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KaskadskyjKozak

[TR] Snow Creek Wall - Champagne 5/12/2012

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Trip: Snow Creek Wall - Champagne

 

Date: 5/12/2012

 

Trip Report:

 

My first attempt on this route a couple of years ago involved being off-route for the top half, and included a descent with my partner with one headlamp in the rain and dark. This time around things went more smoothly, although we did headlamp it out from the base of Outer Space.

 

Snow Creek Wall from the Trail (I need to add the route location - will do it later):

Champagne_1.gif

 

We headed up Snow Creek Trail at 8 am and were roped up and headed up pitch zero (the gully to Easter Tower) by 10:30. The first chockstone was manky as before, and the pull over was definitely not a four-star move. :-) The rest of the pitch was dry with some loose stuff and my partner, PG, knocked down one rock that glanced off my shoulder and almost ended the day before it started.

 

Our other 2 partners (AC and LC), were leading ahead of us, and I listened and watched with consternation as LC led the first pitch (5.7) and complained about it being the "worst climb she has ever done". This was, of course, at the crux. When my turn came, my sails were a bit deflated, but I headed up nevertheless.

 

View up the first pitch:

Champagne_2.gif

 

The pitch starts on climber's right with a weird broken left-facing corner that seems to push you away, while you smear with your left foot. Then you come to a ledge, traverse left, and start up the worst part - a dirty crack. It took me a bit to get up this, which included heavy use of my wire brush and chock tool to perform extensive gardening, along with a stream of profanity and expressions of doubt about making this pitch. At the top of this crack there is a bolt, which I gratefully gripped and hung on for a rest. Next you smear right a few feet to a crack and the footing was, well, not so solid. Seeing how LC had struggled here a bit, and feeling off-put, I wankered out and kept hanging to place a cam, then hung on this until I got my nerve up, and finally headed up a steep series of cracks and chicken heads to the top of the pitch.

 

View from top of pitch 1. Outer Space is in the background and we saw about 6 climbers spread out on it from this vantage point.

Champagne_3.gif

 

PG lead pitch 2 up a thin crack, runout on chickenheads, a gully, and more runout on chicken heads. I am happy to report that no falcons dive-bombed us here as they did last time.

 

The start of pitch 2:

Champagne_4.gif

 

Here we were clearly below a chimney, and I wondered how we could have missed this last time as it is very obvious. I got the honors on this pitch, which turned out to be the most enjoyable of the day (although pitches 2 and 5 were very fun too). The chimney appears easier (and less vertical) from below than it actually is. It's definitely sustained with sparse pro in the upper half requiring you to work your way up and earn every inch of gain. The crux of this was a bulge, which I opted to move out and around (requiring more concentrated stemming) rather than try to squeeze my fat ass through from below.

 

The anchor for pitch 3, which we nicknamed the "Double D Anchor":

Champagne_5.gif

 

AC starts up pitch 3:

Champagne_6.gif

 

AC working the chimney:

Champagne_7.gif

 

Pitch 4 was the easiest, but quite shitty. It's very low 5th, with lots of loose sand and crappy footing even on the rock.

Looking up pitch 4:

 

Champagne_8.gif

 

I led on pitch 5 which was a fun low- to mid-5th class pitch up a left-trending gully. The moves were easy, but it was exposed from off the deck - as most of the pitches are. Pro was where you needed it, but required some creativity to place. The pitch ends on the ridge top of Snow Creek Wall, on its northern end, and high point.

 

PG tops out on pitch 5:

Champagne_9.gif

 

 

The final "pitch" involved a short, airy, low 5-th class traverse to an awkward rappel station.

 

My hand at the top of pitch 5 showing wear and tear from the day's efforts:

Champagne_10.gif

 

The final ridge traverse:

Champagne_11.gif

 

We did three rappels down to scrambling terrain. We all had decided to return via the Orbit walk-off, so we fought our way uphill over dead fall and loose sidehilling to get there. We then stumbled downslope until we hit the obvious walk-off trail, which led us back to our packs at the start of Outer Space. it was dusk, so we donned head-lamps and started out, getting to our cars well after dark. Not quite as epic at last time but still late enough (speaking of epic...we saw headlamps high on Orbit as we walked out...hope all is well with that party). As for this way out versus the Pearly Gates walk-off I did last time... I'd say it's a wash as to which is better.

 

At

 

Gear Notes:

Mid-size rack up to 3". Double-up on small cams to make the first pitch more sane. We placed a BD #10 hex several times on the route.

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nice work. we were two of the six on OS you saw (on the ground as you came by) and watched your work. was wondering if that was champagne and now I know.

Edited by genepires

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nice work. we were two of the six on OS you saw (on the ground as you came by) and watched your work. was wondering if that was champagne and now I know.

 

hey cool.

 

When we walked up at first, I bet you were thinking... "great - 4 people going to be queued behind us...". ;-) Thanks for the DEET - I sprayed my arms and saw not one tick the whole day!

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Awesome!! Looks pretty sick. Perhaps I'll get up there one day soon.

 

Please do... and bring a wire brush and clean up pitch 1 some more. With some more traffic the route will be a lot better!

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I was one of the 8 people on OS saturday, we were #3 in line. I stopped mid pitch on the headwall and took this pic. A guy seconding 20 feet above me, his belayer on library, and group #1 leading up P6. Our hopes to do orbit in the same day were dashed against the rocks when we spent about 3 and a half hours sitting around napping at the belays. at least there were plenty of people to shoot the shit with.

 

179926_3978553260690_1186393944_33783021_1446284374_n.jpg

 

saw you guys on champaign, I've always wanted to check that route out. thanks for cleaning it up a bit.

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Whats it rated?

 

It's in 11-worth rock. The approach pitch to the notch at Easter Tower is rated 5.8. The crux pitch (pitch one) is rated 5.7, and is pretty sustained. I'd say the chimney has some 5.7 and otherwise sustained 5.6. The rest of the route is 5.6 or less.

 

 

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Yo', Stopa, good work, Pals!! :-)

Question about this: "LC led the first pitch (5.7) and complained about it being the "worst climb she has ever done"."

 

Knowing that LC can climb 5.10s, what did she meant? Difficult or dirty?

 

Cheers!

GA

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Knowing that LC can climb 5.10s, what did she meant? Difficult or dirty?

 

Yo Gaucho, long time no talk. The climbing wasn't hard, just awkward made worse by the fact that you were smearing on moss/weeds and there was nowhere to set gear. Maybe if I am bored later this summer I'll bring my gardening tools and head up again. I bet there is a nice crack under all that dirt.

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Knowing that LC can climb 5.10s, what did she meant? Difficult or dirty?

 

Yo Gaucho, long time no talk. The climbing wasn't hard, just awkward made worse by the fact that you were smearing on moss/weeds and there was nowhere to set gear. Maybe if I am bored later this summer I'll bring my gardening tools and head up again. I bet there is a nice crack under all that dirt.

 

The wire brush helped that. :-) This was just on a 20 or so foot section of the route (at the crux of course). I managed to dig out enough dirt to place a couple small cams.

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You mentioned hanging from a bolt. I don't remember any "good" bolts when I last climbed that route. There were several nasty, rusty spinners.

 

Got any additional comments about the walk down to Pearly Gates? Is it brushy?

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You mentioned hanging from a bolt. I don't remember any "good" bolts when I last climbed that route. There were several nasty, rusty spinners.

 

Got any additional comments about the walk down to Pearly Gates? Is it brushy?

 

Yup, same bolts. "hang" means I clipped a draw and grabbed the draw.

 

We did three raps and walked up to the Orbit walk-off this time. Last time we walked down to Pearly Gates in the rain (and dusk turned dark) and I can't really comment on how well we chose that way down. There may well be a decent trail which we did not find for a while.

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Last time we walked down to Pearly Gates in the rain (and dusk turned dark) and I can't really comment on how well we chose that way down. There may well be a decent trail which we did not find for a while.

 

The descent to Pearly Gates is very easy, especially if you stay on the ridge crest that overlooks snow creek to the east and the upper Icicle Canyon to the west. Brush is minimal.

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did you take a 50 or a 60? Do you think it could be done with a 50?

 

Is that 3 full single raps?

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did you take a 50 or a 60? Do you think it could be done with a 50?

 

Is that 3 full single raps?

 

We took a 60 and I think you need it for the first proper pitch. The raps were less than a full rope length.

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That route was climbed before 50m was the standard. It was also climbed before cams were the standard. I think no matter how you do it, it's going to be different than the last person. Just go climb it, leave the wire brush and bolt kit at home. It's a classic alpine adventure and let's try to keep it that way.

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That route was climbed before 50m was the standard. It was also climbed before cams were the standard. I think no matter how you do it, it's going to be different than the last person. Just go climb it, leave the wire brush and bolt kit at home. It's a classic alpine adventure and let's try to keep it that way.

 

Who said anything about a bolt kit?

 

A wire brush is useful to clean out the dirt from that part of the crack to put pro in a few spots where otherwise you'd have nothing. A chock pick can work too.

 

Have YOU climbed it recently?

 

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Me and Ed Hobbick linked up Orbit and Outer Space on Memorial day in 16 hrs CtoC. We were going to link Orbit and Champagne but took too long on Orbit so decided to do what we knew and not the new adventure. So it will have to wait for next time.

 

Snow Creek wall at 7:00 am

WALL1.jpg

 

 

 

Right side of SCW

ROUTE10.jpg

 

 

 

 

Champagne from two tree ledge

LIB-LEDGE.jpg

 

 

 

Champagne from 6th pitch of Outer Space

SIXTH.JPG

 

 

 

 

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Me and Ed Hobbick linked up Orbit and Outer Space on Memorial day in 16 hrs CtoC. We were going to link Orbit and Champagne but took too long on Orbit so decided to do what we knew and not the new adventure. So it will have to wait for next time.

 

 

Hey, cool! 16 hrs for both - not bad!!

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Got back to Seattle at 2:30am, I'm beat today, went to work and was almost falling asleep standing up.

 

Don't know how many more link-ups like that I have in me, over the hill and picking up speed.

 

Only took doubles of finger sizes and Camalots to number 3. Used to climb it with less than that but really starting to notice the runouts now.

 

Both Orbit and O.S. have these cool pitches where you turn a corner out onto a face and big exposure. Like O.S. on the crux pitch, your crouched on this little pedestal looking up around the corner at the crux and contemplating the big air.

 

Hey K.K. Can you trace the Champagne route on the "Right Side of SCW" pic for us if you get a chance?

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Hey K.K. Can you trace the Champagne route on the "Right Side of SCW" pic for us if you get a chance?

 

Yeah, I keep forgetting.

 

But... it is really easy. When you get to the notch at Easter Tower, you basically go up and veer to the right slightly on pitch 2 and 4. There are variations of course as well. Be sure to hit the chimney for pitch 3 otherwise you miss the fun.

 

 

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