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[TR] FA: Mt Bigelow - Tribute to Richard, 5.10c 8/23/2011

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Trip: FA: Mt Bigelow - Tribute to Richard, 5.10c


Date: 8/23/2011


Trip Report:


Tim and I climbed a new, relatively short route on the East Face of Mt Bigelow. Some of you may be familiar with this peak from Washington’s Top 100 list. It’s east of the small town of Carlton (S of Twisp) up the North Fork Gold Creek road.


We started up casually on Tuesday morning and hit upper Eagle Lake as the sun was just reaching this beautiful alpine lake.

Spent awhile starting at the golden colored granite on Bigelow’s East Face and tried to piece together connecting crack systems. It was tough to really discern what was a flaring offwidth, a potential handcrack or an unfriendly seam from below. Once we figured a potential line, we just went for it and tried not to spend time that would just pysch us out. The granite was very good which was super cool, but as expected the rock was often covered heavily in lichen, face and small foot holds started as brittle edges that needed testing and breaking off and cracks needed to be cleaned of sandy and brittle edgles before jams would stick. This led to very slow climbing as we did all the cleaning with our hands and feet. In retrospect, a wire brush or two would have been worth the weight for sure.


The face is steeper than we expected (seemed pretty much plum vertical) and we were happy that we brought a double rack to #3, and a #4 was nice to have along though wouldn’t have been absolutely necessary for the line we chose.


Pitch order:

P1 – 5.8, very enjoyable climbing up an easy chimney and then traverse out left at 15m or so. Climb up finger crack and layback around and up flake. Then traverse left onto face proper with some nice exposure before hitting the belay alcove directly at the start of a fist sized crack bulge. 30-35 meters


P2 – 5.9, up the crack off the belay over a fist crack bulge to a left slanting crack to a good stance. Then step left to a short right facing corner/dihedral and up and right to a prominent left facing dihedral. Up this dihedral to a small, but comfortable ledge besides a triangular perched block. 25m


P3 – 10c, step left from the ledge (a bit balancy) into the prominent “S” crack which trends up and left. Mix of hand jams and off hands with thin, smeary feet and then through slightly overhanging jugs to bypass the crack where it pinches down. These moves are exposed but really cool. Then jam left with crappy feet to move through this left traversing crux and into double cracks with a stance. Cleaning and pulling this crux on lead was taxing and required down climbing to rest once before pulling it proper. Double cracks were fists and wider and I was spent and mostly out of gear, so I traversed out left on face holds to a great stance next to a small tower. 35m


P4 – Stem between the face and the tower and up to the summit ridge. Unrope and walk north to the Bigelow true summit. Short – 15m?



Ben at Upper Eagle Lake


Golden Granite on the East Face


Line drawn in as best as I can with MS Paint! Circles are belays.


Nearing the base


Racking & shoeing up, East Face above Tim


Tim heading up P1


Tim higher on P1


Me moving past the fist crack bulge on P2. No more shots from this pitch since the bulge blocks view of climber.


Starting pitch 3


More P3


Tim topping out!


Me on the summit, looking north to Raven Ridge



Other interesting looking lines:



Formation left of Mt Bigelow (looking from East)


Further left yet




Gear Notes:

Double rack to 3", #4 used twice but not really necessary... didn't place much small gear


Approach Notes:

8 miles more or less from TH, ~3500' to base. Great, fast trail.

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Way to make it happen!! That takes some guts heading up into the steep unknown, strong work. I would imagine that Richard would be proud, if he ever got off the toilet.

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