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JoshK

[TR] Gold Creek Valley - The Conquering Floormat 2/8/2009

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Trip: Gold Creek Valley - The Conquering Floormat

 

Date: 2/8/2009

 

Trip Report:

On February 8, David Kratsch and I climbed a nice water ice line in Gold Creek Valley, just east of Snoqualmie Pass. The climb itself is in a Northwest facing cleft on the Western slopes of Rampart Ridge. I have noticed the line several times in the past, but never in a condition that seemed appealing to climb. When David mentioned he had seen a rather fat looking line in that area, I figured it must have been the same one I had seen before. After packing up gear and heading to the pass to climb the NE Slab route on Das Tooth, we decided five minutes before the exit that we should go satisfy our curiosity and inspect the mystery line up close. It turned out to be a good decision.

 

We began our approach at the Gold Creek Sno-Park. The climb can be seen on the Eastern (looker's right) side of the valley at the top of a steep avalanche slope. The lower section begins as a fairly wide curtain which eventually narrows at the top and enters trees on the left side. We split this in to two pitches (roughly ~50m each), belaying off trees on the left side of the climb. Using the trees for belays does require deviating a bit left of the most ideal line, and screw belays could avoid this. A few hundred feet of steep snow or snow covered low angle ice leads to the bottom of the second tier.

 

The upper tier widens again in to a curtain before narrowing in to trees on the left again. The first upper pitch ascends moderate but very fun ice up to a small lower angle ledge midway up. We belayed off ice screws here. The second upper pitch featured the steepest ice on the climb and some slightly unnerving manky ice which was seperated from the rock. On both of these upper pitches you have some latitude on the difficulty of the line you want to take. Overall the ice quality was decent but featured some pockets of sketchy rotten-ness right where you don't want them.

 

The descent wasn't particuarly fun. We only had one rope so we made a series of 30m rappels, one of which was off a pretty thin pine. We both rapped gingerly to avoid giving the young tree any extra incentive to rip out of the hillside. On all but the last rappel the rope came just a few meters shy of the next tree, requiring a few moves of exposed downclimbing.

 

All and all, I'd rate this as an excellent moderate ice climb for Washington standards. We were shocked to find such a fun multi-pitch ice climb only 2 miles from I-90. It has been a great year for ice in the Northwest, so perhaps it is rare this line forms so well. After some comparing of pictures, Tvash and I established that he and his partner climbed the lower pitches last year. Other than that, i cannot find any previous mention of this line anywhere. I'm leery to label anything this close to a major freeway a first ascent, but at the very least, this climb is a lot of fun and certainly worthy of a name. I bet 2 or 3 weeks ago this thing would have been in perfect condition. Hopefully it'll stick around a bit longer.

 

"The Conquering Floormat", II, WI3+, 200m

 

Gear Notes:

Ice Screws - We used stubbies up to 17cm. The ice in most spots would have taken full length screws.

 

Approach Notes:

Park at Gold Creek sno-park and ascend north through Gold Creek Valley by any number of roads, trails or XC routes. The falls are the obvious and largest line on the right side a few miles up the valley.

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just trying to understand your moniker: yer girlfriend treating you like shit again josh? :grin:

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just trying to understand your moniker: yer girlfriend treating you like shit again josh? :grin:

 

On the way out we managed to reverse off the side of the well packed snow on the road in to the bank of icy crap snow, high centering us and putting two wheels off the road. Thus ensued the multi-hour procedure of come-along winching, swearing, pushing, shoveling, and wheel-spinning. The final addition to our successful extraction attempt was the front passenger floormat, placed under the rear wheel. Dave shouted "The floormat conquers!!", which provided lots of laughs in our exhausted state.

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just trying to understand your moniker: yer girlfriend treating you like shit again josh? :grin:

 

On the way out we managed to reverse off the side of the well packed snow on the road in to the bank of icy crap snow, high centering us and putting two wheels off the road. Thus ensued the multi-hour procedure of come-along winching, swearing, pushing, shoveling, and wheel-spinning. The final addition to our successful extraction attempt was the front passenger floormat, placed under the rear wheel. Dave shouted "The floormat conquers!!", which provided lots of laughs in our exhausted state.

very innovative - i mighta preferred our last such experience, where we just chilled n' smoked all kinds of groovy things while waiting for the audi super-commando-a-team to parachute in w/ their wunderbar extraction equipment! :)

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I woundn't recomend the route for WI 3 to 3+ leader. The conditions that we climbed it in were like 4- but for a standard rating Josh is right 3+ is right on.

 

It was a bad ass floormat.

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It looks like you guys didn't even use screws!

 

Nice climb. Is the ice at the bottom easy? I know thats subjective but say you were in the area without a partner but had a rope...if you get what I'm saying. Thanks.

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Ummm.. Yeah the ice quality wasn't would I would like it to be to Solo the top pitch but everything else was very soloable.

 

Dave

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I was looking at that ice on saturday, wondering whether it gets much attention. Looks like a lot of fun. Nice job.

 

There's a bunch of ice up gold creek these days,especially on the north side of Alta.

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I was skinning around Gold Creek with some folks on Sunday. I wish I had known people were climbing ice over there - I would have looked at lot harder to check it out. I was wishing I had brought my binoculars anyway. Thanks for the photos. Looks and sounds like you had a great day! The weather certainly was on good behavior. :-)

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