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layton

first ascent [TR] South East Mox Peak- The Devil's Club, First Ascent of the East Face 9/1/2005

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Climb: South East Mox Peak-The Devil's Club, First Ascent of the East Face

 

Date of Climb: 9/1/2005

 

Trip Report:

 

THE DEVIL’S CLUB -First Ascent, East Face of "Hardest Mox", sub peak of SE Mox*. Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe 8/31-9/1, 2005. 2,400' climbing, approx 25 pitches. Grade V+ 5.9+ A2-**

 

*According to John Roper, the E Face of SE Mox is on what is known as "Hardest Mox" and the summit still remains unclimbed.

 

**what the heck is V+, 5.9+, A2-??? Not a clue. It took 18 hours of climbing, so a bit longer than any of the grade V’s with the extreme seriousness of the situation factored in The 5.9+ is a "conservative" free grade. The small amounts of aid we all freed by the leader or the 2nd, but due to the poor pro and funky placements, we felt it a bit harder than A1, but a bit easier than A2. We wanted to make sure there was plenty of room for squabble and speculation by giving this route our plus and minus ridden rating. Go climb it and make up your own grade if you want.

 

The following trip report is written by both Mike and Erik, but under my screen name. Any direct quote or use of Erik’s voice will be in italics. We both enjoy writing about climbing very much, so this is going to be long. In fact, this is less a trip report and more of a short story about the grand adventure we had. If your as ADHD as I am, we included a TON of photos and maybe some bold font if you can’t read this whole thing. I know I wouldn’t be able to..

 

Blue is our line, red is the descent.

13601-topo.jpg

 

Sunday. Pre-Trip Briefing .

 

"Why does every alpine climb I do involve someone puking before the climb?"

 

My question remains unanswered while Erik is in the bathroom of the Waterfront Tavern vomiting up the remains of his rotten halibut during a "logistical briefing" of our upcoming climb we had been meticulously planning for weeks.

 

Monday. Bellingham to Perry Creek. 12 hours on the go.

"Are we really epicing this early in the trip?"

 

Yes is the answer to this question, fully realized only partway into the approach!

 

4am. I’ve gotten 2 hours of sleep and I’m driving through pouring sheets of rain. Erik sits in the front seat, mowing down on his Jack-in-the-Box Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, desperately trying to tune out my crapulent vocalizations of Carly Simon’s, "Nobody Does it Better."

 

"No, but somebody is doing it a lot worse."

 

Boy scouts on a canoe trip ruin a perfectly good rainbow while we patiently wait in the drizzle for our water taxi to take us up from Ross Lake Dam and into the heart of darkness.

13602-ross_lake_rainbow.JPG

 

Will, the ship’s captain, told us that Fred Beckey had taken a few trips on his boat, and that "he was the one who always wears polyester dress pants because they never wear out, and a backpack that looked like it had been through a war."

 

Erik tells Will some pirate jokes

13603-erik_and_will-med.JPG

 

I'm ready for my Tom Collins now, Buffy

13604-relaxing_on_the_yaht.JPG

 

We had packs loaded for six days in the backcountry with every piece of technical equipment and clothing known to modern man...and 2.5 liters of Canadian whiskey to boot. The heavy packs ruined a perfectly good and flat 4.5 mile trail up Little Beaver Creek to Perry Creek. Luckily for us, huckleberries abound and we gorged ourselves to the full capacity of our stomachs. 2 hours, 4.5 miles. We were makin’ some pretty good time!

 

....until....

 

Without pause or exaggeration the Perry Creek drainage remains the worst approach we have been a part of. We were raped and sodomized by the forest. We tried to go up the steep riverbed only to by shoved around and bullied by the slippery rocks. It was drizzling on and off the whole time. One mile. Four Hours. Enough said.

 

We made camp only 1.75 miles from leaving the main trail after 7 hours of intense slogging and stumbling on a soggy gravel bar, utterly worked over. I will need years of therapy to deal with the dehumanizing, savage, brutal beating we received. The forest seemed to mock foreward progress and took delight at fucking us over almost every slow horrid step of the way.

 

But and evening in my betalite tarp all but dispensed our emotional trauma and physical abuse that day had ruthlessly dealt. Erik dealt in his own way: a deck of cards and game of cribbage. While we sipped our whiskey from cups and cereal bowls the evening’s activities took an intellectual nose dive when the game turned to crazy 8's and we decided to build a fire.

 

This is when the notion of the "Devil’s Club" came into our heads. We were both initiated by cuts and splinters, and the plant seemed to rule the land. Erik played DJ on the walkman speakers as I used our machete to cut and sacrifice the plant to the gods.

 

Things get weird...really weird

13605-the_devils_club.JPG

13606-the_devils_club.JPG

13607-the_devils_club.JPG

13608-the_devils_club.JPG

 

 

Tuesday. Perry Creek to Mox Peak basin. 8.5 hours on the go.

 

"Erik, put em on, it’s GREAT! They’re kinda like a pre-moistened towelette!"

 

We cringe as we dawn our cold wet socks and shoes. We were immediately back in the river after a rainy night. The sky was thick with clouds and our only sun break oddly occurred at the exact same time it started to rain again.

 

By 2pm we were hypothermic and drenched. Our path took us in and out of the ice cold river and the car wash of sopping wet slide alder, devil’s club, and blueberry bushes. We were making better time than yesterday’s 1/4 mile an hour - today we were up to a full ½ mile an hour. We stopped to build a fire, dry out, and have some hot coffee and whiskey to ease the soul.

 

Things went from shitty to wretched in the forest. It just went on and on and on in an endless valley of tangled vegetation. Spirits we so low the trip would have probably ended if we weren’t so far back there and the easiest way now was to keep going into the unknown. We cut out of the river and headed up to a more open forest when the devil’s club finally let us through (with a little help from the machete). "It’s getting better already, and I’m going straight uphill," Erik sighed as we grabbed roots and vines to claw our way up the dirt slope. Erik voiced concern about fallen trees in the forest to which I relied, "Who cares about deadfall? I just want my dignity back!"

 

We were able to try and keep some levity by joking and screwing around. We invented a whole new sport, Log Walkin’, and constantly exclaimed, "Oh! There’s the trail." Going under logs we exclaimed, "I hate me some underlogging," and over them, "I’ve loves me some log walking!" Finally, when an entire tree was pulled through our crotches, we’d call it "Arbor Birthing."

 

"I love me some log walkin !!"

13624-i_love_me_some_log_walkin.jpg

 

We could finally make out the lower 1/3 of the peaks in the cirque and camp seemed just a stone’s throw away when the suffering downshifted into Dante’s 9th circle of hell.

 

The thickest bush I’ve ever encountered (worse than a hike from Talkeetena to Denali in Alaska I’ve done) slowed us to a soul crushing crawl. I inhaled a mosquito and doubled over in a seizure of coughing spasms. My eyes ran with tears. I wasn’t sure if I was crying from the cough or from being so fully beaten down. I let the tears flow as I uttered the most violent string of expletives to ever pass my lips. I managed to curse every rock, tree, bush, tree, river, mountain, and valley in this godforsaken hole. "GOD HAS NO PLACE IN THIS VALLEY!" I was in my own personal hell.

 

We made camp in the Alaskan bush with Mox and a dizzying array of walls, buttresses, and glaciers encircling us, but never getting a good view of anything. We went to sleep just as the rain once again began to fall. We were exhausted from the 16 hours of approaching. Never again, we both said. Never again. We were joking about route names that night, and a few good one that captured the approach were, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and SUCK," and "Kingdom of Sodomy."

 

Wednesday. Mox basin to 7200' bivy on East Face. 9hours on the go.

 

The clouds were breaking up as we headed off, terrified, sore and beaten with our smaller, considerable lighter packs, ready for 2 days on the wall. We reached the base of the wall at 10:30 to clearing weather and got our first look at the immensity of our project: 1000 feet of steep slab to 1500 feet of undulating vertical gneiss. Holy Shit. The entire approach from the trail had taken roughly 16 hours of hiking. If a team went the fastest way possible, it would be hard to get to the base of the wall in under 14 hours. It could be possible to come in from the West on better trails, but it would be a big risk to get to the Mox Peaks col, and not know the condition of the glacier below. It was quite broken and descending down in heavy packs was out of the question.

 

We put 50 feet of rope between us and stared simul-climbing from the center of the base of the wall for the 1st 400 feet of climbing up to 5.9. The rock was solid, but protection and route finding was the biggest challenge. This would prove to be a consistent element of the rest of the climb. Erik proudly led the next 600 feet and I led the next 400 feet. We passed a rap sling around a tree and a button head bolt, the final high point of the last party to attempt the wall - 37 years ago by a party from Portland, according to Harry Majors from his post on cascadeclimbers.com. We (and the Portland party) found that the best rock and easiest route finding was on the far right side of the east face.

spider on the route

13608a-spider.JPG

 

Erik on route

13609-erik_on_route.JPG

 

13610-erik_on_route.JPG

 

Thankfully there was a small ledge to bivy on. We cleared a small space, barely big enough for both of us to lay squeezed up next to each other. The wall above got drastically steeper for the final 1,500 feet, and the way looked pretty improbable. To get a head start on the next day, I led a pitch up the vertical wall, and took forever trying to get the courage to run it out on very hard terrain while fighting for gear. My placements got increasingly creative, but a solid pin halfway up the pitch eased my mind. When I rapped back down to the bivy, the pin came out with two easy whacks from my ice tool and two pieces popped from the tight rope.

 

We sipped on our small bivy flask to wash down the sleeping pills and hunkered down to a cold and windy night. The wind didn’t let up the whole night, coming in large gusts to remove any gathered warmth from our bags and ½ bags.

 

Thursday. 7200' back to Mox Basin camp. 17.5 hours on the go .

 

"is it gonna go?"

13611-mike_worried_and_scoping.jpg

 

 

Instead being warmed by the sun on an east facing wall in the morning, we woke to cloudy skies and threatening rain. We had better get a move on! Pitch after pitch ate the day away, many of the pitches zig-zagging across tiny run-out ledges to find ways through overlaps and overhangs. Protection continued to be a battle of nerve and creativity, the run-out got worse, and loose rock threatened to end the climb and our lives like missiles from the wall.

 

Mike on route

13612-mike_on_the_headwall.jpg

 

"Fatigue, hard climbing, and the commitment level were taking a toll on my energy and mind set, and after a while I told Mike I couldn’t lead any more. He grabbed the rack without hesitation, and proceeded to tear up pitch after scary pitch. At one point, I poked my head over onto the belay and said, ‘Mike? Honestly. You are my Hero."

 

Mike on route

13613-mike_on_route.jpg

 

At some point during both days of climbing John Scurlock flew over us several times. I told John to look for a red emergency flare to shoot from the wall if we were in trouble. Not for a rescue, that would be impossible, but more to have John NOT see a flare and ease his mind. Thank you John. You provided me the inspiration to do this, I never would have had the psych to go do this wall unless I got a bird’s eye view from your plane with my own eyes. And thank you for flying by both days to check on us. It was a sight for sore eyes to see your familiar yellow plane circling overhead.

 

Erik on route

13614-erik_on_route.JPG

 

When Erik gave me the sharp end for my extended lead session I kept saying, "Okay. One more pitch and I’m calling it." The climbing got out of control and Erik told me later that he knew I must have really wanted this thing the way I was climbing, "So much sketchy shit, the mind boggles." My mind did boggle. We were now fully committed. Every pitch of the upper headwall felt like I was playing Russian roulette with the rack. The pressure of forcing a way up, constantly trying to dig for gear and getting very little, worrying about poor belay anchors, not knowing if I’m gonna totally blank out, and just the whole enormity of the situation almost got to me. I cried on one of my leads. I tried to seize control of my mind and calm down before Erik got to the anchor so he wouldn’t see how fucked up I was.

 

Mike finding a way

13615-mike_findign_a_way.jpg

 

We both pushed and pushed until we were spread to the limit of our physical and mental capacity. Erik ran out of food and water hours earlier and I was hoarding the last few sips I had left to get us up and down alive. It was full on until the very last pitch. Our route stuck to the right edge of the east face and I could see the summit up ahead. Above the rock was devoid of cracks and solid rock, so we traversed over to the NE ridge to get a look at the decent. A short scramble to the summit of "Hardest Mox" led to a heartbreaking fully day’s climb over ridges and gendarmes to the summit of SE mox, an unknown amount of rappels into the extremely broken glacier. One more easy pitch to the summit would have committed us to another full day of trying to get off the peak. John Scurlock told me later that he saw this on his flight and hoped to God that we wouldn’t try going that way to get down.

 

Mike totally committed

13616-mike_totally_committed.jpg

 

We had to regain control of the situation and get off this mountain. We had completed the East Face and were so close to topping out, but we felt that if we summited we would have climbed past the point of no return. So we put a Joker playing card in a plastic bag to mark our ascent, shook hands, and decided to rappel the entire route!

 

Joker on top

13617-joker_high_point.jpg

 

Erik did the most amazing job of getting us off the headwall. I honestly cannot believe how he pulled out all the stops to do full rappels in the dark through overhangs and unknown gear for anchors. Of course, the ropes got stuck immediately after our 1st 200 foot vertical rappel. I tried to jug up on Tiblocs on single line and just got totally cluster fucked and was taking forever. Erik has way more experience jugging, and he proudly and courageously began the shitty jug up the 200 feet of rope, completely exhausted and dehydrated.

 

Shadow of Mox and the Perry Creek approach

13618-shadow_of_mox.JPG

 

"The ropes got stuck within 10 feet and I felt a twang of THE FEAR. I started to jug the line, and after about 20 feet, I looked at Mike and said, ‘I can’t do this, Mike!’ He replied, ‘You HAVE to. There is NO OTHER WAY. We will die up here.’ The seriousness of the situation really sunk in then, and with that understanding, I found the reserve to do the rest of the ascent. We were not going to die on the wall. When I got to the top, I was tripping hard from the effort, the world seemed to take on a surreal quality. When I pulled up the ropes to re-toss them, they were horribly tangled and I almost began to cry. It seemed as if the mountain was unwilling to let us descend."

 

Erik giving it all he's got

13619-erik_jugging_on_the_rap.JPG

 

The first rappel took an hour and a half. Not a good start. Fortunately that was our only stuck rope in the 13 rappels down the east face, and tree ridden NE ridge. We had many near misses of rocks bombing down from above, and one chopped the lead rope. It was pitch black and the both ropes were tangled in a pile on a thin ledge on my rap. I saw an almost complete cut in the lead rope in the tangle, so I had no way of knowing how far into the rap the rope was cut. To make matters worse, the rope looped around a horn 30 feet above me when I wasn’t paying attention on my way down. The question was, when I pull my way up to get the rope unstuck, will the chopped section appear during my ascent? I got the rope unstuck and began my search for the core-shot. We were both so relieved when the rope was cut only 5 feet from the end. It was fortunate too, since we were now out of rappel slings, so we used the chopped end to rap off of.

 

Future Routes

13620-future_routes.JPG

 

I told Erik he was my hero for jugging the line when he had nothing left already, and for setting such amazing anchors so quickly with nuts and pins, and stretching the raps to the full lengths of the rope in the complete darkness. Nobody could ask for a better climbing partner. Our relief was overwhelming when the ropes made familiar "whoomp" sound when they hit the talus at the base of the mountain. We had finally finished our $200 rappel.

 

Future Routes

13621-future_routes.JPG

 

We were forced to bushwack through intense alder in the middle of the stream, because we could not find our tent in the darkness! We knew it was in the talus right next to the river. Cold and wet, and this time tired to the limits of our endurance, we found the tent at 3:30 am and collapsed inside.

 

Erik and I chillin after the climb

136.jpg

 

Friday. Mox Basin to Little Beaver trailhead. 10 hours on the go .

 

Since our boat pick-up was on Saturday, we had no time to rest. We were pretty sure it wasn’t going to take us the 14 hours it had coming in, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat. That day was agonizing, as was every day, but we were so numb to misery by this point, we just kept plodding away.

 

Final Goodbye to Mox...maybe?

13623-east_face_of_se_hard_mox.JPG

 

As we were traversing a ridge, I crushed a bee’s nest in the ground, and Erik, being right behind me, took 3 stings. The descent out took only 10 hours, with better weather, drier less slippery rocks, 20-20 hindsight of the best way to go, lighter packs, and going downhill. As well, we had stashed a 6-pack of Rainier Ale at the launch, with some salmon and crackers. We just kept thinking about the beer. We put batteries into the mini-speakers, and the Beastie Boys brought us back a little, setting a good rhythm. Erik’s foot and hand were swelling considerably, as well as the "sting in the tail." The descent had a sting in the tail as well, two actually. The last mile to the launch crosses up a 500' switchback, and the word "suck" came up a lot. Time slowed to a crawl on the last two hours.

 

It's tiring being a supermodel

13625-sun_break.jpg

 

We finally reached camp at 7:30 to much celebration, put off only a little by the absence of one of our beers. We still had ourselves an fine Irish drunk, finishing the remaining whiskey as well. Mike somehow found the energy to "house-party" dance on the bear box and grill. An unbelievable amount of shit was talked from climbing to the low quality of Bellingham radio stations before we both passed out.

 

Psycho Dance Party

13626-psycho_dance_party-med.jpg

 

 

8:00AM Saturday. The Last Mile.

 

The inevitable hangover was supposed to be tempered by a swim in the lake, but the clouds were rolling in fast and heavy and it was too cold, so we nursed our coffees and packed leisurely. The boat ride dumped us off to a crowded launch of people out-bound. We totally forgot it was the start of Labor Day weekend. Erik bummed some ibuprofen from a hiker for the swelling and hangover. When it kicked in he exclaimed, "Now I be profen!" The final sting in the tail awaited us, as the last mile to the highway was another 500' grind. Constant calls of "take!" and threats of bivying just before the car, or setting of the red flare were uttered during the final bit. We popped some music in the stereo, and ignored the disdainful looks from passing hikers. At 11:00, The General 2000 was a sight for sore eyes. Erik looked at me with tired eyes and summed it all up by saying, "Mike, if you ever do this to me again, I’ll fucking kill you!"

 

Our Serious Moment For Pause and Reflection (b.s.)

13627-erik_and_mike.JPG

 

Not so dashing on the ride out

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Final Thoughts.

 

As for the climb, there are numerous walls and buttresses in the Perry Creek basin. Adventure awaits on these, and on the left and middle sections of the East face of our peak. Our packs weighed about 65 pounds for six days worth of food, and a free rack with two ropes. The other parts of the East face have way less cracks and more bulging sections, and substantial aid climbing far exceeding our ability await. It would be a monestrous task getting extra aid gear and the inevitable extra amount of food for a much longer stay on the wall. There are few, if any, ledges to bivy on.

 

I want to take a moment to thank Erik Wolfe for being such an outstanding and competent partner. There were hundreds of times our hearts sank and we should have given in, but he remained determined to finish the job...regardless of the fact that he knew nothing about the approach or true magnitude of climb. I only provided him with enough detail to fuel his imagination and get him excited about the trip. And even though the suffering scale peaked into the red zone many a time, he never blew up at me, instead he stoically took the abuse, or yelled at the ropes and trees instead of me. I am amazed at his skills as a climber, and he absolutely knocked my socks off with his amazing job on the descent. We would have spent another night out for sure if he didn’t did deeper than he ever had before and pull off such an amazing job. Thank you so much Erik!

 

I also want to thank John Scurlock for taking time to send me photos on his slow connection, asking me to fly with him even though I had never met the guy or annoyed him with requests for photos. Thanks for believing in me John. Darin Berdinka was one of the few people that said, "I bet you guys pull it off" when everyone else I told about my plan scoffed or said it wouldn’t go. Thanks to Justin Thibault for letting me borrow your crampons and pins when I was too broke to buy any gear for this. And thanks to Pete Herst for letting me borrow your haul bag in case my 3500cu pack couldn’t manage 6 days worth of crap. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone who actualized this long term goal of mine. Wonder what’s next?

 

(note. erik's quote got cut off at a very bad point. i re-included it. sorry erik)

"I have to start off by saying I shouldn’t have done this off the couch. Too much work and not enough climbing this summer have left me heavy and out of shape.

 

It seems that more our unwillingness to accept defeat, and our inexhaustible positive attitude were what got us up this approach and wall.

 

 

Mike is an amazing partner. He seems, like Shackelton, to know when to stare fear in the face and smile back at his troops. His patience about my slower pace was inexhaustible, and route-finding ability sterling.

 

I would have brought about a 100 lb pack if Mike hadn’t walked me through the essentials. This was my first multi-day back-country trip, you see.

 

 

Also: Thank you Darin Berdinka for having faith in our abilities, John Scurlock for making us feel not so quite alone. Thanks, Justin, for the pins: they were invaluable.

 

 

This was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will not soon be forgotten. I’ll never do it again. One’s life expectancy become severely foreshortened by too much of this foolishness.

 

 

Oh, and to all of you that said I was a sport-climber, go get the second ascent, Fools."

 

Gear Notes:

Alpenglock for possible partner bailure, or for taking the easy way out. Deadly nightshade berries are growing on the approach just in case you forget the alpenglock.

 

Approach Notes:

Dante's tour of nine circles of hell

 

I took this from John's Plane Last Month. Can you name all the peaks? I knew you could.

13629-mox_bear_redoubt_ariel.JPG

Edited by michael_layton

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That is a great TR, and I haven't even seen the pictures yet! Really sounds like a monster from start to finish. Very impressed with the approach, the climb, the descent, and very impressed with the partnership you two shared. Well done! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

Edit: Now that you've linked to photos, I'm even more impressed.

The other parts of the East face have way less cracks and more bulging sections, and substantial aid climbing far exceeding our ability await. It would be a monestrous task getting extra aid gear and the inevitable extra amount of food for a much longer stay on the wall. There are few, if any, ledges to bivy on.
That, along with your description of the approach, should have that place jam-packed next season! smirk.gif

 

Edited by DonnV

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This is the sickest thing I have ever read. hellno3d.gif You guys should get medals. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif I would have been crying in the devils club. You guys rockband.gif

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Truly sick line, bros. The Peanut Gallery salutes you. thumbs_up.gif Did Scurlock take any pictures of you guys on the climb? Those would be rocken' for sure.

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Sweet, I successfully triangulated the peak from your summit shot w/ Redoubt, Bear, Baker, and Shuksan.

 

Should you add a BW5+ to the rating to make the magazines happy?

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Grade V+????!?!?!?

 

cantfocus.gifconfused.gifrolleyes.gif

 

 

Just kidding. Great job guys! I haven't even read the whole thing yet, but it looks terrific. What's up with Erik's eye?

 

You guys are inspirational. tug. tug.

 

 

 

thumbs_up.gif

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Truly sick line, bros. The Peanut Gallery salutes you. thumbs_up.gif Did Scurlock take any pictures of you guys on the climb? Those would be rocken' for sure.

 

Yes, but we are smaller than one pixel. Here's the link

Where's Waldo? (click me)

 

wave.gif

 

John, you should post something here. You were a major part of the success in this climb. thumbs_up.gif

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This plus the Washington Pass traverse in an 11 day marathon of climbing is the 2nd hardest thing i've ever done.

 

If anyone has taken a series of board exams on top of a mess of final exams at the same time for medical, dental, or chiropractic school, you'll know what i mean.

 

stick a fork in me. i'm done.

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I have searched the 'full' version of this image pixel by pixel and cannot see them:

 

http://www.pbase.com/image/48582368

 

However, I did spot Mike briefly, using binoculars, on the morning of Sept. 1. Both days it was very turbulent at pk altitude as the weather was in the process of changing. We had discussed the 'red flare' so I was definitely apprehensive about possibly seeing it. It was a great relief to spot them, if only for a moment, high on the face.

 

Those were the only days I could possibly have flown in there, weather wise. There was new snow on Spickard's summit on the 31st, an indication of how shitty the weather was in the days before.

 

This is not an easy thing to fly close to; it is guarded closely by the ridge to the SE, and Spickard to the N. The photographs do not do it justice; the immensity of seeing it straight up is unbelievable. It has taken me many tries to get some decent photographs of it, after the first suggestions from John Roper & Darin Berdinka. At this point I have seen just about every big face in the NCs and SE Mox beats all. I am not qualified to give much comment on the technical aspects of climbing such a thing but I will say I am in complete awe of this FA. A fine accomplishment by two individuals at the top of their capabilities. Harry Majors predicted this climb to JR & myself after seeing the winter shots of it, but I never imagined it would come true so soon.

 

Hats Off to both of you!

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Erik and Mike,

You guys should both carry honor proudly for your un-dying dedication to life and the possiblities it holds. Glad you are finding adventure and partnership in the dark wave.gifthumbs_up.gif

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"According to John Roper, the E Face of SE Mox is on what is known as "Hardest Mox" and the summit still remains unclimbed."

 

 

So SE mox peak has never been climbed still?

 

Great job on the endeavor Erik, Mike, and supporting guys.

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Nice writing, and climbing. You managed to express and experience so much of what makes climbing worthwhile. Thanks, and congratulations.

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I have searched the 'full' version of this image pixel by pixel and cannot see them:

 

It looks like 2-3 feet per pixel, and with each pixel of the CCD being monochrome with a different color filter on it, differences in one pixel could easily get lost.

 

Have you looked at the timestamp to figure out what part of the face they would have likely been on?

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The beast has been tamed.

http://www.rhinoclimbs.com/Images/MoxSE.07.03.78.9.JPG

This really is a stupendous effort and accomplishment.

 

John Roper

 

 

PS: The following is from Harry Majors.

(I have asked John Roper to kindly post these comments for me, as I seem to have misplaced my cc.com password, and my antique 11-year old computer is experiencing difficulty in downloading some webpages.)

 

Incredible! Absolutely astounding!!

 

This first ascent by Mike and Erik of the legendary, difficult, dangerous, and highly intimidating East face of SE Mox represents a mountaineering achievement of the first magnitude in the North Cascades. With the sole exception of the direct overhanging central diamond on the North face of nearby Bear Mountain, no other recognized "Last Great Problem" of the North Cascades has remained unclimbed for so long (64 years now), nor received as much notoriety, as the East face of SE Mox. The great problem that the young Fred Beckey first glimpsed and recognized on June 21, 1941, from the summit of Mt. Spickard, and which thwarted his efforts over a quarter-century later in September 1968, has now been conquered.

 

From the vantage point of North Cascades mountaineering history, Mike and Erik's ascent of the East face of SE Mox is of equal importance as Fred's 1951 first ascent of the East face of North Index (which marked the first use of bolts on a major climb in the Northwest), as well as the Gordon and Cooper's 1960 first ascent of the North face of Mount Baring (which marked the first use of Yvon Chouinard's chromium-molybdenum knifeblade pitons in the Northwest).

 

The 1951 Index and the 1960 Baring north face ascents opened up two distinct historic eras of technical and alpine "great wall" climbing in the North Cascades --- and I would venture to predict that with the 2005 ascent of the East face of SE Mox we now stand at the threshold of yet another new era of climbing in the North Cascades.

 

Another indicator that we now stand at the gateway to a new era of North Cascades climbing are the superb aerial photographs of John Scurlock. These magnificent winter photographs, with their intricate filigree of ice and snow --- clearly delineating crack, ledge, and fissure systems on isolated and remote peaks in the North Cascades (which would not be as readily evident in summer) --- greatly facilitate, in advance, potential solutions to route-finding problems on unclimbed routes in the North Cascades.

 

(During the SE Mox ascent, it must have been very reassuring indeed, knowing that John was flying high above these two intrepid climbers on this forbidding wall, serving as their guardian angel.)

 

Mike and Erik --- You are correct. The traces of a previous visit on the lower right side of the East face of SE Mox are remnants left by the unsuccessful August 1958 Portland climbing party. An account of their pioneering venture appeared as: Paul Williams, "An unclimbed 'No Name' Peak," Summit, vol. 6, no. 5, May 1960, pp. 19-21. (A further clarification appears as: Dee Molenaar, "Letter questions location of 'No Name' Peak," Summit, vol. 6, no. 6, June 1960, pp. 22-23.)

 

If you, or any other cc.com readers, would like a copy of this 1960 article, on which the routes of the August 1958 party (on the lower right half of the face) and the September 1968 party (on the lower left half of the face) have been marked, let me know, and I would be pleased to mail you copies, with my compliments.

 

--- HarryMajors

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Thanks, i'd love a copy. i don't have an address yet but i bet when Erik reads this, he'll want a copy.

 

I forgot to mention to say that we saw one bootprint in the mud (huh?) and one small corner of flagging tape on the approach!

 

On route we found one sling on a tree, a rusty bolt in need of some armor-all, and a smashed plastic bottle under a cairn of sorts from the PDX party.

 

There are way harder climbs out there, don't make me out to be a hero or anything. I just get bored during the summer and climbed lots of classics already that's all.

 

But if you do, please send me lots of money. i'm sooo broke. i'll crack your back for free later, i promise.

 

and send women. but make sure they aren't in it for the money.

 

Anyone ever ride the snake at casa que pasa in bellingham? just did it (again). for those not in the know, it's a drink so awful (151 and tobasco) they give you a shot for free just to watch. since i am now immune to pain or suffering, but haven't yet turned into pure white light, i figured i had better milk it for some free booze, no matter how awful.

 

to make matters worse, B'ham now has this late night (unti 4am i think) russian dumpling place. it's totally vacant of anything except a record player and a very random assortment of albumbs (from herb albert to blonde) that you can self d.j. to.

I blasted Led Zeppelin II after some Chet Atkins.

Anyway, this place kicks butt, and has NO MENU. According to the only person there, "our clientelle can't read anyway. we have on thing. dumplings. just manage to speak Meat or Vegetable and it's 5 bucks". They don't even have water to drink. It's across from the 3B an UP n UP so everyone go there and keep this great american russian dumplin house alive for our children's children.

this is way more important than mox. dumplins and riding the snake. and led zepplin II. that's important.

 

p.s. no bolts on our route.

 

pps. Kat! Get better damnit. Everyone wish Kat a speedy recovery as she just broke her ankle on Orbit. Send her drugs and wine. and women. but women that aren't in it for the drugs, money, wine...or Kat.

 

in fact, better just send me everything.

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Can we have like a fireworks celebration, with the pictures broadcast on a skyscraper wall, with Harry Majors comments read out in a stentorian voice over a loudspeaker? Jeez, that was a great TR and adventure!

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Mike I saw you at Dimond Jims in Sun and you looked worked. I knew no amount of rec. drugs could do that to somebody, it had to be the Mox. Nice fucking job!!! bigdrink.gif

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Wow! Holy Balls! I'm glad it worked out and I'm glad you're both back in one piece!

 

Also: Thank you Darin Berdinka for having faith in our abilities, ....

 

????? Like Obi Wan or something? "Use the force Mike..."

 

I was at Diamond Jims on Sunday as well maybe a little to early for the likes of Tyree and you.

 

bigdrink.gif

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