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[TR] Stuart- Ice Cliff Glacier 3/24/2005

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Climb: Stuart-Ice Cliff Glacier

 

Date of Climb: 3/24/2005

 

Trip Report:

I trolled for a partner on cc.com and Z-man replied that he was interested in doing the Ice Cliff glacier on Stuart. I had never done the route, so we agreed to meet in Bothell and head over. We met Zmans friend Ben at 8-mile and the 3 of us headed up the road. Road was clear to within a mile of the trailhead, and then some snow, but the Subi handled it. Drove to the trailhead!

 

There was a cattle path to the Mountaineer creek/Colchuck split, then we made fresh tracks from there. It was easy going as the snow was shallow and somewhat compact. We put the snowshoes on just after the split. The talus field was a little bit of a challenge with sparse snow covering the holes, but it was short and we were soon up to the basin. Lots of fresh snow in the basin. We were very thankful for the snowshoes up there. We found a site for the tent at the base of the moraine; even found a hole in the rocks to hide from the snow showers. Time was 4 hours to the camp from car.

 

Left camp at 6AM for the climb. We were in snow over our knees right out of camp, and it was the theme for the day. Conditions looked stable on the mountain with the temps and no sign of avi's or even slough's, so we continued. We slogged, and we slogged and we slogged. I felt like we needed goggles to swim up that stuff. Finally got to the ice cliff and has a brief respite from the snow as we had a mellow 150' of ice to wind through, and then back to slogging. The snow was especially deep right before the coulior. Another 20' of WI2 ice got us into the chute. We kept to the side and did running belays with a little pro in the rocks as we went. Again the snow was swimable, but we kept wading up searching for any ice to sink the crampons in and get on top of the snow...no luck. The cornice at the top was no problem and we were at the top of the glacier by 12:30PM. The weather was OK, with limited visibility above us to the summit. Zman and Ben said they didn't have any desire to wade up to the summit, so we started down. The entrance to the Sherpa required a rapell as the normal entrance had a big cornice protecting it and a scary snow slow below it. After the rapell it was pretty easy going as long as it was downhill in the snow. The snow on the Sherpa was even deeper than on the Ice cliff. Slogged back to camp, packed and back to the car by 6PM.

 

Started driving out and got about 200' down the road when the Subi high - centered and we ground to a halt. Brutal! The snow had firmed up and the ruts were deeper, so we couldn't plow as we had on the way up. We started digging and we had a hell of a time getting all of the compacted snow from under the car. We even had to jack up the front end, dig out and put sticks under the tires. An hour after getting stuck we were whooping it up as we peeled out of there and high tailed it to town. At least we didn't have to walk the road!

 

All in all a succesful trip. That was one of the most sustained snow slogs I have done. There was no let up for the whole route save for a couple hundred feet of ice.

 

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Snowshoes, a few pins for pro, couple of pickets, good gaiters.

 

Approach Notes:

Drive to the trailhead with a higher clearance vehicle. Approach was easy with snowshoes

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I definitely think this climb is better a little later in the season when it's more ice and less deep stuff.

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Guest

Chris,

Heres the thread to our TR's. The pictures are on my site in the TR but you can get larger ones if you go to the files directory for the "stuart-icecliffglacier" web page and click on the .png files. I definitely cant garuntee the accuracy of the pitch descriptions my TR in case you find / want to make corrections.

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Ben Says This:

I got back around 6 pm and Chris got back a few minutes later as I was getting ready to leave and I told him thanks for the trip before I left. Who knows how long it took Aaron to get there but he was riding with Chris.

 

And then, while slagging on his partners he says:

 

My mentality is usually that if you climb as a group, or are hiking or doing general stuff as a group, sticking together is important. What if one person gets hurt or lost on the way back?

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Ben Says This:

I got back around 6 pm and Chris got back a few minutes later as I was getting ready to leave and I told him thanks for the trip before I left. Who knows how long it took Aaron to get there but he was riding with Chris.

 

And then, while slagging on his partners he says:

 

My mentality is usually that if you climb as a group, or are hiking or doing general stuff as a group, sticking together is important. What if one person gets hurt or lost on the way back?

 

I guess we should have stayed roped up on the trail! Then I could have set up a munter belay off of a tree shocked.gif

 

Me thinks Ben was in a little over his head.

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So as a reader, let me see if I understand:

Chris and Aaron allow Ben to tag along on the ice cliff glacier route. Ben understands the level of difficulty, and the skills required, and admits to himself and his partners that he might be lacking technically. They say okay, and take him along.

The approach goes fine, albeit with some advice from Aaron on how to save weight. Ben refuses said beta.

Ben drops his shelter for the night, at the bivy site. Chris gives his warm sleeping bag to Ben as a kind gesture among partners.

Chris and Aaron proceed to rope-gun Ben up the ice cliff glacier the following day teaching him quick tricks for moving fast in the mountains. Ben feels these "tricks" are un-safe.

They return un-hurt. Ben rips his partners/guides/rope-guns a new one, on a university climbing board.

 

So am I understanding this correctly? wazzup.gif

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So as a reader, let me see if I understand:

Chris and Aaron allow Ben to tag along on the ice cliff glacier route. Ben understands the level of difficulty, and the skills required, and admits to himself and his partners that he might be lacking technically. They say okay, and take him along.

The approach goes fine, albeit with some advice from Aaron on how to save weight. Ben refuses said beta.

Ben drops his shelter for the night, at the bivy site. Chris gives his warm sleeping bag to Ben as a kind gesture among partners.

Chris and Aaron proceed to rope-gun Ben up the ice cliff glacier the following day teaching him quick tricks for moving fast in the mountains. Ben feels these "tricks" are un-safe.

They return un-hurt. Ben rips his partners/guides/rope-guns a new one, on a university climbing board.

 

So am I understanding this correctly? wazzup.gif

 

I believe you've got it(except Aaron gave his bag).

 

I guess I should have chatted more on the approach as well...my bad. tongue.gif

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"He placed once ice screw in the gully on some steep snow and then nothing for the rest"

 

LOL...I didn't know ice screws were all that effective in snow, let alone steep snow. wink.gif

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give it a rest guys, everyone has stories like this. people who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones, eh?

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Guest

Corrections:

 

I accepted "said beta".

 

I did not complain about safety, I kept my mouth mostly shut and climbed.

 

I went back alone only after I decided that was how my partners wanted to do things.

 

The ice screw was in a patch ice on the side of the gully.

 

I was told by Aaron I would be belayed on the steep parts but we stuck to running belays.

 

I did not feel as safe as I would have liked but, I understand that everyone has a different amount of acceptable risk and when you climb with someone you dont know your risking a mismatch. I'll be checking out the match better in the future.

 

I do appreciate the leading my partners did and for allowing someone with much less experience on their climb.

 

I was not trying to "rip my partner a new one", most of the TR was strictly what was said and done as well as I can remember.

 

I didn't care that Chris didnt talk much but I did care that no one thought they were trip leader and that I was ignored when asking about setting up ground rules. I have not been on a climb where the ther is little group mentality and wasn't well prepared for that responisbility, I'm sorry I didnt make that more clear.

 

I do appreciate getting Aaron's bag, my TR complains about the cold night but doesnt say I blamed my partners in any way.

 

Getting back unharmed has nothing to do with how much risk was taken along the way.

 

Chris I'm sorry it apparently came out as such a "slag". Your an excellent climber and I meant it when I thanked you for the trip. If you want to come over to my place sometime, the beer's on me.

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FWIW, a slightly less secure belay (running vs. fixed) may well be viewed as safer due to objective hazard. I am willing to give up a bit in terms of belay safety to get myself out of an exposed position quicker. This is perhaps the decision your partners made, and in many cases it is the correct one.

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Your right, in this case no one was in a position where they had a high enough risk of falling to justify the extra time needed for a belay, although I felt like I was much closer to that limit than my partners, infact I don't think I really was. Balancing those factors is a concept I'm slowly getting used to. I imagine if I had seen more ice and rock fall I would have a greater appreciation for the hazard type risk. The other consideration is there seemed to be little chance of hazardous events occuring because of the stability of the weather, (temperature amount of sunlight etc.) This was evident in that nothing budged, cracked, avalanched, etc. during our climb.

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Just a note that seracs and shit can and will collapse at any time, day or night, hot or cold. I spent a nearly sleepness night at Lyman lake listening to that glacier bust up into the lake all night long. During the warm day it was silent.

 

-josh

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I'll make a reply to where this post has gone and then leave it alone.

 

I admit to poking fun at Ben when he didn't really deserve it. I hope Ben doesn't take it too seriously. He is a relatively new climber who has only gone on Mountie trips before this one. Since my trips tend to be very un-mountie like, the style was different than he was used to. I believe I climb safely and quickly in the mountains and that's an accumulation of over 15 years of experience doing this stuff. I hope Ben can take some of the things he saw us do on this climb and utilize them in the future. If he chooses not to, that's his choice(or the mounties boxing_smiley.gif).

 

 

 

I do look for partners occasionally on cc.com and I don't want a future partner to think that I make a habit of flaming on them after a climb.

 

I'll continue to bigdrink.gif and climb for fun, won't you?

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I didn't care that Chris didnt talk much but I did care that no one thought they were trip leader and that I was ignored when asking about setting up ground rules. I have not been on a climb where the ther is little group mentality and wasn't well prepared for that responisbility, I'm sorry I didnt make that more clear.

 

Rereading this one I came across the above quote. I am curious as to whether this need for a "trip leader" and "ground rules" is common? Is this part of the Mountie course syllabus?

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I'll continue to bigdrink.gif and climb for fun, won't you?

 

Here, here. This is an interesting little soap opera. Ben, unless you have the experience and solid knowledge to criticise unsound technique, I would hold your comments (and publicly published TRs loaded with criticism) to yourself. That isn't to discourage you from questioning other's technique, but doing it in a public fashion probably isn't going to win you any friends...especially when the person you are criticising has 15 years of experience and you have maybe 1 or 2. I would get someone you trust (even if it is a Mountie) to bounce stuff off of rather than posting in a public forum. And remember, the best climber is the one having the most fun! hahaha.gif

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yeah but on that note I've seen alot of climbers with "15 years experience" do some really stoopid inexcusable shit, then pull the "I've got the experience card" on questioning comrades just to shut them up, and I've also seen climbers with only 1 or 2 years experience run complete circles around their "elders" in terms of competence, speed, and safety, so the truth is you just never know. Best to watch, learn, stay alive long enough to be able to judge for yourself and tell stories to your grandkids

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yeah but on that note I've seen alot of climbers with "15 years experience" do some really stoopid inexcusable shit, then pull the "I've got the experience card" on questioning comrades just to shut them up, and I've also seen climbers with only 1 or 2 years experience run complete circles around their "elders" in terms of competence, speed, and safety, so the truth is you just never know. Best to watch, learn, stay alive long enough to be able to judge for yourself and tell stories to your grandkids

 

True, true. I was just referring to the post climb criticism. When you're actually climbing, it is always best your own best judgement, regardless of the situation and who has experience. Usual disclaimer regarding the dangers and risks inherent to climbing applys.

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I didn't care that Chris didnt talk much but I did care that no one thought they were trip leader and that I was ignored when asking about setting up ground rules. I have not been on a climb where the ther is little group mentality and wasn't well prepared for that responisbility, I'm sorry I didnt make that more clear.

 

Rereading this one I came across the above quote. I am curious as to whether this need for a "trip leader" and "ground rules" is common? Is this part of the Mountie course syllabus?

 

I thought this was an odd comment also for an independent climb (or non-mounty sanctioned climb).

 

It seems the mounties have a regiment of designating a group/trip leader due to their history of teaching new climbers who need a leader and a mentor. A good technique for making sure the newbies stay safe but not a common technique for smaller climbing groups looking to do climbs that are beyond basic.

 

In a more experienced setting, I think climbers rely on the partner theory of climbing rather than the leader/follower. For more advanced climbs, climbers tend toward having a good partnership where you are both relying on each others skills and leadership to create a strong cohesive team. This cohesive team is important and creates a mores skilled and safer group.

 

Do other people who are doing harder climbs rely on an equal partnership with their climbing buddy or do you designate a leader?

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