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[TR] Guye Peak- Improbable Traverse 3/18/2005

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Climb: Guye Peak-Improbable Traverse


Date of Climb: 3/18/2005


Trip Report:

What was a ho-hum push-over in summer turned out to be fantastic day of fun in the dying days of winter.


I only had one day to climb this weekend and a partner who'd never been on alpine rock. Figured i should keep it to something basic. Last monday i'd passed through snoqual. pass and noted the total lack of snow there, so thought that a good candidate.


Arrived 7 AM Friday to discover a little less than a foot of snow covering everything. Figured this would make the whole thing more interesting, but was annoyed to discover i'd neglected to pack my gaiters.


The first portion of the climb, easy though chossy class 3 in summer, quickly set the tone for much of the day. All the crumbly rock was coated in wet snow and verglas. No rope used here of course for there's no pro in the choss - pace was very slow to avoid unfortunate mistakes. Got through the steepest section, where you traverse left to the trees on a slab, to discover more food for fear - still no pro and very poorly bonded snow on the slab. Thought about just backing off there so as not to terrify my newbie, but was happy to see he was eager to continue.


To avoid falling and dying on a silly peak i climbed up 30 feet to a tree anchor before starting hte traverse. Happy with the knowledge that a fall wouldn't kill us both, i made the first half of the traverse, getting some gear in, before finding that the last half before the trees was too slippery. climbed up through the rock to another slab then, and found that under an overhang it was dry enough to make quick progress.


One more pitch and we were at the lunch ledge and the start of the most enjoyable climbng. Changed from boots to shoes and did it up. I found the second pin on the traverse to be a total joke - it could easily be removed with a pair of pliers, were one so inclined. the traverse is great fun, and not too hard to protect after a few feet. this was the wildest part of the whole climb because the massive roof overhead was shedding verglass, snow-bombs and ice-cicles the whole time, and they were roaring safely past me, about 10 feet behind my back, as i climbed.


the ramp above the traverse was sheltered from the snow so was mostly dry. at the top we changed back into boots and resumed the sphincter-tightening 3rd class verglas scramble. did running belays with the rope shortened to 30 meters - tied off a lot of trees and placed many cams by the time this was all done; also found myself thrutching up tree limbs and fistfuls of heather on countless occasions. this portion was painfully slower than last summer, when we just ran up everything solo in tennis shoes. instead this took hours of clearing hand and footholds.


on the summit ridge we wended our way up and across all three summit points before dropping down to the saddle. the snow at the summit was very deep (to knees) in places and the trail i'd followed last summer utterly obscured. with evening coming on we searched for the path of least resistance down from the saddle but quickly found the way becoming very steep indeed. rather than reclimbing and trying to find a better way we started rappelling. a half dozen raps down a vertical forest later, we found ourselves doing some more sketchy 3rd class verglas downclimbing in the dark only to emerge onto a talus field. 30 minutes of hik'n'cursing brought us to the road, where walking on concrete on totally benumbed feet (gaiters would have been nice) made me feel like some spastic hobo.


all in all, a very cool surprise to find this level of adventure on a usually tame summer climb. the winter conditions made up for the last few weeks of spoiling warmth.


pictures to come if my boy will ever get'em to me.


Gear Notes:

nuts and camalots to #3

dozen slings

ice axe (very useful in these conditions)



Approach Notes:

snow, snow, road

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guye in the mist



sketchy third class on pitch 1



first piece of pro=shrub



the good stuff - bob on the improbable traverse



summit cheese and sweet views



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Eric, did you guys do the traverse or that "direction" variant we did where I fell, badly rope-burned my hand and proceeded to spaz around for half an hour or more?



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looked at it, thought about it, looked at my partner, thought about the unknown amount of icy scrambling to get off the upper part, did the traverse i'd never done before. don't regret it either - it is certainly very cool. next time i'd do another direct variant off to the right of the one we did. that fixed pin w/ the webbing and attached pulled pin is still there wink.gif

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