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wayne

Willis Wall analysis

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I added my suggestion already. Climb it in April, with maximum snow cover, and climb it when there has been a prolonged dry spell and the temperatures are cool. You'll be able to climb right up the thing without screwing around in harms way and you'll probably be able to face out and walk down Liberty Ridge, right back to camp.

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I like the matt's early spring and weather suggestions, but this could be the year for a serious look in the late fall with the exceptional snow year we've had on the mountain.

 

Late Sept early Oct 2011 may see favorable conditions

 

Possibly...

 

d

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Having been on the wall in early March we found very reasonable conditions as it had been a low snow year. What stopped us was high winds (viento blanco). You will spend more time on the approach than the climb. For us the biggest objective danger were the cracks. I can not remember the last time I fell into so many. At one point my partner and I both went in - albeit different cracks. After we bailed and got back down to the moraine the whole central face blew out.

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Jens and I summited on July 1, 2006. I think we may have the one and only summer ascent of Willis Wall, ironically.

 

We climbed three roped pitches, but on one the rope was unnecessary, repeating the first ascent route: The East Rib from a bivy on Curtis Ridge.

 

The rock, obviously, is pretty crappy. The first belayed pitch, which was near the center of the face, we climbed in the dark and Jens described it as the worst pitch of rock he'd ever climbed. The higher we got the better the rock got- the areas under the ice cliffs are scoured of anything loose.

 

That said, the lack of unconsolidated snow on the face allowed us to move very fast between points of relative safety. We did find a few spots where we weren't right in the firing line, but not that I would describe as outright 'safe'.

 

I understand your obsession. Willis Wall got under my skin like only one other route (our Jberg FA), from the day I first read Fred's description of the Traverse of Angels back in the mid-90s.

 

Sorry I haven't finished the TR. I sort of lost my muse for writing TRs before I got it done.

 

Get'er done!

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I'll say it: I don't get it.

 

I guess if the perfect condition/weather window came together then sure but still... why? It's been climbed before and your chances for getting hit by rock fall and/or getting squished are respectable. Are you really willing to stick it out for the Willis Wall? If you don't mind sticking your neck out for some objective hazard I can think of a few unclimbed lines in Alaska and Canada that would be much more deserving of the risk.

 

my 2 cents

 

 

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Actually the East Rib is quite safe especially if one takes the cut off. It has about as much objective danger as some of the other Rainier routes that I have been on. For instance, for many years Curtis Ridge was considered to be a dangerous route. However, we found reasonable rock (by Rainier standards) and very good climbing.

 

BTW I find the descent down the DC to have quite a bit of objective danger. And more people have been injured and killed on it than the Willis.

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BTW I find the descent down the DC to have quite a bit of objective danger. And more people have been injured and killed on it than the Willis.

 

More folks have been killed in airplanes than in space shuttles. Does that make space shuttles safer?

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I'll say it: I don't get it.

 

I guess if the perfect condition/weather window came together then sure but still... why? It's been climbed before and your chances for getting hit by rock fall and/or getting squished are respectable. Are you really willing to stick it out for the Willis Wall? If you don't mind sticking your neck out for some objective hazard I can think of a few unclimbed lines in Alaska and Canada that would be much more deserving of the risk.

 

my 2 cents

 

 

You don't have to get it. Just like I don't have to get some people's desire to lift weights and climb inside on sunshiney days (or any days, for that matter). For me, that people enjoy climbing on overrun, overmanaged routes like the DC in summer is equally nonsensical. It doesn't make this empirically wrong or right.

 

What's senseless to one person is a perfect desire to another. This makes the humanity interesting.

 

So if Mr. Wallace is jonesing for a remote, seldom climbed, whispered about location in the Cascades, I say all the power to him. Looking back 15 years, that's how routes like Girth Pillar, the Ice Cliff Glacier, Jberg, and Drury Falls were regarded. Most of these have become overrun trade routes now, so where's a person looking for untrammeled adventure close to home (i.e. the Cascades) to turn?

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BTW I find the descent down the DC to have quite a bit of objective danger. And more people have been injured and killed on it than the Willis.

 

What Blake said. The DC is a trade route and sees thousands of ascents every year, so naturally more people will be injured/killed on it than on the Willis Wall.

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"I think we may have the one and only summer ascent of Willis Wall, ironically."

 

Dude, wtf have you been smoking? 'cuz obvioulsy you need to get out more.

 

Best route on WW isn't. Thermo is a better line. As far as lines go...between the ridges and walls on the north side I think there are more fun and more beautiful climbs. But WW does have some appeal if for no other reaon than conversations like these to gloat on ;)

 

But I wouldn't go as far as "only summer climb". Silly but more importantly a grossly inaccurate comment.

 

Certainly no challenge in the climbing. Decent level of snow pack or decent snow conditions and some cold temps is all that is required. Being well acclim. between 10 and 14 will help obviously. Conditions can be good in Spring and in Fall. Having been there both seasons I prefer the conditions/approaches on the N side in the fall.

 

I would expect the conditions be spectacular this year. YMMV

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Certainly no challenge in the climbing. Decent level of snow pack or decent snow conditions and some cold temps is all that is required. Being well acclim. between 10 and 14 will help obviously. Conditions can be good in Spring and in Fall. Having been there both seasons I prefer the conditions/approaches on the N side in the fall.

 

True, this fall could be stellar. I would only add that being able to get a bead on those pesky cracks before they get a bead on you, could be a plus to a fall attempt also...

 

On the DC, doing the DC is a great way for relative beginners to learn some important lessons about the mountain, and gain confidence. Otherwise difficult to understand...

 

On whether to climb the DC in summer, or the WW or not, I say to each his/her own. It's part of the beauty of climbing. Freedom of the hills baby.

 

Good luck Wayne.

 

d

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"I think we may have the one and only summer ascent of Willis Wall, ironically."

 

Dude, wtf have you been smoking? 'cuz obvioulsy you need to get out more.

 

Best route on WW isn't. Thermo is a better line. As far as lines go...between the ridges and walls on the north side I think there are more fun and more beautiful climbs. But WW does have some appeal if for no other reaon than conversations like these to gloat on ;)

 

But I wouldn't go as far as "only summer climb". Silly but more importantly a grossly inaccurate comment.

 

Certainly no challenge in the climbing. Decent level of snow pack or decent snow conditions and some cold temps is all that is required. Being well acclim. between 10 and 14 will help obviously. Conditions can be good in Spring and in Fall. Having been there both seasons I prefer the conditions/approaches on the N side in the fall.

 

I would expect the conditions be spectacular this year. YMMV

 

I said "I think" and "may" because I'm not certain. It's a good idea to provide some supporting evidence before you label something "grossly inaccurate".

 

Yours is perhaps the most passive-aggressive chest-beating post I've seen on this site since joining in 2001. Classic. And a good example of why the traffic here has dwindled so much.

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Most of these have become overrun trade routes now, so where's a person looking for untrammeled adventure close to home (i.e. the Cascades) to turn?

 

Untrampled adventure that dont have significant objective hazard in the cascades?

 

Unclimbed Hozomeen West Face

Unclimbed East Face Three Fingers

Unclimbed ice line climbers left of Drury

Unclimbed ice in Strobach

Unclimbed ice above Craig Lake

Unclimbed Destroying Angel

2nd Ascent/First Free Ascent of Goat Beard

Heart of Darkness

East Face of Slesse

West Face of Gunsight

Anything on Bear

ANY Doorish route :laf:

 

I'd be willing to bet many cc.com contributors could add to this list...

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Oh, for crimney sake, I am certain, what a freakin wanker. Need a short history lesson or a definition of summer do you?

 

Well documented Ist ascents on Willis wall?

 

Charlie Bell June 11/12 1961

 

Ed Cooper and Mike Swayne June 26 1962.

 

Dave Mahre, Jim Wickwire Fred Dunham and Don Anderson, East Rib, 21-hour, June 8 1963

 

Caldwell and Dix June 15/16 '67

 

Schaller and Nelson in June 15/16 of 71

 

Climbs that I know of personally in late June 75 and late June 77.

 

"where's a person looking for untrammeled adventure close to home (i.e. the Cascades) to turn?"

 

Obviously not Willis Wall. It was well traveled 40 years ago!

 

Most climbs on the north side of Rainier weren't documented via the Park Service between the '60s and the late 80s. Simply because it was and continues to be a pain in the ass to register on that side. It is insulting to climbers (me included) that were there long before you.

 

I agree with John.."why?" John has earned that opinion on the N side btw. Know Wayne a bit. So know why and respect that. But there are better routes on Rainier's north side. Passive agressive? That is hugely funny. The agression was intentional...but nothing passive about it or much patience for totally inane bs.

 

 

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Fair needle :) But I think that arguement is better made via Winter. Conditons change rapidly as Spring arrives in the mtns.

 

"22 December and 19 March" seems more definative.

 

 

June climbs on Rainier? Not so much. Either way others have been there first and more than once.

 

"The Western definition based on solstice to equinox is more frequently used where a temperature lag of up to half a season is common.[5] In North America, summer is often the period from the summer solstice (usually June 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) to the autumn equinox. Unofficially, the U.S. summer season is commonly regarded as beginning on Memorial Day weekend in May and ending on Labor Day weekend in September."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer

 

Some how the statement

I think we may have the one and only summer ascent of Willis Wall
seems a little excessive ;).

 

 

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honorable roy bean jr, it was a statement in jest, of that I promise. I'm not actually in the business of re-hashing hardy climbs from my relaxing bardo-state pre-zygote days. june is summer, más o menos.

 

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I said "I think" and "may" because I'm not certain. It's a good idea to provide some supporting evidence before you label something "grossly inaccurate".

 

Yours is perhaps the most passive-aggressive chest-beating post I've seen on this site since joining in 2001. Classic. And a good example of why the traffic here has dwindled so much.

 

Say what you may, and go ahead and call Dane passive aggressive. The fact is, you made a claim with out even a modicum of research, and you were called you on it. The fact that you used the modifiers "may" and "I think" does not excuse your laziness, stupidity or self adoration

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so where's a person looking for untrammeled adventure close to home (i.e. the Cascades) to turn?

 

Not too far...

Edited by Sol

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Wayne, you're way better than this. It's just waiting for somebody stupid enough to ski it!

 

But good luck if you must and come home psyched and safe.

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Anybody climbs that wall deserves more than a "modicum" of respect imho.

 

All bullshit aside.

 

d

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Wayne, go do it. You are solid on bad rock and ice.

 

When Loren and I climbed it, we knew the serracs could calf off at any time. What I didn't expect was the amount of rockfall that we encountered. Stones were whizzing by constantly. I went because I had to cancel my Eiger trip previously and wanted a buzz.

 

Thermogenesis is certainly a pure line but it is not as steep as the rest of the wall and involves no rock climbing. I'd ski it but my wife would kill me.

 

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If there was a web cam pointed at the upper cliff you could see if there was any timed pattern to the calving. I bet there is to a certain extent, because it's just a glacier that's moving over the cliff. So after there's a huge calving there shouldn't be another one from that section for a certain period.

 

It would be nice to confirm that theory with a web cam, with maybe some kind of motion sensor so you wouldn't have to search through hours of footage.

 

I don't think there's any affect from temp or time of day. I remember watching the glaciers on Slesse. They seemed to calve at random, even throughout the night. Maybe they did calve more during the heat of the day, but that was well below freezing level and the Willis Wall cliffs should be above it.

 

I think if you just go up without trying to get a feel for the place you are def rolling the dice.

 

I recon'd Curtis ridge a couple of times and spent the night there each time at 10K. Out of those couple days I think the upper cliffs had only 1 major calving. That calving was only a medium sized section of the upper cliff so it might be hard to predict if a section next to it would go soon after.

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