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[TR] Mt Thomson - West (solo) 08/28/2021

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Trip: Mt Thomson - West (solo)

Trip Date: 08/28/2021

Trip Report:

Last Friday, my friend and I set out for a two-night trip to the Kendall Katwalk & surroundings.

Due to car trouble and Portland traffic, our arrival was seriously delayed and we made camp at just a few miles in from the pass. Long story short, we set about doing our own things the second day and I wasn't at the base of the route till 15:30.

I've never lead solo in the alpine before. Between that, my faster-than-expected dwindling water, and the hideous start time I had very strong "turn around" thoughts happening.

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But eh! I'm not above bailing on a few nuts if need be. Route goes up left skyline in pic above, mostly.

I did it in 6 pitches, pitching out the very first short bit that's normally simul'd or solo'd. Great climbing! The hardest move IMO is the very very first one. Stepping off the first real belay ledge and getting into a chimney.

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My 40 meter rope barely worked, resorting to doing dumb shit like extending the anchor every now and then to get the rope to reach.

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Though movement was great, it was hard to enjoy because I was in such a hurry and thinking about rationing my water. Methodical climbing interspersed with dizzying handiwork to take down/build anchors and the occasional gulp. I was soon climbing by head lamp, resigned and in less of a hurry, and only the last pitch fully independent of the sun.

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Those summit views!! Thirsty but happy.

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The descent down the East ridge was mentally taxing. Nothing like wading through stunted conifers, grabbing onto them, leaning far looking down, and seeing only bottomless black before trying another likely dead-end. Compass and map were very useful.

I did 3 raps. Found anchors the first two; for the last I left behind a locker and some cordellette. Note: if you find an oval locker up there that says "compromised"... it's not, that's just how I mark my gear.

Drank a ton of water at the basin, then made it back to camp (saddle above Ed's lake) where friend had made my bed 1:15 and thankfully was sleeping, not worrying. Lovely hike out the next day!

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Gear Notes:
Metolius blue to BD blue, tricams, many nuts, DIY 60 liter backpack (shout out to Stitchback gear!). Could've been a bit lighter.

Approach Notes:
What's with those weird ass rocks with star-like patterns?
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Cool. Last photo is awesome! Little varmint. I rope soloed it in 93,  although after the 1st pitch came to broad ledge. After looking at the crest I walked around right for 15-20+ft and self belayed a pretty solid pitch that deposited me on the large slabby rock. (5.8+ finish with a wideish crack). I thought the ridge crest seemed brittle with little protection that I could see?  Finished it with rope in pack.

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