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telemarker

[TR] Bitch Slapped by Peter Croft - Stuart Range traverse attempt 9/12/2009

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A few years ago, someone did a day climb solo:

 

1. parked at snow creek

2. ran up the road to colchuck trailhead

3. ran to dragontail peak

4. soloed Serpentine Ridge

5. ran to prusik

6. soloed W. Ridge on prusik peak

7. Ran to snow creek wall

8. soloed outer space

9. ran down to the car at snow creek

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A few years ago, someone did a day climb solo:

 

1. parked at snow creek

2. ran up the road to colchuck trailhead

3. ran to dragontail peak

4. soloed Serpentine Ridge

5. ran to prusik

6. soloed W. Ridge on prusik peak

7. Ran to snow creek wall

8. soloed outer space

9. ran down to the car at snow creek

 

I met a guy on Prusik who was doing just that. His name was Aidan. He guides for AAI I think.

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Nice work John P! Great effort!

 

I had a long day of my own this summer, Goode in a day.

 

:shock: That is incredible. Did you do the NE Buttress? How did you approach?

 

Colin did it in a day also... page 3.

 

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I was looking for an account of the Traverse by Croft on the web and can't find it.

 

It's written up in the CAJ but the CAJ archives aren't online (yet)

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I heard somewhere that Croft soloed Goode, so it's possible that he did it in a day since that seems like his style. Others could have too.

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Didn't Croft run up Outer Space on his way out? Maybe just a myth, pretty badass warm down though...

 

I don't think Croft did Outer Space on his linkup. It seems logical but even Peter would be getting pretty worked by then.

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A few years ago, someone did a day climb solo:

 

1. parked at snow creek

2. ran up the road to colchuck trailhead

3. ran to dragontail peak

4. soloed Serpentine Ridge

5. ran to prusik

6. soloed W. Ridge on prusik peak

7. Ran to snow creek wall

8. soloed outer space

9. ran down to the car at snow creek

Here you go.

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Nice work John P! Great effort!

 

I had a long day of my own this summer, Goode in a day.

 

:shock: That is incredible. Did you do the NE Buttress? How did you approach?

 

Colin did it in a day also... page 3.

 

Not to diminish the quick climb of Colin and Bart, but they did it via Stehekin, when the road was still connected. Dan would have done 6 additional miles on the approach, and 14 extra on the way out, which is pretty intense.

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Just saw this thread. Bart and I climbed the NE Butt of Goode in July 2002. It took us 12 hrs. car-to-car from the Chelan side. We carried a rope and rack (but never took them out of the pack), and weren't particularly trying to move super fast. If someone wanted to it wouldn't be hard to take several hours off that time.

 

Jens, I'd say you didn't make an attempt on the Croft Traverse, but the second ascent of the Croft Traverse. For sure, solo and in a faster time is more precisely what Croft did, but if you climbed the same terrain you climbed the same terrain...

Edited by Colin

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I was looking for an account of the Traverse by Croft on the web and can't find it.

 

It's written up in the CAJ but the CAJ archives aren't online (yet)

 

Ah, that's where I read it way back when. I have a CD-ROM copy of "Ever Upward", a compilation of all CAJ's from 1907-2007 (very much worth buying from the ACC). Here is Croft's account:

 

Traverse Of The Stuart Range

CAJ, 1986, p. 35

 

The heavy insect drone of a car...there it was again. Striding up in the steel cool black and still half in dreamland, reason seemed absent and living nightmares quite likely; I scrabbled off into the bushes like a crab. Engine hum and bright beams swung round a bend and a moving picture of forest was freakishly illuminated in deep black and white. The vision passed and I moved on, safely nocturnal, a mantra of gravel sending me.... Lights coming back down the road! Reason clasped me firmly on the shoulder like a parent and I stood my ground as the driver pulled up beside me. His dome light cracked on as the door opened and I watched a Hawaiian print pudgy arm reel in a mighty revolver and step slowly out. Warnings from recent tabloids screamed through my skull as my skin prickled with dread and I realized that this lunatic was going to scatter my brains with that howitzer of a handgun. But the maniac spoke to me in a voice full of logic and clear thinking bureaucracy, asking me my name and address and so forth. . .”A cop! Oh shit! Oh yey!” my mind yelled. This wonderful undercover officer was checking for car break-ins at the Lake Stuart trailhead. Suspicious government slit eyes wondered at this hyperventilating freak who claimed to have walked up from the campground and was on his way to go climbing at one o’clock in the morning. Satisfied that the tool posed no threat he got into his Chevette and drove off into the dark, leaving me by the roadside, out of adrenalin.

 

I was on the trail and more than awake now, in fact every pore was keenly receptive to the icy winds surging down the valley and the black needles that gnashed from the shadow trees. Night rustles and squeaks sent my high strung headlamp whirling and darting. Passing Lake Stuart campsite I panicked a squat porcupine who was using the cover of night to go and nibble the salt out of the out house seat. The first traces of daylight oozed out as I left the forest and entered the gully that leads through to the high bench beneath Mt Stuart. Its upper throat was coated in filmy ice but I bounced knuckles and chopped steps across it with a blade of granite. Racing up over a moraine I was faced with another icy slope five times as vast. This chipping took most of an hour. Half-way across I noticed my knee was leaving a trail of blood blotches and then, as I watched, the entire snowfield turned glowing pink. I looked up and out across sleep misted valleys as the bloody sun slowly erupted.

 

Once changed into climbing shoes, I released myself up the north ridge of Mt Stuart. No need to prime muscles for effort, there was none. I just followed the way, up corners, chimneys, offwidths, and blocky spine climbing along the crest to the Great Gendarme and the steep rock and deep air that live in that place. That and the scramble that followed passed and the summit was warm and good. A skoosh of water and a fig bar — and the way led down towards Sherpa Peak with the sphinx presence of Rainier on my right. Sherpa came and went with another fig bar. As I moved on I left the fine Stuart rock and entered a zone of garbled earth vomit. Spiky pines grew up on the easy sections and the next peaks of the chain receded in time as the sub-alpine scrub closed in and deep, dusty ravines with sharp rotting cliffs revealed themselves. Water bottle drum-dry and limbs pink with lashings, I took a short cut down a dangerous gully, armed with decaying fangs, to open screes a couple of thousand feet below. Absence of bushwhackery, welcome shade, and much needed snow melt shot me back up to the crest at the base of the first tower of Argonaut’s west ridge. Popping corn lichen, many backtracks, and more difficult climbing than I anticipated took me through the many granite thorns to the summit fig bar. (I had enough for three more peaks.) I poked around and peered down big cliffs till I found a route down some wet rock on the east side. I wallowed and skated all squinty eyed across sunshot shards of frost blasted white scree, setting off rock slides and marmot sirens.

 

On to the Enchantment Lakes where I weaved among white bulging rock, screes, and alpine pools patched together by snow sheets. I hadn’t room in my fanny sac for sun-glasses and now I paid for it with a thick headache rising up behind my eyes. I stripped to the waist and swaddled my throbbing head in my dank T-shirt as I entered this blazing tanning studio. People started popping up with increasing frequency. I waved greetings to some but my flowering headache had put the blinders on and I still wasn’t sure where my path lay. I drank the last of my water and traced one of the vein-like trails up to Prussik Peak. Here I felt the high pressure urge overcome the storm cloud in my forehead. I reached the summit, swinging brown arms and scuffed white hands up the west ridge, and ate my last fig bar. I then laybacked and jammed cracks back down the col where I realized I was at the end of the chain. Though I vaguely wished for more climbing I found, as I eased off my climbing shoes, that I had a simple desire to just amble through this high area. A rich wave flooded my nose. I hastily stowed my footgear and moved off.

 

Miles to walk and hours it took, but they were changing miles and I wouldn’t have traded them. The giardia infested creek was my reason to stay thirsty and when I reached the road and met my friends it was still hot. About a quart of water drunk that day and the last of it smacked up 15 miles ago. I felt I had been sanded by a gravel coated tarp. Sweat salted eyelids, lips gummed up thirsty, and legs made giddy. But I am making this sound like an epic journey and I shouldn’t do that, because it wasn’t. It was just movement.

 

Peter Croft

 

Traverse of the Stuart Range, Wenatchee Mtns, North-Central Cascades, Washington State, USA.

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I suspect that "the tool posed no threat" is supposed to say "the fool posed no threat". It's amazing that the ACC folks digitized all these journals as well as they did...

 

:tup:

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Thanks Lowell. Very cool. A climber in his element.

Stuart N ridge.

Sherpa (no route mentioned)

Argonaut West Ridge

Dtail and Colchuck not mentioned, though inferred by the number of fig bars downed. Did he descend and climb Serpentine or Backbone or scramble the col between the two peaks. This description talks about headaches.

Prussik West Ridge.

No mention of Snow Creek Wall.

Maybe there is a list of peaks and routes somewhere, and I certainly would not diminish this astounding achievement, but it does seem that people's perceptions of this achievement have grown over the years.

 

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The way I remember hearing it, Croft intended to climb the south face of Prussik but because of his sun headache he settled for the west ridge. I don't remember where I heard that.

 

It seems likely that he would stay high and ascend Colchuck and Dragontail by their easiest routes to reach the Enchantment plateau. But I'm just guessing.

 

The part about dropping a couple thousand feet down to get water and climbing back up to Argonaut is something I'd forgotten.

 

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Also, judging from Croft's approach via Stuart Lake and description of cutting steps in the snow/ice, it suggests he did the Upper North Ridge of Stuart (vs. the Complete North Ridge).

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Now drunk enough to not care.. I will pipe in and say this "Traverse" that you are all so in goo-goo love with actually sucks pimpley red ass.... Carry on now. La, la la...

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Yeah, I'm starting to doubt Croft climbed Colchuck or Dragontail, unless he did the walkups. From Argonaut he says he went to the Enchantment Lakes which is on the other side of Colchuck and Dragontail.

 

If that's the case then Telemarker's linkup of Backbone, Prussik, SCW is more technical terrain.

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what is the ridge up argonaut like?

 

i'm thinking about trying this traverse with using stuart w. ridge instead of n. so that i can solo more of it. i think argonaut should be mostly 4th class, but little information is available. . .

 

-booth

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