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chucK

TR: Kaleetan North Ridge

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OK all this non-climbing talk is 'causing me strain, so I've written up an off-the-cuff semi-retro TR for y'all.

 

North Ridge of Kaleetan (9/20/2)

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All images stolen from Phil Fortier's Mt. Roosevelt trip report

 

I tried the Roosevelt-Kaleetan traverse as described in Beckey last summer. Roosevelt went fine, then after a bit of monkeying around (you actually have to go back down to the surrounding terrain to get to the "traverse") I made it to the extended North Ridge of Kaleetan. It started easy enough then got quite knife-edgy, then very loose. This was still doable for a little ways until a downclimb was necessary. Not wanting to put any force other than straight down made the prospect of testing holds on a downclimb too daunting, and I gave it up. Went and tried to climb the N Ridge of Bryant and couldn't get the nerve up for that, so finally walked over and knocked off the Tooth for the Nth time.

 

I came back this year with a partner (from CC.com!!) thinking that with a rope, the loose traverse would be doable. Reaquainting myself with the spot I found myself to be in error. Since all the rock was loose, what good would pro do? A 100 foot pendulum didn't seem that much more palatable than a 300 foot freefall, so we bagged it, vowing never to return to this catwalk of choss.

 

We hiked up through Melakwa pass and I summited by an easier route. Once on top, I scrambled partway down the N Ridge and found it to be pretty cool. Damn! Now I was hooked for another attempt!

 

About a week later a friend asked if I'd mind helping shepherd some newbies up the Tooth. Hey sounds good! This gave me an excuse to head back up to "low-quality" pass. I hatched a plan to get up really early, go bag Kaleetan then meet the gang at the Tooth.

 

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Checking out the picture from Phil Fortier's site (enhanced to see the darker parts), I plotted scrambling up to the ridge via the West side of the knife edge. There were some trees in the picture, so it couldn't be that bad.

 

Up at 5 am, walking the Snow Lake trail again, this time in darkness. Made it to the notch in the ridge around 9.

 

As I scrambled down the west side of the notch I noticed how nice the rock was. A sorta sandstoney texture with marbled dikey stuff that gave it a hard rough, cheese-grater feel. Perfect for climbing! So I just started heading straight up the wall toward the lowpoint in the ridge, ditching my original plan of skirting south along the base of the wall then tarzanning up the trees.

 

All was well early on. The rock was awesome and the going was good. Then, of course, as these stories so often go, the rock got worse and worse the higher I went and the more time I'd invested. I was finally about 30 feet from the ridgetop when it started getting downright scary. You know how it always looks like salvation is just 5 feet/one move away. Then you get there and it's just as loose. Well that was the case. Anyway, as you probably guessed. I lived and I topped out on the ridge, just south of the scary impasse that had stopped me/us twice before.

 

The rock here was still loose, and the ridge sharp. I was humbled enough to perform the ol' chaval manuever, but it was cool, as I was in the sun and looked like I'd passed the worst.

 

It turns out I was right about that. After the initial low ridge, the rock gets quite good. Lots of big spikey, solid, granite(?) pilars to weave up, around, over and through. I found an old ring piton at one point. Here I must differ with the Beckey guide btw as it says to skirt one obstacle on the left, whereas I only skirted from the ridgetop once, on the right. Traverse under an early obstacle through the trees. The Mountie description says something to the effect of "if you're more than 20 feet away from the ridgeline, you're offroute" and I think that was right on.

 

When I finally reached the low point of my previous explorations, all butterflies subsided. The unknown was over, just fun scrambling up way-exposed solid rock.

 

I topped out. Hung out for about 1/2 hour, then booked over to the Tooth. Found my friends still working on pitch 1. Did a lap there and hung out. Home for dinner.

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Nevermind, it's working now

 

quote:

Originally posted by klenke:

Phil's climbing site link didn't work. Did you put it in wrong?

No dammit! It was working an hour ago (worked fine when I did the "preview post" thing. Then, once I post, they're unavailable. Uncanny! He's too damn smart for me [laf] !

 

[ 10-10-2002, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: chucK ]

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Damn Chuck,

 

Thats a lot of work. Anyone that try's that hard for a line deserves it.

 

Nice tr.

Nice work putting it to rest!

[big Drink]

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Chuck,

 

That low point in the ridge is commonly called the worst portion of the route. It's the price to pay for the finer things to come.

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Chuck,

How does the loose rock on Kaleetan compare with that on Bryant? I've always wanted to do this traverse solo, but after doing Bryant, I'm a little edgy about the "low point" on Kaleetan.

TIA

 

BTW, Good TR (and thanks to Phil for the cool pics.)

 

[ 10-11-2002, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: ScottP ]

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Thread necro!

 

I went up and repeated this route last weekend.

 

If you suffer to read the previous report you'll note that I scared the shit out of myself initially gaining the ridge. Well, this time I forced myself to stick to a route that appeared to be comically easy from below. Looking up from below I almost always underestimate the difficulty of the climbing and soundness of the rock. So thus calibrated to follow only something I felt I could do without hands, I was able to gain the ridge without coming close to soiling my underwear. The rock below the ridgetop is really cool. I think maybe it is limestone? It is very frictiony and featured, but there are unfortunately areas where some of it is peeling off in layers like frosting from a cake you've left on the counter for a week.

 

Basic directions: go up and through the steep notch to the right (North) of the first major hump North of the ridge lowpoint. Drop down to other side and follow the easiest looking path (ledges and gullies) right up center of amphitheater on the West side of the ridge. Once you gain the crest of the ridge the rock is different and usually more sound. The going is continually exposed and usually doable right on the crest at about 5.4 max . I dropped down on the right twice, once to avoid a steep crack that looked sweet but looked too difficult for soloing (probably about 5.7-8?, but note my previous statement about my misunderestimation of difficulties).

 

It was about 5 hrs car to summit. Listened to the Hawks for a while on the summit with the various flying insects, then headed back to car via Hemlock Gap.

 

Crappy cellphone photos to follow!

 

0921140954.jpg

Ridge from Gem Lake

0921141124.jpg

From somewhere low on the ridge (it's more exposed than this picture makes it look)

0921141215.jpg

Looking down from about 1/3 way along ridge

0921141310.jpg

Looking down from summit

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Cool, thanks for the details on a route that I've wondered about.

 

I really enjoy your TRs, you should do more of them!

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Thanks for the update, chucK! And it was nice to hear about your solo adventure as we whiled away a lazy day on Saturday...

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I soloed the Rosevelt-Kaleetan traverse and was a nice trip, although the low point, stradeling part was definitly a place to keep your cool. was 8:05 from car-car. parked near entrance to old sno pass road P.S. if anyone finds a walkman with an ac/dc tape in it its mine. tells you about how long ago it was. :crazy:

Edited by kukuzka1

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