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Dustin_B

Observation Rock conditions?

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Mtguide said:

Are we talking about the Ob. Rock next to Echo Rock on the NW flank of Rainier,Flett Glacier (snowfield actually)on one side,Russell Glacier on the other?Park at Mowich Lk.,take the Spray Park trail up past Hessong rock and Mt.Pleasant? 13.5 hrs car to car? Really?! If so, unless things have really changed up there due to catastrophic geological/glaciological cataclysm, I am stumped as to how it could take you 13.5 hrs.In August of 1967,Jim Langdon and I climbed Echo and Observation within the first 2 hours of what wound up being a little less than a 21-22 hr. day,in which we went on to do Hessong,Pleasant,Fay, the Mother Mts.,Castle,Gove and Tolmie.My recollection is of a beautiful day,easy approach up the trail,out onto the Flett and up to the saddle between Echo and Ob.,on easy,low angle snow,and easy class 4 climbs of about a rope length or so on each.We took no pickets or screws;maybe a couple slings and pitons,but never used them.Unless you're measuring pitches in terms of distance climbed between belay stances,I'm hard put to find 3 to 4 pitches of climbing on Observation.Current USGS 7.5 min. topo shows about 280' of el. on the steep E.side of Ob. Rock,and I certainly don't recall there being any ice on it.Not at that time time of year.We used to consider a rope length(150' back then) a "pitch".I can see if you're using short pitches,the distance between belays,then maybe there are 3 or 4 pitches.Three of 90',four of 70'.But where's the ice?Do you have photos?All I honestly remember is a volcanic plug of rubble,no ice face to speak of.Admittedly,my 30+ year memory may have some gaps;we did just the easy S-SW side.And I know that so much has been done everywhere in the last 30 yrs. that maybe you're talking about a route we wouldn't have even considered.Not with the gear,technology and techniques of the time.So I'm not intending to put anyone down here,or question your achievement,but I'm really curious to know what there is on little ol' Ob. Rock that could take 13 hrs.please let me know;maybe I'll have to take a run back up there and see what we missed.

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"Everybody has a photographic memory,but some aren't using any film." yellaf.gif

 

In August (especially back then), the N Face of O-Rock is still pretty snowy. By October it can be bulletproof ice. It's about 400 vertical feet, steepening towards the top to about 60 degrees. The ice slope doesn't go up to the true summit. It levels off, and then it's a few hundred feet of scree scrambling to get to the summit.

 

[edit] snaf.gif Am I a kool kat now? tongue.gif

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I'd have to disagree on being a moron to go up O-Rock... it has nice views from the Carbon Glacier to Mowich Face.

 

And the classic view of the toilet bowl.

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To go up o-rock w/o the ice climb seems like a masochistic trip.

Might as well do St Helens at the end of summer the next day as well, and then maybe Boston Peak!

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Well I'm fascinated;guess I'm gonna have to go take a look,renew my acguaintance with that place.Looking at the topo again,I stand corrected:just from the 8000' contour to the summit is 364',and from 7800',where the grade definitely starts to ramp up,is another 200',so you have 564' total.Just because I don't remember the ice doesn't mean it's not there.Sounds like fun.

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"If the ice comes in on the N. face of O-Rock and there's no one there to climb it,is it really there?" wink.gif

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Well shit, 2 hours to summit both Echo and O-Rock!! It took us over 3 hours just to reach the base of O-Rock. But we did stay on the Wonderland trail until we reached the climbers path (no snow cover so no straight shot). It is about 400 feet of vertical from base to top of ice. We did do short pitches for practice (I said it was my first ice climb) and a couple of those pitches took a long time. The bottom was firm snow and not very steep, the top was very hard ice. I'm sure it could be done in 4 hours, just not by me. I'm not a peak bagger, we didn't go to the summit after the ice/snow section. Good times. I wouldn't go up that thing this time of year by any other route. hellno3d.gif

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