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airmoss

Reid Headwall 5/11

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Climbed the Reid Headwall with T-Mo Saturday, May 11. We roped up at the base of the route in preperation for crossing the burgshrund. The shrund was gaping on the left and right, so we post holed in knee deep snow for the middle. Due to the soft snow, I had to use my famous belly crawl move to get over the burgshund. It was still post hole city, and we decided that if it didn't firm up soon, we were going to bail. Near the entrance to the first gully, the snow was better so we unroped and continued on.

 

There was a constant shower of ice about the size of golf balls the entire way through the first gully. I was behind T-Mo at this point so I just kept my head down, and my eyes on his track. We took several direct hits off our helmets, knees, etc. Crossing the snow rib, the snow was still a bit unconsolidated. This all changed as we climbed into the second gully.

 

This was probably the sweetest part of the climb. About a third of the way through the gully I looked back at T-Mo and he just had a big shit eating grin on his face. That probably sums up our whole day. A bit further, we ran into some nice ice sections that made us glad we had second tools.

 

The third gully was narrow (about eight feet wide) and short. Above that was a fairly gripping taverse. The slope was steep enough that you have to face in most of the way. There was big exposure here, down to the leuthold. After the traverse, we climbed up a short gully and slogged to the summit.

 

All in all, this was a great climb. With no one else on the route, and the perfect weather, it just doesn't get much better.

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What time of day did you cross the 'schrund & what time did you summit.

 

I'm not trying to find out what kind of shape you are in. It is just that willstrickland and I had very different snow conditions than you on the North Face.

 

We passed the upper Schrund of the West Gully at 5 am (to late by at least an hour). At that point we were starting to kick off micro slab avalanches. Higher new snow had managed to accumulate on the 50-55 degree slopes. I assume only because there was some sun cupping below the fresh with a thin glazing of ice on top. We were simul-soloing fast but decided to escape left at about 10,000 ft due to what I considered to be moderate big slab release conditions. I have to say this was the climb I had the most fun on without summiting. We constantly had to change from low dagger to cane position as we traversed the slopes to Cooper which lokeed like it had slabbed during the prior snowfall. Fun fun fun. Sunrise was spectacular.

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We started up the Reid from the trail to the Leuthold about 8:00 am (crossing the shrund shortly after), started the slog about 11:00 am, and summited at 11:30. We were never directly in the sun, and it was cold enough that the tube for my water bladder kept freezing.

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TG & WIll were on the east side of the mountain; airmoss (sp?) on the west. The wind usually hits Hood from the west thus the east side is in the lee. This probably explains the difference in snow conditions. I may be wrong on this but my (faulty) memory seems to tell me that the east side is usually more prone to avy danger then the west side.

 

Sounds like everyone had a good time.

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Hey, Terminal Gravity, I've been wanting to do the N Face for a while, and have a few questions. You say that you were at least an hour late at the bergshrund--do you speculate that you would have summitted with the additional time? What did it take you from the Cooper Spur Ski Area (near where I would assume you parked) to the bergshrund? (I realize it is a relative time, but just curious). Are you going back again this season? Spectacular looking route!

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I'll reply because I was the other dude with TG...from 3700ft at the ski area we camped at about 8000 on the spur...took about 4 leisurely hours as I recall. We crossed the shrund about 5:15...roughly an hour and 15 mins after starting the traverse/descent onto the elliot. There's alot of exposed rock up there, much more than it appears from below. The route is also quite a bit less steep than it appears from a distance. Great looking line, but definitely a much longer undertaking than starting from 6500.

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Best to climb that route on a weekday to avoid being hit by bodies coming down from C. spur... [Roll Eyes]

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TG/WS,

 

Did you ascend the second step ice prior to exiting left? The second step in the left gulley is two very short sections of ice with a 75', 40% snow slope between them near 10,000'.

 

Looking for beta on ice conditions. I'd like to take a crack at the NF E gulley this coming weekend if the ice on the N side remains in shape.

 

Pete

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No , we did a rising traverse out of the east gully, so we were pretty far left by then. The step looked more like one rolling ice section, not two distinct steps. maybe 60 ft total at about 75 degrees. My best guess only.

 

have fun

 

[ 05-14-2002, 07:50 AM: Message edited by: Terminal Gravity ]

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I climbed the Reid Glacier Head wall on 5/11 with Air Moss, and would like to add my .02 cents.

If you have ever climbed the leuthold couloir and not been challenged, the R. G. H. W. is for you!! This is one of my favorite climbs, second only to Liberty Ridge. On the five star rating system I give it four stars.

 

We left Tacoma at 12 midnight and got to Timberline at 3:30. We were amazed to see the amount of cars and more amazed to see a stream of head lamps going from the parking lot to the summit. We finally left the parking lot at 4:30, which we found to be quite treacherous with ice!!!

We skinned up the climbers path and cached our skies at the top of the palmer @ 6:30 am. Traversed to illumnation saddle, where we saw an amazing 17 playas in da Leuthold. Glad we were going for the R.G.H.W.! As Air Moss said it was post hole city to begin with. But by 10 thousand ft. it was down to a poorly bonded 10 inch scary snow layer over ice. The gullies however were hard "water ice" and the upper 500ft. before joining summit ridge was typical hood rime ice. We got in the back of the line behind the Leuthold playas and summited at around noon. Back to the skies, had an enjoyable ski back to the parking lot, (sure beats slogging)@2pm. Got back home to Tacoma 18 hours after we left. This is an absolutely fantastic route!! But I think it is done for the year.

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Troy Moss:

 

I agree it is a good route. [Cool]

 

It needs to be inshape and can turn into a bowling alley. Early in season is best. [big Drink]

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