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Pandora

[TR] Mt. Baker- North Ridge Attempt 4/24/2004

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Climb: Mt. Baker-North Ridge Attempt

 

Date of Climb: 4/24/2004

 

Trip Report:

Another failure, another therapy session.

 

This trip began when NOLSe (John) and I met in Seattle Friday night and drove towards Baker. Snow on the road stopped progress a mile from the trailhead and we joined the 5-6 other cars along the side of the road to car camp. After getting rained on in the middle of the night we slept in before lazily rising to prepare for the approach. At about 10 a.m. we departed for the mountain in a light drizzle.

 

I’d never been on Baker so early in the year, and was amazed by the amount of snow and the directness of the approach. Once we got out of the trees and were tantalized by views of untracked snow through breaks in the cloud, I very nearly swore off my boot-packing, post-holing, slogging-machine ways once and for all (are you reading this, cracked??).

 

5292100_0312-med.JPG

 

We set up camp on the Coleman Glacier below Heliotrope Ridge at around 7,000 feet. As the sky cleared and the clouds settled below, we scoped a line over to the North Ridge that we would follow in the morning. The way looked easy since the glacier’s many crevasses were filled in, for the most part.

 

5292100_0310-med.JPG

 

Our planned 3:30 departure turned into a 4:30 start, and the post-holing began the moment I led off from the tent. At one point when it started to get light, about an hour out from camp, I remember looking back at John following my tracks up the slope and thinking how amazingly fun it was. Slogging is my specialty!

 

5292100_0321-med.JPG

 

After each punching through once or twice on the glacier, we made it to the direct start of the ridge. The occasional teasingly firm steps inevitably reverted to shin-deep powdered misery (I mean enjoyment). Luckily it wasn’t too much further to the base of the ice cliff, because I was getting tired and looking forward to John getting his chance to lead. And this is where our first mistake (late start) began to be compounded.

 

5292100_0330-med.JPG

 

We selected the easiest line up the ice and NOLSe started out. Even in the shade of the cliff it wasn’t very cold, and the ice was soft. All the dinnerplating required six or seven swings per stick. The conditions sucked and I lowered John off to search for another way up. There was none to be found, and we should have at least glanced at the topo before looking at the watch and pulling the plug. The correct route apparently skirts the base of the cliff to the left and climbs the back side, rather than the first section you run into on the ridge.

 

A few hundred feet downslope we stopped for a break and to re-rig the rope to cross the glacier again. And if you didn’t see it coming, this is the point where I lost it. I was pissed because I felt we’d turned around without exhausting our options. I didn’t want to head down, I wanted to go up! It was around 11:30; late, but not absurdly so. Both John and I sat on our packs in silence, me with tears running down my cheeks and he surely regretting his decision to climb with an obsessive girl-person.

 

5292100_0333-med.JPG

 

The hanging glacier on Colfax Peak avalanched while we watched, and reminded us not to linger below the ice cliff. With my shirt sufficiently snot-covered at this point, we dropped down off the ridge and traversed below the headwall to meet up with tracks made by skiers the previous day. This saved us from losing extra elevation and then having to gain it back to reach camp. The postholing continued without respite and the hot sun made me all the more miserable. I almost wished to fall into a crevasse just so I would cool off. Eventually we ran into the main Coleman-Deming climbing path and were back at the tent shortly. A couple hours later, after a bit of lazing about on my part, we were packed and continued the walk out at 4:30.

 

5292100_0334-med.JPG

 

Along the way there was a short discussion of my taking a failed climb way too seriously. I know I do this. Maybe the problem is that I haven’t turned around enough. Of the four times I’ve retreated, two were because of whiteout conditions, and I had no problem with those decisions. It’s the times where I feel we should have succeeded and didn’t that eat away at me. NOLSe says I’m driven, I say I’m insane. Take your pick. And come climbing with me next weekend.

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Another excellent TR! thumbs_up.gif

 

Quit being so obsessive. tongue.gif And doesn't this belong in the NEW PANDORA RANT FORUM? hahaha.gif

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Nice pictures. We were headed up there (Coleman/Deming route) and turned around because of white out, only to have it lift for a while on our way out and make us question our decision. You're still alive and had a nice time with Pres Grant and VP Colfax, and they'll look forward to you visiting again. It looked like a very nice day. Thanks for the TR.... bigdrink.gif

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I'm assuming you got whited-out on Saturday?
No, this was a week or two ago. See my TR for the weekend of the 17/18th. Only white out I had this last weekend was the office supply type.

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If I cried every time I bailed off a climb, my face would be dissolved down to the bone by my acid tears.

 

Not to be harsh, but you really need to chill the fuck out. It's not about what you did or didn't do, it's about the experience that you gained in the process. I'd rather fail and learn something, like "maybe I should bring a map next time", than succeed and learn nothing. I learned on the same route "Maybe I should go with a partner that's in shape next time" when he quit out after crossing the glacier. Or maybe you're happy crying into your hands?

 

Good try though thumbs_up.gif It's a fun route in a great atmosphere.

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If I cried every time I bailed off a climb, my face would be dissolved down to the bone by my acid tears.

can a chemist-type weigh in on the ph of tears? i thought they might be basic.

 

 

bitchin tr thouugh. i reckon it is good to get kicked in the nuts by mother nature every now and then. keeps ya humble and shit.

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Along the way there was a short discussion of my taking a failed climb way too seriously. I know I do this. Maybe the problem is that I haven’t turned around enough.

 

Keep climbing and this will change soon enough... I think anyone on this site would agree...

 

Good report boss. To clarify the ice quality currently the first few inches is fairly porous and more white than clear/blue in color. This layer should disappear in the next few weeks as spring weather conditions become more prevalent. If you find yourself up there before this happens, clean your pro placements well (duh?) and be prepared for dinner plates and AI that behaves like WI (I though I'd never say that...). And take skis... it's an Orville Redenbacher warehouse up there.

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Hey if you want to go back, get some skis, and I'll go!! That snow looks AWESOME!! And I've been wanting to climb North Ridge for a while.

 

ps. crying means you care. But probably not a good thing to do in dangerous territory...

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hey pandora or hannah or girlclimber or whatever yo name is.... "It doesn't matter that we did not succeeed, because we FAILED WITH STYLE!" bigdrink.gif I can't remember who said tthat first but it remains true.

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actually hannah you should be ashamed! we're tired of hearing about your failures! we only like to hear about perfect climbers who nail the top every time. smile.gif

 

shit...you young, unemployed, and fuk'n driven (and driving now too, eh?)...have fun! climb 5 days a week and get antsy the other 2. solo. start drinking. keep posting.

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You're breaking the holy sacrament of climbing - the internal angst. Let's not hear any more about this open display of emotions ok? See, you're supposed to keep it all bottled up inside and then you start talking to yourself and refering to yourself in the third person. It's perfectly healthy. I keep telling myself it is anyway.

 

"There's no crying in baseball!" yelrotflmao.gif

 

Nice trip reprot!

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Awesome pic's and great TR! I can relate to your feelings about having to bail. I have been there as well. One thing I've noticed is that it gets easier to spin as you gain experince having to do it. Either way, you'll always be "mountain hard woman" in my eyes!!

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If it makes you feel any better about retreating, of the 6 attempts to climb mountains in Colorado this winter, I didn't get to the top once, despite good conditions. But I decided that fun is the adventure. Everything going perfectly as planned makes for terribly boring stories.

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THe more you climb, the more you'll fail...that simple smile.gif

 

Dont worry about it anyway, the north ridge is better later in the year when it's more ice, less snow

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