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schlangeschmecker

Tatooshka, maya Babushka!

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I vas vondering vetter any man dis veek in z'Tatoosh has climbed? Ya, I vish to know how are z' snow conditions in der Lane Peak gullies? Also, ist das true, das der Glory Hole in das Narada Falls Toilette has been patched by der Ranger? I tink das vould be unfortunate, as der Narada Falls Toilette Glory Hole vas z' place das Herr RURP and I first met und began our Big Wall Team.

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Lane Peak, December 30, 2001.

On Saturday, I called Mount Rainier Park and asked to speak to someone who knew about climbing conditions. After a couple of transfers I spoke with a very helpful lady ranger at the Henry M. Jackson (Paradise) Visitor Center and she assured me that the gate would open by eight o'clock, and earlier if there was no new snowfall. She also said that climbing conditions were good and that we'd be able to walk on the surface. Since no new snow was in the forecast, I figured the gate would be open early, and we'd have easy travel. It was forecast to be a little warm but not too bad, so Dave and I elected to go try the North Ridge of Pinnacle Peak.

We left Seattle in fog and darkness at 5:30 a.m., stopping in Parkland for deli treats at QFC, and made good time to the park entrance. Unfortunately, at Longmire, we pulled around the bend to see a gate blocking the road. An orange sign on the gate announced that there was snowplowing underway and that the road would open "at about 9:00 a.m." It was only 7:25 and 9:00 seemed a long way off. The sky was fully blue, and nowhere in sight could we see any sign of fresh snowfall of significant wind transport so we couldn't imagine what a snowplow was doing with the road to Paradise. So much for the very helpful lady ranger.

With nowhere to go, we walked into the National Park Inn. In the dining room, the hostess scowled at us when we asked for a cup of coffee, again when we asked for a toilet, and scowled once more when we told her the Park Service had said the gate would be open by now. So much for hospitality.

The ranger opened the gate a little after 9:00 and we drove up the road to Narada Falls. Along the way, we saw no sign of any snow plowing but we did see some water ice above the Nisqually Canyon, just upstream from the bridge on a northwest facing rim, and some of it looked as if it might be 150 feet high and probably fat enough to offer friendly climbing.

Once we finished gawking at the scenery and got out of the car, it was 10:00. The snow was much softer than the helpful lady ranger had led me to believe, so the travel would not be quite as fast as we might have hoped and the hour was late for such an awesome alpine exploit as Pinnacle Peak. We elected to head for Lane Peak instead.

We could see Narada Falls from the avalanche slope just across the creek. A high freezing level and heavy water flow had removed all ice that may have been there earlier this month, and there was no ice at all. We carried our skis up the hill and walked a short way down the snowshoe track along the roadbed toward Reflection Lanes before putting on our skis and heading down through the woods toward Lane Peak. Crunchy snow offered a challenge to us, handicapped with light weight climbing boots instead of ski boots.

We climbed the left-most gully of three gullies on the north side of Lane Peak. The snow was generally soft, so it was mostly a pig wallow, but it had an old wind crust beneath the most recent snowfall and below that the snow seemed consolidated enough that we weren't worried about any real avalanche danger. We put on crampons, just in case, and were glad for them when we found twenty feet of firm almost-ice and some rime along side a chockstone. Some skiers came along, looking for powder on the north facing gladed slopes of the Tatoosh Range. They did not find it.

Our gully led to a small buttress, and an exposed traverse into the larger central gully. In relatively short order, we topped out in the sunshine near the top of Lane Peak. After wallowing down through mostly open slopes from the Lane-Denman Peak saddle, we found that the skiers had left us a nice friendly skin-track back to the road.

Back at the parking lot, the usual tourists were posing for pictures and throwing very crunchy snowballs. The rush-hour traffic down from Paradise was bumper to bumper. In these conditions, the North side of Lane Peak didn't offer much in the way of ice climbing, but it had been an enjoyable outing.

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Ideal conditions seem to come during a light-snow year, and after an intense warming is followed by a cold snap without precip.....a complicated formula to be sure. One way around the ridiculous 9:30 a.m. gate opening is to bivy in the heated restrooms at Narada falls. Nice report Matt. Pope.

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Thanks Matt. That's a great report. Great timing for me, as I am thinking of heading up there this weekend to climb it. Great to know what you found.

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Great report, Matt! By the way, that chute you climbed is known as "Lover's Lane". It's the steepest and narrowest of the three north face chutes. At it's top you do that exposed traverse into the larger chute which is known as the Zipper. After that traverse, if you look up to the right on the walls of the Zipper, there are two more steep and fairly short chutes leading up toward the summit itself. I can't remember the names for these, although I've climbed them both a long time ago and remember that they were a bit sketchy for reasons I don't recall. Lane Peak and its brothers in the Tatoosh Range rule!

- Dwayner [big Drink][chubit]

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Those steep, short chutes above the top of the Zipper would have been sketchy indeed, with completely unconcolidated snow over loose rock.

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Fick mich, du miserable Horensohn, miserable Horensohn. Ya, RURP, haf you klimbed any big valls lately (without your old "partner" to drag up your pathetic panty-fouling Amerikanischer Kirschenarsch)?

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This is RURP. Pope you are a fool. Again you think that you are amusing readers with your false attempt to appear as a native German speaker. Try something different. Perhaps you can be honest to yourself and present yourself as a Big-Wall Cry-Baby. Waaa! Waaa! I have not met you in any bathroom and you are not on my "Big Wall Team". If you are looking for glory, you won't find much of it in a toilet, unless you have held back for a week or two.

RURP has spoken.

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