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Greg_W

[TR] Colchuck Peak- N. E. Couloir 5/22/2004

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Climb: Colchuck Peak-N. E. Couloir

 

Date of Climb: 5/22/2004

 

Trip Report:

Bronco and I headed out to L-worth Friday night and crashed at the trailhead for about 4 hours. We were headed up the trail by 4:00a.m. and reached the lake around 6. After a snack and a fillup on water, we headed up to the base of the couloir. Despite all the weather reports, the skies were looking fine; a few snowflakes fell on occasion, no big deal (yet).

 

We geared up on the moraine and discussed our plan. This is when I realized that I had forgotten sunglasses - the ultimate gaper move. True to my gape-ology, I was forced to wear Bronco's goggles; luckily nobody saw me all day.

 

I led up and over the 'schrund and into the couloir. The 'schrund crossing won't be long for this world; however, there is a bypass via the rock on the left that could go. We simul-climbed about five ropelengths, finding sparse pro exactly where we needed it. I finally set up a belay to take a breather and Bronco joined me. To this point, the snow had been pretty good, with some hard sections that took good tool sticks.

 

Bronco headed out, traversing across the avalanche chute and up into crusty, shitty snow. He was getting good pro and we headed up a left fork off the main couloir (a soon-to-be-discovered error). Eventually, the rope stopped and Bronco had a belay set up. It started snowing after a bit and soon I could no longer see the lake below. The couloir narrowed down and I climbed a few rock moves through sugary snow to a stance that Bronco had stomped out by a slung block. After some discussion, I led out, up and left, looking for a way up and off. So, far we had been making good time, but above me it looked hard. I placed some gear and made a few rock moves and got up into a small pod. The way above looked kind of nasty: slightly blocky and overhanging, beyond my level. I soon realized that we were actually on the Northeast Buttress. I saw another potential way to traverse to the Buttress crest, but it had started snowing like a sumbitch. Given the weather, and our inability to move up, I climbed back to the belay and we decided to bail. That left a bitter taste, as we new we were close to the summit. Two rappels down the steeper stuff, we started downclimbing...and downclimbing...and downclimbing...I stuck to the avy chute as much as I could since the snow was firmer and nothing was coming down. Finally we got to the 'schrund and belayed each other jumping across. A few glissades, displaying prowess in missing rocks and trees, and we were at the lake. Ran into Jens, who had just soloed NBC, stashed our soaked stuff and beat feet down.

 

Good times!

 

Gear Notes:

two pins, 6 slings, biners, few medium nuts, 3 medium hexes, 4 screws (used two), two pickets (used 'em), ice tools, and standard gear.

 

Approach Notes:

trail snow-free for about 3-3.5 miles. Heading out, the snow was real heavy down to the lake.

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Great TR. We tried the same route about a month ago. We had great snow all the way. At that spot near the top (above the basin with the rock wall on the right side), we headed up the right branch. We did all this in 100' to 300' visibility while it was snowing. The right hand route seems like reasonable terrain, but gear is thin and it was covered with a thin layer of new snow. We could hear some guys doing rebel yells after summiting via the N Buttress Couloir only a few hundred feet about us - which totally sucked since we had to back off and descend. Next year...

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My altimeter showed 8,500' when we bailed so we may have been closer to the top than this photo I pilfered off of Stepen Ramsey's website shows with the route we took in red.

351588-colchuck-big.jpg.2db21afacf4c149b736a849e1c695101.jpg

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..this photo I pilfered off of Stepen Ramsey's website shows with the route we took in red...

 

Yeah, you were one system too far left. The route we took went up to where the main gully "splits", up about another 2-300 vert of the main (left) branch, then traversed left a short way over a thin rock rib, straight up past some AI2+, then a step right to the final pitch below the main notch you see just up and to the right of your guys bail point.

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We did the NBC on the 22nd; on the descent to the col, we peered down the NEBC; looked like it was guarded by a cornice. Could've been interesting, eh? thumbs_up.gif

 

Cool TR. That route is on my list for next year. Indeed, soon the schrund will be difficult to get across, I would guess.

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We also did NBC coulouir on May 22, dropped to the col and then summited dragontail from the col via the moderate couloir and then down to the asgard. I think we saw you guys on the colchuck galacier near the morain. We were looking for you later in the day but could not see anyone.

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Aw, man, that's cool. Glad you guys made Dragontail, as wellthumbs_up.gif

 

We hung out at the moraine to view Colchuck's couloirs from a better vantage, and headed back to camp. We were camped at the small pond just off of Colchuck Lake. Seems like the rain moved in minutes after we made it back to camp. We were to do Serpentine Arete on Sunday, but of course, it wasn't to be. Damn. Have to go back to do that one. Triple Couloirs is on my list for next year, as well.bigdrink.gif

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Climb: Colchuck Peak-N. E. Couloir

 

Date of Climb: 5/22/2004

 

Trip Report:

Bronco and I headed out to L-worth Friday night and crashed at the trailhead for about 4 hours. We were headed up the trail by 4:00a.m. and reached the lake around 6. After a snack and a fillup on water, we headed up to the base of the couloir. Despite all the weather reports, the skies were looking fine; a few snowflakes fell on occasion, no big deal (yet).

 

We geared up on the moraine and discussed our plan. This is when I realized that I had forgotten sunglasses - the ultimate gaper move. True to my gape-ology, I was forced to wear Bronco's goggles; luckily nobody saw me all day.

 

I led up and over the 'schrund and into the couloir. The 'schrund crossing won't be long for this world; however, there is a bypass via the rock on the left that could go. We simul-climbed about five ropelengths, finding sparse pro exactly where we needed it. I finally set up a belay to take a breather and Bronco joined me. To this point, the snow had been pretty good, with some hard sections that took good tool sticks.

 

Bronco headed out, traversing across the avalanche chute and up into crusty, shitty snow. He was getting good pro and we headed up a left fork off the main couloir (a soon-to-be-discovered error). Eventually, the rope stopped and Bronco had a belay set up. It started snowing after a bit and soon I could no longer see the lake below. The couloir narrowed down and I climbed a few rock moves through sugary snow to a stance that Bronco had stomped out by a slung block. After some discussion, I led out, up and left, looking for a way up and off. So, far we had been making good time, but above me it looked hard. I placed some gear and made a few rock moves and got up into a small pod. The way above looked kind of nasty: slightly blocky and overhanging, beyond my level. I soon realized that we were actually on the Northeast Buttress. I saw another potential way to traverse to the Buttress crest, but it had started snowing like a sumbitch. Given the weather, and our inability to move up, I climbed back to the belay and we decided to bail. That left a bitter taste, as we new we were close to the summit. Two rappels down the steeper stuff, we started downclimbing...and downclimbing...and downclimbing...I stuck to the avy chute as much as I could since the snow was firmer and nothing was coming down. Finally we got to the 'schrund and belayed each other jumping across. A few glissades, displaying prowess in missing rocks and trees, and we were at the lake. Ran into Jens, who had just soloed NBC, stashed our soaked stuff and beat feet down.

 

Good times!

 

Gear Notes:

two pins, 6 slings, biners, few medium nuts, 3 medium hexes, 4 screws (used two), two pickets (used 'em), ice tools, and standard gear.

 

Approach Notes:

trail snow-free for about 3-3.5 miles. Heading out, the snow was real heavy down to the lake.

 

I wanted to make an important amendment to this TR and officially note that both Greg and I forgot our Cloudveil Icefloe Gloves on this adventure and probably set us up for failure as we each fell back on outdated technology, my dreadful Black Diamond Drytool Gloves (some fingers are worn through) blush.gif and Greg in his (shudder) hideous, army surplus fingerless wool gloves hellno3d.gif

 

Had either of us been properly attired in our Cloudveil Icefloe Gloves, we would have sent a potentially new route up the dag-gummed buttress. madgo_ron.gif

 

Someone should go back up there with high tech gloves and SEND IT!!!!

 

cloudveil2.jpg

 

And I think Jens did the NBC route in about 5 hours car to car, not that he really cares.

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