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Mike_Buker

East Wilmans Spire

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Has anyone been up this? Is it as good as the "Selected Climbs" book says? Is it worth the approach? Is there life after death, or is it all emptiness?

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I was up there about 5 years ago. apparently a key ledge has fallen off and the climbing is significantly harder (5.7 or 5.8?) and hard to protect the 2nd as the leader works down and left, then up on funky moves to bypass the missing ledge. we decided that it wasn't worth it. Nelson's guide seems to be unaware of this problem. we seemed to be on route, its pretty obvious. the snow couloil approach is steep, good chance you'll want crampons.

an interesting place, even with the disappointment of not summiting.

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It's totally worth doing! We bivied at the base (first ones ever?!?!) amongst the heinous loose talus pile (evidence of how solid the peaks are...). First pitch is more of a traverse/downclimb, protectable for both if paying attention. Second pitch wasn't too obvious and only 1 of the original 8 Beckey pins are left and it's conveniently at the first belay. Climbing was loose and rockfall dinged the rope more than once. 2nd pitch was steep and above 5.4 and had funky pro but still doable. Very awesome summit, almost flat 8 by 12 summit worth biving on in the future.

Note, descend the snow gully you came up, don't descend via the count of monte cristo. you'll be doomed...

have fun!

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Did this trip two years ago with a late start. Didn't get back to car until 1 a.m. that time. Vowed to do better this time.

 

Three of us car camped at Barlow Pass Friday night. Car came in at midnight. Another party of three to do, you guessed it, Wilmans Spire.

 

Left on mountain bikes at 6:15 am. Locked bikes at the rack at the FS Monte Cristo Car campground.

 

Hiked to Glacier Basin. Found the approach gully was mostly free of ice so left the unneeded crampons and ice screws under boulder at entrance. Brought ice axes and actually used them. Gully is loose and nasty, stay close together.

 

At notch, rather than using the big boulder for a belay, we climbed up ten feet and built a belay anchor to reduce rope drag on traverse. I led first pitch. Protected downclimb for second using a red tricam, point down, in a small pocket before downclimb, then small cam at ledge with long runner. Climbed around corner until rope drag was too much and belayed from a horn. (Note: downclimb appears daunting at first, but has bomber hands).

 

Moved belay by scrambing further left to corner of route where there was a fixed pin and cracks to back it up. From here second pitch is more or less a straight line, free of rope drag. Spotted second party emerging from gully. Then a third party (WTF?)!

 

Partner, Bill, clipped the old fixed stopper and the new fixed quadcam just above it. The offwidth above took a #4 Clog cam (~#4 Friend). He went all of the way to the top, rather than stopping at the alcove.

 

Rapped off summit and Jim had a slip and tweaked his shoulder. Chatted with the two seconds who were belaying cc.comer sverdina who was out of sight. (I'll meet you one of these days, dude.)

 

BTW, noticed that it would be possible to climb the rap route from the ledge just above and to the left the rap slings. Anyone ever try it?

 

Double 60 m rapped into gully from tree anchor, then single rope rap from ice bollard, then one more single from a sling threaded in the last of the ice got us down the "waterfall" chockstone. We might have downclimbed everything but the last except for Jim's bum shoulder.

 

Met couple on hike back who had done Monte Cristo and a fellow who had soloed Columbia. Man, it is great to have the bikes for the trip out! Zoom, zoom, zoom.

 

Back to cars by 6 pm (7 hours earlier than previous trip) and dinner at Mountain View restaurant.

 

 

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Some major Search & Rescue ops goin' on up there today. The rescue battalion wasn't too forethcoming with details, but it sounded like rockfall (possible broken leg?). Hope it wasn't any of y'all. Whoever, get well soon.

The heliocopter landed at the Monte Cristo town site just as we got there. Had to wait until chopper took off before proceeding.

I was just takin' a dayhike up the the Basin, but that spire looks great. Gonna have to climb it soon.

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There was one party of three that was at least two or three hours behind us on Saturday. If they got in trouble on the way down, it would have been dark before word got out and the rescue would have been Sunday.

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One of the three had never been on a rock climb before and was going to stay at the notch while the others did the Spire. I wouldn't pick this climb to take a totally inexperienced climber. Especially at this time of year.

 

If you rap that gully it is really hard to get out of the way of rocks when you get off. I just hugged the side as tightly as I could and yelled to the others to be very careful not to kick rocks.

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Brian: this was not Sergio's group but the group below them. Sergio said he talked to the guy that got hurt while they were passing on the descent.

Edited by klenke

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Hello capitalist!

What happened to my reply regarding CBS providing beta on a two year old post? Is he chestbeating or does he suffer from Alzheimer's disease? Love you Brian.

Thank you for allow asian to post.

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Harry_Pi said:

Hello capitalist!

What happened to my reply regarding CBS providing beta on a two year old post? Is he chestbeating or does he suffer from Alzheimer's disease? Love you Brian.

Thank you for allow asian to post.

 

It's great to see Harry Pi is still at work. bigdrink.gif

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Harry, I thought it made more sense to add to an existing thread than to start a new one. The original had some good information. Call it chest beating if you will. The real hardmen would consider this climb a walk in the park, but there are others with interest considering Nelson wrote it up.

 

Sergio told me that the guy who got hurt was the inexperienced one. That's unfortunate. A horrible introduction to alpine climbing. frown.gif

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Too bad. I hope he recover's quick.

 

I agree this isn't a good first alpine climb. Go do the Tooth or something without all the loose rock, steep dirt and choss. Lotsa mean boulders up there. madgo_ron.gif

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Hello folks,

I'm the man that was injured Saturday evening and rescued on Sunday. I just saw this "thread" (I'm not sure that is the right term, I'm less tech savy than I'd like to be) last night as I was surfing the net from my hospital bed! I began signing up to use this forum last night and was OK'd today from the administrator. I chose "Rod" because one of the friends with me thought I ought to have a nickname, and now that I've got a 30+ cm stainless "rod" in my leg, this is for him! Cheers mate!

 

About the accident: The article mentioned above in, I believe, the Herald, is fairly accurate. The story about our little adventurous character building experience my friends and I had has a few notes I'd like to clarify: (1) no motorcycles were involved; (2) the ages of our party were 28, 29 and 34; and (3) we descended into the regular decent (and accent) route - there was no "other gully" that we mistakenly got mixed up in. The three of us all agree the article was mosty correct, and that it sucks reading about an accident one is involved in!

 

In regards to some of the previous posts: I, the one who did have a good size stone break both my tib and fib (thankfully not a compound break), am the most expereinced one from our group. The break happened, for those of you who have been there recently, about 10 meters up from the top of the main snow/ice plug and on the climbers left of that centeral rib (which I attempted to get up on. or over, once I had seen the rockfall. My two partners were being protected behind the top of the main snow/ice plug when I sent the rocks down. I lowered one of my friends (the one who did not climb the spire) with a 50 meter rope to that point - from a point the 3 of us had rapped to (with the single 50 m rope). After lowering him (off 2 med/large SLCD) the 3rd fellow rapped off that point (itwas about 40 degrees I believe, although that changed some times). Once the two were down and behind the above mentioned snow, I began to downclimb with the rope. Thinking I could be a bit safer if I semi-rapped/used the rope as a "railing", I found a small horn to use. About 20 meters below that I found another that I looped...bad idea! As I mentioned, about 10 meters from a good stoping spot (and the area at least one other groups rapped off a solid ice bollard) the rope came loose and brought down about 3 decent sized rocks and some smaller scree. Whether the rope came off the small horn or pulled out the horn (which is what I think happened) I'll probably never know. After regaining balance, seeing the rock fall and yelling rock (and some things in French) I tried to scurry over the rib in the middle of the gully. No luck! Then my leg broke. I'll tell more about what happened after that if anyone's interested -- I've got to relieve myself now (think Gatoraide bottle in a storm).

 

Also, if "catbirdseat" wants his red tricam, please let me know as I brought it down (from our great climb on the sprire!!!).

 

Cheers all, and thanks for wishes that I'll eventually heal fine!

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Glad you got out of there okay Rod. That's one hell of a pin you've got in your leg - must have been a pretty nasty break. Ouch.

 

It is a fun climb, but if I ever go back I think I'll go when the gulley is still completely full of snow, as the descent that Bronco and I encountered (in mid- August) was unappealing to say the least.

 

Best of luck on your recovery. bigdrink.gif

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Thanks JayB. No doubt a snow filled gully would be safer! Also, had my party used our 2 60m 1/2 ropes to rap from the anchor at the top of the gully like another group did it would have been safer! (My older 50 m rope was more "gully ready" and close to "retire ready." I had to replace one of my 1/2 ropes last Septemer because a rock fell on it during a rappel in Wyoming and I didn't want to risk damaging a good rope and having to spend money getting a new one ... cost of new rope vs. surgery and out for many months... huum, tough call!!! I feel like an idiot when I think about it that way!!! Hind-sight's a dog sometimes!)

 

Cheers.

(P.S. - I hope your new/used kayak gear is treatin' well!)

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Rod, I wasn't even aware that my red tricam had been left behind. I'll have to go look at my rack. My partners never mentioned not being able to clean it. Assuming the second clipped through as I asked, the third should have cleaned it. If for some reason the second did not clip through, you'd think HE would have cleaned it. Did you find it high on the first pitch traverse in a shallow pocket?

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