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JonParker

[TR] Crescent Creek - Terror W ridge, wild hair crack, chopping block NE 07/15/2021

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Posted (edited)

Trip: Crescent Creek - Terror W ridge, wild hair crack, chopping black NE

Trip Date: 07/15/2021

Trip Report:

 

Went to the crescent creek area 7/15-18 with Alex. Shwack before terror creek is confusing at times but not exactly heinous. The creek crossing (ford) was easy for us. Trail on the other side is superb, possibly the steepest I’ve hiked, and very beautiful too. Not as enjoyable going down though.

 

Once at the crest the path becomes ambiguous again. Didn’t have any trouble on the way up but somehow kept losing it on the way back.

It took a while to reach the 6400’ notch and weather was coming in so we opted to just rest in the evening. We could see only the lower portions of the basin, and the going looked tough from afar. The spires were still a mystery at this point.

Top priority for the trip was Wild Hair Crack, and Stoddard was 2nd. We needed two full days of good weather on days 2-3 to pull them both off. Waking to very low visibility on the morning of the 2nd day we called off Stoddard (next time) and planned to push wild hair to day3. We caught up on sleep for a while, finally getting going after noon towards the west ridge of terror as consolation, because the weather didn’t seem to be getting any worse.

Traversing the basin ended up not being as bad as it looked. Took an hour to reach the base of the gully leading to Terror.

Crux of the day was in the middle of the gully where a break in the snow forced a tenuous step down onto slabby choss and a few moves up from there before returning to snow. On the way back we chopped back snow to excavate an anchor at that spot. If I’m not mistaken the chockstone flexed when I tested it, but we rapped anyway.

Poor visibility made it hard to find the start of the route but eventually we did one diagonal pitch from a notch to a slung rock. We unroped and scrambled from here in the mist.

Some of the rock on the route is quite nice, more like the granite in the basin than the crap in the gully. 
Just as we were reaching the summit the cloud layer thinned out. I was remarking that this was glory weather and sure enough, a large white ring formed behind Terror. We got flashes of clear views to Fury and MacMillan. Saw our own halos for a minute then headed back. The climb was done to pass the time during poor weather, but a glory sighting took it to another level, validated the whole day.

The weather finally cleared mid morning day3 and we were soon at the Otto Himmel col. The chockstone had fun looking moves on its right side, but probably 5th class so we kept it simple with ledges on the left a little ways below the stone. 

WHC did not disappoint. I mostly took small cams and they were mostly useless. The first good spot I noticed above the runout chimney is a thin horizontal crack, so some small pro helps. Other than that it seemed like most pro opportunities were in #2-3 range. The climbing was easy and solid enough that I was fine with long run outs.

We relished the views up top, calling to the tiny figure over on the summit of Terror, our neighbor for a couple days.

Descending with 60m rope worked fine, there are probably more anchors around now than in the past.

On our last day we went to the NE side of chopping block, doing some exposed scrambling before roping up at a rap anchor. To my surprise I reached the summit in one 60m from there. This is another great vantage a place to mull over various traverse schemes deep in the backcountry.

As we were packing up for the hike back, someone arrived at our spot. It was not his face but his lack of a backpack that helped me correctly guess his identity. Not a lot of people do day trips in the pickets. At least one who does has posted some insane reports here. My suspicion was confirmed and it was nice to meet and chat with dr dirtbag himself :)

A dip in Terror creek and another in Goodell at the end of the trail helped wash away the grind of the descent, literally and metaphorically. 

Gear Notes:
Axe and crampons for gullies

Try to keep it light but mostly large in the cams

Approach Notes:
Useful gpx are out there

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Edited by JonParker
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Sweet! Wild hair is a pretty awesome route, and the NE ridge of the Chopping Block should not be missed either. Looks like a fun trip!

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Nice TR, and great running into you guys!  I think I took a photo of that very same giant "tree ear" mushroom on my much less successful Pickets trip:

 

Chopping Block - 1 of 12.jpeg

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Another @seano-sighting!  @therunningdog and I saw him a couple weeks ago on Forbidden.  He gets around!

And good work on WHC- I bet Silas and @John_Roper are proud that that this route is getting more attention.  It's an excellent one!

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