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first ascent [TR] Lake Wenatchee - [FA] Alpine Dropout - 300m plus, WI3 12/12/2009

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Trip: Lake Wenatchee - [FA] Alpine Dropout - 300m plus, WI3


Date: 12/12/2009


Trip Report:

Ben Hargrove and I climbed a sweet new line on the north face of Nason Ridge - starting at Lake Wenatchee, topping out near Alpine Lookout and exiting below Round Mtn TH. The quality of ice, position and length of the route (over 1000 feet of ice, 4000 feet total ascent) made this unlike anything else in Leavenworth.


Route overview (w/o lower 500 feet or upper 1500 feet to ridge):




Started near the gravel pit and crossed the Little Wenatchee River which was barely frozen in one section (w/o the freeze this climb would end here since the river is too far to haul a boat too - unlike Drury's easy river access!). Ascended 1000 feet to the base of the ice.


Route started with a 60m pitch of WI3. Ben leading P1:




The climb then stayed in a slot surrounded by walls of the same high quality gneiss that is found at the Nason Ridge climbing area on the opposite side of the ridge.


P2 was 60m of WI2




This lead to the crux pitch which was the only less-than-stellar pitch of the route since it was showering water and I got real soaked.




We simuled the next 800 vertical feet with lots of great WI2 to WI3- sections up to 30m tall.




Besides the cool feel of being high on a lonely north face, the views to the north of the Entiat Mtns and the Glacier Peak area was a nice change of scenery.




After over 1000 feet of technical terrain, we dropped the rope and ascended about 2000 feet of snow to the saddle on Nason R just east of Alpine Lookout. The sting in the tail was the last 500 feet of deep snow pulling on trees while trying to not to victims of tree well inversion syndrome or collapsing cornices. We reached the ridge right at sunset.




Homefree! A quick sprint for a about four miles east along the ridge, over Round Mtn and down 3000 feet to the second car on the road to Round Mtn TH. Not! Boot top breakable crust resulted in a five hour slog to the car. Actually, it was a calm, beautiful evening but too much calm, beauty is not healthy. Reached the car at 9:30 PM and Headwaters for pizza by 10:00. Stuffing our faces too much to join in the karaoke comp.


Overview of our walkabout




Bracing for the collective yawn and "oh boy, another WI3 in 11worth," this route is so much more unique than a typical Leavenworth dribble to nowhere. A 4000 feet plume line with over 1000 of quality ice ending on a remote ridge. Seemed similar to longer climbs in Lilooet or longer moderates in the Canadian Rockies. I doubt this one comes in much or is typically buried in snow.


Name comes from finishing near Alpine Lookout and my rotator cuff surgery in May causing me to miss a complete alpine season for the first time in 17 years. Ouch, that hurt way more than the knife.


Gear Notes:

Screws only, GPS.


Approach Notes:

Need a frozen river or a boat. Do not traverse Nason Ridge over Round Mtn. Next time, I would try to drop the south side of the ridge somehow working around the cliffs which could suck too.

Edited by Doug_Hutchinson

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I can't believe it had never seen an ascent!!! I looked at that line every day for weeks when I lived up there and worked at the Headwaters back in '05.

It's easy to see up lake from about the white river road jct, and it always looked like a decent shot from the pull off at the gate by the quarry. There's still beer and drool on my binos from lookin' at that line. Way to go!!!

U guys are KILLIN' it this season already, and we here back in the NE are still awaiting first sticks. We're usually in the Daks or Smugs gettin' swings before thanksgiving!


N-I-C-E work, boys. Dude, guy... wicked good!!

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Saw this climb on Sunday on my way up to Stevens - sure looked sweet from the road.

Great pics and good to see Ben and you are getting out for some snice!

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Good job on getting the trip report Doug done you know i would have not got to it. Thanks Moira for changing plans so Doug and I could go climbing it was a great route.

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good catch. how was the ice looking in the alcove to the left?


Your Hidden Lake routes looked really good but there was nothing really continuous between those (which are obviously way to the left of the enclove you are referencing) and Alpine Dropout. However, there were several much steeper single-pitch lines not that far left of our line (between 3000 and 5000 feet) but they are probably hidden by towers and not visible from the Lake. Complex terrain in this area. I always wanted to establish a long rock route here but, upon closer inspection, it would be discontinuous and ramblingly.

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What...no skiing this weekend? Nice work old man!!!


Marcus, you can breath a sigh of relief. After a whopping three days of ice (gotta pace myself, I could hit double digits at this rate), I moth-balled the tools, grab the boards and had a silly good day of skiing at Stevens today.


Why are you wasting your time with new scrap in the Gorge when there are still plenty of FAs on NoPo's high quality cottonwoods?

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