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dorianlee

[TR] Chief Joseph - NE 3/21/2010

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Trip: Chief Joseph - NE

 

Date: 3/21/2010

 

Trip Report:

Wallowa Lake

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Four young hooligans headed to Joseph for spring break. A whole lot of buffoonery and some mountain climbing ensued.

I picked up the crew in Newport and we made the first of many incredibly timely departures, leaving town around noon on the 20th. A long drive as usual, the nine hours is best accompanied with the mindless consumption of potent food, some music, plot scheming, swagger talk, and other pleasure inducing things. Another way to break up the time is a venture into the La Grande Walmart super-massive-consumption center, where you can surreptitiously wander amongst the aisles with weirdos and good deals abound.

Chief Joseph, from the town, of Joseph. We climbed straight up from the large brown pole to the left.IMG_2177.JPG

Once in Joseph we went straight for Fernmaster's lakeside cabin. Here we continued our carb loading gluttony before passing out. The next day we began the climb, but only after hours of gear sorting and jaunts into town to pick up last minute supplies. The plan was for a total of five nights in the mountains, and between climbing gear, clothing, and luxury foods we already had huge packs so we decided to leave the snowshoes and whiskey behind. The former would turn out rather awful. By 2 o'clock we were on the move up Chief Jo, for us this meant simply walking outside the house and heading up. Despite our lazy-ass departure time, good progress was made initially and we plodded uphill with little rest. Things turned foul however, when shortly after the snow level we encountered some rather objectionable tree-falls. Deep snow mixed with criss-crossed layers of log humping obstacles and leg hungry holes slowed us down and made for some relatively treacherous conditions below tree-line. With time, we made our way higher, finding decent terrain at times before everything turned to complete crap.

Crawling for progress, slightly entertaining but mostly unsavory

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As the skies darkened with oncoming weather, the post-holing party began. In no time we were getting dumped on with fresh snow while doing whatever we could to move forward. Post-holing up to our hips was interspersed with crawling on our hands and knees and general deep snow wallowing nonsense. We eventually found a flat spot worthy of camp and decided to call it a day as it was getting dark and the weather was coming down pretty hard. On top of that, we weren't sure of our location on the mountain and the whiteout wasn't doing anything to help us find the chute we were aiming for. The weather didn't abate by morning so we decided to call day number two a rest day. We packed our faces and rested up for the next day's adventure.

Joseph's north face from camp. Pick a line, any line!

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Day three was glorious with completely clear skies and virtually no wind. Snow conditions were even shittier than before but with light summit packs it was doable swapping leads. Once past the initial couloir, we opted for a more featured ridge line to the left and trenched our way higher. The climbing was tedious but fun, a unique mixture of insanely deep post-holing, rock scrambling and tree climbing all at the same time. From the top of the face, we followed a line of cougar tracks coming all the way from the summit. The tracks were mighty fresh and we probably just missed him. Whats odd is the tracks completely disappeared at the point where we hit the summit ridge.. On top we spent some time and enjoyed the best summit views Oregon has to offer. The weather forecast looked grim so we all agreed on escaping the mountain that day.

Shots from summit day:

Heading up

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Following cat tracks on the summit ridge

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Mount Cusick at the end of the valley, a large undertaking this time of year

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I've taken a liking to the wide angle lens lately

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Summit shot towards the high Wallowas: Hurwal Divide, Matterhorn, and Sacajawea

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Back in town, the bar manager hooked us up with free beers.. Nice! Perhaps it was our exceptional attempt at karaoke, or maybe it was because she was drunk, old and toothless, and overly randy..

With some spare time before leaving town I decided to scramble up Bonneville a ways to eyeball route possibilities for the near future. Not far up the mountain I found this tree freshly inflicted with unknown serious trauma.. and holy damn I would want no part with whatever caused it.

Any Ideas?

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Gear Notes:

Floatation would have been nice.

 

Approach Notes:

Exit house, aim uphill and go, jumping property lines as necessary.

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nice trip. Tree looks like the victim of rockfall, or avalanche or some such nonsense.

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It was a fun trip, snowshoe's fo sho next time (i think thats the third year ive said that...)

 

Here's some more pics

 

Camp

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The face

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Anyone climbed the obvious line on the right? It's the best looking route on the face IMO, I wanted to give it a go but it was way too warm.

 

Hurwal divide

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Sacajawea

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This face was my original goal for the trip, we came nowhere close... next time...

 

Chillin on the summit

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The way down

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Great TR, way to wallow in the Wallowas. Those are some interesting photos, had no idea there was great climbs to be had.

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i really enjoy the wallowas in the summer, would love to get over there in the winter though for approaches and the likes it seems prudent to first learn to be proficient on some form of skis.

love the pictures, looks like ya'll had fun which sounds like you accomplished that mission perfectly.

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Thanks Bill! It was a whole lot of wallowing for sure. Gaining holds on the trees and rocks up high was a nice change in scenery, and who would of thought you'd get a killer bicep workout on such a tame route?

The tree damage was probably the result of a boulder. The inner fibers seem to be piled at the bottom instead of torn away and out as a beast might do, and the angle of fall is right. It just happened to be located next to a huge animal bed and lots of tracks so it had me thinking.

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