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dberdinka

[TR] Twin Sisters - Obscurities Redux 08/23/2020

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Trip: Twin Sisters - Obscurities Redux

Trip Date: 08/23/2020

Trip Report:

It's been a long time since I posted a trip report and even longer since I've gone explorer-ating in the Twin Sisters Range.   Twelve, twelve! years ago Dave and I pushed, pedaled and slogged our way into the basin between the Twin Sisters to climb some nice rock on the obscure Block Tower.

Obscurities

The block is split clean through by a hand size crack, and while we had climbed the very short east face, the west side was much larger and steeper.   I always wanted to go back but the approach-to-climbing ratio is pretty excessive and that logging road is just a soul sucking grind, particularly loaded down with a full rack.  But in twelve years the world changes and e-bikes, well if not invented, at least became far more ubiquitous and I reached the point in life where one ended up in my garage.   Plenty nice around town but it fundamentally transforms the experience of these long logging road approaches. The dreaded grind now feels like a casual ride to Sunday Farmers Market.  Once you ditch the bike your legs are still fresh.  Climbing the North Twin has become a casual afternoon jaunt.  Highly recommended!

So with a different friend we rolled in less than 45 minutes.  The path into the basin seems far more beat in than it was ten years ago and people were scattered around in ways I had never seen.   Really it's rather insane how busy everywhere has gotten, but I digress.

As for the climb.   The west face of Block and Arrowhead Towers are somewhere between 350'-400' tall and the rock quality is generally very good.   We climbed two pitches (red) of low 5th-class ramps leading up and right to the much steeper upper half of the route.   The first pitch was marred by a very chossy and unavoidable 3rd class gully.  A far better start would be up clean north-facing slabs to the right of the tower (blue)  to where you could scramble back left to below the headwall.

 

 5f455d1c045da_IMG_5464_LI(2).thumb.jpg.97f3009f6ae05877b6eb3a3d880f7540.jpg

    

The head wall was probably slightly less than 200' tall.   You could do it in a single pitch but there's a perfect belay ledge at the base of the final splitter if you want to share the goods with your partner.   The third pitch started out easy and a bit brittle.  Fortunately rock quality improved as the angle increased.  I stayed left of a very large detached block and climbed slightly overhung jugs with intermittent gear into the left of two parallel crack systems.  It was heady but adequately protected.   The final pitch is probably 40' in length but has absolute hero jamming through overhanging bulges.  Both were maybe 5.9?   Good stuff.   

A short rappel (make sure to TR the rap line) and a steep but easy scramble led down onto the glacier.  From the col a series of 3 well-established raps  led back down to the base of the climb.  A nice climb, I'd go back.   Other potential still abounds.

Pitch 2

IMG_5477.thumb.jpeg.d1e033eba0f0277f5713fb1ce88e1006.jpeg

Pitch 4

IMG_5492.thumb.jpeg.32fc875178a3fb142d009c7e0e049d3f.jpeg

 

IMG_5496.thumb.jpeg.66c367a0741559c8dde89f13b34893aa.jpeg

 

From the Basin - Arrowhead Left & Block Tower Right

 IMG_5510.thumb.jpeg.2546dafc8cd79ca5b7cbcff19a48dee2.jpeg

 

Gear Notes:
Doubles of small cams, single set #1=#4 maybe an extra #2

Approach Notes:
E-bikes
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Who knew E-bikes could be a game-changer in the mountains? I didn't see that coming!

Another excellent TR from that area @dberdinka, thanks for putting another on our lists!

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I totally agree.  Ebikes are the way to go for many approaches now.  I have one.  I get about 4K of elevation gain out of it and around 25-30 miles with pedal assist.  Trek Powerfly is what  I have.  But once you lose the pedal assist, and you have some uphill to go....you gotta push that monster uphill because the bike is heavy!

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Darin: Thanks for another route! Will have to check it out!

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