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[TR] Lemolo Peak (erstwhile Hardest Mox) - NE Buttress ("After Hours") V 5.10- R 9/12/2008


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Trip: Lemolo Peak (erstwhile Hardest Mox) - NE Buttress ("After Hours") V 5.10- R


Date: 9/12/2008


Trip Report:

Summary: On 9/12 and 9/13/2008, Rolf Larson and Eric Wehrly climbed the NE Buttress of the 8501' summit to the E of SE Mox Peak.

The NE buttress on right division of dark and light, John Scurlock photo:


A shot from the other side on our descent:



From what we can tell, our route shares several pitches with Layton and Wolfe's E Face line "The Devil's Club", somewhere in the middle third of the ascent. "After Hours" (appropriate for several reasons) takes a direct start on the NE Buttress toe, and ends at the summit of what some have referred to as "Hardest Mox", the apparently heretofore unclimbed peak to the E of SE Mox. We continued to SE Mox Peak from there, adding a bit more engaging climbing.


I believe that we are the first ascentionists of this peak, and hence can derive a little fun naming it. If this is the case, in keeping with the naming convention of Mox ("twin") Peaks, we propose Lemolo Peak; "Lemolo" is Chinook jargon for wild, or untamed. Klone (Chinook for "three") Peak would also be appropriate, but is already taken in Washington. If this summit is not worthy of a separate name, then no sweat--I already had my fun.


I think that Rolf (aka the Bard of Leavenworth) is crafting a TR in iambic pentameter; until then, the following must do...



Day 1, approach from Little Beaver to c. 5000' bivy in Perry Creek basin; 9 hours.

Day 2, finish approach to 6000' rock start, and climb to 8200' bivy; 13.5 hours.

Day 3, proceed to 8501' summit, then ridge traverse to SE Mox 8504', and descend to camp via gullies and unnamed glacier SE of Mox; 9 hours (ish?).

Day 4, thrash homeward; 7 hours even, every minute fun.


More detailed notes and pictures (I took all pictures; when the Bard isn't writing, his other job is male supermodel):


On morning approach day 1, Jack Mtn and Nohokomeen Gl:


Early part of roped climbing on day 2, somewhere around 7000':


I was pretty worked from the day 1 approach, and started to get some hand cramps about 1000' into the climb; so Rolf took up the yoke and led the majority of the steep headwall in the middle third of the climb. He drew the crux pitch, which among its cruxes, included pulling a roof over suspect gear. Rolf reached into his puny reservoir of Solid and cruised the pitch—-one of the most impressive leads I'll witness. It was here that I believe he threw an alpine berserker gang-sign. No time for pics, but after following the pitch, I took a shot back at its traverse element:



You might be able to make out some tat from MnE's rap 3 years ago. Additionally, looking at this pic from Mike's report, I surmise that while those guys went up and left from that point, we went up and right, cutting back left eventually. Here's Rolf making his way through more roofs:



Some exposure from this belay, looking down at the buttress:



At about 7500', I led what we jokingly referred to as a "comeback pitch" left and then up one of the few clean splitters we encountered, very exposed, then Rolf zagged back right across the buttress crest:



The climbing was exposed and a lot of fun; I like the Bard's term for it, "cerebral", ha. Another shot a bit higher, ~8000':



We had enough daylight to search around for bivy sites between 8000 and 8300, and settled on a then-windless site at 8200'. Temps were dropping a bit more steeply than we expected; we'd left our sleeping bags in favor of a lighter jacket-and-backpack bivy, and paid for our insouciance. We were so giddy about our situation, that we giggled convulsively through the night. Here's the alpine rat burrowing in for Led Zeppelin's "you shook me" all night long:


Took some solace from the views; underexposed Picket Range:



After the sun came up and I drank from my partially frozen water, we scrambled up and roped up for teetering stacked blocks to the summit (Mt. Spickard background):



Last pitch to the yet-unclimbed 8501' summit:



Shot of Pickets from tippy-top:



Now we have to go over there--SE Mox:



The traverse involved a 60m rap, a scoot around a gendarme, then a few more pitches of climbing on a ridge--actually very cool climbing. Even more pics, first is looking back at Rolf and the gendarme, I think:



Then Rolf leading toward SE Mox, Mt Redoubt background and NW Mox foreground:



Finally, views of 1) Lemolo from the summit SE Mox; 2) Challenger et al; 3) Bear's NF etc.:





Then the ultra-brutal chossy galore descent of several gullies to the glacier:



This tried our dessicated patience. Staggered into a deserved camp celebration of the finest 2-course meal (I guess everything does taste better with tuna), brews, bourbon, chocolate.


Last day parting shot:



And then beers and plunges at Ross Lake while waiting for our boat; deeeeluxe.


I can now fully appreciate and salute Mike and Erik's journey into the unknown 3 years ago. Pretty certain I'd not take 4 days off to go after this big endeavor without their information posted here--thanks fellas. I remember reading about the brotherhood you guys shared, and held hope for similar with Rolf--nope. Our partnership is built on mutual disrespect and loathing; we share a vile and putrid love, and feed most from each other's misery. I'm not happy until you're not happy. Nevertheless, the Bard is a solid partner and I look forward to future adventures--this was an exceptionally stellar one.


Gear Notes:

-medium rack, with pins that did not get used. tri-cams employed often.

-while no metal used, much extracted; our route intersected rap stations enough such that we bootied bountifully.

-no plants were harmed in the development of our product.


Approach Notes:

Jungle fever

Nihilism (or Zen Buddhism, according to one’s preference)


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Hell Yeah! Looks like we share a couple pitches midway - we did indeed hook a left at that photo. Way to push your route to the summit! Also glad to see y'all agreeing with the suffering on the approach and difficult climbing. Hell yeah!


I'm glad erik and I didn't do that traverse and gully descent in the dark. We got a late start climbing on day one waiting for it to stop raining. Cold bivy, eh? And your welcome for clearing a nature trail with Eric's machette.

Edited by layton
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piddling historical question:

1. mike and erik mention passing a button head contraction bolt near a tree with a sling on the first third of the route. we did not see this because we were off to the right, but i did pass an old 1" sling on a tree and old pin-equipped rap station that i don't think they placed (they were using skinny red webbing). these were enroute to what i suspect was the bivvy site that they used below the crux portion (photo labeled "is it gonna go" in mike's cc.com tr: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/495850/fpart/1 ). there is a 1/4", maybe 5/16", expansion bolt at this tree-less bivvy site (no longer backed up with a kb, thanks) from which they eventually rapped. no mention of this in the tr. seems like this was the logical high point of the 1958 attempt (as per the nwmj: http://www.mountaineers.org/NWMJ/06/061_Mox.html ) but the bolt and lower rap anchor looked newer. anyone else out there have a story to tell about moxie?


unsuprisingly after 3 years, we didn't see the joker. we were bivvied slightly left at that point.


the real prize is the central east face. the far left side is a rotting overhanging pile.


luckily for me, eric's ability to slum exceeds his vocabulary.


the approach, when dry that is, is not half as bad as detailed in mike's tr.



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someone may have been up there as well ... god damnit, what's his name?....grrr can't remember. climbs at vantage and newhalem a lot. older. wayne knows...


Rolf, did we leave a long spool of red tat? Past that point I seem to recall that we ran out rather suddenly and may have "left" some? We only saw one buttonhead, nothing else. We placed that pin for backup.


That joker is two or three pitches higher, up and to the left, of where you guys bivied. Speaking of joking, we finally agreed upon 5.11- r/x as the grade. The 5.9+ A2- rating was a joke.

Edited by layton
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so that bolt at your bivvy must be the button head you mentioned since you rapped from it. we didn't find any wad of tat lying around.


glad to hear this was a joke: "The small amounts of aid we all freed by the leader or the 2nd, but due to the poor pro and funky placements, we felt it a bit harder than A1, but a bit easier than A2."


rock on.

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