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dinomyte

[TR] North Bee-otch Attempt - SE Ridge 6/2/2007

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Trip: North Bee-otch Attempt - SE Ridge

 

Date: 6/2/2007

 

Trip Report:

So, after being weathered off by 40 mph winds a couple of weeks ago, Kevin_Matlock and I were back and hungry for a summit, kinda like one of those Guantanamo Bay detainees after a 3-week hunger strike. This time, rather than do a one-dayer, we decided to pack it in to the base of the SE Ridge. We wanted to get up early to hit the traverse while it was as firm as possible, kinda like me when I'm watching I'm watching "Busty Cops" on Skinemax at 11:30 on a Friday night.

 

We took off from P-town at 2:40pm and hit Pole Creek at 5:40pm. The forecast was for "possible thundershowers" and we did hit a bit of rain just before Sisters. It was nice, because it toned down the dust a bit. The 15 road is total washboard, kinda like my stomach.

 

We strapped on our packs and headed up the trail. We hit the first patches of snow at about 6,000 feet. It's melting fast and the bugs are gonna be out in force soon. I got hit by 3 or 4 skeeters before I could spackle myself with Off.

 

We got up around 7,400 feet and found a decent campsite. We had just brought bags and groundcloths, so getting settled was quick. We each had a sammy for dinner and washed it down with a couple cans of beer. I'm not a big Heineken fan, but I gotta say, it went down easy, kinda like a Thai hooker.

 

We went to bed at 10:30pm or so, and it didn't start raining until midnight, so we got an easy hour of sleep. We pulled our groundcloths around us, burrito-style, to keep the majority of the rain off us. It only lasted a few minutes. We got another dose a bit later, along with a bit of wind, but it was all good.

 

The alarm went off at 3:00am, and we woke to clear skies with plenty of stars. The moon was nearly full and bright, kinda like those Xenon headlamps on Kevin's G35.

 

I choked down a PB&J while Kevin munched some Pop Tarts, and we got our shit together. We mentioned that it was damn warm. It prolly didn'te get below 45 degrees all night. We took off at 3:40am, heading up the SE ridge. We saw a couple of headlamps in front of us, approaching the first gendarme. They were prolly an hour ahead and we figured they were camped somewhere near us.

 

The climb up the choss pile was pretty uneventful. Nothing to see in the dark, and we were up at 9,000 feet or so before we knew it. Looking bakc down the ridge, as it was getting light, we could see another tent (prolly the party ahead of us). We could also see a couple of climbers heading straight for Thayer. Ballsy, kinda like that guy that takes the cannonball square in the gut! We also saw all Timmay's turns over on Hayden.

 

A bit later we were at about 9,700 feet; the point where we had to drop down and traverse under the Camel's Hump. We dropped down a bit, took a look, and had a convo. Kevin told me he was pretty wiped, kinda like one of those guys crawling across the finish line in the Ironman. I told him I was cool with turning around. The summit was so close, but I know that when you push and you're really not feelin' it, you risk the trip turning into an epic, kinda like any one of Jamin's trips (no offense, man).

 

I told him, I'd at least like to cruise around Camel's Hump and take a peek at the rest of the traverse. He said he'd cruise back to a safe spot and wait.

 

I traversed under the hump to another section of rock, and looked at the boot path on the second section of traverse. It looked good, kinda like Avril in that "My Happy Ending" video. So, I got on it! I cruised across, after slapping on the pons. That section was short, but damn steep. I didn't look down much, but it was a ways down!

 

The third section of traverse was the last one, and angled up a bit. Boot tracks were sinking a good 6 inches each step. I got across that and was just getting to the point of looking up the bowling alley, when I heard all kinds of shit happening. It was kind of a crash, clang, ching, kinda like when the plane crashed on "Lost." I looked up to see a guy sitting on his ass right at the narrowest point at the bottom of the Bowling Alley. He didn't look like he was having fun.

 

I asked him if he was alright, and he said he was leading and came off. He musta dropped and slid 20 meters or so. Fortunately, he was not injured, only hurt. His partner very carefully downclimbed to him, retreiving a tool along the way, and got him up. They proceeded down to me, 5 meters below on some relatively solid ground. We chatted, and they introduced themselves as Chris and Mike - a couple of guys outta UCD. They gave me an update on the Alley - wet rock, slush, ice (but nothing that would hold a screw.) You name it, and it was there. I sure as hell wasn't going any further! I mentioned I was cool on the way over, but was a little worried about the trip back, and they offered me the middle of their rope. I clipped in, and we set out back across the traverse. Mike led, setting a picket here and there.

 

Once we got back to safe ground, Mike sat down for some Advil, a bandage and a snack. I shook their hands, thanked them, and headed down to camp, where Kevin had already gone. I left there at 10:30am and was back at camp at 11:40am. I just caught Kevin, who had planned to bail back to Pole Creek right about then.

 

We packed up our shit and were back at the car enjoying Ruination and Hop Rod Rye by 2:30pm. There we chatted with a fellow who was leading a group of 8 up North the next day. We gave him all the beta we could and wished him luck.

 

Hopefully, Chris and Mike, and the group of 8 will read this and can comment. I don't know if Chris and Mike had rock pro, but protecting the Alley seemed tough. Screws were certainly no good. Kevin and I are gonna wait till August or September to try this one again.

 

Here are a couple of shots:

 

Right before the traverse under Camel's Hump.

DSCN0740.jpg

 

The second section of traverse.

DSCN0741.JPG

 

Looking up at Mike and Chris in the Bowling Alley.

DSCN0743.jpg

 

Mike leading back across the traverse.

DSCN0744.JPG

 

By the way, Chris and Mike, if you do happen to catch this, good tip on the Moylan's. A bit heavy for me, being a triple, but hoppy as hell! It's going down well as I type this! Good luck on Jeff, fellas!

 

Gear Notes:

2 2-ft pickets

60-m rope

 

Chris and Mike had a 60-m rope and 3 2-ft pickets, I think.

 

Approach Notes:

Miserable for the first 4 miles or so, until you get some views!

Edited by dinomyte

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Our party of three camped Sat night and climbed Middle Sister on Sun a.m. Thunderstorms on Sat night, but it cleared off. The temp did not really drop and the snow all the way was like mashed potatoes. We managed to wallow our way to the top.

 

Saw a headlamp near the summit of N Sister on the E side at 4am about when the other groups near us were heading out.

 

IMG_5718.jpg

 

IMG_5735.jpg

 

IMG_5741.jpg

 

IMG_5748.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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cool, you dont see many TRs of North Sister. Its actually a worthy climb. In 1994 I night-soloed a N arete - SE ridge traverse of the peak, and it was excellent, highly recommended this way. Leave Pole Creek on a full-moon night as the sun goes down, and see where it leads you. Scratching up the iced up summit block from the N with full moonlight was epic.

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dinomyte. Was thining about you buys friday night as I headed up SS on hood. It was really warm. Suprised you guys even left your sleeping bags. Too bad you were turned around. I have 4 attemps. By the way, love the trip report...lol.

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While my partner did a great job on this report, I think Jon missed a couple opporunities to elaborate on a few of the finer points of this trip....

(1) refering to the SE ridge as a "choss pile" really doesn't do it justice. Think more along the lines of "demoralizing heap of shifting television sets glued together with marbles and monkey poo".

(2) subsisting on pop tarts, espresso beans, and rationed water does not give one herculean climbing strength.

(3) neither of us really want to summit this bee-otch, but rather we don't want the feeling that we need to return to this heep in our life times ever again. As we headed out with heads slightly lowered, taking quick looks over our shoulders to review the trip and what could have been, we bid the mountain farewell. Kinda like...

23187394.jpg

 

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I forgot to mention that the team that came straight up the glacier passed us right near the Camel's Hump. They climbed right up over the top of it, rather than traversing under. Chris gave them the scoop on the Alley, and they headed on over. I kept checking the summit on my way down, and never saw them top out, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did. I'd love to hear their assessment of conditions in the Alley.

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Great Try!!! :rawk:

Had a question as last fall when I was up there I was having difficulty recalling the exact route from the east side of the upper ridge across to the traverse.

 

This shot is where I got sick and burnt out and turned back:

 

Back_of_Traverse_N_Sister.jpg

 

It is basically the same shot as your first pic minus the snow. Is the red line I marked on it the correct route to drop down around the first (left) hump and cross over to the west side to the start of the traverse? And the bowling alley is at the back side of the green arrow drawn to the left of the summit, right?

 

I hate that pile of rocks too.

 

Thanks!

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You know, I'm pretty sure we dropped down and traversed under this on the west side. I think your red line is around what's called the camel's hump. However, on the other side of the camel's hump I think there was another rock that I traversed on the east (maybe the final third of your red line).

 

Maybe someone else can comment, but like I said, we saw a group that went right over the hump and to the end of your red line.

 

And, yes, the bowling alley terminates up at your green arrow.

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Paul:

 

Here's a shot that Kevin took that may show what I mean. I went around to the left and under the first hump, then around a rock to the right (from where I am standing). Looking again, I think your red line just circles the camel's hump and stops short of this rock that I went around right.

 

So, perhaps the answer to your question is that I saw people go under to the left, and up over the top of the hump as opposed to around the side that your red line goes.

 

North_Route.JPG

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Kevin and I are gonna wait till August or September to try this one again.

 

Good tr guys... a few thoughts on the rematch.

 

The traverse is much much much more dangerous/stupid/unprotectable that time of year... that whole traverse is cascade dinner plates skull

 

The bowling alley is 4th class at most. You shouldn't need ice screws/rock pro/etc etc to protect it... protecting it will mean a rope which as you climb will result in much much more rock fall as the rope will contact and knock off choss on your belayer... skull Because of this free soloing is much safer in this situation.

 

Basically spring is the ideal time to do N sister. And if you aren't comfortable soloing 4th class you should go solo some other 4th class stuff (parts of mt thielsen, matterhorn, washington, etc) and then go back for the rematch.

 

Good luck!

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John:

 

Thanks for the advice. Our thoughts were that it's a pretty odd time on North right now. You've got snow on the traverse, which is great, but the icy rocky wet alley might be tough to solo.

 

I'm fine with 4th class stuff, having done Thielsen & Washington, along with Jack and Jeff, but conditions in the alley right now give me pause.

 

Still, if the traverse in fall is anything like on Jeff, that's a doozy too!

 

We talked to a guy at the TH that said he had soloed North in September and the traverse had a pretty well worn path. He also mentioned that he found a few spots to place pretty good pro.

 

Oh well, I guess opinions vary. Still, I appreciate the comments.

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Thanks. Your (much clearer than my) picture, taken slightly to the right of mine, shows it better and you answered my main question as to this being the point to cross over to the west side. Other than some of the worse choss in the Cascades getting to that point is not too difficult.

 

When I got there last fall and looked down the exposed scree covered little ramp down and around the hump combined with how I felt was what made me turn back. It seems to me there used to be much more rock on the east side at that point many years ago and there was no exposure passing through there.

 

I have been up there once in later June when only the portion before the alley was still snow covered (like your last pic) and the alley was dry. There was practically a sidewalk wide path across the exposed part then. I agree with John on the alley. I am not much of a rock climber but going up it in dry conditions does not bother me. The other 3 or 4 times I made it were in late summer/fall and there is sort of a 'path' across the dry traverse but still quite exposed as there is little room to stop before the edge if the loose stuff takes off. It is one rotten mountain.

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Paulo (or anybody else for that matter), you been on Jefferson's south traverse before? Comparable? Easier/harder?

 

Jon and I were on this last year and we were trying to make some sort of guess as to how they might compare. From your description, the traverse on north sounds much easier; Jeff's sucked and was the loosest slope that I've ever had the displeasure of being on.

Just wondering how they stack up.

 

This is contrary to almost all info I've ever read, but so far I'm going to go down on record as saying that north is more difficult (frustrating) than Jefferson.

 

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Never been very far up Jeff. Always wanted to but since I turned 50 last winter and know very few other people who climb I am resigned to easier solo trips...doubt if I'll even get up Hood this year. From pictures the Jeff traverse looks longer but I don't think it really matters. Both are rotten dinner plate loose junk and if it takes off under you there is little time to stop before it is too late and I am sure either would be equally deadly. My family and I were camping on the west side of Middle / North Sisters about 8000' where there are some rock shelters 5 or 6 years ago when a chopper kept landing, ferrying in 2 well equipped climbers at a time. Turned out they were recovering a person from a few days ealier...slipped on the traverse. It is a long way down.

 

Anyways great try and I am sure you will get it next time! I have several old pictures of the dry traverse from a few years back somewhere. If I get a chance I will scan and post some.

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Great trip report, Dino. I was laughing out loud to myself kinda like someone who laughs out loud to themselves while watching TV alone.

 

My friend was the guy leading the group of 8 that you ran into. I talked to him tonight and he said that all 8 summited, which is pretty impressive, kinda like 8 people summitting North Sister in so-so conditions.

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My friend was the guy leading the group of 8 that you ran into. I talked to him tonight and he said that all 8 summited

 

Hmmm....I'm happy for them....kinda like I'd be happy for a friend who just won Powerball!

 

If you happen to talk to him again, I'd be interested in hearing if/how he protected the Bowling Alley.

 

And, ask him if he's interested in another trip in a couple weeks. ;)

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Dinomyte,

 

After talking to Matt and you at the trailhead my party hiked to the base of the SE Ridge up Soap Creek and found a great camp site. We ran into the two climbers along the trail that you had passed eariler, the ones heading to the summit. They said they did summit, but late in the day. They were chased off the top by lightning. We left camp shortly after 2am up the ridge. I had never climbed with the seven people I was with, but beings they hadn't been to the top before, I was asked to help out. Not sure of everyone's skill level, I was relieved to see that everyone seemed within the scope of climbing North. What bothered me was the warming trends in Central Oregon, and more recently the lightning storms pm. But things worked out. The snow at the traverse was in good shape, we put up a fixed line.

The Bowling Alley was not that bad, just a few rocks and ice came down, but conditions were within reason. Rod led the single pitch, prefering to traverse right to the rock, and up. Another party of 5 came in behind us, met at the Bowling Alley, and they climbed a rock route heading up right at the base of the alley.

 

Sorry you didn't summit. Thanks for the beta.

 

Mountain Shots

 

 

Edited by Mountain_Shots

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Glad to hear you folks made it. And, thanks for posting! If we get another weather window, I'll have to talk my buddy into another trip!

 

Did you happen to use much rock pro in the alley?

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If I could figure out how to post photos I'd show you.

The camera icon seems to send your photos to other areas on CC.

Enter an image isn't working either.

So I'm stuck.

 

--Mtn. Shots

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There's a post called "Posting Pictures" under the "Newbies" forum.

 

You have to enter the "gallery" first, upload your pics, then when you post you can use the camera icon to select pics from your gallery.

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Hey, good job on your summit. Pretty brave of you taking up a bunch of strangers, too! Woulda freaked me out a bit, but you made it work. Congrats.

I'd love to see some of your shots of the travers and/or bowling alley. If it's easier for you, you can just email some to me and I'd be happy to post them here for ya - kevinmatlock at yahoo

thanks!

 

 

Dino, not need to talk me into it; by the time I had water/beer/sandwich in me at the car, I was already thinking about the next attemp. I really should seek professional help!!! :cry:

BTW, gotta new plan for the next crack at it.

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Kevin should be posting them here soon.

In the photo of the Bowling Alley, after the first boulder was slung, Rod placed just a few pieces in the rock before reaching the webbing. The whole process of getting 13 climbers through there to the top went amazingly smooth.

Edited by Mountain_Shots

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