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[TR] Chinook Pass/Sourdough Gap - Cupalo Rock 8/10/2009

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Trip: Chinook Pass/Sourdough Gap - Cupalo Rock


Date: 8/10/2009


Trip Report:

Cupalo Rock

Aug 1 and July 21 2009



Cupalo, near the center of the photo, as seen from just below Chinook



After seeing a typical Becky description of this crag in the CAG I got curious and decided to check it out a couple weeks ago. The SW face is visible from Chinook and very prominant from Sheep lake. All of the routes in the CAG are on the East face but the crack systems on the SW face were too tempting to pass up.



SW Face; Blue is Aug 1 Chimney; Orange is July 21 crack/face



Our route for the 1st of August was up a prominent crack system splitting the middle of the SW face. A few face moves get you off the ground and into an body width crack/chimney. Follow this to a small roof and then exit via crux face moves onto a short arete that bypasses the roof. Continue up the crack past a snag to a nice heathery ledge about 100' off the deck. Pitch 2 starts with an old piton protecting a few lieback moves up to more crack and face climbing.

5.9 with good pro up to 3".



My cheesy sequence compilation, P1 of the chimney route



On July 21 I had also climbed the rightmost crack on the SW face with Brian Case. This route follows a couple crack systems to the same ledge and a small tree anchor with a couple of ratty slings. Protection above the tree looked thin to nonexistant so I opted to move the belay ten feet to the left rather than tackle the 5.6 X direct finish. The second pitch starts out in a dihedral up to a steep finger crack. This looked like a bit much for us so I exited to the right via a few face moves.

5.7 or 8, with good pro up to 2".


Stretch and I also headed up and through the keyhole to check out the East face routes described in the Alpine Guide. Brottem's "easy 5th class" route follows a weakness from just below the keyhole notch. After crawling through the keyhole and down the gully a short but somewhat tricky rappell gets you to the base of the latter three routes. The two "chimney" routes are really dihedrals and looked pretty clean and well protected.


After some debate as to the whereabouts of the 5.6/A2 route I found an old Salewa hook at the base of a weakness that petered out into what could be A2. We didn't climb anything on the East face, but the routes look like fun.



Cupalo's East face. The 5.6/A2 route is about 15 feet to the right of the NE Chimney







All told this is a fun place to climb with excellent views and plenty of alpine ambiance. As has been noted elsewhere, the class 3 gully decent on the SW corner is not class 3. There are a couple trees to rap from.


I'm curious, does anybody know more of the climbing history here? The summit register had maybe 20 entries dating back to 1999. I couldn’t find any record online of ascents on the SW face but it’s definitely been climbed before. Someone even put metal sign at the base that reads “Shaman”.


A few more photos at:

More Cupalo

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Looks interesting! I have fond memories of scrambling around the base of this peak when I was younger.

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Thanks for the TR, I look forward to heading up that way and trying out one or more of these routes soon, weather permitting..

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