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catbirdseat

Guye South Spur TR

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Leejams and I were to meet another climber from Spokane at Alpental Saturday morning to find some ice to play on. He didn't show up, so we grabbed our gear and headed up to Guye Peak. Lee thought we might find some ice, but I didn't think so. This was confirmed when we got up there. I'm not sure how we decided to climb Guye but we did. Probably we weren't thinking straight. For one thing we were carrying too much gear, and for another we didn't have a route description with us.

 

We talked about the South Rib, but decided it was too slabby with all that snow on it, so we went for the Spur. I'm not sure we were on route or what, but we hit several class 5 sections on the first two pitches. These ate up a ton of time.

 

On the second pitch Lee was having trouble with the crux, so I yell up to him to put in an anchor. I came up and saw it was a hairy move around a wet corner, exposed and hard to protect. I suggested that he try it without his pack and we'd haul them instead. This worked, but after watching him, I didn't want to wear my pack either, so we hauled them both on the end of our climbing rope. They were heavy and stuck on everything, but we finally got the pack up to the belay tree.

 

After the first two pitches it is supposed to be easy climbing, but we found snow with a breakable crust that was really treacherous. You could never trust your footing. We couldn't get the nerve to simulclimb so we belayed every pitch, which obviously took a lot of time. We didn't mind being out late because the weather was so fine. Warm, with not a breath of wind.

 

We didn't summit until 6 pm. That's when we realized that Guye isn't trivial to get off of in the dark. You have to run the ridge north to the saddle. There are three or four high points you go over, but the last one is too steep. We rappelled down a gully. At the bottom of the rappel, you are supposed to climbing back up another gully to get on the ridge again, but we couldn't see it, or whatever. So we continued rappelling and were committed to that course. We ended up in a nasty slot gully. On the fourth rappel it put us close to the bottom, with no anchor. I downclimbed about 20 ft of 70 degree ice unroped then gave Lee a weak belay from below which would have at least stopped a slide over a cliff below.

 

One or two more rappels later we were on a slope we could plunge step down, sometimes up to our thighs in powder. We found a snowshoe trail on the west side of Commonwealth Creek and were home free. We made it back to the car at 1:15 am and for some reason decided to go home and not climb Chair Peak on Sunday.

 

Today I feel totally wasted. I must have had pine needles shoved under my fingernails, because that is what it feels like. Should have worn gloves the whole time for all those vegetable belays.

 

This was the first climb in which I've had to rappel in the dark. We could have bivied, of course, but I felt that if we just took our time and were careful, we could get down safely and stay warm in the process. Lee and I both learned a lot on this climb and now better understand the importance of good communication and also in efficiency of rope handling. A couple of radios would have been really nice on this climb. With radios, we could have decided on when to simulclimb.

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oh nice job in getting back okay, just curious what time did you start climbing

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We started climbing about 10 am. Stupid, huh? I'll stop short of calling it an epic, but for me it was the closest thing I've experienced to it. I still haven't experienced a forced bivy, but this was almost it.

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cbs-i can tell you some recent experiences on that mtn that are very similar! Very deceptive looking little peak! Glad you didn't have to bivvy. Rapping in the dark is just miserable! 10am doesn't seem that bad for a climb of Guye but recently i had a trip up guye that was 7hrs door to door due to some stupid choices.

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Ever do Guye 7 hrs door to door in winter? Wow. Part of it was the conditions and part if it was just us. Neither of us is very experienced.

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cbs- it sounds like anyone would've had a long climb in these conditions. i'm not all that experienced either. like i said dumb choices on our part caused us lotsa grief.

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CBS, great trip report bigdrink.gif I just was soaking in the hot tub at the rec center, closed my eyes and kept getting flash backs hahaha.gif wonder how long those last after a climb like that. I am sore but mostly area's that I don't usually train (calves/forearms).

 

Just some extra beta for anyone doing this in the winter. Bring rack up to 2", a good assortment of slings, 1-2 ice screws just in case, 1 picket, we used a 9.9 60M rope and fine but 2 50's would have given us that little bit of extra we needed on some of those rap's into the inky black abyss. Expect crappy rock in areas, example was the small ledge I was belaying Catbirdseat up on one pitch seemed fine and just as he was getting near half the ledge just fell away leaving my heels in air and just my toes touching. Now that was scary. What a great time though. For such a small Mt. it is a tough one. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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There are two kinds of grief: being out late and getting cold and tired, and then there is the grief that comes from having an accident with injury. I'll take the former.

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leejams said:

CBS, great trip report bigdrink.gif I just was soaking in the hot tub at the rec center, closed my eyes and kept getting flash backs hahaha.gif wonder how long those last after a climb like that. I am sore but mostly area's that I don't usually train (calves/forearms).

 

Just some extra beta for anyone doing this in the winter. Bring rack up to 2", a good assortment of slings, 1-2 ice screws just in case, 1 picket, we used a 9.9 60M rope and fine but 2 50's would have given us that little bit of extra we needed on some of those rap's into the inky black abyss. Expect crappy rock in areas, example was the small ledge I was belaying Catbirdseat up on one pitch seemed fine and just as he was getting near half the ledge just fell away leaving my heels in air and just my toes touching. Now that was scary. What a great time though. For such a small Mt. it is a tough one. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

Glad you're in one piece after that! I just want add to the reminder to watch the rock on Guye. I sent a seemingly solid rock tumbling down onto a loved one last summer. No lasting harm done but i thought it was firmly attached when i put my weight on it.

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Leejams,

Those flashbacks last for about a week, then you'll want to head back out the next weekend. When I get hit by a slide last spring I swore I wouldn't go back into the mountains until everything melted out. Two weeks later I climbed Red Mountain and then the weekend after made a trip up Snowking, so go figure.

 

Glad you guys came out safely. My friend had a mini-epic on that peak. The rock is total crap in places and decent at others. I've never heard anybody ever say, "Man I could sure go for some Guye rock right now. This Enchantment granite/Twin Sisters olivine is just such crap." Never understood why ppl still climb that thing, but then again, if it was in my backyard, I'd probably do the same thing.

 

Looks like you guys had the weather with you. Our three-peak loop didn't happen today. The rain came about 8 hours too early. People in our group dropped like flies, from 10 to four, and then when we met, I decided I'd rather get back in bed and climb on my woodie and our firends decided they'd rather go ski Baker. Next weekend hopefully.

 

Unfortunately I plunked down $9 for a Sno-Park day pass for our taking off point frown.gif!!

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plexus,Flashbacks might last a week but I am ready to go again anytime. weatherwise We definately had the day, and night for it. Hope your next planned trip goes a bit better for ya.

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Glad you're in one piece after that! I just want add to the reminder to watch the rock on Guye. I sent a seemingly solid rock tumbling down onto a loved one last summer. No lasting harm done but i thought it was firmly attached when i put my weight on it.
That reminds me of this one traverse I was making where I had to go right over a big pile of loose rocks, which happened to be right above my belayer, leejams. I just touched one 20 lb chunk, and it started falling. Fortunately, I caught it and placed it where it wouldn't fall. Then I had to gingerly step over another loose 100 lb rock. Crickey, that made me nervous.

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Alpine_Tom said:

Way to go, Lee. Glad to see you didn't get cheated out of an after-dark descent after all!

yelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gif Tom, we didn't get shortchanged on this one in any shape or form. But not a bad thing, as I will never forget coming up the last pitch to the summit. It was like a 2 dimensional world. The world below our feet as all the ski area's at this point were lighted up with skiier's skiing, cars and trucks up and down I-90 etc... And the world we were in above which was a stunning sunset and alpenglow over Kendall,red,and lundin peaks and Rainier looming south. Hey, what the hell sometimes it is nice to get to stay out after dark. But that day on Whitehorse I know I didn't want to descend in the dark through that shwack!

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klenke said:

Catbird - good (or bad?) to see you're still making a habit of coming out in the dark. Sergio, John, and I were up in the same general area in January. Here's the TR: http://sverdina.com/guye/guye1.htm .

You guyes were in the gully and forested slopes to the right of the South Spur. This route is popular as a basic climb in the summer, although not described in Beckey. It appears to be mostly class 3 with some class 4.

 

Apparently we were on the South Spur proper. From a cursory glance at Beckey's guide, I thought this was fourth class, but he was actually describing the gully between the S. Rib and the S. Spur. That explains the 5th class climbing we found.

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Yep, we got cornfused when we walked up to the base of the technical climbing. We wound up going too far around the mountain (past the South Rib and Spur) and began the real climbing in the first major gully you come to. In hindsight, instead of ascending to the narrow overhang section of this gully, Sergio, who was leading this section, should have mounted the spur to his left. Then we would have arrived somewhere near your route. But, as it was, once we got too far up the gully, the only way to continue up in icy conditions was to go left onto the punter semi-timbered slope. I tried going left onto the spur but got cliffed out (mid-5th climbing even without crampons on; highly sketchy with crampons on)and then even if I do it (I was leading this section), will the others be able to follow? So, we punted the rest of the way up in the semi-timbered section. But it was fun just the same.

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The NR of Stuart is on my list, but I am not certain I am ready for it yet. I would consider doing it this year with a significantly more experienced partner. Barring that, I'd like to do the west ridge first, to get the feel of the mountain.

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This getting off story sounds amazingly like my experience in February 1983 when me and a bro did the same route. He took a fall, whacked me in the head on the way by (pre-helmet thinking era) but we kept going up and did the 'traverse' off in the dark. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Glad you have a good memory of your trip like we do. bigdrink.gif

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