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Alisse

[TR] Guye Peak - South Gully 01/30/2021

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Trip: Guye Peak - South Gully

Trip Date: 01/30/2021

Trip Report:

After a sad, failed Terror attempt last summer, @Hoo and I were in desperate need of getting onto the send train. What better objective than a barely-5,000' peak right next to I-90 with a recent hope-inspiring TR?

We got a rough alpine start at 9:30 from the car -- the Summit parking lot was full so we parked on the side of the road -- and skinned up to near the beginning of the route, which maybe took us a half an hour from the car or so? We started booting when we got sick of the steeper avy debris skinning.

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We heard hexes (we think) up above and saw a party coming down from a variation to the start that they weren't happy with. Coincidentally, one of them was a someone from the TAY forum who'd just posted a TR for skiing Preacher -- recognized her by her sweet purple Voile skis. A third party was in front of us so we got kind of sandwiched. The weather was great: overcast but no precip or wind, not cold at all.

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We soloed up through alternating sections of steeper and more moderate snow with a good bootpack, through a couple of short steps with actual water ice, some bare rock, and super solid snow sticks. A fair amount of spindrift made for a good ambiance. I requested we rope up after that and I was glad for the toprope for the next few steps that were harder for me -- but Micah led them handily. The chockstone steps were not bad, with good protection, easy mantels, some good root grabs, a couple solid turf sticks.

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The snow was awesome, did I mention that? Secure everything. Up toward the top it became a little wallow-y with the fresh (super light) snow, no windslab. Finally we got to the current crux of the route: the final corner/chimney pitch, with thin and nonexistent ice, a lot of bare, downsloping slabby feet, and very little pro to be found. Luckily Micah was game and went for it. After a bit of hemming and hawing, hammering in the two pins, finding a passive cam placement, sending lots of precious but shitty ice down, he developed major ovaries and sent it without incident! Yesss! Impressive. Many partner points. We think it would be called M4 as it is now. It's mind-blowing that this is on the easy end of mixed climbing... 

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By this time, one party was behind us, and the other had bailed early on. Half of Party #2 had watched most of Micah's lead and told her partner when he came up that uh, maybe I could just tag their rope up and give them a belay? He was interested in leading it. So I started up with my toprope. It was SO HARD and I was seriously worried I would need Micah to set up a haul system to get my ass up. At one point a pick popped off and I got to see how stretchy the rope was, blowing my toprope onsight. Noooo! All of the ice throughout the route is rapidly delaminating and falling apart. Until we get a new cold snap, don't count on getting any screws on route. Micah claims hexes might be worthwhile for the crux bit.

After all that, the second half of Party #2 requested I leave a pin in for him. Of course! Then after watching my next flailing with desperate scratching and weird attempt to use some chimney technique, they asked for us to throw our rope down for them to get a belay. We'll try! 

Luckily the nature of the route allowed for that to happen, and we brought him up tagging his line. At this point we were more exposed to the wind, and it had started snowing lightly. We walked up toward the top and took a much-needed but way too short break, completely forgetting about the supposed mandatory rappel, taking off our harnesses. I think it was about 2:30pm? Very few views, unfortunately, but a new-to-me summit! The other party arrived and told us they weren't able to clean the piton, so there's some fixed pro to use at your own risk...and/or maybe booty. We all set off up and down the ridge. Micah spotted the tree with tat and rapped down. Toward the end, he called to us that the rap was unnecessary in current conditions. I downclimbed the secure snow, we made the short traverse, and continued up the gully to get around the north peak. Thanks Micah for the steps....

We transitioned and got some of the driest powder I've skiied this season for a couple hundred feet.

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I was sad to be on my skinny skis (80 underfoot) and my legs were feeling shot. Still got a faceshot though, so all good! Some fast-running dry sloughs on the steeper stuff. Micah made it look easy on his splitboard. Down below, the snow turned to some of the worst skiing I've ever had on all the ice and avy debris in the trees. Definitely slow and cautious skiing on tired legs, trying not to screw up a knee. Micah really savored the flat and rolling terrain as we exited the Commonwealth, transitioning between split-ski and splitboard and skinning and splitboard an unfortunate number of times. We got back to the car around 5pm, our calves worked and feeling deserving of the beer. 

 

Overall a great day out in Snoqualmonix with a cool route, a lot of fun/comfortable snow/ice, a spicier crux than expected, way better pow turns than expected, a longer day and more tired legs than expected, and a solid backcountry partner! I also figured out a new way to carry my skis vertically on my pack using ski straps and it worked really well.

On the fantastically short drive back to Seattle, I saw a license plate: that caught my eye: "SKI TAY" .. I wonder who that is?!


 

Gear Notes:
Rack brought: 5 screws of varying lengths 0.75 BD, yellow and orange Metolius Two knifeblades Four or five small nuts A picket (I know...) Handful of single-length alpine draws Handful of double-length alpine draws Used: Screws 0.75 Yellow Metolius Knifeblades Nuts Didn't use the picket (I know)

Approach Notes:
Summit West parking lot to Commonwealth trail
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