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Doug_Hutchinson

[TR] Illumination Rock- SW Ridge 6/18/2006

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Climb: Illumination Rock-SW Ridge

 

Date of Climb: 6/18/2006

 

Trip Report:

Climbed the SW ridge on I-Rock under full-on rock conditions with Michael Nozel (AKA the Great Iron Monger for his pitoncraftwerk). The day was beautiful and the rock very awful. It may have been up to 5.9 but the easier the climbing, the worse the rock got. Luckily, the gear was good since falls due to broken holds seemed very likely.

 

Nozel on the first pitch:

 

1085IMGP1106-med.JPG

 

We got to the West Gable in four pitches - moving east of ridge crest for the third and fourth (i.e, east of where Wallace has the route on his great topo). Pitches 1, 3, 4 were semi-terrifying due to crap rock but the gear was pretty good.

 

The best part of the climb was moving along the summit ridge from the West Gable to the true (East) summit = exposed and spectacular!

 

1085IMGP1114-med.JPG

 

The overhanging summit block (perched over Michael in pic below) was very cool too, a nice exposed mid-fifth boulder problem.

 

1085IMGP1118-med.JPG

 

I-Rock covered in ice is a worthwhile objective (I climbed just east of this route in winter and had a very different opnion of I-rock then) but leave the rock alone!

 

Jeff Thomas said it perfectly: "The volcanic rock of Illumination rock is good when compared to the rest of Mt Hood, but terrible when contrasted to what modern rock climbers prefer. Still, to paraphrase Tom Patey, any fool can climb good rock, it takes a special fool to climb bad rock." I would advise against becoming a special fool.

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Nuts, pins, hexes (yes!) and a few cams

 

Approach Notes:

Don't disturb the skiers, they paid and we didn't, damn it.

Edited by Doug_Hutchinson

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yeah!

sounds way better when covered in unprotectable rime vs. unprotectable choss.

any pics from when you did it in winter. the "portland to patagonia" TR pics I posted were from this exact same route.

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sweeeeeet - so can i expect to being doing this in the mountie basic class or not?

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Just think, Doug . . . in three months, when the important details fade, you'll find yourself recommending the route. "Good Christ, are you kidding me? It's the finest rock route on Hood!"

 

Regrettably, you'll not be entirely wrong.

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Wow did you find the belay bolt? Did you do the squeeze passage on pitch 3?We stayed right on the rest the whole way. did it with a thin layer of october ice most things were solid

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any pics from when you did it in winter. the "portland to patagonia" TR pics I posted were from this exact same route.

 

No winter pics since it was 4-5 years ago = pre-digital for me. We did "Iron Maiden" then which was semi-classic and relatively straight-forward and safe. That route was farther east and connected gullies with some steeper ice steps. The SW Ridge was following the steepest rock in the general area until we moved right (east) on pitch 3 to avoid a steep but loose diheldral below the West Gable. I would recommend Iron Maiden with decent ice.

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Wow did you find the belay bolt? Did you do the squeeze passage on pitch 3?

 

No belay bolt was found. The start of pitch 3 for us was a steep and awkward OW right above the belay (I still can't figure out how to post pics after I start a TR - here is a link to that OW pic): The OW is obscured but to the right of Michael - only about 15 hard feet in all but very obvious from the belay.

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=18648&size=big&sort=1&cat=500

 

I wouldn't call that a squeeze passage. You can see the start of the obvious dihedral we avoided above the climber - this dihedral appears very inviting when seen from the Zig Zag glacier but not so pretty close up. We went right around it.

 

Higher up, I was planning on squeezing in a chimney under a large chockstone (maybe the "squeeze passage"?) but chose a more direct jam crack and corner system to the right which exited on the W. Gable. The chimney squeeze thing would lead to the same area but a little left of the route I took. After the first bit of p3 shown in the pic (felt like awkward 5.9) everything we did was 5.6-5.8.

 

After the fact, I assumed we should have stayed left for pitches 3 and 4 but the aspect of your topo is more from up mountain so we weren't sure if we should go slightly right or left of the true ridge - we went right. Too far left and I assume we would have ended up on the West Arete.

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