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layton

Anyone die in the N.Cascades the Weekend?

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2:30am.

Just got back from turing around at the N.Side of baker trailhead.

Lots of fresh snow, still snowing, heard thunder up higher, hard ice under a new snowpack. [hell no] Lots of people on snowslopes snowslopes with little avy training.

Wonder if the Fates have their sciscors sharpened to cut some life strands this weekend?

 

Think before you go out this weekend!

 

Sunday, with nicer temps (warmer) will be the day of reconing. Too bad, cuz' conditions sounded really good last weekend.

 

DOOM DOOM DOOM!

I'm sure I'll get a lot of shit for this post, but... [Razz]

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How many inches of new snow did you see up there?

Our current plan to head up there tomorrow and camp, and then climb the North Ridge monday, conditions permitting (after a day of warmth tomorrow to help the new snow slide or consolidate). But a lot of new snow could be a problem...

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Hey SR:

 

Based on what we encountered at the base of Glacier I'd say expect a foot of new, if not more at elevations at 5500' and above. There was a moderate but steady wind Friday night while most of the snow was coming down, which may have added a bit of wind-loading to the lee slopes during the evening. The temps seemed to be getting progressively warmer, and the snow wetter through early afternoon on Saturday. With all of the warm temps and sunshine that we're seeing today, I suspect that most of the slide prone slopes will have released by this afternoon, as there was already some minor slide activity, and quite a bit of sluffing off of rock faces by mid-morning on Saturday. Having said all of that, my hunch is that everything should be in prime shape by early Tuesday morning if the weather holds.

 

All in all I think that Michael Layton was right on in his assesment of the situtation. Lot's o' new snow atop a base of frozen spring snow with a serious warming trend on the way spells bad news. Hopefully the fates have taken the weekend off....

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So how'd it go for folks up on the Biggun's this weekend?

I went from almost doing Dragontail, to Baker NR and Headwall link-up, to Squamish, to Mt. Ashulu near squamish(slide blocking approach road...bring sand and wooden planks), back to Squamish (final plan).

 

Where am I?

 

p.s. The Squamish buttress isn't that great of a climb (one great pitch), and the last 10a pitch of Rock on is soakin' wet, so we did a possible new route up a mung-grovel shit-chimney.

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We climbed the Ice Cliff on Stuart in winter conditions: heavy snow, spindrift, high winds. It pretty much opened up just as got above the Cliff, so we decided to head up rather than down. The weather broke around 2 am so the planned bivouac became more pleasant.

 

It's been cold up there for awhile so climbing was pretty straightforward (except for the new snow, high winds, etc). No deaths to report, however.

 

I expect Juan will file a full TR in the days ahead.

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Can you post a TR sooner than later? I'm thinkin' of headin' up that'a way on Monday Night/Tuesday Morning (MAYBE)to do something.

 

How was the approach/descent especially, and was the summit all iced up (ie will the summit be a mess for a bit). Could you see down the Cascadian coulior? I can't stand approaching Mtneers creek side.

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A friend sent this private email earlier today (Sunday 6/9). I've taken the liberty of quoting it below. Excellent description of current conditions on Baker:

 

"Early Friday (6/7) I went with four friends up from the Coleman-Deming trailhead (Heliotrope Ridge) to about 7,400 feet on the mountain. At times, snow squalls moved through the area as we were going up. There was about five inches of powder on top of an extremely icy base when we set up camp in a safe, protected area.That afternoon and evening, it snowed at least a foot. At that point we made a decision to come back down the mountain in the morning because of the snow accumulation. Overnight, it snowed A LOT more. Maybe up to 2 feet of powder total on top of the icy layer.

We knew that it was going to continue snowing off and on Saturday, as the forecast was not as predicted when we left Spokane. (We were expecting nice weather on Saturday.) It was snowing lightly as we left camp and headed down. Fortunately, there were only short stretches of 25-30 degree slopes on the way down -- nothing to worry much about.

We were the only people on the mountain, as far as we knew. When we descended to 5,400 feet, we found two parties camped in the snow trying to decide what to do. By that time, 7:30 a.m., it was too late in the day to summit. They were likely to wait until Sunday (sunny, warm weather?) to go up.

Then, as we descended to the trailhead, we passed probably 50-75 more climbers, all on their way up! The weather for Sunday (today) was good and people wanted to take advantage, I guess. We tried to talk to some of them, the ones willing to listen, but no one turned around.

I just hope like hell no one dies in an avalanche today..."

 

Sharon

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Coleman Deming route Sunday:

The new snow for now was bonded pretty well and we couldnt make it slide much on the ice layer. Yes it is true there is a good amount of new snow, but the firm layer below made for good stepping and no snowshoes needed. The route wandered a bit, but the real pain was the wind. Some said 60mph, and the blowing snow made for an unconfortable climb for those that went on, and several parties had a good weather window, but mainly the later climbers. It was feirce up there, but calmed down for late morning until late afternoon summits. Surprisingly very little avi action there.

TTT

[big Grin]

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I talked to someone today who tried for a route up the Easton Glacier (I think) with the WAC. Her party turned around because of high winds. She said the Mounties were up there, too.

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A big bug crashed into my windshield on the way back from Glacier Basin. The last thing that went through his mind was........his ass. [laf]

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The Cascadian is completely snow-covered. The weather has been cold enough that much of the rock near the summit is rimed. The weather is warming up, though, so that could change.

 

The Mtneer Creek approach is annoying, but it gets you up there pretty quickly (3-4 hrs from trailhead to toe of Sherpa/Ice Cliff).

 

We found mostly firn-like snow with some new atop on the False/True summit ridge; you should be ready to deal with this. Two axes are a good idea; if you want more security, take a couple of pickets.

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Bob's report is sufficient, but I'll add a few thoughts and call it a TR.

 

Basically, the weather and the forecast lured us up, then tried to kill us. Once we topped out on the Ice Cliff route, the four of us were wandering around at 8,700 ft., in 30+ mph winds and heavy snow, at 7 pm, looking for a place to hunker down. It was the kind of situation where people get hurt if they aren't careful. We looked around a bit, having to yell in the wind to be heard, then headed down a ways below the ridge. After I triggered a 12-inch slab of wind deposit, we headed for two marginal spots about 100 ft. below the ridge where route tops out. We decided to stay put and "enjoy" our planned bivi. Too cold and windy for a butane stove to boil water, so no hot fluids. No dinner either. Not much sleep with that much wind and 1 lb. bags in very uncomfortable sleeping quarters.

 

Yesterday morning early, the weather was still very cold, but the sun was poking through. The storm appeared to have passed. Crispin and Brian had summit fever, so went for the top, leaving "camp" at about 7:30. Crispin soloed about 200 ft. of exposed 50-degree frozen snow using two tools to get to the true summit. Brian passed on that part. They reported seeing a guy with a dog and four skiers near the top.

 

As an aside, Crispin and Brian soloed the entire Ice Cliff gully, and soloed down the Sherpa. Bob and I were glad to have, and to use, pickets for running belays. Never needed ice screws and didn't see any opportunies for rock pro. Self arrest on the upper Ice Cliff route (as well as the cliff itself, of course) would likely be impossible with such hard snow and the steep pitch. With the high wind, snow, and spindrift, the pucker factor was serious, and our energy was quite low when we topped out.

 

Yesterday morning, Bob and I figured that with the bulk of the technical stuff out of the way, and being basically pooped, we'd call it a trip. We headed down the Sherpa starting at 7:30. Careful downclimbing required with crampons balling up. Boot-axe belays lent some peace of mind. In better conditions you could walk down it.

 

Crispin and Brian somehow passed us on the way out by taking a more direct trail, and we reconvened in the parking lot and ultimately Gustavs for grease and beer.

 

All in all, a good adventure for a group of four old guys (our combined age is about 170 years). And for the record, Crispy and Brian pretty much kicked our butts going up and down, and they are both in their mid-40s. We need to acquire and post their training regimen!

 

That's about it; e-mail directly if you need the nano-details. Hopefully, no one else got stuck in this unexpected weather event.

 

John Sharp

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Nice job Juan & Bobinc and everyone else. I went to PortLAND. [Wink]

 

[ 06-10-2002, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: mikeadam ]

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Hey TTT,

 

how were conditions on the Coleman-D for a ski descent? Those 'schrunds at 8K opening up much? how about that corridor leading up to the saddle, is it still pretty smooth?

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Chilliwack area got snow down to 1000m on Friday and Saturday. A planned trip into the Rexford area turned into a day of cragging at secret Chilliwack limestone sport cliff. I did some flailing and failing on 11c and then on 11b. Dude I was with took 30 footer on a nice 50m 12a when he broke a hold off [Eek!]

 

So Sunday I went to Squamish. Did more flailing and standing on bolts, and penduluming falls seconding, etc, on stuff at Gobsmackin Rock and also in the Cheakamus Gorge. Ate ice cream afterwards. sunny and hot.

 

Back in the Wack it looks like almost all the snow that fell on Saturday, vanished on Sunday. Slesse summit tower W face looks almost totally dry now. Welch s ridge still has some significant snow patches. Chilliwack area alpine seems to have lot more snow than Squamish area alpine does.

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I also did Baker via Coleman/Deming this weekend. We ran into a descending group just as we started up the trail who warned us about all the new snow - might have been Sharon's friend - we thought we'd head up to camp & consider our chances for summitting then. We found a safe spot to camp at around 7100'. Definitely a lot of new and not-very-well-consolidated snow up there. Sunday morning it was slightly better; stable enough that we were comfortable heading up. The glacier was pretty easy to navigate despite poor visibility through the clouds. What crevasses there were, were easily avoided. To The Top: the wind died down later? Damn, I knew we should've slept in a couple hours. My face is still stinging from being constantly bombarded by 60 mph crystals. It was blowing the snow down on us so fast that by the time I'd covered the 10 or 12 m between me & my ropemate, his step was completely filled in. A few of the more wind-scoured portions had hardened & made for good cramponing but the majority was just a step-kicking slog up. I'd guess there was some moderate avy danger on the final stretch past the Roman Wall - the snow didn't feel quite as firm as I'd have liked, but neither was it sliding on the layer beneath. Completely different from the icy surface we had when doing the Easton route a year ago. It was a good climb & quite a bit of fun - but I was very happy to descend and get the hell out of the wind.

 

[ 06-14-2002, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Trillian ]

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Summit Rolos and I decided NOT to climb the NR or Baker this weekend given the heavy snow fall on top of the ice and the rapid warming.

 

We ended up doing a little trad climbing up at Squamish for the weekend.

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yes it was weird on Mt. Baker, the wind died down in matter of minutes and it turn from complete windy and whiteout Mckinley-like condtions to clear skies and calming winds. It seems a bad weather system quickly moved out of the area around 10:00am on Sunday and we hit the summit around 11:30am. The wind at the very top was still windy but not too bad (around 40 miles per hour). Below that at the Roman Wall it was maybe 15-20 miles per hour and below the col it was calm. I didn't see any avalanche or rock fall danger.

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quote:

Originally posted by Cpt.Caveman:

Any cougars spotted Dru? There was one gaurding the first pitch of AC
[big Grin]
I spotted him first and went around him.

The only cougars I saw were in the bar.

 

Oh I got an invite to go sport climbing with a bunch of girls. Every saturday evening [Wink]

 

[laf][laf][laf]

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I tried to hook up with Cougar Watcher himself but Crack fubared the plan and I left. Too bad for Crack. He said he is scared of his belayer not being able to hold his fall. I told him quit whining and try ice climbing instead of rock. Might really feel like a solo almost then [big Grin]

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