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Braydon

Confidence Building Snow Climbs

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Hey guys,

 

One thing that I've never really been comfortable with is steep snow/neve/snice...I was scared out of my mind down climbing Hood a couple years ago and although I've gotten a little more comfortable since then I haven't really done enough to be where I'd like to be. I know the technique and everything I just don't think I've done it enough to get it down mentally. Anyway, what are some good routes around here like steep couloir climbs you can do this time of year w/o a rope? Maybe something I could use my tools on? Or maybe some stuff that would make good simulclimbs for practice?

 

Thanks

 

Braydon

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sounds like luetholds coulior on hood would be good for you

 

I've looked into that a little but I hear it can be pretty underestimated...haha maybe something a little less committing in Snoqualmie or the Enchantments or Stuart area first.

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um, i wouldn't think of luetholds as being all that committing - if you wig out you just go back down and do the climb of shame back up to illumination gap :)

 

it's a very reasonable solo - takes about as much time as a standard s side climb

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Since the OP stated he was scared out of his mind down-climbing Hood (presumably the S Side route) then perhaps Leuthold's (with the length, relative commitment for someone not comfortable down-climbing, and the possibility of falling snow and ice) may not be the best choice for someone looking to learn skills well within their comfort zone.

 

The SW Couloir on SEWS is great in May when the road opens, as is the North Buttress Couloir on Colchuck.... not sure what's in good shape at this point in the season, given the relatively low snowpack...

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I cut my teeth climbing the simple peaks in the easily accessible Tatoosh Range. There are tons of great snow climbs for folks of any skill level. Plummer Peak is a great one. With year round access to Narada Falls these makes good first winter climbs too. Get out there!

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36101_1_.jpg

 

There I am, age 12. :) Good times. We didn't really need the rope, but my buddy thought it would be fun for me to get some practice.

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I started out climbing by wandering around the white mtns of NH. I ended up doing many different angles of snow by just getting around. You could just spend time exploring the different nooks and crannies of snoq pass and you will end up climbing many different snow angles and types. I remember going up some gulley off the basin below the tooth that was steep and soloable. With a solid and safe snowpack, you could just wander around, exploring the many areas near your house.

 

also the mclellans butte area has some steep snow.

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bryant peak at snoqualmie pass, no rope needed, some good steep snow.2nd tool not needed, but could be used if you wanted the practice.

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i second red mtn, SW ridge. Under the right conditions(hard pack), its a great climb.

 

So generally if you have shitty icy skiing conditions at Alpental, does that mean these climbs will be hard packed as well?

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I'm looking at McClellan Butte tomorrow (Braydon, want to come? I need a partner.) and I am a little worried about protection opportunities. Is there any possible pro besides pickets?

 

-Mark

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You can drive to the base of that climb right now. I rode my moto up there 2 days ago. You can sling trees along the way, but it's only about 50 degrees at the steepest section.

 

19679_1312784494239_1069453798_30936487_5882142_n.jpg

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Pickets are pointless IMO... if the snow can actually hold them solid enough to take a fall then you shouldn't fall off because you have you axe and solid steps. And if it is scary and crappy snow and you feel like you could fall off.... then pickets won't work anyways, just get a deadman or two, those are better.

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Pickets are pointless IMO... if the snow can actually hold them solid enough to take a fall then you shouldn't fall off because you have you axe and solid steps. And if it is scary and crappy snow and you feel like you could fall off.... then pickets won't work anyways, just get a deadman or two, those are better.

 

I have to agree with you on that one Marc...

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i second red mtn, SW ridge. Under the right conditions(hard pack), its a great climb.

 

So generally if you have shitty icy skiing conditions at Alpental, does that mean these climbs will be hard packed as well?

 

Bump on my question...

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watcha plannin on doing crevasee rescue w/ then, 8-ballz? :)

 

excluding some of the volcanoes most North Cascade glaciers are fine unroped if you are good..... some pocket glaciers can be real bitches though :)

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excluding some of the volcanoes most North Cascade glaciers are fine unroped if you are good..... some pocket glaciers can be real bitches though :)

 

What in the Sam Hell are you talking about? "If you are good"? Saying if your ESP is "good" to know where the hidden crevasses are? :grlaf:

 

Not picking on ya here, but just saying it doesn't take much of a crevasse fall to cause an epic or worse.

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excluding some of the volcanoes most North Cascade glaciers are fine unroped if you are good.....

This is NOT on a volcano, but is in North Cascadses:

IMGP2150.JPG

 

It may be hard to generalize...

 

Talking about NBC on Colchuck, there was a thin close-to-vertical step when we did it in a lean snow year. We drytooled it without roping up, as it was only around 10-12 ft tall. It was an easy snow ramp another time, when we went even later in the season in a good snow year.

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Braydon-

 

There are lots of aesthetic and technically easy couloirs around the I-90 corridor. Check out:

 

- the slot couloir on Mt. Snoqualmie

- North Couloir on Mcclellan's butte

- East gully on Chair peak (the descent route from the NF and NEB)

- the East and South gullies on Guye peak (might want a partner/rope for these in this low-snow year. the summit traverse can be tricky)

- The couloirs that lead up to the flanks of the Dutchess & the Duke in the Alice Creek cirque (next to Mt. Kent and Mcclellans butte)

 

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