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telemarker

first winter ascent [TR] Enchantments, The Flagpole FWA 2-7-2009 - The Flagpole 2/8/2009

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Trip: Enchantments, The Flagpole FWA 2-7-2009 - The Flagpole

 

Date: 2/8/2009

 

Trip Report:

Saturday Kyle Flick and I climbed the Flagpole in amazing weather: Warm sun in the day, full moon at night that was our headlamp all the way back to Icicle Road. We started around 4:30am on skis at Bridge Creek Campground. The dirt patch near the start of the road is slowly getting bigger, but the road is still skiable from the trailhead down to that point. We skinned up to the Colchuck Lake turnoff and stashed the skis, since we knew the trail up to the lake is icy and totally not worth the skin nor the ski down. As it turned out, no where in the Enchantements is worth skiing at this point. Maybe in March?

 

We had perfect cramponing up Asgaard, and across the upper plateau. No postholing whatsoever. We climbed Flagpole last Sprng, so we had the approach dialed in. We approached via the dry gully just West of Little Annapurna. By the time we reached the base of the climbing, 10 hours had elapsed. We knew when we started climbing at 2pm we would be deproaching in the dark, but with these perfect conditions we weren't in any hurry.

 

Kyle led the first mixed pitch, easy terrain with a snow/ice ramp to a bush belay. On the second pitch, I threw on my rockshoes, and Ade's lucky legwarmers. The climbing was on warm rock free of any snow or ice, which brought us to the base of the Flagpole's bolt ladder.

 

I clipped through the ladder, using my rivet hangers on the old bolts which don't accept carabiners of any size. The finishing 5.8 offwidth move takes a #5 (new size) camalot, followed by some easy but very exposed moves on the arete. Kyle lowered me off and clip cleaned the ladder. By the time he touched down, it was dusk. Having two ropes for the two raps is very useful. We slogged back out the gully and popped out onto the upper Enchantments in bright moonlight. We would not use the headlamps again until we got into the trees.

 

I've skied the trail from the trail cutoff three times so far this season, and not once have I done it without the skins still on. It's total survival "skiing". We chatted with a couple poor souls walking the road, who had climbed the Colchuck's NBC, which looked okay by the way. There does appear to be a couple rock steps with no ice in it. However, they had no problems surmounting those.

 

By 1:30am 21 hours after starting out, we staggered back to the car, vowing to never slog that road again until the f$@%er is melted out!

 

Contrived mixed hike up Asgaard Pass. This can be easily avoided.

Ascendingasgaardpass.jpg

 

The upper Enchantments.

Kyleupper.jpg

 

Kyleupper4.jpg

 

Looking South towards Mt. Rainier, Ingalls Creek.

Kyleupper9.jpg

 

Descent down gully.

Kyledescent.jpg

 

Kyledescent4.jpg

 

The Flagpole and Pennant Peak

Flagpole1.jpg

 

On the approach.

Kyledescent6.jpg

 

approachtoflagpole.jpg

 

Kyle on the first mixed pitch.

flagpolefirstpitch.jpg

 

Me starting the second pitch, replete with Ade's lucky legwarmers.

flagpolesecondpitch.jpg

 

Starting the bold ladder.

boltladder.jpg

 

On top.

topofflagpole.jpg

 

Looking down from the top of the Flagpole. Kyle Flick photo.

topofflagpole2.jpg

 

Looking East from the top of the Flagpole. Kyle Flick photo.

moonrise2.jpg

 

Stuart in the sunset. Kyle Flick photo.

stuartsunset.jpg

 

Thanks to Ade Miller who let us use some critical gear, not least of which were the '80s era legwarmers, which have quite a bit of magic left in them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by telemarker

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By 1:30am 21 hours after starting out, we staggered back to the car, vowing to never slog that road again until the f$@%er is melted out!

 

I was wondering when you would get sick of the road. heh. What a perfect day you had. Good work John and kyle! Good images too.

 

 

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I think i've said that every time I have walked that road...and yet I always find myself on it again.

 

Thanks for the pictures. Good work.

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Congrats on getting it done in fine style. Pics are great.

 

Awe come on - let's have another go at the Ice Cliff Glacier this coming weekend. No blisters and no falling into creeks.

 

 

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Great guys! First off, great TR, great drive on getting it done, and great pics. The clarity made me feel like I was there. Extremely jealous.

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Yes, gorgeous day is an understatement. Hard to choose which was better: Warm sunshine, or calm night with the full moon.

 

Kyle's didn't kveth too much about his back, probably due to his lingering head cold.

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