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moira armen

first ascent [TR] Alpine Lakes - FA--"Bumbling Genius", Wedge M

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Trip: Alpine Lakes - FA--"Bumbling Genius", Wedge Mountain 5.7R

 

Date: 11/3/2007

 

Trip Report:

I was in Leavenworth and was planning to climb with my friend Ben Hargrove. I had been thinking of doing Givler's Crack because it looks so spectacular, and some other climbs in that area, but when Ben suggested doing a second ascent of a route on Wedge Mountain, that sounded more interesting.

 

After an hour drive we began the hike, which after about half an hour turned to a bushwhack across to the notch where we planned to gear up and leave our packs. Ben had forgotten to tell me that there wasn't actually a trail to or from his climb. I love bushwhacking about as much as I love early morning alarm clocks, but alarm clocks help me stay employed and bushwhacking gets you to good places. It was a beautiful day, so I forgave him.

 

We reached the notch only to find a trail...after all that bushwhacking! We made note of it for the descent.

 

We made our way to the face. We picked out an obvious ramp. Ben said he thought that it was our climb. We scrambled up 4th class rock to the start of the ramp, where I built an anchor. We reauxchambeauxed for first lead. I won but then Ben seemed really disappointed, so I relented and let him have the first lead.

 

Here are links to some photos I put in the gallery. I couldn't figure out how to post them in the TR. If someone smart wants to follow the links and fix this post for me, be my guest!!! But please don't email me and explain how to do it, I already looked at the post in Newbies and it's just too complicated for me.

 

scenic1.JPG

Scenic!

 

bumbling_genius1.JPG

View of our route from the base. Go up the ramp and belay where the rock changes color, then traverse upwards and over to the flat ledgey thing you see to belay the second pitch. Pitches 3-5 are in the fog.

 

shoes3.JPG

Ben putting on his shoes. Check out the view!

 

The first pitch was almost a full rope length and followed nice granite up a ramp, to a fun little crack and then some face moves, about 5.7 for the cruxes.

 

pitch_1.JPG

Ben leading the rampy start of Pitch 1.

 

At the first belay the rock changed from nice granite to some kind of crumbly, chossy gray rock that I decided was shale because of the way it peeled off in layers. I am not a geologist and I am probably wrong. At any rate, I ruefully took the sharp end and proceeded into a full ropelength of the scariest 5.6 face climbing I have ever done. I only found gear about every 30 feet and then I had to scrape off several layers of crappy rock with my nut tool to place a piece that I thought had any chance of holding at all. In addition my footholds had an eery way of coming detached when I tried to stand on them. I honestly felt more than once that at any moment the entire wall I was standing on and holding onto could become detached with me on it.

 

As Ben yelled, "Rope ten feet" I neared a tree that looked like a good belay, and suddenly could move no further. My rope and gotten stuck in a crack below me! I had run out of long runners and hadn't been able to sling the rope loosely enough, so it was running tight over a block. I had been fighting rope drag and had had to pull out slack to move for the last 25 feet. I had wedged the rope into a crack near my cam, and now I was stuck.

 

Fortunately the moves to the tree looked easy, although they went over some huge loose-looking blocks that I was very careful to avoid. I untied from my rope, placed a cam and tied the rope to it, then I soloed to the tree and anchored myself to it. Now safe, I went back down and built a good anchor for the rope, making it a fixed line for Ben to self-belay his way up with prusiks as he climbed and cleaned the pitch. Whew! This climb was getting pretty exciting in my opinion.

 

When Ben reached the belay, I asked him what the rest of the route would be like. He said something along the lines of this not being the same route and he had made a mistake. Hmmm....

 

pitch_2.JPG

Looking down at "The Shale Pitch"

 

brrr.JPG

Me very cold at the top of Pitch 2. I didn't know you could get screaming barfies in your feet!

 

Looking up there continued to be a clear line and it appeared that it would go, at least as far as we could see. We decided to carry on--after all adventure was what we were after, and the only thing I had to look forward to on a retreat was lost gear and more bushwhacking!

 

Ben led off Pitch 3 for a full ropelength over once-again beautiful granite up some face moves and into a cool corner/chimney, about 5.5. As I belayed Ben I took this photo and then my camera battery died, so I wasn't able to get pictures of the remainder of the route.

 

pitch_3.JPG

Ben's rope up Pitch 3.

 

I led Pitch 4 as the rock turned right up some optional face moves (5.7) and then headed up an easy ramp leading to some exposed moves and through a small roof (5.7). Fun!!! Be careful of large loose blocks.

 

As Ben finished Pitch 4 it was getting dusky. He quickly led off Pitch 5, a full ropelength that traversed to the right and up through some fun moss-filled horizontal cracks/face moves and exited the route through a tree. Apparently someone thought I needed to work on my bushwhacking skills. :) (Actually, he was almost out of rope, and it was a safer bet. But you know, I can't let him get away with leading me through a tree without a little hassling.)

 

We QUICKLY regrouped in the near-darkness and started hoofing it down the ridge. Be careful on the descent as there is another cliff band skier's left of where you get off the route. Traverse around the mountain to climber's right, above the cliffs, and you will find a game trail that leads down the ridge. Head down the ridge to the notch, and then find the tree-choked trail down to the fallen down cabin and onto the real trail. Doing this "trail" covered with blowdown, ice, and snow in my treadless shoes by my weak headlamp was a crux for me, but we made it back to Ben's car with only a couple minor falls on my part, and in no time were enjoying delicious porters!

 

About the rating: Ben and I debated whether to give it an R or an X rating. There are some huge loose blocks up there, and if one did come loose and fall on the rope or your partner, it would be very very bad. But if you are careful, the climbing is pretty easy and there is enough gear to prevent a death fall, presuming it holds, which I think it would. But I can't recommend falling on this route.

 

The route itself is actually pretty fun, an alpine feeling climb with a relatively short approach, under 2 hours, and the scenery is amazing. Two stars.

 

Thanks, Ben, for the great adventure! We'll have to find some more chosspiles to climb in the near future!

 

 

Gear Notes:

60 m rope (50m won't make it to good, solid belays)

gear to 3"

nut tool for scraping moss and choss

nuts not necessary

 

Approach Notes:

Take the rutted back road up to Wedge Mountain from Blewett Pass. Bear left at all intersections. High clearance vehicle or good driving skills recommended.

Go up the hiking trail.

Go left at the intersection.

At the fallen down cabin head uphill following a trail that is often obscured by blow-down, until you gain the notch.

Bushwhack down past the first wall to the second wall.

The route starts at the base of the most obvious granite ramp which can be gained via fourth class moves.

 

Edited by porter

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Great trip report, love the witty sarcasm! What's climbing in the NW without getting on a choss pile now and then and enjoying some bushwacking. Glad you made it down safely.

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the trail is the "independence trail". there are at least 3 routes on that face (aka "shitty little crag") that don't appear in guidebooks.

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Way to go Moira and Ben! Soon to rival OS or Orbit perhaps? Don't worry about about the base camp manager (me) keeping dinner warm until your 9:30 PM arrival - really, I never get hungry until after 9:15 at the earliest. Nason classics the next incredible fall day made for a perfect weekend.

 

Moira, I wouldn't worry about not being able to post pics. It is typical cc.com problem, and Ben continues to work on a posting a TR from our FA last Jan and still can't figure it out.

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Hey Rat,

 

So are you saying that someone has done this one before? I knew there were some other routes on the other face, the first one you come to.

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Hey Porter,

 

You rock!!!!! Thank you for fixing my trip report for me! :)

 

I did look at those directions you gave me the link for...with a pc it's really easy, you just click the camera and then click the photo from the gallery. But that didn't work on my mac. I also can't right-click, due to the wacky mac mouse, so the other set of directions I found when posting didn't work either. But according to my computer genius friends my mac isn't as likely to catch a virus!

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Rolf's just saying that the worthLeaven locals don't report F.A.s on walls like that one cuz they're clubshouse has the Super Aids and they don't want to get anyone else infected.

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Well sure Moira, someone else could have had the FA. But as I told you after talking with some local well shall we say "Sources" the FA is most likely. What the hell though, FA or not it was fun!

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Hey Porter,

 

You rock!!!!! Thank you for fixing my trip report for me! :)

 

I did look at those directions you gave me the link for...with a pc it's really easy, you just click the camera and then click the photo from the gallery. But that didn't work on my mac. I also can't right-click, due to the wacky mac mouse, so the other set of directions I found when posting didn't work either. But according to my computer genius friends my mac isn't as likely to catch a virus!

 

Get yourself a mouse that has the right clicker. I have one, I'm a mac user as well. :tup::rocken:

 

anyway, the FA is yours till someone steps up with proof otherwise. ;)

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that looks pretty darn similar to a route m'lady and i took up there several years ago--definitely quality adventure climbing, w/ dinner plate dancing. did you pass a huge, thin flake at some point, jutting upwards?

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did you pass a huge, thin flake at some point, jutting upwards?

 

Don't think so. As Moira said are intentions were to climb a route Briody and I did awhile back and well this one ended up being right of it. We were pretty much right on the edge of the transion between the granite and shale or whatever that stone is. Who knows? FA or not as said above many people have done routes up there. Good times!

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Hey Porter, I also can't right-click, due to the wacky mac mouse, so the other set of directions I found when posting didn't work either. But according to my computer genius friends my mac isn't as likely to catch a virus!

 

I'm a mac user as well. Hold down the ctrl button when you click and you'll get a right click. Yep,yep,yep.

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Well sure Moira, someone else could have had the FA. But as I told you after talking with some local well shall we say "Sources" the FA is most likely. What the hell though, FA or not it was fun!

 

give me a break, even i have walked up that face...certainly not first.

 

layton needs a guide around here, and he already used his token

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Well sure Moira, someone else could have had the FA. But as I told you after talking with some local well shall we say "Sources" the FA is most likely. What the hell though, FA or not it was fun!

 

give me a break, even i have walked up that face...certainly not first.

 

layton needs a guide around here, and he already used his token

 

Ouch, kinda mean! Next time I post a TR I will make sure to put it in "Cafe Sensitivo" 'cuz I am really pretty sensitive. All I wanted to see was if someone else had climbed that chosspile and if so what they thought of it, and also it was beautiful and a fun experience so I thought I'd write my first TR, but now I kind of regret it.

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don't let the midget jerk get you down. it's his nature to treat everyone that way....too many roundhouse kicks to the head from his lovely wife. cafe sensitivo won't save you from him.

 

glad you had a good time. nice tr.

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I think it is pretty standard practice in Leavenworth to assume everything has already been climbed by Doorish.

 

Looks like you had some fun times, it is nice to see pictures of that area in the fall. Good work on some adventure cragging!

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It's also pretty standard that when anyone posts an FA in L-town that all the locals feel threatened and raise hell and bitch about it. Publish or perish. (P.D. hasen't touched or done anything on Wedge)

Edited by AlpineMonkey

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