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first ascent [TR] Silver Horn - F.A. - Spice of Life - III 5.10 8/12/2010

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Trip: Silver Horn - F.A. - Spice of Life - III 5.10 C1


Date: 8/12/2010


Trip Report:

First off: Im impatient and kind of an internet numbskull so I've posted photos on picasa Spice of Life Photos

If someone could send me a PM with some simple instructions to insert directly I would appreciate it.




So awhile back I was visiting our friend Blake Herrington and talking about climbing. Go figure. He was showing me some photos of his trip to Silver Horn in '08, remarking about the rock quality and pointing out the two lines that now existed from the previous ascents. To my peaked interest (pun intended) there was a large corner system on the upper half of the formation that still lay untouched.


Fast forward a few months and my good friend Mike Pond and I are getting psyched to go fire this thing. We roll into Mazama with perfect July weather but get sandbagged by athletic tape. Turns out Mike is horribly allergic to the adhesive substance on the tape and after taping his ankle for a long day in the mountains it swelled up and blistered for a week. Ugh.


Fast forward again, roughly one year. Im coming off an injury, Mike has not climbed any serious rock for a few months and needs a good send off before he goes to Ohio for grad school. :cry: Seems like a perfect time to test this idea of ours deep in the mountains so we start hiking up the Cedar Cr. Trail outside of Mazama. This trail is super mellow for circa 7 miles. We hit the first major drainage and started the uphill schwack that would lead us into the proper cirque. (It turns out that a pretty decent, albeit discontinuous trail can be found that runs about 50 yards climbers right of the drainage creek.) From the cirque it is obvious where to go and we settled in for an open air bivy in the gorgeous meadow below Silver Star, Silver Horn, and the surrounding peaks.


We woke at dawn and began the approach up through the slabby gully just east of Silver Horn to the base of its apron wall. Blake's line, Playin' not Sprayin', is an obvious corner system that looks fantastic. Although tempted by what is sure to be great climbing for the apron pitches, for the sake of doing something new we opted for a corner/crack system that runs between sprayin' and The Chalice.


We swapped leads as we climbed and after reaching the bench and looking up the massive corner system that lured us up there I almost creamed my pants. The climbing through here is fantastic and the position is awesome. Topping this out we were met with a surprise. Thinking that it would top out, instead this put us about 15m below to summit. The rock for this short pitch left something to be desired and we probably would have opted to finish on the last chimney pitch of sprayin' as it was just out of reach via a sketch down climb. I attempted to tackle what seemed the "best" section of rock via an offwidth through a roof. My OW skills also leave something to be desired and after fussing with the crux for a bit and not totally trusting the rock/gear I frenchied the move :provoke: and finished what was still some hard 5.10 climbing to the top. Mike tied in short so he could haul the pack up this last pitch and was able to pull through with a well placed fist jam. A quick mantle on the summit block and some belly timber for the soul left us ready to descend.


To descend we rapped off the W/NW side into the gully (1 rappel) that heads south to into the cirque. Eventually cliffing out we resorted to rapping from tree to tree. Wondering if we took the shitty way down as we approached the final rappels down some slabs Mike made a mild suggestion to rappel of a questionable bush. As he said this I looked at my feet and there lay some sunbleached tat around a horn. I chuckled at the circumstance and remarked that we either had indeed taken the right way down or someone else had made the same mistakes. Assuming there was not a skeleton below we replaced the worn cord and reached terra firma 2 raps later.


After all the terrain covered with the moments of tension and joy, at the end of the day, adventures like these boil down to one thing. Climbing is what we love to do. It is the spice of life.


Pitch Breakdown:


P1: Start 60 or so ft' right of Playin' not Sprayin' in a giant left facing corner. This widens drastically and move left into another left facing corner. Follow nice fingers to hands past a hollow flake until it pinches down to a seam. Pull right over an arete and back into the original corner for 20' to a small ledge with a tree. Move left along wicked finger rail traverse back into the other corner system (5.10), past some hanging flakes to a tree belay. 40m


P2: Head straight up into a left facing flake/corner. Move past some slabby tree-grovel moves up and left of a small roof (past some more trees) and up about 15' right of a wide crack. Pull a bulge into a finger crack (5.10) that arcs from hands to wide and onto the belay. Sick! 60m


P3: Follow grooves and a small flake up to the bench mid point. (5.7) 10m


From the bench, move the belay left until you are below the awesome left facing corner. The next two pitches are brilliant.


P4: Follow beautiful, mostly clean cracks on great rock. Stem your way up and pull a wild exposed mantle out right to the base of a prominent hand crack. (5.10-) 1" - 2" gear for belay. 50m


P5: Climb the splitter until forced into chimney moves. Grovel/climb/work your way up until forced out left into a corner. Follow up into crazy orange rock and chimney up through the horn feature. (5.10) 60m


P6: Climb exfoliating, suspect rock through an offwidth roof (effin hard!) and continue with mostly wide crack to the top. (5.10+ ish) 15m


Mantle the summit block and be psyched.




Gear Notes:

Doubles in fingers through hand sizes. Single #3 and #4 (crucial). 60M rope. Good approach shoes.


Approach Notes:

Head up Cedar Cr. Trail for circa 7 miles then start bearing west up into the alpine cirque. From there it is obvious to the base of the apron.

Edited by Spiral_Out

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Haven't seen much FA action on the forum this year...


Shouldn't it be 5.10 C1 if the leader didn't free it?

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Nice Matt and Mike, glad you had a good trip. Isn't that cirque beautiful? And the rock quality not too shabby either. I think Sol's right though, for now the dealio is 5.10 C1. But that's just good incentive for someone else to go in there and enjoy the place on the FFA. We rappelled generally SE (right of all 3 climbs) and I remember joking that we were using Fred B's shoelace for one of our anchors of somesuch. There's plenty of good horns and good rock to rap off, but a bit of tat and some bailable nuts would handy.

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Yeah 5.10 C1 it is. I guess i'm just being presumptuous for the hardy soul who goes and gets that final pitch clean. I'm sure they will find it clocks in around 10+.


Yeah Blake, that cirque is unreal. I can't say that I've been to a place quite like it in the cascades. Do you remember the aspen groves on the way in as well? That was a welcomed surprise.

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I'm glad you climbed that corner. I remember walking over there and looking up it and thinking how beautiful it looked (your pics don't do it justice). To bad about the munge, our route had some of that too. Nice work.

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