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Andy_Bourne

Winter Routes

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Just wondering if anyone has been out to climb any interesting winter routes? Not necessarily water ice, but anything in the mountains. I have been looking for some ideas for 1, 2 and 3 day routes on alpine terrain.

Specifically, if anyone knows anything about winter routes near Darrington, like Whitehorse or Three Fingers, or some of the winter climbing that might be available off Cascade River Road south of HWY 20. I'd love to get some advice.

Thanks.

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My buddy and I did the Cooper Spur route on Hood about a month ago. It was pretty thin with respect to snow cover which made the ascent that much more difficult and gripping. No trustworthy pro to speak of ("I hope winding my way through these rocks will catch the rope in a fall") but it was fun nonetheless. Probably a lot easier now that we've received some snowfall (that has also melted away).

Haven't done much else.

Rob

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I posted a little write up on this already, but here goes again with a bit more detail.

Doug Walker and I climbed the South Rib of Guye Peak this past Sunday, 1/7. I'd call it Grade II 5.0, though Fred calls it 4th class. The first two pitches seemed to have a few fifth class moves, but mostly it's scrambling on mixed terrain. Plenty of rock showing, with snow (both hard and soft) and little bits of ice right now. Doug had climbed this route three times before, and noted that it is easier now with less snow.

We parked in the big lot near the end of Oberstrasse Rd. (not sure it's public, but it was empty with plenty of room). From there you head up and right to the base of the rib, then work down around the back a bit toward Commonwealth Basin. The route starts left of the South Gully by about 150 ft.

We climbed the whole thing in crampons, used one axe each, and used cams and nuts to 2". We belayed the first four pitches then simul-climbed the rest. Lots of trees for anchors. It took 4:45 car-to-car, with the descent off the north side down to Alpental, then walk back to the car. You'll see plenty of tracks once you're on top, and tracks on this route and the South Gully route as well.

Certainly worth considering as a fun and convenient one-day route.

[This message has been edited by MrGoodTime (edited 01-10-2001).]

[This message has been edited by MrGoodTime (edited 01-10-2001).]

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Derek:

Have you done the W. Ridge of the N. Twin this winter? I did that in late summer in 1986, but haven't been up there in winter. I remember a maze of logging roads and a sea of clearcuts just getting to the route. Are things any better these days?

Thanks,

John Sharp

Bellevue

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Thanks for the suggestions. I have gotten alot of replys about the twins. We actually have gone up there already, on the 1st of the year, and they were really nice. North face and West ridge were climbable. And, yes, Mr. Goodtime the approach is still unappealling.

If anyone been into any of the peaks in the Darrington area, I'd love to hear about it. Especially the Whitehorse Glacier, Three Fingers, Big Four, etc. Maybe I'll just have to find out myself.

And Derek, punter or not, acclimatized or not, we'll see who is huffing and puffing. (Biotch)

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it would be nice if we could get a hold of his book. any one know where? sounds like he isn't publishing it anymore..

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I got a copy of this book after simply looking up Dallas Kloke's address in the Anacortes phone book. I sent him a letter and he replied with a price figure for the book. Then I just sent him a check directly and got a copy of the guide.

The book is interesting but unfortunately set up in a rather odd manner. The routes are in alphabetical order as opposed to in order by region. This makes it a bit difficult to get one's bearings in the book sometimes.

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I climbed Baker Saturday from the car and skied from the summit via the Coleman, Demming route. The route is nice except for some covered crevaces (saw a guy fall, ran to help him, but his partner was able to pull him out. He was lucky, but I think his arms are a bit sore today. After that I had the mountain to myself and was glad for it). The snow was really good if you stayed on the skiers right of the ridge and wind your way through the crevaces. Oh, on Saturday you could drive almost right up to the parking lot.

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I've done Whitehorse and Big Four in winter. The main route on Whitehorse (I think Beckey calls it Ice Gulch?) is really only feasible in winter, when the snow cover reduces the amount of bushwhacking. Even then, it's remarkable amount of slogging though slide alder to get to snow and rock.

On Big Four, I did the east-facing gully (I think it's called dry creek?) in February a few years ago, and it was great. Access for Big Four is a problem, but there's been so little snow, the road might be open closer to the trailhead.

Don't follow Beckey's guide for the approach, though. Just hike in on the trail to the snow caves, then bear around to the left, scrambling over the house-sized boulders and stream beds, to get to the base of the climb.

For route details, refer to Beckey, or e-mail me if you want my detailed recollections.

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Thanks alpineTom.

Hey, Allyoucaneat, were you the solo guy on Baker, or were you one of the guys in the team of three with snowboard and two telemarkers?

We tried to summit on Sunday and it was bad. You definately hit it on the nose going from the car on Saturday. (I was with the group camping at 6000' asking about beta for the route)

If anyone goes up there, I'd personally rope up for it. The snowpack is thin enough to break, but it has been windy enough to cover up some crevasses. That dude who fell in got lucky as hell, they didn't rope up and he said his pack was what stopped him.

Congrats on the summit ski.

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Yea, that was us, the snowboarder and the two telemark skiers. It is too bad the weather turned on you because it would have been a great climb...

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Did Mt Baring over the weekend.It is a fun climb an easy two days or one long one.Light snow conditions make for some intersesting travel through the south side trees, but route from basin is great.Not a technically difficult climb but some nice exposure on steep snow and rocks toward the top.

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Some winter route ideas:

Lane Peak in the Tatoosh has three couloirs to choose from. The middle one is mostly 45 degrees with a short steep step.

The North Buttress Couloir on Colchuck is a nice 45 degree, 1500' couloir with some mixed climbing going from the couloir end to the summit (up to 5.4, scarce pro). A bit of a grind this time of year.

El Dorado can sometimes be accessed in a low-snow year. We had it all to ourselves back in 1993.

Pyramid Peak (near Diablo Dam) is a good one.

The Liberty Bell group can be accessed fairly easily from the east side. Lots of good couloirs to be had.

Good ice forms along the base of Mt. Index some years.

Whitehorse has a nice bivy upon exiting the timber that's safe from avalanches. The route is steepest just prior to summiting.

Enjoy - and be avalanche savvy...

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That friggin' Hemlock thinks he's so god damned cute. I wonder what he'd think if he knew this whole thing was a fake. Sure, that agent Wormwood, he was supposed to get killed. Why do you think we hired the drunken bum. The germ formula? That's the really cute part...it's a phony!

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Mr. Goodtime:

No. You can tell Dragon I'm back in retirement.

Pope:

I feel it's only fair to warn you in advance that I'm going to have to waste you a little. But you'll be all right. Of course, you may have some trouble playing the clarinet for awhile...

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Well, I got you a gun, a C2 special with no serial numbers. It's in the candy box. Now, what's this about wasting me? Hemlock, I think it's only fare to warn you that I'm a black belt.....Karate! Geeeehaaaaa!

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Well the Eiger birds are flocking in: jet-setters, assorted zombies. If they're lucky they'll get to see a man get killed. Sound grim? So is the Eiger.

Pope: I'm going back into the hotel. When I come back out, I don't want to see you around anymore. Understand? Good boy...

So I hear a foehn is blowing in. What's a foehn? Warm, then rain, then a freeze. All in a flash. That whole mother of a rock is going to be covered in ice. To find a crack to drive a piton in... the cracks are all iced up. But you can sure as hell drop through to your neck at any time! They won't be able to go up, they won't be able to go down, they're just going to be stuck.

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Folks,

Can we stick to local winter routes?

Can you take the idle banter to e-mail?

Thanks, Alex

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Alex,

Relax, buddy, pal, sweetheart. I can see that you've got winter mountaineering on the agenda and that you have little time for such foolery. If you really want some hot ideas for cold climbs, let me lay a few on you:

 

West Tiger(North Face, of course) in the Issaquah Alps. Try going light--I think that a winter ascent of this manly hill would challenge the hardiest of NW alpinists, but to do this without bivouac would firmly establish you in the serious circle to which you so obviously aspire.

The "Great Dihedral" just left of the "River Face" on Bruce's Boulder. In contrast to my previous suggestion, this adventure could develop into a real expedition, what with the requisite ski approach and the fact that very few parties have attempted the dihedral in winter. Since you'll be pushing the limits of NW mountaineering on relatively unknown ground, bring it all: ice pitons, rock gear, bat tent, GPS, bug spray, bolt gun, Dolt Cart, etc.

Finally, if you manage both of these worthy projects in one season, you might think about coming in out of the elements and signing up for one of the many splendid seminars offered down at the Pervertical World this winter! I mean, let's face it man, we could all use a few more pointers on how to refine our back-stepping technique! Cheers.

 

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Isn't the North Face of West Tiger Mountain the site where tragedy struck the 1972 Korean expedition right there at the notorious Kern's step? I believe they were the first to attempt to free the final 5.8+ bombay chimney in the dead of winter - alpine style, no bolts. Sadly, they were overtaken by a fierce winter storm - the likes of which have only been witnessed in remote recesses of the coastal Chugach range in Alaska. If it weren't for the heroics (theatrics?) of rescuer (who else?) Big Lou Whittaker, everyone may have perished - would-be rescuers and all. Big Lou (sporting an REI down parka and RMI guide sweater) single-handedly lifted the rescue chopper into the rarefied air and set it on its way to safety - a feat of strength and courage unparalleled in mountaineering history.

In his unique taciturn style, his solitary comment on the rescue mission was "Today, the mountain's really showing off!"

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****

edited, hey we really don't need that up here cowboy

[This message has been edited by tim (edited 02-12-2001).]

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