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Ade

[TR] Mount Index, West Face- Murphy's Law 2/17/2006

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Climb: Mount Index, West Face-Murphy's Law

 

Date of Climb: 2/17/2006

 

Trip Report:

Stuart and I went in to check out the west face of Mount Index on Friday, planning to climb the Eve Dearborn Memorial / Supercouloir route (EDM). The approach wasn't that bad although the ‘shwacking up the lower part of the face was pretty tedious. We soloed the lower gully and bypassed the second step up mixed terrain to the far left. From there we simul-climbed the left hand fork of the couloir where it is split by the small rock spur.

 

We climbed higher but moved left too early thinking we were higher on the face than we really were. Essentially mistaking a lower snow patch for the upper one described in Nelson. Call it ineptitude or an inexplicable enthusiasm for steeper terrain.

 

The route we took leaves the EDM approach couloir and climbs an ice step before heading up an ice runnel on the left side of the couloir. This leads to a snowfield level with the EDM bivi site (as marked in Nelson). We bivied on the top of the snowfield, below a rock buttress.

 

It wasn't possible to continue up the runnels - the next pitch being discontinuous snice. Failing upwards we traversed left about half a rope length across the snow patch and climbed another ice system on the left side of the buttress. From there the route stays to the right and climbs steep snowfields and ice smears for four pitches. It finishes immediately to the climbers left of the North Peak, another rope length leads to the summit.

 

After a brief trip to the summit, to make absolutely sure we were descending the right way. We traversed the ridge to the false summit of the North Peak. This requires a short but awkward rappel to get across a notch in the ridge. We made it about 200’ below the false summit before nightfall and bivied. The following morning we descended as per Nelson's description, rapping off trees almost the whole way. We used some existing fixed anchors lower on the face.

 

Grade: V, snow and ice to 80º, steep mixed ground.

 

Notes:

 

We found tracks from some other parties low on the mountain but didn't see any signs of anyone else on the summit ridge. For the most part the ice conditions were poor, aerated ice and snice – OK for climbing but bad for pro. It was, as forecast, very cold although grew less windy by Saturday afternoon.

 

thumbs_up.gif Props to Forrest Murphy for his company on at least one recce in lousy weather and for telling me this was “the” Index weekend even thou he was off skiing.

 

I don't have a topo photo, the best picture of the face is in Beckey 1, p227 (on which the EDM is not marked). Nelson 1, Ed. 1 also has a picture p104. Its worth noting that the picture in Nelson shows only the upper half of the terrain depicted in Beckey, which in turn only shows the climbing above the first bypassed ice pitch. The top of the Beckey photo seems somewhat foreshortened based on the amount of climbing we did there.

 

 

Gear Notes:

Rock gear to 2”, KBs and LAs, ice screws and lots of slings. 60m ropes.

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Yeah, wouldn't want life to be too easy now.......

Cheers for writing this up Ade. I'll try and get the photo's scanned, but they are crappy. I reckon the cold messed up the shutter or something. Murphy's Law indeed.

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Nice work lads!....We made it to near the top of the north face bowl on saturday before the long, complicated descent with a single 60m rope. We were going for single day ascent....but it was not to be. I heard word of an epic by another party....any news? Did you get to enjoy that abseil off the 20 year old blade?.

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Ade - I'm sure you are underestating the difficulty and commitment level of your ascent. Good job again. I wish you guys had some picters.

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Impressive stuff. Post a photo with your route marked on it when you get your hands on that "West Face in Winter" shot you've been looking for Ade.

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Pictures!

 

Including a Topo.

 

Note: The topo is super foreshortened. The distance from the bivi to where the route continues upward is less then a rope length. The distance from there to the summit is about five rope lengths. The picture in Beckey is much better.

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