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[TR] Observation Rock - North Face 9/30/2012


KaskadskyjKozak
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Trip: Observation Rock - North Face

 

Date: 9/30/2012

 

Trip Report:

 

My friend JP and I climbed Observation Rock yesterday. We camped at the walk-in at Mowich Lake and started out with headlamps at about 5:30 am. It was cold at night (about 40) and we walked on some ground hoar frost on the upper part of Spray Park trail. This boded well for nice firm snow on the route. A stream was even frozen on the ridge below the route, coming off the snow fields below the glacier:

 

P10200461.JPG

 

My partner has not done a steep snow climb yet, so I led out first. I wanted to simulclimb if possible as the slope is pretty mellow at the bottom. JP was cool with that. I ended up placing 3 pickets then set up an anchor that seemed just over a rope length from the top, and brought up JP:

 

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To my surprise JP wanted to lead the second pitch, so I pointed out a spot to shoot for that seemed to be a good belay. When he got there though, there was about 40 feet of rope left and I encouraged him to just top out. He was about 6 feet short, so we just simulclimbed that bit and he hip belayed me from the top. It is worth noting that rockfall was minimal.

 

P1020055.JPG

 

At the top it was sunny and surprisingly warm, even hot with convection waves visibly rising from the volcanic, mooonscape rock. We scrambled to the summit, where one solo hiker was just heading out.

 

Summit view of the Nordwand of Rainier:

P1020061.JPG

 

We then headed down, passing a few more hikers on the scramble route. I'm sure the NPS does not approve of rock walls, bivy sites, etc, especially the one below, which is one of the most impressive and elaborate sites I have ever seen anywhere:

 

P10200851.JPG

 

The hike out was quite pleasant, as it always is in summer and fall in Spray Park. Here is a parting shot, with our route the obvious snow ramp on the right.

 

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Gear Notes:

4 pickets, ice axe, 2nd tool, helmet.

 

Approach Notes:

Dry and dusty.

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