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[TR] Snoqualmie Mountain - Recon of new route potential- NW Face 3/6/2011

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Trip: Snoqualmie Mountain - Recon of new route potential- NW Face


Date: 3/6/2011


Trip Report:

On 3/6/11 with Ktschmid.


Avvy danger stabilized enough for us to get out again this past weekend. Saw quite a few skiers enjoying the new snow. As they passed us in our snowshoes we said “well, they may be faster on the way UP, but we’ll be faster on the way.. oh.”


Our Recon/exploratory climb/turning-into-showshoe hike around mt. Snoqualmie went up via phantom slide, then traversed below NW Face, checking out potential new routes, then up slot couloir. Then epic wandering descent in the dark, where we got off-route and Karl uttered the unfortunate words “well, as long as we don’t end up above the waterfall.” Of course, we ended up above the waterfall. Out came the rope and 2 raps later, we were past it on the left, and strolling down to the car.


8am departure from car, 12:30am return.


Long day! Good workout but wow, once we left the boot track behind and struck off into seldom-traveled territory, we were postholing on the way up, and plunge-stepping on the way down. In our snowshoes. It was that soft.


At one point, we said, let’s put the crampons on and try to claw our way along the rock/snow interface to get to the damn route. Bad idea. It took me an hour of swimming uphill in fluffy, chest-deep snow to go the 100 feet to the little patch of ice that marked the beginning of the route. Should have conceded it and put the snowshoes back on, but the snowfield was so steep at that point, the shoes weren’t much better. When we finally got to the base of the route, exhaustion, bad pro and an initial slightly overhanging move defeated us. Given the lateness of the hour, we decided discretion was the better part of valour and left. We barely got 2’ off the deck on our new route. We then traversed over to the slot couloir/enigma gully and slogged up in our snowshoes. Did I mention it was SOFT!


Still a great day out and awesome exercise. Fantastic beautiful setting on the far side of that mountain.


I’ll definitely be back ASAP. I am gripped by new route fever.


Other routes:

NY Gully and Pineapple Express were snow covered.



PB&J- The Breakfast of Champions.



Chair Peak under a brooding sky. It was overcast all day, but no wind (and no blinding heat) made for a pleasant outing.



Looking down the descent gully to the NW face.



Enjoying the spectacular setting.



A fine time to wipe my nose. Nice picture Buddy. Looks like I'm digging for gold.



As others have remarked, there are moments where you can get a real big mountain feel over there, especially if some clouds roll in. We loved it.



Gear Notes:

None yet. Gotta climb it first!


Gut notes: Losing 4 pounds in the 2 weeks between our last TR and this one was extremely helpful ;) I was almost able to keep up with my 20-something partner this time. Getting back in shape yeah baby. Now where’s that beer?



Next time, (once the avvy danger subsides and allows another window) It would be better to camp overnight, to get a fresh start on the route(s) in the AM and increase chances of success.


Anybody want to partner? Karl is going to Utah for some sport climbing (smart man) and has given me permission to have another go without him. You need to have experience with drytooling and it would be great if you were a hard man/woman who can lead M6 so I can bask in your reflected glory.



Approach Notes:

Phantom Slide is a nice way up here, for sure. There is a good description by Dane in his TR for Blue Moon which was helpful. Only thing to add is go uphill right after you enter the trees, taking the first solid-looking boot track that offers.


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The xtra-smilies, like guitar guy, beer, etc are no longer working on cascadia climbers.


"Thumbs up" :)

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