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first ascent [TR] Spectre Peak- Haunted Wall. FA. IV 5.9+ 2100' 8/14/2006

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Climb: Spectre Peak-Haunted Wall. FA. IV 5.9+ 2100'


Date of Climb: 8/14/2006


Trip Report:

Wayne and I had a big adventure and then I got home with the pre-spray all rigged up. Then I went to sleep and woke up tired and had to wait to type the real trip report until I finished eating breakfast and getting some shit done aroudn the house goddamnit

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Lemme guess:


First a photo from John Skurlock,



Followed by your own little digi-cam shots with something about how far it is to Perfect Pass and how discontinuous the cracks were but also how sceary it was. Sounds like my kind of adventure.


What happened to, "It's actually been climbed by an "anonymous party" who will write something next year for the AAJ. I guess it's not that hard (5.4ish) on that long center buttress.

Too bad, but it guess that saves us all a lot of hard work. "




So much for 5.4.




Cheap man. Real Cheap.



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I can't tell from your trip report, did you summit?


I'd like to just say thanks to mike and wayne for saving us all a lot of hard work, now let's see the pictures!

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Tony, are you saying that Mike wrote that post back in March to discourage others from trying to climb the face just so he could have it for himself?

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I'm still wading in a sea of picture sorting.....

and yes, i flat out lied about that 5.4 route

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OMG, will there be an emergency meeting of the FA ethics committee? shocked.gif


I bet you probably had a beer that night too for the massive dose of testosterone

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Ok, here's the trip report... Wayne took most of the pics so hopefully my ugly mug won't crack your screen.


Spectre Peak "Haunted Wall" IV 5.9+ 2100' Wayne Wallace and Mike Layton August 14, 2006.




Trip Stats:

Milage: ~50

Elevation Gain: ~20,000'

Days: 6/5

Balloons found: 4


I've been eyeing this route ever since my 1st time up Mt. Triumph, and I knew Mr. Wallace was just as interested. I tried to get John Scurlock to fly me over it last year, but at the time he wasn't sure what I was talking about. Then a few months later he posted a picture of it and it got thousands of hits. Rumors of several different parties attempting it put it at the top of the list.








Spectre peak is at the eastern end of the Northern Pickets, and the south side of the mountain is one of the most remote places one can be in the lower 48. It's not even listed in the Beckey Guide except for a caption in one photo.


Wayne has a photo of the route taken a while back from the top of Pioneer Ridge hung up in his living room, and neither of us having a printer, we took a photo of it to use as a "topo" while en route. The reflection on the right helped us choose the name "Haunted Wall," besides it just being a spooky place to begin with.




Day 1


Roper baited us up Baker River, which we tried and promptly bailed on, after 8 hours fighting bush and deep swift water in the rain the first day. Having only bushwacked 1.5 miles (with three to go, 5000' up the steep cliffed out Pioneer Ridge, miles across the steep cliffy ridge, and a scary long adventure down to the route) made us realize that Roper fully sandbagged us, and probably had a good chuckle to himself. Later, Scurlock told us he heard it was the worst approach in the cascades. So we dragged our soggy asses and 25 pound packs over to Hannegan Pass to restart the trip.





Day Two


We met Rudy atop Hannagen pass early that morning. What a cool guy! He'd been out 19 days, and had literally hiked all over the North Cascades, having hitchiked in from Maine working potato and cherry farms for income. I'm certain he was really the mountain god, since we gave him offerings and he blessed our trip which went perfectly afterwards. Thanks Rudy!




We bashed our knees down to the Chilliwack River and strained our legs up to Easy Ridge where we ran into a bunch of girls and a cool Arizona hardman on a Prescott College class.






Day Three

This day we went up and over Easy Ridge, down below Whatcom Peak, and across the ever sketchy Imperfect Impass (the "strainer" for getting into the pickets). Then we went up to Perfect Pass, up the glacier (past the heli crash plaque) to 200' below the summit of Challenger and the pass between Challenger 3 and 4. Then we went down the other side of Challenger and across a cirque and a glacier to a camp below the West Face of Phantom Peak. Spectre peak still nowhere in sight....













Day Four


At first light we crossed under Phantom and back up a col to our first look at Spectre. We noticed two things. One was that the route was bigger than we expected, the second was there was a huge tower blocking our line up the mountain. Our stomachs dropped when we realized what an obstacle this would be so high up on route.






We climbed the snowfield to the base of the route and began simuling up a long dike in the rock. After 500' or so of climbing and maybe 3 pieces of gear along the way, we both knew that retreat off this route would be a total nightmare. Neither of us mentioned it as we kept climbing...







The rock on the buttress crest was solid, steep, and completely protectionless so we headed up a very steep chimney system. The chimey was extremely deep and I remember fully tunneling inside the bowels of the mountain under large chockstone, at time boxed in on all four sides. Spooky but fun!




Our chimney ran out partway up the detached pinacle. The route blanked out! There was only one option and it made retreat almost impossibe. We rappelled down into the notch and pulled the ropes and our way out. Gulp. There had better be a way up the final headwall behind the tower, we thought to ourselves.






Thankfully there were two options: an impossible looking 400' offwidth with a chockstone that stuck way outside the crack (no thanks, our biggest peice was 3"), and a possible dihedral hidden to the right.


Wayne blasted up the steep blankish rock, pulled a scary unbelievable exposed move or two, and got into the dihedral and saved our asses. The view of the Southen Pickets was incredible from here.








I followed, glad i didn't have to lead that, and pushed on to the ridgecrest. We similued the ridgecrest to the true summit and foudn the old film canister summit register. Poor Roger!












We downclimbed the other side of the mountain, glissaded down the snow, and followed a mega thank god ledge all the way aroudn the peak and back down to our packs. A lone Marmot whistled lonley to us from atop a giant boulder for a good part of the hike out. We were cooked after our long hike back to camp.


The rock was pretty darn good, but the lack of pro kept us off the steep center buttress. Braver climbers than us can take that line.


Day Five and Six


The next day we hiked all the way back to the Chilliwack River to camp, so the following day we were pretty beat as we hiked up to Hannagen Pass and down to the car by noon.







We both had a lot of fun on this trip, Wayne was a great partner, and my first time climbing with him. thumbs_up.gif

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yes very granite like. I kept poking for a better line in the dihedrals, but the seams were not there for gear. we were lucky not to end up on 511r somewhere.

Mike is a great writer and partner, I'd paddle with him anyday

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Wow Michael, you're the first stranger I ever sprayed on behalf for to my friends out here in Colorado!!


Nice climb and I am jealous. Glad the rock turned out to be solid. It just is deflating when a climb you've been jones-ing on after a while ends up being choss.

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It's Gneiss with granite blended in spots.

The winter line looks way cooler from the scurlock photos than it does close up, there are far cooler looking lines in that area. Problem is access, avalance slopes up the wazzoo, and cornices. A cold late october/november pre-dump and MAYBE you have a shot...probably not. Anyone who does a winter wall up there (less just any way to the summit) should get a "good job!".

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