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[TR] Illumination Rock-Rime Dog III 5.9 4/24/04


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Climb: Illumination Rock-Rime Dog 3rd ascent III 5.9 mixed 200m 4/24/04


Date of Climb: 4/24/2005


Trip Report:

Edit: I've edited this thing twice now. 1st we thought we did Iron Maiden, then according to sources we did an FA, but Wayne corrected us since he's done all the routes on I-rock, and I guess we did the 3rd ascent of Rime Dog


Finally, after a record number of failures due to weather, conditions, gear, time, etc...Marcus Donaldson and I were finally able to unleash the fury -which was well pent up from our almost weekly forrays into failure.


Despite a 60% chance of snowstorms and even t-storms, Marcus and I drove up to Timerbline Lodge below Mt Hood arrive at a little after 5am. We could see a nice storm cloud growing above the summit of Hood and the wind was whippin'. The worst part of the slog up to Illumination Rock is havign done it before and remembering how long and boring that approach is. The mountain definately seems closer than it is, so it took us about 3 hours from starting to skin up the slope to being on belay. I am a terrible skiier so I left my skiis at the top of the upper Palmer lifts. This was a mistake and a blessing (more later).


The route we were attempting starts left of the South Chamber up a series of gullies and headwalls. It looks like a ridge climb when viewed from the side, so it's pretty interesting to find gullies on a rather improbable looking line. The ice climb, "March Madness" was almost ready to climb (on the east face -a 1.5 pitch wi4) but was pretty thin and the ice looked very very very shitty. It wasn't even an option as we only brought one 17 cm screw anyways.


I dug out a little platform and belayed Marcus up the 1st pitch. I wish I could say how hard it was or if it was good or not, but 2nding it, i got my ass fully handed to me. Unbelievable amounts of spindrift from above and from the howling wind completely blinded me. I mean i could not see anything. Snow and ice collected behind my belay parka (which i never took off througout the whole day) and gave me ice-cream headaches while i tried to claw my way up the pitch. None of the "ice" or rime would hold a stick. The rime would just collapse or chunk off, holding neither pick nor screw. In fact, during the whole climb neither of us got a single solid pick placement on the already marginal amount of ice and rime on the route. What we did have was tons of powder snow over rock and slab.


Needless to say i was not too excited by the time i reached the end of the ropestrecher pitch. I was freezing and already covered in snow from head to toe. He wanted to quit when he reached the belay and knew i would feel the same by the time i reached it. But we had committed to doing a route together this winter and this was our final opportunity to do one. I took the rack and led out, just going through the motions of climbing, hoping that would psych me up again. His statement of, "hey, put a piece in quickly, i don't think this anchor will hold" didn't help much. I climbed up a pitch and put in a belay where i thought the route should go. I didn't really know b/c i couldn't see jack shit. I got about one second of vision between numerous bouts of furious blinking.


Marcus's turn again. I put the belay directly under a rock headwall. Immediately above loomed a groove or offwidth looking section that went up about 50 feet into what looked like more headwall and rime gargoyles. Marcus did an amazing lead, and i could hear him talking to himself (saying very bad things) as he loudly grunted his way up. I climbed up and was very impressed. It was about hard 5.9 climbing with tools and crampons. I had to chimney, drop knee, layback, and handjam with extremely shitty feet (i.e. no feet). Then a run out tip-toe traverse on slab with quite the drop to another don't fall on me belay on the arete of a snow fluting. This 50meter pitch was nothing like Wayne or Lane's description of this climb as there was no "nice water ice" climbing and "easy 5.7". Either we were off route or the character was drastically different with no ice and full blizzard spindrift conditions.


My next lead was a tight chimeny with shitty unusable rime gargoyles on my right and a closed seam of crappy rock on my left...all covered in powerder snow. I lived up that pitch and made it to the summit ridge after some very exciting bouts of gear placement. The rock ran out of crack features and the snow wasn't solid enough for a picket. I dug and dug for gear and tried about twenty differnt picked placements. Finally one picket lodged between some rocks under the powerder and held a pull. I piled more snow on it and jumped up and down to help pack it in. I put my pack on top of it, sat on the picket, and belayed Marcus up.


On top we really had no idea how to get off. One way was a very long ridge of nothing but none too solid gargoyles which would take hours to traverse, the north face was an option but we couldn't see more than a few feet down it and had no idea what would happen if we started down it. Also we had nothing to rap off off. We concidered down the ridge the other way to the west as it was shorter, but after much digging and rooting around, we could find zilch to rap off of. What to do? The picket! Marcus rapped off my shitty belay picket (which has my mailing address on the back of it if you find it). I clipped into the picked and downclimbed the otherside of the mountain (N.face) so if it popped, he would have to pull me up and over the mountain. Luckily the picked held and i got to rap off it w/no back up. fun fun fun.


Back at the base the wind calmed down but it was total white-out soup. I felt like falling over on flat terrain with no visual horizon. 360 deg of white. We wandered around what looked like heavens waiting room till we got to the upper palmer lifts. No skiis! Someone had taken my skiis back down to the palmer hut! D'oh!!! Why would someone do that? Turns out that someone did me a huge huge favor b/c just skiing out from the lower palmer hut back to the car, i crashed (spectacularily) many many many many -did i say many- times. I am a really shitty skiier. Maybe i'll make a "skiing sucks" t-shirt on my website.


So the route is super fun, is a bit over 200m and goes in 4p at around 5.9(M?) mixed climbing. There is a route that goes out left on p2 called April Insanity and got a grade of IV 5.9+ AI4-M4+ whatever that means. I think the IV is a bit overzealous. The SW ridge gets a IV+ 5.9 AI4, and once again the IV+ seems rather much. There is a dihedral to the left of March Madness (the obvious ice climb) that goes at 10c. Inside the S.chamber there looks to be some fun 1 pitch stuff of all sorts of different grades. Go get em. I promised Zac not to share his very nice topo due to copyright issues...so if you want better info, email me. I guess you don't need any particular conditions except it not being real warm out. Ice would be a nice thing though.


More photos to come. Some look better bigger, but the thumbnail for some reason isn't available in the gallery



On the approach



I-rock. "Rime Dog" is left of the s.chamber



Marcus getting NAILED(he's in the center of the flash) by spindrift on p2.



Marcus getting burly on p3. He's almost 7" tall so this section is a bit hard for shorter folks. Stemming, dropknees, jamming, and drytooling




Rapping off



White out...where's marcus? Where's the horizon line?




Me n' Marcus well rested on the drive home


Gear Notes:

Skiis and skins

One 9mm half rope

Lots o' shoulder legnth slings

Camalots-single set micro (don't use aliens they freeze) to .75". double set 1-3". we got away with only one but really could'a used two.

Assortment pins: angles, LA's, and bugaboos...knifeblades not neccessary

Lots o' nuts (marcus the gear miser brought the crappies selection known to man)

This route takes rock pro in the .75-3" and nuts very well.

Screws and pickets were totally worthless-find a better way down than rapping off a shitty picket

Lots and lots of tat

Goggles would be VERY nice




Approach Notes:


Start EARLY!!! Major shit coming down and the s.chamber is very very avy prone.

Edited by michael_layton
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Way to go !!! ....


Yesterday as I was driving east through Sandy about 9:00 am you could see I-Rock looking very, very proud, sticking out of the clouds like a giant's thumb. The summit cloud went from Don King to Bozo the Clown to something that reminded me of the McDonald's french fires characters from the early 70's, all in about 15 minutes ... I was headed up to T-Line to at least skin to the top of the Palmer, that "tease" by I-rock was the only thing that kept me from going into plan "B" 'cause the whole time as you looked to the SE you could see the shit comin'.


I left the top of Palmer around 1:30. At that time the skiing up high wasn't too bad but once you got down the Palmer in the warmer drizzle .... it sucked big Hairy Mongolian Camel Toe

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just in case marcus is reading this.

when i said he wanted to quit, he really didn't want to quit, he just stated on the ride home that's how he felt, but had NO intention of doing so and rather forcefully shoved me that rack with the, "yeah, this sucks total ass, but you better lead this next pitch and if you mention bailing i will make things much more painful t han they already are" expression that transended words.

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After going over topos with Lane, who did the 1st ascent of both april insanity and iron maiden with Wayne, we figured this is probably (probably) a 1st ascent. Our route goes between those two climbs. I guess we have to decide on a name.


4/26/05- I edited this TR with a new name "bitchin' camero" and downgraded the crux to 5.9

4/27/05-edited once again. We did "Rime Dog" Sorry for the confusion if anyone cares

Edited by michael_layton
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Thanks for the thorough TR, Mike. It was an awesome day out with great mixed and snice climbing on good-enough andesite rock in full conditions.


Rime Dog (III 5.9,200m)


P1: Climb right-facing mixed corner(5.7) for 80 feet, move around left to right-leaning ramp above. Belay at top of ramp at the base of wide gulley. 50m


P2: Ascend gulley on right side, negotiating occasional ice steps to base of headwall. 45m


P3: Climb steep & wild right facing corner for 50 feet(5.9) and traverse right above to exposed slab/ramp. Belay above at base of corner. 50m


P4: Ascend tricky corner(20 ft, 5.7) and climb open snow & rime steps to West Gable.


We rapped into the south chamber without incident - although inspect any rap anchors you might find. Ours were a little funky.

Edited by Marcus_Donaldson
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No bubbles burst. We were just trying to sort things out after talking to Lane and he hadn't done Rime Dog. I edited the posts.


What was your grading for Rime Dog. We called it "hard 5.9" in case any hubris changed out ratings...keeping ourselves honest. Fun route Wayne. Who did you do it with both times?

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Cool, I have seen the pics and I am reasonably sure you did RDog. I have only been waiting a dozen or so years for this place to catch on. There are some sick routes on the nw face other wise all the rts are on the topo,I originally did the rt with Leesa Azar then repeated it with Jeff Alzner. Its a stiff route but wait till you try April insanity or the SW ridge proper!! Oh the really sic rts are on the NW face though.. Wayne

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