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Ade

[TR] Mount Snoqualmie - Pineapple Express 1/25/2009

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Trip: Mount Snoqualmie - Pineapple Express

 

Date: 1/25/2009

 

Trip Report:

So Marko and I decided to have a go at The Pineapple Express on the north face on Snoqualmie on sunday. The first crux was getting out of bed and on the road before 5am but eventually I met Mark in North Bend. Note to self; partying the night before an alpine start looses its appeal sometime past your 30th birthday.

 

Excellent snow conditions meant that the approach was pretty much cake although it's still quite a hike. We met Colin and friends at the saddle - they'd slept in and taken the Phantom Slide approach (see below). We chatted to them and geared up before descending into the bowl below Snoqualmie's north face.

 

We went to check out the Pineapple while Colin and Dillan tried their luck on NY Gully and another of their party soloed the slot couloir. Dillan had looked at our route the day before and said it was thin but we thought we might as well take a look. Hey, we'd walked all that way right?

 

Half way up the first pitch I was revising the "what the hell" sentiment as I contemplated the holding power of a tied off bush with respect to my substantial 200lb frame. I muttered to Mark about having second thoughts but continued upward to find something better to bail off if nothing else. Thereby successfully conning myself into climbing the whole 60m. The pitch definitely lived up to the R rating. Mark summed it up nicedly with "I knew you'd brought your sense of humor when I saw that first screw".

 

Mark led off up and left on more thin ice with slightly better gear. At least the belays were all equiped with substantial trees. As Forrest Murphy once said to me "in the Cascades in winter trees are your friend". Mark belayed me up and we inspected the next pitch - apparently the crux at M6 with good gear. We'd discussed the small wrinkle in our plan during the approach, namely neither of us could really say we were M6 material. No matter... we had age and cunning on our side, Mark said he could even do a pullup (just one) and "good gear" is really a secret code for "you can aid it if you have to".

 

Standing below it aiding seemed a little problematic but clearly the first couple of moves looked feasible. Having been offered the plum pitch is seemed rude not to at least try. Besides there was a nice soft snow slope to land in and a big tree belay. The pitch disappeared up a long right facing corner with the promise of another tree 150' above. The first moves off the deck were strenuous but with several OK gear placements. After that the angle eased for a bit and along with more (thin but good) ice there was TURF! Oh yeah. Ice is great and all but big fat lumps of frozen moss and dirt... now that's where it's at. More good gear could be had in the corner on the left. All in all... Cake.

 

Of course that would have all been too easy. Above the angle steepens again. The corner was completely dry - providing good gear but harder climbing on the compact rock that's typical of Snoqualmie Pass. Thankfully there was a very thin ice smear out to the right. Good gear high in the corner and a quick step down to reach a few inches of well adhered ice and Robert's your father's brother, thirty feet of upward progress and... more TURF! Mr Turf say hello to my little friend, Mr Spectre.

 

A bit more climbing, more rock great and some entertaining tree pulling and cursing and I was belaying Mark up from another nice fat tree. Mark led the next pitch which moved right onto a spectacularly exposed ridge before taking a snow slope up to just below the ledge system leading across the base of the headwall. Given that I'd gotten the nicest pitch Mark led us home...

 

We simul-climbed the next four pitches to the base of the last pitch on NY Gully. Mark led across easier but exposed mixed ground including some not so easy sections with huge exposure over the whole of the north face. Anything that fell of plummeted into the mist below.

 

The 5.8 crack that represents the last of the difficulties on NY Gully was iced in. Mark did a stellar job of aiding it and tackling the thin ice above to the end of the difficulties. Usually this pitch is dry but still hard, as evidenced by the growing collection of fixed gear. I followed with the pack and somewhat less elegantly.

 

We descended in thick fog trying to make the most of the remaining half hour or so of daylight. Mark's navigational genius, or blind luck (you choose) got us back to our gear stash without any real hassles. We followed tracks down the Phantom Slide and were back at the car in next to no time. Surprisingly we had taken just under twelve hours car-to-car. Plenty of time for Pizza in North Bend on the way home...

 

Ummm... A big helping of alpine climbing followed a serving of fat and carbs. What's not to like?

 

Gear Notes:

Full rack up to #3 Costalot including wires and (thin) pins

Slings are useful for slinging trees, bushes and anything else that might slow rapid downward progess.

Take some stubby ice screws for comedy value and to make yourself feel better.

 

Pictures: There are none. Between the two of us we were too lazy and incompetant to bring a working camera between us. Somethings its nice to just climb and not worry about a camera.

 

Approach Notes:

We approached as per Nelson's description. Colin and co. hiked up the Phantom Slide directly from the Alpental lot. We descended this way. Colin's description "it's five times easier" is not an understatement. I'd use the Phantom next time. Obviously this is dependent on snow conditions.

  • Rawk on! 1

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Nope. It was dark. Given the forecast - normal Cascades winter will resume tomorrow - the question is probably moot anyways.

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Nice work guys! It's still January so pace yourselves! You guys are killing it this winter :)

 

I believe that was the 4th ascent...

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Nice job, guys. Alpine Monkey and I just did the route today. It was fat and awesome. Rocking good time in the mountains!!

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Wayne and I decided to hit up this route today. Thought I would add some nice pictures. We found amazing conditions, an awsome route. Wayne said conditions were probably once and a lifetime this good, I'll take his word for it. We were able to free the entire route, an easy nine hours car to car.

 

 

The route:

DSCN4488.jpg

 

 

Wayne making quick work of the crux:

DSCN4489.jpg

 

Finishing her up:

DSCN4496.jpg

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I've been looking at PE and NY Gully when I've was ski touring up in the area last couple weekends. Looked like they were in good nick. Lots of other ice and mixed shit to climb up there too right now.

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I think Ade/Mark went a different way then Wayne and I. From your description it sounds like you went up and left on thin ice after the first pitch. We went straight up the middle on thin ice. Mark led this and set up a belay when the rope went tight in a chimney. I finished it off with a couple of sterenuous moves up a chimney, stepped out onto a chock stone and up. Did you guys climb the thin ice smear I have pictured in the route in the middle? or did you guys go into the far left corner?

 

GetAttachment.jpg

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It sounds like we did different cruxes, I suspect they were to our left. I may have seen evidence that someone had put in pins our way before us? We did the 4th or 5th ascent possibly. BTW, Anyone lose a camalot on the right hand finish of NYGully?

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I think Ade/Mark went a different way then Wayne and I. From your description it sounds like you went up and left on thin ice after the first pitch. We went straight up the middle on thin ice. Mark led this and set up a belay when the rope went tight in a chimney. I finished it off with a couple of sterenuous moves up a chimney, stepped out onto a chock stone and up. Did you guys climb the thin ice smear I have pictured in the route in the middle? or did you guys go into the far left corner?

 

Good job lads!

 

Yeah, the second pitch we did went straight up from the 1st pitch's tree belay and then we entered the dihedral just left of your ice ribbon pitch. I don't remember seeing that ice ribbon formed at the time. Looks like our routes met around the 4th pitch.

 

Man, there is a lot of ground to play around on up there!

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Nice! Looks like a new variation/line.

 

I'm pretty sure we were on the route described by Roger & Dan. It fitted the description pretty much to the letter although the M6 pitch may have been slightly easier that when the 1st party climbed it. The bottom was drytooling but further up I was able to climb very thin ice out from the corner. I haven't climbed enough M graded routes to really have an option although it was at least as hard as the M4 & 5 lines I've been doing in the 'Daks this week.

 

Ade

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I didn't lead our second pitch that may have been the crux, but it had about 3 moves off the deck that were a little thin and hard. After that it seemed sort of like moderate thin ice/dirt climbing, a little run out, but not unreasonable. This was one of the rare times I went into a climb thinking I was going to get my ass kicked and came out thinking, that was sure an overall easy climb.

 

Pitch 1 - 65 meters and easy ice

Pitch 2 - 65 meters thin and delicate, not strenuous

Pitch 3 - 20 meters, ungraceful chimney, but very short

Next - bunch of easy simul climbing, one or two moves where you had to watch your step

Pitch 4 - a few moves of moderate rock and done...

 

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Oh the ease of youth! Well an old fart like me thought the route was a bit tough(er)(ish)? Monkey man has a great future and recent past- for this kind of stuff!

Very thrilling to think is was a new variation, but I swore I may have seen a pin scar in the chimney? I didnt get the best look at it though.

 

Jeez.This will go down as one of the all-time alpine ice years. The normally dry -NYGully is a near "all-ice" climb right now! If it were normal economic times(?)- there would be lines on many of the great routes and many new routes put up as well!

Hats off to everyones efforts ,climbing, and non-climbing efforts.

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I didn't lead our second pitch that may have been the crux, but it had about 3 moves off the deck that were a little thin and hard. After that it seemed sort of like moderate thin ice/dirt climbing, a little run out, but not unreasonable. This was one of the rare times I went into a climb thinking I was going to get my ass kicked and came out thinking, that was sure an overall easy climb.

 

Pitch 1 - 65 meters and easy ice WI3

Pitch 2 - 65 meters thin and delicate, not strenuous WI4 R

Pitch 3 - 20 meters, ungraceful chimney, but very short M5/-6

Next - bunch of easy simul climbing, one or two moves where you had to watch your step

Pitch 4 - a few moves of moderate rock and done...

 

Jens and I did it today...incredible line lads! Nicely done41.gif

 

Lots of new snow so it was slow and we weren't smoking it. Snowed hard most of the day 7hrs 19 min on the climb 13:20 C2C. I added Jens and my consensus for grades on each pitch in Craig's post. Photos of every pitch when I get time. But I agree with Craig on his descriptions..."hard"...but not that hard.111.gif

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