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[TR] Old Settler - Mars Western Variation & SW Butress 7/18/2009

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Trip: Old Settler - Mars Western Variation & SW Butress


Date: 7/18/2009


Trip Report:

So my friend Lorne and I had been hoping to get up to Old Settler for a while now but things had never worked out quite right. We both had the weekend off but I had made plans to climb Yak Check with Tamara on Sunday so we planned to make a one day trip to the Setter and climb 'Mars Western', a classic 5.8 on the South Peak.

I mentioned I wanted to leave early and Lorne made some joke about leaving at 4 AM... then I mentioned that wouldn't be so bad because we would be done the approach before it got too hot, so that became the plan.

Lorne slept over Friday night and we got up at 3:45, left at 4:00 and reached a washout up Talc Creek FSR at about 5:30 after figuring out exactly where to go using a backroad map book. We moved quickly up the main road and eventually branched left up a spur road then hung a right at a marker onto a really overgrown road leading towards Daiphy Lake. At the end of the road I tried to remember Dru's approach beta he told me last year and found a great route up trees on the right side of the bowl. We reached the lake at 7:45, 2 hours and 15 minutes after leaving the car. A quick food stop then some talus hiking brought us to the start of the route by about 8:45 and we were climbing by 9:00.

The 5.8 corner that begins the route was dripping water at the bottom so I put up a new varition start to the left. I led an amazing stemming corner just left of the original start then followed a big left trending dihedral until it became blocked by large overhangs. I made tricky moves around a corner to my right to reach a balancy right-trending ramp with sparse protection and ackward, technical face climbing. The last crux moves were "protected" by a small RP nut in a dubious seam, the peice before that was good but about 20 feet below and left of the nut, I was mildly nervous. I set up a belay on a large ledgeand brought Lorne up to me. We both enjoyed the new pitch and thought it went at about 5.10a R, some pins would make it a lot safer.

From the ledge we started simul-climbing up 'Mars Western'. I led to the base of a steep dyke, then Lorne took over and led to a lardge ledge above the steep stuff. He actually pulled a flake off (only loose rock encounter on ther route) and slipped a few feet but caught himself on an edge... phew. From the ledge we packed up the rope and deviated from the route somewhat. We climbed upwards, trending left then finished up the last scrambling section on the SW Buttress. Ther route took us two hours and 45 minutes, about an hour was spent on the first pitch.

After eating, chilling and making a couple phone calls we found the descent and scrambled down to the col between Old Settler and Mcnair. When we reached the area near the base of the route we decided that we still had lots of energy left, dropped the technical gear, put on rock shoes and started climbing the SW Buttress of the South Peak (just left of Mars Western) The rock was just as amazing as the first route and after an endless amount of awesome 4th class, with some 5th class deviations for fun... and a nice lunch break... we topped out for the second time at 3:45.

After climbing the peak twice in the same day we decided that we were ready to leave this beautiful mountain. We downclimbed to the col for the second time, picked up our gear, then hiked out. We reached the car at 8:00 and I was home at 8:50, just in time to pick up Tamara from work.

Overall both routes were great but MW seemed better as it was more sustained and had less big ledges that reduce exposure. The buttress was not as exposed and had long 3rd class bits between the 4th class and occasional 5th class sections... the rock is truly phenomenal on both routes.


P.S: Tamara and I headed to Yak on Sunday and only got halfway up the route when a falling rock chopped my brand new rope 3 meters from the end. I stupidly forgot the knife to cut the end off to continue climbing... so we rapped the route :( It was still a fun day though and Tamara has a score to settle.. so I may take her up again soon!


I will put up the pics tomorrow....


Gear Notes:

Set of nuts from RP's to medium. 4 cams... some slings & biners.


Approach Notes:

Talc Creek FSR.... not bad 4WD

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