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[TR] whitehorse mountain- east face 2/19/2006


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Climb: whitehorse mountain-east face


Date of Climb: 2/19/2006


Trip Report:

here's the hype:


peter and i climbed the major chimney/gully weakness shown in john scurlock's excellent photo http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/40358778 of the east face.


the approach into buckeye basin on saturday was straightforward. we left the truck on the squire creek road, crossed squire creek, headed up the ridge and eventually contoured into buckeye basin. good neve through small trees and up avalanche chutes led to the upper basin and a tent site not far from the route.


after a short problem over the 'schrund, i think we led seven 60m+/- pitches before simul-climbing ~4 pitches of steep snow to the summit. the climbing was a mixture of good neve/water ice and entertaining snice. pete had a couple fine but short sections of vertical/slightly overhanging snice. pro and belays were good/adequate....a recommended route.


downclimbing and 2 raps led down the south face/southeast ridge. being tired of downclimbing, i convinced pete to rap the first descent gully we came to though we both knew we could walk down the next one to the south. anyway, my stupidity won the day and we did three more raps before arriving back at the tent late in the afternoon.


we initially thought the route might go in two days roundtrip (still might) but we opted to sleep instead of thrash. i cut the fuel supply a little short so we had to drink our urine. ten hours of sleep and a few hours of walking took us back to the truck.


unfortunately, the bedliner i was cleaning as justin and darrin drove up would not fit in my rig. if you need one for a small pickup, it's sitting by the side of squire creek road.


pete has some photos that he'll likely share.


grade: III/IV, AI 4.




Gear Notes:

small rack of pins, nuts and cams to 3" plus a handful of screws

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no under-hype involved.


a few asides:


we saw a small section of aircraft aluminum (wing?) at around 2000' in the buckeye creek drainage. we didn't spend any time investigating further---dog hair hemlock. anybody still looking for a downed plane in that area?


there is a much harder looking mixed line around the buttress to the right of the chimney/gully. i don't know if peter took a photo of it. bring a full rack to 4".


an old friend of mine told me he climbed a rock route on the east face years ago. the buttress to the right of the gully has some nice looking cracks. the steep wall to the left is very compact choss.

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Fuckin Rat - scooped me on the TR. But I'm posting it anyway.


Thanks again to John Scurlock, Rolf spotted a killer looking line last November in one of Mr. Scurlock’s aerial photos of the East face of Whitehorse Peak. After waiting all winter, we finally got a window of cold dry weather to try the route.

Saturday morning after getting up way too early we drove over the pass stopping for coffee and assorted sundries in Monroe and marveled at all the westside suburban freakshows.

We then drove to the end of Squire Creek Road outside of Darrington where we found a parked car. Thinking the wagon belonged to the dynamic duo of Justin and Darin (as we heard they were off for the north side of Three Fingers), Rolf left a nice note on their rig with a simple message, “DIE!!”

Just then, Justin and Necro for real pulled up and after exchanging pleasantries we rolled back down the road and parked and began the mandatory vertical sub-alpine tree thrashing session. Four hours later we submerged around treeline in Buckhorn Basin. The snow was rock hard neve, even that low down – a good sign. From there, some step kicking and third classing through a cliffy section got us to the alpine where the snow turned to crust. The East Face is pretty cool and pretty big.



We set up the Bibler at a nice flat spot and went to check out the route. It looked as good as it did in the Scurlock photo, but with more ice and snow.




Back at the Bibler, Rolf regaled me with tales of a legendary sandwich, called the “Bacon Buddy,” which is only available at a renowned fast-food establishment in Britain, The Bacon Buddy is a buttery croissant-like pastry split in half and filled with ½ lb of bacon. Delectable.

Anyway, by first light the next morning, Rolf was soloing some sketchy mixed moves off the glacier and onto the serac-like bergschrund.



Finding a good trench in the moraine, Rolf sent down a rope which I gladly accepted. I then led out over an awkward bulge and past the 'shrund onto some excellent neve. A rope length later I set a rock belay and brought Rolf up.



We belayed two more mellow pitches on good neve until we got to the first steep section. At this point the route and buttresses above were in full sun sending down grappel, spindrift and frequent chunk of ice into the middle of the coliour. Rolf led out onto the 90 degree step, which was too soft for screws but took good sticks.





The next pitch, the overhanging snow-ice chimney, was probably the crux. I led out over a fun, steep section of good ice to a short rampy spot, then the angle steepened again and I got in a decent nut and a shitty blade a little higher. As soon as the angle kicked back to 90 degrees, the “snice” in the chimney was hollow and sugary and wouldn’t take sticks. The ice on the right was better, but aerated, and a couple times my pick ripped right through while testing. After some insecure moves digging through the hollow snice, and with the shitty blade ten feet below, I stemmed into the snice on one side and aerated ice on the other and swung as high as I could. The stick felt solid, so I committed to it. The sticks above that were good and I pulled over the bulge. It really wasn’t that bad.

Rolf led out after that through some nice neve and then through some killer, fun steep bulges where he got some cams in the rock and could make some cool stems on the rock. We simul-climbed quite a bit of this pitch, since it was lower angle neve right off of the belay.




The next pitch was a steep / overhung section of thunker ice, which was pumpy but with good sticks was pretty cool. It was lower angle snowfield to the ridge, so I belayed Rolf up this and then he took off for three ropelengths of simul-climbing which went up to the ridge then wrapped around the wind-ice plastered north face summit crag. This was one of the coolest, most aesthetic portions of the climb. A couple ice steps and we were on the summit.

From the summit we could see over to Three Fingers, and a couple tiny black specs descending the East Face, which we assumed to be Justin and Darin.

To descend, we downclimbed the south face, made two raps, followed by more downclimbing. Then three raps into an icy gulley and we were on the glacier again about 11 hours after we started. Since Rolf only brought enough fuel for one night, because the climb by itself wasn’t hard enough, we only had a pinner supper and not much water to drink that night. I dreamt of bacon buddies and ice cold pilsners.

The deproach was pretty uneventful, except that Rolf found a perfectly good truckbedliner on the side of the road. Unfortunately it didn’t fit his truck. If anyone wants it, it’s on the side of the Squire Creek Road, about half way up. It fits a truck with a bed just a bit wider than an old beater Nissan pickemup.





“Bacon Buddy,” IV AI4



Larger pic's available in the gallery.

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the "bacon buddy" (or as dru probably correctly points out, "bacon butty") story was from our friend's strange travels in the empire. a bacon butty and an egg butty would have gone well with the urine.


hey youth,

that would be a "bergschrund" not "moraine". kids these days...

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