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[TR] McClellan Butte- One that went up... 3/20/2004


Greg_W
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Climb: McClellan Butte-One that went up...

 

Date of Climb: 3/20/2004

 

Trip Report:

Saturday was slated for training. I e-mailed to invite an acquaintance, but he never responded. I was only One . Sounds of my roommates shuffling around early on Saturday morning awakened me and got me motivated. By 6:45, me and my trusty Chevy Silverado were ready to Ride the Lightning out of the City to my destination: McClellan Butte (5,128’). I arrived at the trailhead to find that no one else was there.

 

As I headed up the trail, I realized that Nothing Else Matters but this very moment and the experience I was having. Pretty soon the trail ran out as I moved up through the trees and it felt like I was twisting turning through [a] never of trees until I broke out into an opening below the first rock step. The sun was shining and the snow conditions were ideal: 4-6” of one- or two-day-old snow over a solid consolidated base (almost no postholing). The wind was howling and it was nice and cold. Miserable to some, but the idea of good weather is in the Eye of the Beholder , in my opinion. I passed the rock step on the right, but keeping the major couloir on my right, trying to stay in the trees. The wind had scoured off loose snow in places to reveal solid, frozen snow. I decided to put on my aluminum crampons for better traction and to be able to move a little faster. I continued up, keeping close to the ridge and out of the couloir. I reached a shoulder of rock which I guessed to be at about the 4,800’ level. Unfortunately, to get to where I wanted to go, I needed to cross a windloaded slab, which was currently baking in the sun. I thought “what would James/Lars/Jason/Kirk Do?” (WWJLJKD?) Well, I figured those guys don’t know fuck all about windloaded slabs or analysis of snow conditions, so I made up my own mind. That slab looked troublesome and I figured I’d gotten a good workout already. I took a long break on this outcrop of rock and snow. Being alone on outings like this always helps me burn off the Frayed Ends of [my] Sanity and re-center my self. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and as I stood there drinking in the beautiful day, I realized that this was what was meant by …seeking the wolf in thyself . It is Sad but True that some people never get to experience such beauty.

 

I cruised down, running into Dan, Michelle, and Steph on the way up. Hope you guys had fun.

 

 

Gear Notes:

mid-weight hikers (used 'em)

aluminum crampons (used 'em)

gaiters (wore 'em)

insulated jacket (used it)

shell jacket (used it)

trekking pole (used it)

ice axe (used it)

cool fleece hat (used it)

baseball hat (used for last mile of hike out)

change (US & Canadian, didn't use)

ballpoint pen (didn't use)

30' of 1" webbing (I'm wondering, too)

(6) Snickers bars (ate two)

(2) power gels (didn't use)

microfleece shirt (didn't use)

those caps for ice screws (???)

emergency space blanket (didn't use)

carabiner (didn't use it)

Timex Triathalon watch (checked it)

clothes (wore 'em)

fingerless wool gloves (wore 'em)

shell gloves (wore 'em)

sunglasses (wore 'em)

lip balm (used it)

Camelbak bladder w/2-l water (drank it)

compass (didn't use it)

pack to carry it all (used it)

BIG FUCKIN' GRIN (wore it)

 

Approach Notes:

Some blowdown on lower portion of trail (4 or 5 tops). Pretty much snow-free to upper road/parking. Good bootpack by now.

Edited by Greg_W
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I'll bet The Wait for a partner was absolutely terrible. By the I saw your post it was Too Late Too Late to join you. So What? I said. I can run up Si on my own... Unfortunately, I left my lights on so my Battery needed some help before I went. After I hit the trail, I realized that Wherever I May Roam, it's The Struggle Within that really matters. After running up the trail, passing many a hiker, I found that the haystack was Trapped Under Ice. Sad But True, I was Helpless trying to climb the ice in my running shoes, so I went back to the car in shame...

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Greg,

 

FWIW, you were smart to stay out of the couloir. On Sunday, a climber traversing the steep snow slopes above the couloir dislodged some snow that grew in size and sent a fair bit of debris down the couloir. It missed us, as we were just exiting the couloir. I'm sure glad we weren't further down the couloir at that moment. After that kind of experience, it is true that the memory remains.

 

 

-Steve

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I climbed the couloir on Sunday up to the summit block but did not summit.

The rock looked a little bit too exposed and I was solo and if I did it it would be my first time experience climbing real rock outside of gym... So I spent about an hour traversing left and right under the summit block trying to make a decision. Seen both the 5.6 and 4 class variations, touched the rock and even put my ice ax in the pack ... and decided to not take the risk of a couple hundred feet fall.

Down I climbed face-to-slope til the angle decresed to 40 degrees...

I'll make it. Next time. When not alone smile.gif

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I climbed the couloir on Sunday up to the summit block but did not summit.

The rock looked a little bit too exposed and I was solo and if I did it it would be my first time experience climbing real rock outside of gym... So I spent about an hour traversing left and right under the summit block trying to make a decision. Seen both the 5.6 and 4 class variations, touched the rock and even put my ice ax in the pack ... and decided to not take the risk of a couple hundred feet fall.

Down I climbed face-to-slope til the angle decresed to 40 degrees...

I'll make it. Next time. When not alone smile.gif

Wise man. thumbs_up.gif

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I climbed the couloir on Sunday up to the summit block but did not summit.

The rock looked a little bit too exposed and I was solo and if I did it it would be my first time experience climbing real rock outside of gym... So I spent about an hour traversing left and right under the summit block trying to make a decision. Seen both the 5.6 and 4 class variations, touched the rock and even put my ice ax in the pack ... and decided to not take the risk of a couple hundred feet fall.

Down I climbed face-to-slope til the angle decresed to 40 degrees...

I'll make it. Next time. When not alone smile.gif

Wise man. thumbs_up.gif

 

Either this or balls diameter. Don't know... smirk.gif

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Unless you are REALLY into it you can skip the lower portion of the trail and drive higher by going up Garcia Road off exit 38. The road will come across where the upper portion of the trail begins. Should have brought your planks.

 

Don't bother bringing your GAT Homeslice, cause YO, the Forest Service closed all the shooting areas there finally.

 

Alex that was probably a good move on your part. There have been some fatalities in the upper portion of that chute.

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Don't bother bringing your GAT Homeslice, cause YO, the Forest Service closed all the shooting areas there finally.

 

Actually, there is one pullout that is not marked "No Shooting". I heard shots all morning. As far as I'm concerned, if it's not posted, I'm shooting there.

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A friend of mine went up there two weeks ago. They did the trail from the road. On their way down there were a couple guys shooting into the brush below the road. When my friend pointed out that they were shooting into the lower part of the trail, he was met with total disdain. He left feeling like he was kucky he had not been shot. They continued shooting into the lower trail area.

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Five years ago, my wife and I encountered spray gunfire while descending the McClellan Butte trail. Bullets were literally hitting the trees above us. We ran down the trail and got out of there as fast as possible. I later called the ranger station to report the incident, and they said there was nothing they could do about it.

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I've had the same experience going up that trail and crossing over to the North facing chutes several times. A few years ago I confronted two guys with rifles and educated them. They didn't like it that I snuck up on them or that I was also clearly armed, but they got the point and split.

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tele nut is on the right track. the best way to not get shot is to shoot first. there are some companies that make really light firearms suitable for alpine climbing gang fights. boxing_smiley.gif

 

cantfocus.gif I carry sometimes when I am skiing alone or with my small dog in certain areas around the pass. I have twice been stalked by a cougar, and several times found evidence of them close by where I have been. Other times I have come across some pretty bizarre shit out there. There was a body in a trash barrel out on Garcia road not too long ago. It might have been a difficult case to crack if it weren't for the fact that the husband discarded his wife's body in the neighbors trash receptacle with their address stenciled on the side.

 

Sorry for the thread drift pyscho Greg wave.gif

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They continued shooting into the lower trail area.

 

True story: Once last summer, I was over by Freeway Gun Show, and I heard gunshots, and shit started falling all around us, and I freaked out because I thought the rednecks were shooting at the rocks above us.

 

Turns out it was just Leland trudling shit off the ledge that his new 5.10s ended at. He had no idea we were below him.

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I think the Forest Service made a great decision by closing those shooting areas. The people who came out there to shoot rarely cleaned up after themselves, often didn't follow basic rules of safety, and jeapordized the safety of other users on the Ironhorse trail and I-90. I have to drive all the way to the Seattle Police range now to train, but I guess I don't really mind.

 

Leland is a hard worker when it comes trundling rocks. It's an enviable job! the_finger.gif

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