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MtnHigh

Mt Hood: Razorblade Pinnacle: Machete

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July 16, 2009

Mt Hood: Razorblade Pinnacle: Machete

 

Oregon and SW Washington climbers are conditioned to travel afar to the north, south and east for alpine rock. The Washington Cascades, California Sierras, and Idaho Sawtooths are the primary destinations. However, right in our back yard, on the peak that we disdain the crowds, criticize the noobies and voyeuristically consume the sensational media events, is an isolated alpine rock gem.

 

The Razorblade is only a 1.5 hour drive from Portland and a 2.5 hour approach, yet few humans have walked on the summit. The summit register, placed during the first ascent in ’93, has only 12 entries in it. The pinnacle has seen a few more ascents, (Wayne’s name is not in the register although he has an A4 test piece on the east face and a pic of his butt while he is on Gilette is in PRC 1st edition).

 

Razorblade pinnacle’s south face from the south fork of the Muddy. Machete is just left of center. Gillette is the left skyline.

Razorblade_south_face.jpg

 

Tim Olson took Kyle Lehman and I on one of his adventurous climbs. It has been 7 years since Tim last climbed the pinnacle. On this climb he was on a mission to photo the pinnacle and put us to work doing chores. We freshened up the existing bolted rappel anchors with new rings and webbing. Plus we removed the old tangles of tat. All three of us were tapping holds as we climbed, tossing off potential lead wippers and belay bombs. Aside from these, the rock is surprisingly good for Mt Hood rock standards.

 

Looking up west prow and Gillette (10b) from the base. Clean and solid.

Gilette_Base.jpg

 

Anchor chores. Looking west down the North and South forks of the Muddy.

Machete_Anchor_Work.jpg

 

Although the climbing is moderate, 5.8ish, the character of the climb keeps your attention peaked. The first and second pitches are a bit run out, the edges are sandy, and the Larkspur, Indian Paintbrush and heather draping the rock makes for adventurous climbing. Gear placements are minimal due to the compact nature of the rock on the south face. Less than 5 passive gear placements were used throughout our climb. Tim softened up the R rating by adding a few extra pins on the 1st and 2nd pitches.

 

Kyle on pitch 1

Machete_Pitch2_Kyle.jpg

 

Vertical garden climbing

Machete_Pitch1-2.jpg

Machete_Pitch2-3.jpg

 

Summit lunch. Kyle and I.

Razorblade_Summit1.jpg

 

How to get there

Drive Lolo Pass road to FS Rd 1825 and park at the Top Spur trailhead. A plastic shitter conveniently located there.

 

The approach 2.5 to 3 hours

Hike about two miles of trail (Top Spur trail to trail #600 towards Timberline) until it meets the north fork of Muddy creek. Cross both the north and south forks of Muddy creek, (look for flagging to cross the north fork, use a large dead tree for the south fork), ascend creek boulders on the south edge of the south fork for a half mile or more then cross the creek again to it’s north edge when the pinnacle is directly above you to the northeast. Exit the drainage and ascend up sketchy hard packed dirt slopes to the southwest base of the pinnacle.

 

Gear

Minimal rack. A few nuts, and couple of cams to 1.5

Boots ease the sketch factor on hard pack dirt.

 

In Closing

Thanks Tim for sharing your knowledge and the adventure. Gillette is now on the must do list.

 

And to all…

Avoid the Ozone crowds and forego the Beacon rock closure banter and climb something different for a change. It is well worth the effort.

 

 

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If you succeed in summiting on this isolated pinnacle do send us a PM for record keeping purposes...

Cheers.

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Rumor has it that these and other little-known routes will be published in the new Mt Hood Climbers Guide, due to appear on shelves this winter...

Thanks out to Wayne and Tim !

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And to all…

Avoid the Ozone crowds and forego the Beacon rock closure banter and climb something different for a change. It is well worth the effort.

 

Nice stuff! I need to get out of the house more, never been there. Pete, did you folks leave the pins fixed?

 

Meantime, here's some non-fixed pin routes. (fixed bolts, they are all 1/2" x 6-1/4 long stainless wedge anchors, all 15 except for the 1/2 way point which is the intermediary belay anchors and those are 3/8 x 5" stainless wedge anchors with stainless Fixe carabiner style rap points on them. This is Cathedral Formation out at the Gothic Rocks area. First pitch of the first route there. Trench Warfare is the route name 5.10a

 

 

 

Bill_leading_start_of_Trench_Warfare_resized.jpg

 

Bill_leading_Trench_Warfare_resized.jpg

 

Look at those amazing knobs...wait, that would be a good route name. Amazing Jugs!

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Nice stuff! I need to get out of the house more, never been there. Pete, did you folks leave the pins fixed?

 

The first technical pitch now has 4 perhaps 5 fixed pins, and the second pitch has 3 or 4. Combined with a gear placement here and there the runouts have been minimized.

 

Tim lead the second pitch on just three placements. He added a pin on lead 10' off the anchor and another further up the pitch while rapping down. Hence the softening of the original R rating.

 

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Gillette%2520Arete.jpeg

 

We climbed Gillette Arete on Saturday. Since Pete and Tim's ascent in 2009, there was only one other entry in the register from 2013.

 

The position and the climbing are excellent and very unique for Oregon. The approach is long, and the route is really only two pitches, but the Muddy Fork of the Sandy is a beautiful place, and the hike was well worth it.

 

We approached up the north side of the south branch of the Muddy Fork, which required some bushwhacking through slide alder and scrambling up and down the banks of the river. The south side of the river looked friendlier, but there was a lot of water and we weren't too stoked on a creek crossing higher up in the drainage.

 

I'd say the first pitch goes at 5.8 with a short crux through a roof with a tight hands crack. The second pitch felt like 5.10a - a really nice tight hands face crack eventually leading to the summit. The entire route is out on the edge of the formation with excellent exposure, solid rock and great views of the Sandy River basin. And from the summit, you can take in really pretty vistas of the West Side of Mt. Hood and the Sandy Glacier Headwall. It's a cool spot for sure and worth a visit.

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Sweeet! Unique place for sure.

 

History lesson: When Tim and I did Cathedral ridge in late August of 91, I saw it for the first time and was obsessed with it. I named it RBP, and tried to get a trip going on it. Tim, however went and climbed it without me, and I was pretty upset. He made it up to me by teaming up with me on another Gillette ascent, the A4 aid route, and his Excaliber FA later though.

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