bag back down to fill up water at the lake as the moats were particularly man eating and scary to get water from. Morning came and we all set our wheels in motion. I jugged the lead line and stole one of the ropes to start soloing the next pitch while Kyle and Lani got water and hauled the load to the pitch one anchor.


Pitch 2 started out with a nice 5.8 slab that led up to some C2 choss blocks to an A3 crack up a face. At one point an expanding beak popped out a little and I’m pretty sure I’d a shit myself if I hadn’t just emptied my bowels. This angry beak proceeded to pop 2 more times until it was only in there about an eighth inch. Held in by broken dreams and the tears of a “fear fucked orangutan”. I got 2 two lobe cams shoved behind a loose block and equalized em and jumped on em. Much fuckery persisted as the junk show assembled at the base of the pitch. I eventually made it up to the “gnar shard”. Figured I’d kill my partners if I tried to climb up through this thing this far away from them so I again tagged up the drill. So much for the plan to stretch the pitches out! Unsure if I’d already dead ended the team I figured I’d go up and check this block out. 

An easy C1 crack led up to the big stack of death blocks, I looked around and tapped it with my hammer. I felt like I could deconstruct it at a reasonable pace to huck the individual blocks clear of the belay. The first few were toasted sized and easy to manage. Then I had to top step and try the big un’. It unexpectedly popped and nailed me in the collar bone. I wrestled the microwave and won! Using my body to shield the belay I was able to will it away. Some primal noises ensued, the route goes on! We were expecting weather at this point so I was tasked with locating a reasonably sheltered spot to set up a portaledge camp. The easy C1 crack continued up to a large overhanging corner beneath a roof. Bingo! I started setting up the bivy anchor while the clusterfuck migrated. The next would be the last pitch for my block, so I decided to fix while Kyle and Lani set up the ledges and got camp situated. 

This would prove to be the crux of the route so far (A3+ or so) and the first rivets to come out. The rock quality however increased substantially. There was a heinous water streak coming off a roof partway up the pitch. Climbing in a waterfall is... fine... the pitch topped out with a bunch of cool natural hooks in near overhanging terrain to a small ledge in a mud waterfall corner. I fixed the ropes and zipped the line to a warm camp. A whiteout rolled in that night.

The whiteout and drizzles came and went throughout the next day but the water streak provided a constant deluge of water. The weather was never bad but conditions would have been... engaging. Nobody could muster the motivation to go up there and lead the mud waterfall pitch in those conditions. We decided we were lame and were ok with that and drank some tea.


The next morning we awoke to sun, much needed to dry our stuff out from the “dry our stuff out” day. We rambled up to the top of the fixed lines and Kyle volunteered to take the next block. He started up a relatively dry but mud filled corner. 

This dry corner soon became a fun experiment in the dynamics of daily snow melt cycles. It slowly progressed into a muddy waterfall. The muddy corner became full of death blocks and the drill came out to avoid some heinous choss. Out of sight we heard “fuck I just broke my finger!”. Having not heard rockfall we guessed Kyle smashed his finger driving a rivet in. Turns out that was the case. We showed up at the belay and his finger was starting to turn funny colors in a particularly unnatural direction. Kyle touted it was “just the tip” and there was nothing to do about it so we decided to continue on. He was however not psyched on leading, so I was somehow nominated to continue up the soaking wet pitch above. 

Again aiming for what looked like an obvious ledge, I found fun and solid thin nailing up to another shitty sloping stance. I started to set up the anchor for another bivy as things had progressed to a particularly damp state of affairs. The positioning of the ledges was tricky but we managed and settled in to weigh options. With our time off from work running low we decided to use the time we had to better set up the route for a return visit (trundling n whatnot). The rappel was mostly without incident, other then Kyle sending off a smart car sized boulder that caused a house sized chunk of snow to collapse into the moat. Coming off the wall I reaffirmed a concept and am psyched to turn it into a project. I want to write a PNW big wall guidebook, I know the walls are out there, most are unrepeated Pete Doorish obscurities with death anchors. I’m starting a tick list of faces, features, walls and routes, I think these lines could use some updated anchor bolts and some friggin traffic! Here’s my rough list so far, who’s got suggestions? I’m not super familiar with sw bc walls. Write me the most fucked up tick list you can!

NNB (gotta wrap up our line this month and update hardware on that doorish line at some point, also clear all the trash rope left on the doorish line and voodoo proj)

South Norwegian 

N face Baring

utw routes

Diamond on N face bear

SE face tower mt 

e face liberty bell

anything else I’m missing in the wa pass/ rainy pass zone?

the chief/Squamish wall lines

Big wall belt!! Who’s read those aac posts?!?

southern bc has so much granite, what are the biggest baddest faces up there?

theres purportedly a wall style route on slesse 

mt snoqualmie of all places

tower rock down south sounds cool

Gear Notes:

Approach Notes:
Jaunt up lake serene trail
  • Rawk on! 4

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Aid climbing always strikes me as too much work with a healthy dose of fear and suffering thrown in. I do appreciate an Ivanesque TR however.

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There's this place in California with lots of big walls. Kind of obscure though so I'm keeping it a secret but if you send me an IM I'll let you in on it. 

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I'm sure Pete would get a laugh out of this.  He's around still. 

Ah, youth!

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I believe Pete Doorish, Dale Farnham, and Bryan Burdo are responsible for every grade VI route in Washington. I could be wrong. 

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Cool seeing activity on Mt Index walls!

re: other big-ish walls:

Diamond on Bear would be a worthy project, but don't envy you schlepping aid/wall gear back there for an attempt.

East face of Tower has some potential, as does the east face of nearby Golden Horn. 

Buck Mtn

Both Hozomeen peaks (the west face of N and north face of S) offer many lines (~2000') that the chicken-donkeys avoided on the only existing (reported) ascents. The more direct line to the summit on the north face of south Hozo would be particularly aesthetic--there's an accordion of steep, corrugated clean-looking corners leading up the upper half.

For better rock, siege the direct east face of Mox/Lemolo (>2500'). Some approach pitches required to get to the sheer face.

Consider being generous and leave pitons and bolts so the free-climbin' sport-monkeys can go back for the FFAs


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On 7/16/2020 at 9:51 AM, JasonG said:

What about Mongo Ridge? 

Fred gave it a grade V, But if anyone would know a grade VI It'd be Wayne.

It's so cool seeing some different routes, attempts or otherwise on this site. I believe It's future really depends new content. 

Also it would be cool to a good photo with the approx line of the original line as I've tried but still not sure where it is 

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Awesome, I love seeing activity up there!  I dreamed about climbing that once but a hike to the base changed my mind. That is a mountaineering peak for sure but looks great from a distance.  If you need some partners for better rock big walls in BC let me know!  Not that many aid climbers up there anymore.

TFPU here!

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Back at it! Got back to the high point and settled into camp yesterday, starting up the next block of the wall today. It is STEEP! 


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good to see "fear fucked orangutan" is becoming proper parlance, shoulda trade-marked that shit

i wanna climb w/ you people, you gotta it sorted out right

tower rock is child's play compared to this ornery of an objective, but check it out, might even count as a rest day by your standards :)

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