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[TR] Talchako Mountain- Northeast Ridge/Butt 7/28/2004

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Climb: Talchako Mountain-Northeast Ridge/Butt


Date of Climb: 7/28/2004


Trip Report:

Ray Borbon, James Nakagami, Fred Beckey and I went in to Talchako Mountain (3037m/9970') which is SE of Bella Coola and N of Mt Monarch. Ray had planned the whole trip and in fact had been bombarding me with pictures of Talchako for almost a year. Matt Perkins was supposed to come too but bailed at the last minute, due to some old skiing injury I believe.


Ray, James and Fred arrived July 23. We went to the bar in Chilliwack. James and I got drunk and Fred liked our waitress. He asked in a loud voice if she was a "typical Chilliwack farm girl." bigdrink.gif


Saturday July 24 we drove in Ray's Jeep and my Subaru to Bella Coola. This took about 12 hours. On the drive the smoke from forest fires was so thick that you could see the giant sunspot on the sun with the naked eye without squinting. In Hagensborg James and I got drunk in the bar again. We bivied by the old cannery site. There were amazing, wild, unbelievable strobe-light techno flashing aurora borealis in the night sky. It was my 32nd birthday cool.gif


Sunday July 25 we met Richard Lapointe of West Coast Helicopters and were flown in to Talchako in Richard's monster A-Star. The HUMVEE of helicopters. We could have even hauled in 200 lbs more of gear and food if we had wanted to! thumbs_up.gif


Basecamp was at 5400' SE of Talchako on a lake-dotted region of knolls. We had a super base camp site with 2 lakes within walking distance, good views of a huge forest fire to the east in Tweedsmuir Park, and hordes of hungry insects.


Monday July 25. We were packed and ready to go. However Fred had a back injury and was feeling some pain so we decided to instead go on a recon mission. Ray and I set out for "Talchako North" a 2500m/8500' peak north of Talchako across a glacier to get some views of our route. We climbed the easternmost of Tal North's 4 summits in a 12 hour jaunt from basecamp via a class 4 scrambling route with some soloing through cliff bands. Our intended route on Talchako looked very impressive. We could not get to the other 3 summits of TN (all probably unclimbed) due to a steep gap and Ray's forgetting his harness not to mention running out of time on what was supposed to be a 5 hour recon mission only.




East face from the moraines with NE ridge/butt facing camera.




North face from Tal North with the NE ridge/butt obvious at left catching sun.


Tuesday dawned incredibly smoky due to a wind shift. Visibility was 50 feet or less for most of the day. Ray, James and Fred all rested. I hiked south to examine Ratcliff. Crossing the river to Ratcliff looked insane so we regretfully bid adieu to Plan B and focussed all attention on Talchako.




Ratcliff through the morning smoke.


Wednesday morning we got up at 4 AM and set off. Fred was still hurting and stayed behind to read and practice yoga. James, Ray and I made the 4 hour death march approach through clouds of bugs and loose moraines then started climbing up Talchako's NE ridge. We climbed 16 pitches that day. The first 10 pitches or so were 5th class up to 5.7 and then there were about 6 pitches that were more 4th class-ish but we pitched them out due to the presence of wet rock and loose debris on ledges. James and Ray wore rock shoes for some of the climbing.



The 5th pitch with James belaying and Ray climbing ahead of me.





Ray getting water on some chossy but pretty-coloured ledges on the 14th pitch mushsmile.gif




James working up the edge of the ice arete on the 16th pitch.


On about p. 14 we started hitting icy snow patches and had some mixed climbing going on. At the end of the nominal P 16 (actually after about 18 or 19 pitches including shorter ones, but all lengths have been standardized to 60 m pitch lengths) about 6 PM we hit a super ledge and decided it was too good to pass up and bivied there. Dinner was "biftek" and other delicacies and the sunset was rad.




Ray eating biftek at the bivi.




Lights out....


The night was very cold and shivery and went on far too long.


In the morning first light saw building clouds so drill sargeant Ray got us moving ASAP and we climbed about 11 more full pitches of rock and ice aretes up to 55-60 degrees to gain Talchako's eastern summit. The crux was a loose 5.8 chimney and there were several more pitches of 5.7-5.8 in this upper section.


We traversed from the eastern summit to the central and western summits in search of a descent route. Also we found the summit register on the central summit. We may have made the 5th or 6th ascent of this peak, there were only 3 entries in the register and one other documented climb we know of, but it could have been climbed in spring when the cairn is under snow. Also there is some evidence the local Nuxalk and Ulkatcho did vision quests or something up here way back in the pre- European contact days.



Going down!


The descent went down about 4000' of downclimbing and scree ledges. There was one icy section to cross. Once we got to the base of the descent we had to do a traverse around the mountain back to camp. One section with a steep gully to cross was pretty tricky route finding. We made it back to camp around 7 PM. Fred gave up his yoga and break dancing practice long enough to make us some dinner.




Fred busts a move. In asana yoga this is called the Horsecock Pose.


Friday and Saturday involved rest, recuperation and swatting horeseflies. We ate a lot and hiked around near camp taking photos. James and I did some fun cragging on a half-pitch outcrop near camp climbing some good face routes up to 10a.


Sunday we flew out and had a victory dinner. James and Ray blitzed it for home that night. Fred and I bivied near Williams Lake and got back here near noon today.


The NE ridge of Talchako is about 27x60m pitches long, we climbed it in about 29-30 pitches but some were short. The hardest rock moves were 5.8. The ice aretes at the top were only about 50 degrees along the crest but due to taking too many pickets and not enough screws we avoided most of them on adjacent rock, however this meant we did have to climb some steeper ice up to 55-60 degrees on the flanks of the arete in a few spots. The overall rating is probably Alpine TD, YDS V 5.8. One knifeblade was left in place at the 18th belay.




Looking SW from the summit to Princess Mountain... lots more to do!


Gear Notes:

light rack with 6 pins and nuts and cams to 2.5"


three screws - should have taken 6


one ice axe and one third tool each - two technical tools would have been better


3 pickets - useless, could have been left in camp


no rappels so the 20m of rap webbing was only used for bivi padding!


Approach Notes:

West Coast Helicopters A-Star, $750CDN a person


4 hr moraine slog from base camp

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How many napkins required for this trip?


What is the pointy bit in the sunset photo?


Nice! thumbs_up.gif

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There were about 50 napkins plus 10 plastic and 20 paper bags filched from Save On Foods.


The pointy bit in the sunset photo is Hyperion, one of the Borealis Peaks. It's even more impressive when you see the whole thing (slides being developed)

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What a fucking bunch of characters yelrotflmao.gif


Nice work on the climbs, and putting up with Fred. thumbs_up.gif


Canada: Stop sending your fire smoke down here. It sucks enough you export bad music like the Tragically Hip and celtic rock. Shit.


Seriously though, nice job! what crazy looking rock.

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I honestly thought the route we climbed was not going to go until we got onto it. It looked pretty shitty from the loose choss of Tal North. But it was actually mostly solid rockand the loose stuff was just perched on ledges. There were lots of solid holds and good face cracks for pro.


The NE ridge or buttress is roughly 3000'/1000m from base to summit. The East and SE faces are both about 4000'. The east face has similar rock to the NE ridge. The East Pillar has a steeper start than the NE ridge and might give 5.10 climbing. The SE face has a couple options for long climbs on what looks like the best rock on the mountain. The north face with the hanging glaciers just has lots of rock fall and looks fucking scary but maybe it could be good in the springtime?


Aside from our climb and the standard route we downclimbed it is all unclimbed so if you are one of the whiners saying "All the good lines were climbed years ago" go get some!

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This photo of Fred Touche's gives a better sense of scale I think


Edited by jordop

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but the bottom 1/3 of the east face is hidden in freds photo.

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I looked up that face on XXXXXXXX Fred was mentioning, in Don's Wadd book. It looks pretty good!

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So there I was yappin on the phone with Jimmy.


Then I hear Dberdickneck was talking smack about our cruddy climb. Well I had fun and I think everyone else did.


What a fuckin Johnny moon.gif


Movie of us hating loser bitches like Darin Derfucknek.


Jimmy wanted me to post this image I took last year here.
































Edited by Cpt.Caveman

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If only we had done the 5.11 sit start, Alpinist would be SOOO on our tip, and sponsored Prana hotties would buy us beers at that Colorado "invitation only" shmozze fest. What a narrowescape!

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"There were amazing, wild, unbelievable strobe-light techno flashing aurora borealis in the night sky."


Syudla and I saw the same mind-blowing spectacle that night from Sunny Knob in the Wadds.


Sounds like you guys had a great time. Good show.


Seems like I'm hearing more and more guys wishin' they'd brought both technical axes.

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Hey Ray! HCL.gifthe_finger.gif

Good to see you posting again, it's unfortunate the anger-management therapy isn't working.


Dru, James....and rolleyes.gif Ray rolleyes.gif no offense was intended. Good job!

Edited by dberdinka

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What is sez is Princess in the photos above is Cerberus. "i'm sorry Mario but the Princess is in another castle" rolleyes.gif


Darin what exactly did you say about the route that got Ray all boxing_smiley.gifconfused.gif


Oh yeah and what I said was Hyperion in the Borealis Pks is actually Aurora Tower rolleyes.gif

Edited by Dru

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so does that make the one on the right with it's head in the clouds, above the ice fall Mt. SATAN?!!! the_finger.gif

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Yeah, Satan, Dagon, Beelzebub, Geryon, it's like a heavy metal nerd wank-fest over there!

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I dont think that left hand ridge on the left side twin peaks in photo has been done yet. Isnt that Griffiths..


And I also dont think anything on Ratcliff's icefall prone north side has been done either.


And well I would say more but figger it out yerself if ya wanna know.


It's super choss though.

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