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Dane

[TR] Source Lake- Alpental - Water Ice 2/15/2009

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Trip: Source Lake- Alpental - Water Ice

 

Date: 2/15/2009

 

Trip Report:

Had the chance to do a couple of high quality water ice climbs back of Source lake over the weekend. Climbed there Friday through Monday and no one there but skiers, snow shoers and us in those four full days. Some of this stuff forms once in a "Blue Moon". Amazing...as it was just like climbing in the Candian Rockies during late sping but 30 minutes from home at Alpental!

 

Both climbs are obvious on the cliff directly above Source Lake.

 

Once in a blue moon....

This one is 3 pitches, 130' WI4, 110' WI5 and 130' WI4. The line is easily one of the best water ice climbs in Washington.

 

Climber high on the 1st pitch.

aga.sized.jpg

 

No camera tilt here on P2, it really is that over hanging, which is unusual anywhere on ice.

 

afv.sized.jpg

 

Down from mid pitch 2.

afz.sized.jpg

 

P3

agb.sized.jpg

 

The one pitch wonder....

By passing the funky anchor set right at the base of the crux, we did as a fun enduro pitch @ WI4 60m

 

afx.sized.jpg

 

Again looking down mid pitch.

afy.sized.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

This season things are obviously in but a bit thin. Bring more than a few shorty screws and new rap tat for the trees if you don't make it during '09. DON'T trust the ratty fixed gear on any of the belays!!!! Use your own V threads or the obvious trees.

 

Dbl 60m ropes will get you off both climbs.

 

Edit..because I can barely coil a 60m rope. I'd have a hard time just lifting a 160m rope.

 

Approach Notes:

If you are in a hurry with decent conditions 30/45 min to the base of the gully. Depending on the trail breaking another hour up the far left gully to the base of the climbs. Avi danger on the last bit could be high to EXTREMELY high, so check it out beforehand. There is a a HUGE snow field above this cliff that releases some impressive stuff on occasion. Just the spind drift on a cold snowy day will get your attention.

 

 

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Thanks Dane, I'm pretty sure your "Once in a blue moon...." is Flow Reversal, the second pic you posted looks like the same as one Roger Strong sent to me years ago when the route was first reported. It's not in the book because the draft had gone to press by then. It was first climbed a few years ago either by Roger Strong or one of his friends, and was done very early season as a 5 pitch route (there are two rambly pitches below when there is less snow) at WI5 X. It's been repeated several times since, every few years.

 

 

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the second pic you posted looks like the same as one Roger Strong sent to me years ago when the route was first reported.....done very early season as a 5 pitch route (there are two rambly pitches below when there is less snow) at WI5 X. It's been repeated several times since, every few years.

 

May I make a suggestion? As the WA Ice guide book author it would be nice to have either an updated web page or post more succinct information when asked (pics, grade and route description) on routes not in the current edition.

 

Your answer to my original post for info puzzled me, Alex. Anyone who has done this route would have recognized it even by the minimal description and route pics I posted.

 

Please note this is a TR for "Water Ice". I didn't name anything here as I am not so vain or naive enough to think these lines haven't been done. Just have yet to read a credible route description.

 

I would also doubt this route would ever be 5 pitches even with a 120' rope and you could climb the longer one (call it "Blue Moon" if you like) with a 120' rope if pressed. I'd have to think anyone capable of climbing the top 3 pitches would put a rope on for the approach. (since it gets skied) The "sounds like" answer isn't very convincing. Until I see pictures of someone climbing the crux corner, sorry I'm not convinced. As there are two sets of rap tat below the crux...and neither of them where it would be if you were/had actually climbed it as a ice climb or even hard mixed. That seemed to be the consensus of the five of us who were there this weekend anyway.

 

I took a close look at the climb 10 days ago and it would have been very solid mixed in the corner then (as it would be in a thin/dry year) and has just enough ice on it now to be fun. On a thin year? It is going to have a M Grade and rock pro as well.

 

As this particular climb is undoubtedly one of the best water ice climbs in Washington (both in length and difficulty) I am surprised there are no previous write ups or pictures. As a early season mixed climb it would be wild and even better!

 

I suspect it would have been trivial for Roger and Chad even ten years ago. Love to see that picture you mention for comparison? I've sent Roger an email asking to verify what they actually did do.

 

The second route we did in one pitch had obviously been done before.

 

Another correction for your web page...NE Coulior on Dragontail? It has two finishes. Left and right on the uper head wall. Left is longer and harder. Of the ascents posted here Nov/Dec '08 only two parties did the harder left side. By pictures from just two days later the left side was obviously gone. It had melted out and dissappeared with water running lower down for the following parties. And it was the easier right side that was soloed.

 

Again it is the photos and written descriptions that point out the differences.

 

 

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Fantastic pictures. I'm so happy to hear people are getting some ice climbing in around here! I mean, I'd rather hear it was me, but better someone else than no one. ;-)

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the second pic you posted looks like the same as one Roger Strong sent to me years ago when the route was first reported.....done very early season as a 5 pitch route (there are two rambly pitches below when there is less snow) at WI5 X. It's been repeated several times since, every few years.

 

May I make a suggestion? As the WA Ice guide book author it would be nice to have either an updated web page or post more succinct information when asked (pics, grade and route description) on routes not in the current edition.

 

Please note this is a TR for "Water Ice". I didn't name anything here as I am not so vain or naive enough to think these lines haven't been done. Just have yet to read a credible route description.

 

I would also doubt this route would ever be 5 pitches even with a 120' rope and you could climb the longer one (call it "Blue Moon" if you like) with a 120' rope if pressed. I'd have to think anyone capable of climbing the top 3 pitches would put a rope on for the approach. (since it gets skied) The "sounds like" answer isn't very convincing. Until I see pictures of someone climbing the crux corner, sorry I'm not convinced. As there are two sets of rap tat below the crux...and neither of them where it would be if you were/had actually climbed it as a ice climb or even hard mixed. That seemed to be the consensus of the five of us who were there this weekend anyway.

 

 

I have updated web pages, actually, on wastateice.net. Alpental valley and Rap Wall are not there yet; I work on this stuff as time permits, which these days is rare.

 

I didn't see you claiming and FA, so thanks for the clarification that you are not. I am just offering what little I know of the history of the area and likely the route you did.

 

I disagree that "I should have just known" from whatever description is written and pics: there are alot of possible routes above Source Lake, it's often very difficult to figure out what people are doing or where they are without pictures of recognizable features or UTM coords. But your second pic has that clear boxy roof up above, same as Roger Strong pics, which is why I commented as I did.

 

But it's academic, as the most important thing is folks climbing and having fun!

 

Here are the photos I have of Flow Reversal, you're free to draw whatever conclusions you like.

 

Alpental-Ice01-Kellog.jpg

Alpental-Ice04-Kellog.jpg

Alpental-Ice05-Kellog.jpg

Alpental-Ice06-Strong.jpg

Edited by Alex

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That looks a helleva lot fatter than when my partner and I did it yesterday (we're the ones in the far off shot Dane submitted earlier.) Hopefully that's not the reason not many people have been on it since. If everyone waited till things "got fat" no one would get out which would leave more for me....eh?

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This from Roger Strong, who was kind enough to read this thread and comment on the first ascent.

 

"The photos that Alex posted are the only ones that we took. As you can see, it was pretty thin that year, and the lower snow section that you climbed was an M4ish pitch. The belay was a crappy stopper that I welded. The last pitch after the corner was a grade 3ish smear for about 75ft. I have a hard time rating ice sometimes. My rule of thumb is If it takes me more than 20 minutes for any ice pitch, it’s probably harder than grade 5.

 

With Flow Reversal, I was able to jam a .75 next to a shitty pin before running it out through the corner.

 

Overall I gave the route WI 5R, M5, 5 pitches. I believe that was 8 or 9 years ago, so I could be off on the pitch count. Conditions and snow pack changes so much, and pitch count can change depending on where one can find a reasonable anchor."

 

As I mentioned before any thinner you'd have a M grade tagged on. Although I too am surprised at just how fat the crux corner was on the 1st ascent compared to this week and the conditions we found lower down. Turns out in previous years folks have been up to the corner and rapped off. Although the fixed gear there is total crap.

 

 

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