moronbros Posted August 4, 2008 Share Posted August 4, 2008 (edited) Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - West Face Date: 8/2/2008 Trip Report: After assembling the ultimate franken-beta from three past TRs on CC.com and the pic from the nelson guide, we were set on climbing the route in a long day. It was clear that after doing this, we weren't as strong as we'd like to be but it WAS SO WORTH IT. The epic began when Oscar forgot the rope back in Kirkland. Our little Kirkland trip allowed us to munch some tender vittles at subway and stuff our pockets with energy bars at QFC. yay. Here's my over-sized TR. In the car on the way out, I get an email from a buddy with a link to a "funny video". Oscar almost killed us driving off the road laughing while watching this. We forgot our cameras, so for those of you that need pictures, here you go. This climb has been brought to you by this video - Google "jon lajoie show me" if you're not at work or insensitive. Beware, this video is a bit strange and probably off-color, but it served a point. We knew there had been others to climb the line car-to-car in 18 hrs or so. This was a lofty goal, but we gave it a shot anyway. We hauled ass up to the lake, through the slide alder, up the gulley and to the base of the route, but from there it all slowed down. It was an efficnency/alpine urgency issue at this point. Our goal was to free the whole thing except for the P5 huge roof and the (5.12?) A1 roof at the top of pitch 7. Left the car at 0500 on Saturday ditched bags at colchuck lake at 0745 The Approach: Make sure to scope out your line through the slide alder to the gulley by standing back at the lake for a better view. 'schwack from rock patch to rock patch and you're in the base of the gully in 20 minutes. Remember, deciding where to start walking into slide alder is like deciding where to shoot yourself. Just go. You always lose. base of the climb at 0900 and now for a blow-by-blow analysis of the *actual rock climbing*. note: I'm using pitch numbers from the nelson/potterfield book. P0 (half the parties scramble this. i'd much rather rope up.) Oscar climbed the first pitch of easy 5th to the base of the 10+. P1 It was like being woken up by falling out of a bunk bed. A total smack in the face, this 5-move, all-4-in-the-crack pitch was a real kick in the balls. 10+ is a perfect rating. P2 linked this 5.7 chimney with P1. Belayed from the notch below the actual 5.9 step across. way better gear for an anchor here! When linking these two, pay attention to rope drag. P3 Oscar hopped up to the 5.9 "step across" into two totally bitchin' cracks. The right crack is fingers on a face and the left crack is hands in a little corner. All stemming, totally fun. He fired it in good style. P4 I ran up the easy lower 5th terrain to the base of the super-bad-ass sustained corner crack below the roof. I sat there hanging in my harness looking up at that corner, drooling, not really paying attention to my belaying. P5 This is why we came here. It's a beautiful, steep, fingers to hands sized corner running up to a massive roof. Oscar freed it and followed. We hung a few times, but it was marvelous. We had doubles of BD .3-#3 but Oscar lamented the fact that we didn't triple up on .75 pieces for this pitch. It would have made freeing it mo' bettah. The last 15 feet is wet in the crack. We freed it anyway, but it was pretty damn slimy. P6 There are fixed pins with a bunch of mank hanging off of them at the belay under the huge roof. Someone tied knots down a 1-inch sling hanging about 6 feet above the belay, so you can aid right off this to get up to the crack under the roof. I suppose you could belay from right below the roof, but you'd have less of the insane view of Stuart and the rest of the scenery. I aided through the roof and switched to free after the roof. about 4 free moves to the base of P7. Note: beware of the notch in the roof when you pull around it. Set a directional piece to avoid rope drag here. P7 This was spectacular as well. 5.9 hands on an arching right-facing dihedral. Not as steep as the .11 below but SO FUN. Sequences of jamming, then laybacks, then switching to aiding at the top. I plugged my handy #4 into the roof here, noted that I could have hung a cadillac from it, then aided past it. I stopped below the "5.9+" chimney, hanging the whole shit-show from a couple aliens and an equalette. Time was an issue at this point. We had been on route for WAY too long. I fixed the line and Oscar jugged this pitch. The sun was going down in the next 20 minutes. We dug around in our pockets for headlamps. oh bother. P8 It was Oscar's lead. We knew all about this pitch. Everything they say is true. This is one of the most heinous offwidth chimneys we had ever seen in the Cascades. He cursed and yelled and bled all over this pitch, but he got up it in good time using mostly #2-#4 pieces, his bleeding extremities, and his helmet. Instead of hollering "good job!" or "you're kicking ass!" it was "knock knock" and then I'd get a "who's there?" from Oscar (see video link above). This brought our spirits up a bit. We laughed, we cried. We decided I'd jumar this pitch to save time. yeah, that really helped.. The last section to the summit: Once up, he pulled all the slack up to me, fixed it, I jugged, then he soloed up as far as he could go above the top of the chimneys (easy terrain) while I jugged. He built an anchor, fixed that section of rope and batmanned back down that line to me. I showed up, we sobbed tears of joy, and then I led off into the darkness toward the balanced rock. I ran out of rope, he came up to me and climbed past to the balanced rock. If there were still daylight, we would have simul-climbed this section. Summited at 2030 - gettin' ready for an EPIC! The sun was long gone, headlamps moved around down at Colchuck Lake, we shivered and ate and drank and laughed at our silly little adventure to this point. The De-Proach: There's a bunch of tat hanging off the East side of the balanced rock. This is the top of the 30m rap that goes to the sandy ledges. DO NOT rap toward the edge you can't see over. You can look East toward Cashmere and Wenatchee at night and see the lights. This is the direction you go. We found that out the hard way. When going to the ledges, you literally fall off the end of the 30m rappel and go about 1 foot onto the sand. perfect distance. um. yeah. we had a bit of an epic from this point onward. All I'm going to say is that we didn't descend the right way, we got cliffed out, and we had to shiver all night on a small patch of moss in the trees. So much for the "easiest descent in the Cascades" hah! We ended up doing some 1:30 AM scree-surfing down toward colchuck lake. Luckily I have a headlamp that I could cook food with, so I could see a couple hundred feet in front of us. At least I could see that we were *absolutely screwed* and that we needed to wait until first light. We got up with the sun and noticed we were looking at the route from below. We were about 200 feet below the route and out to the West on the scree slopes. We ended up traversing back to the last col you climb to right before the base of the route. two raps off trees got us down to the col and it was smooth sailing from there. This climb is quite nice indeed. Back to the car at 1100 on Sunday - that's about 30 hours. ouch. Other Notes: - if you have to do any gardening, you're off route. - get good descent beta before you climb. - do not bring a backpack. stuff your headlamp and food in your jacket pockets. - clip shoes and water bottles to your harness. - get good descent beta before you climb. - there is no water on route...well except for the inside of the top of of the .11 crack =) - Gear: a double rack is ideal for this route. - bring aiders, stuff them in your pockets - clip some jumars to your harness. - get good descent beta before you climb. - not only does the bacon at Kristal's in 11worth look like a dog toy, it tastes like one too. And that is the story of my first unplanned night in the woods. Gear Notes: Doubles in camalot sizes .3 - #3, bring a #4 for the second small roof. jumars/aiders helpful for both leader/follower. cams/nuts sufficient for all aiding, no hook moves Approach Notes: Watch out for fanny-pack tourists on the trail. One of the biggest hazards on this trip. Edited August 4, 2008 by moronbros Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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