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[TR] The Chopping Block - NE Ridge 07/24/2021

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Trip: The Chopping Block - NE Ridge

Trip Date: 07/25/2021

Trip Report:


Climbed the Chopping Block in bomber bluebird weather on Sunday.  Actually saw another party on the route (!!); two young guns who had left the trailhead that morning and were doing it in a day.  Overall saw seven people during our three-day trip, which exceeds the total number of people I've seen in all my previous Picket trips put together.  There are a lot of people out there these days.


We managed to lose the trail once on the way up and once on the way down, thus providing us with hours of additional enjoyment.  As has been stated by others before:  DO NOT LOSE THE TRAIL.  Drop your packs and scout, the time you spend will save you sooo much more time.  When descending the broad ridge from the basin to the snag with the crosspiece and flagging (see pic in Jeff and Priti's Pickets Traverse report), stay left; don't stray to the right.

There was a mellow place to wade Terror Creek just upstream of the trail; clearly many have done it before because there was a bit of a trail beat in back downstream to the trail up to the ridge.

High points:  camping in Crescent Creek Basin with not another soul up there except us, views from everywhere above treeline, nice solid rock and enjoyable climbing on the route, not being mauled by the bear hanging around the TH in the salmonberry bushes, not being nailed by the 10-inch-diameter tree that fell across the trail 15 paces in front of us (I counted) right after I said, “Hold up, I hear something in the bushes.”

Thanks to Jim Nelson for the new cams, they're light as a feather.

Thanks to Marko, the second-handsomest alpinist I know, for the rack 'n rappel beta. 

Gear Notes:
70 m rope (some shenanigans to rap back down but nothing out of the ordinary) Light alpine rack to #3 Camalot (really #9 Metolius Ultralight Master Cam) Tat

Approach Notes:

Edited by tanstaafl
Saturday, Sunday, who keeps track?
  • Snaffled 1
  • Rawk on! 2

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Nice one, congrats on another gnarly outing. Glad you stopped for the tree fall!

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thanks!  Here's hoping the temps and my schedule both cool down enough we can get some Darrington climbing in soon.

Got some pics of the weekend from my partner.

NE Ridge is the right-hand skyline:


No need for an ice ax for this approach:



Smoke from the Mazama fires:


Young gun rapping down:


Edited by tanstaafl

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We were maybe as surprised as you to see another party on the route! Great work on sending up there! It is a solid hike in and out. I'm glad 30-something still counts as young haha. Second the shoutout to Jim Nelson, the Edelrid rap/tag line I got at Pro Mt Sports a few years ago is nice and light and still holding strong. 2 ropes are definitely not necessary to get down, a couple key stations are a bit hidden and it seemed like a single rope would work fine. We got down in 3x 50m raps with a touch of easy downclimbing. 

As others have noted here on the site, the rappels are "weird" - caution is merited with how the mostly rounded horns are loaded - had the top anchor slide up the horn a couple times and needed to reset it. Lots of water sources in the basin still running as of last weekend. 




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The salmonberries were mighty thick there!

manninjo, nice sharing the route with you two!  What time did you get out?  We were glad to be lazing around the rest of the day, that's for sure.

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