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fastcj

[TR] Chiwawa Mtn- North Face 9/5/2005

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Climb: Chiwawa Mtn-North Face

 

Date of Climb: 9/5/2005

 

Trip Report:

Sven Koehler and I climbed the standard north face route on Chiwawa via Phelps Creek, Spider Col, and the Lyman Glacier car-to-car in just over 14 hours. From the Lower Lyman Glacier we contemplated taking a line along the left margin of the upper glacier, but figured there must be a reason why everyone takes the line along the right margin. Once up on the right side of the glacier it looked as if the left line would go fine with only moderate crevasse navigation, only it was steep hard ice, and two tools would be necessary. The only technical challenge on the climb - apart from not knocking rocks onto your partner on the messy slabs between the upper and lower glacier - was the glacial ice. There is virtually no snow cover on the glacier apart from a light dusting from the day before on the upper glacier. Because we'd opted for lighter weight gear (alu crampons, light hiking boots, light axes) the ice felt a bit sketchy, particulary when my light crampons scratched across the surface of the ice instead of sinking in. I had little trouble sinking the pick of my titanium ax in, but Sven had a little more trouble with his alu ax. A second tool would have been nice, and may have shaved 20 minutes off the climb, but it turned out to be unnecessary. The day before we climbed, a party of two turned around halfway up the upper glacier because of the ice hardness. Rock and icefall hazard is moderate. Crevasses were all exposed and snow bridges had long since melted out. The hike out on the Phelps Creek trail is undemanding and pleasant by star light, but the last couple miles feel long.

 

Gear Notes:

small glacier rope

helmets!

ice tool or ax with agressive pick

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Nice job! I was on Chiwawa on Monday too, but came up from the other side. I took the Red Mountain trail from Trinity and crossed the head of the valley. I was aiming for Fortress, but got distracted by a very aesthetic line on Chiwawa I picked out from the approach trail--a short section of 35-degree solid ice led to some steepish heather onto the main ridge and then a terrific scramble to the top. The thing that astounded me was that even though I completely disregarded routefinding details from some other descriptions, including Klenke's very thorough Summitpost account of his "East Route" on Fortress, I actually found occaisional fresh boot tracks along the totally unmarked and arbitrary path I picked around the head of the valley! Beautiful area. If the weather holds, I'm going back this weekend to grab Fortress, this time with my camera which, in my 3 a.m. stupor, I neglected to toss in my car on the way out the door.

Thanks for the T.R. cantfocus.gif

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Congrats! Glad you made it. That was us you talked to on the way up. Doing it in Aluminum crampons sucked but the white out was the main reason we bailed. Just couldn't see more than 100ft and it was snowing intermittently. When I got home and pulled in the GPS points onto my computer it turned out we were only 100ft from the top. Oh well.

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Then you must have been off the ice and well up the rock scramble. It's a bummer you missed the views, because they were sweet and only got better on the descent as the shadows got longer. We too forgot a camera in our 5am stupor.

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