Avalanche_Lilly Posted July 31, 2013 Share Posted July 31, 2013 Trip: Johannesburg Mountain and Cascade Peak - CJ Couloir to East Ridge and NW Chimney Date: 7/27/2013 Trip Report: I've really been in touch with the telepathic climbing universe lately. A coupla weeks ago I thought, "Man I should get up that Adams Glacier." Ten minutes later I get an email from a friend asking me to go do it. On that trip I started thinking about what I wanted to climb next. Nothing really is calling to me at the moment...except motherfuckin' J-BURG!! As soon as I get back into cell range I receive a message from Brad, the best climber I know, tapping me to join him for a Johannesburg. Um, hell yes!!?!? It's ON! I get my friend Jeremy on board so we can justify bringing doubles for longer raps and the trio is set. Since Brad is an overachiever he also wants to bag Cascade Peak the same weekend. What is Cascade Peak, you ask? I didn't know either. It's the mountain on the other side of the C-J Couloir, the 'C' if you will. Brad scoped it out on his first JBurg attempt and Beckey claims there is a '5.8 NW Chimney' route. Photo from my friend Derek who was up on Forbidden the same weekend. That is tiny Cascade Peak to the left of the CJ Couloir. We followed the east ridgeline of JBurg to the summit. Just because you're so lucky as to climb with the best climber you know, don't assume that means he's going to drag you up everything. It could be quite the opposite, where instead you solo everything, because he simply can't imagine why anyone would need pro right there. I got to sample both sides of the coin this trip! Drive up Friday night. Get to Cascade Pass TH, pass out on the ground in the picnic area with everyone else. There is a group exodus at 4 AMish. Everyone else is doing Sahale. We tell them we're doing Johannesburg. They peer up at the massive 5000' menacing face, then look back at us with a tiny bit of awe but mostly horror. Maybe pity. Classic pleasant climbs with good clean lines and good pro are wonderful but there is something compelling about hideous gnarly choss piles that scream extreme alpine adventure. Brad chugs a 5-hour energy shot which kind of annoys me because he's goddamn too fast as it is already, I do not need anymore disadvantages! The best thing about Johannesburg is that it has zero approach! You walk 1/4 mile down the road, then at the hairpin turn clamber down 30', cross the stream (which can be raging early season, but was nothing for us), bushwhack 15 minutes and you're at the base of the C-J Couloir. 3400' above it is the col, our bivy spot. We start two-tooling upward. The Becky book says 5 hours to the col, Brad says we'll do it in 3. I laughed, but we actually did do it in three, once Brad takes the rope from me after the first 1000'. The couloir gets a bad rap it doesn't deserve. It's quite scenic, not that steep till the last few hundred feet, and for the most part is pretty wide, not this death funnel of rock and ice fall that everyone assumes it is. There is a silly patch of easily avoidable ice which the boys climb through for shits and giggles and to break up the monotony. We reach the col and there is a beautiful bivy spot there perfect for 3 people. I'm glad we didn't take a team of 4 because that would have not worked! We take an hour to drop bivy gear and melt snow and then it is time to tackle J-Burg via its East Ridge. Not-so-harrowing stream crossing. We should be teddy bears and this scene should be imprinted on a Hallmark greeting card or perhaps an old lady sweatshirt. CJ Couloir = 3 hours of endless two-toolin' We cross the snow up a finger to the '5.2 white staircase'. It's granite, and the most solid thing we get to climb. Brad calls out to 'let him know if anyone wants a belay.' I can see already see that simul-climbing isn't going to be a viable option. Good spots for pro are few and far between, and there is so much loose choss that a rope would just knock more shit down on top of us. No matter, time to man up and simply trust in my abilites. I was quite late getting into the roped technical vertical world, choosing to instead scramble up easy scary stuff my early climbing career, so I should be a pro at this, right?! We traverse north across 'heather benches', a bit unnerving because I don't know how well I can trust the veggie belay of a handful of heather. It seems pretty strong...but it's kinda small...and just a plant. Up another 4th class gulley with a few exposed puckering moves to another loose awful gulley and we're on the false summit! Time for some ridge running, the real summit looks awfully far away. We get down on ledges on the southside down from the crest and damn the exposure is huge. After endless precarious clinging to the side of the moutain we turn up a pinnacle and we're on the summit! Topping out of the white staircase: 4th classin' it, Cascade Peak in the background: Ridge running! It's choose your own adventure. I choose the easiest least scary way, Jeremy chooses whatever he sees first. Brad being...Brad. We carried up crampons and ice axe but never needed them, fyi. Summit at 12:30. 7.5 hours after leaving the car and a stop to brew up at that. I CAN'T BELIEVE I HAVE BAGGED THE ALMIGHTY J-BURG!! I remember climbing Forbidden West Ridge as a n00b and being so in awe of Johannesburg, not even daring to be so pretentious as to think I would ever climb it. I happily open the summit register like it's Christmas morning and delight in the fact that there are only a handful of signatures since 2006, and we're only the second ascent of the year. ERMAHGERD WE JUST CLIMBED JERHANNESBERG!!! The downclimb back to the col took us a coupla hours longer than the ascent. There is a lot of downclimbing traversing but all the steep gullies have rap stations. You rap below the heather benches directly onto the col rather than going back down the white staircase. We're back to the bivy site at 6:30. I left the bivy bourbon in the car cuz the container is leaking and I hate myself for it. Luckily Jeremy has some sweet bluegrass on his phone to play and make it feel more homey. We melt snow and our brand new steri pen stops working randomly so we give up and brave the red death. I keep looking over at the Fred Beckey '5.8 NW chimney' route on Cascade Peak. It looks GNARLY. Does Brad really want to climb that tomorrow? Is he really going to make us climb that? Hmm there are three of us. I could bail and sleep in. I joke about bailing but then Jeremy says HE was thinking about bailing. Nope, we're in this bitch together. Mt. Formidable makes a great alternate to a tv set. I think he may be my next crush... We're in bed at 9. Jeremy slept good but a rodent tore up the zipper on the brain to his pack and ate half of his bagel. I froze to death because I'm a tiny girl yet I keep trying to be an ultra light crusher by bringing only a 45 deg bag everywhere. Brad's neo-air popped in the middle of the night, prob because we were on a slope and slipped down into the rocks. Which is good, that will make him angrier and therefore better at leading us up Cascade Peak. Morning arrives and I try not to move, not wanting to wake Brad, hoping he will decide to sleep in and not to climb Cascade Peak. Brad doesn't make us get up till 7:30 (10.5 hours of sleep on an alpine climb, when does that happen!!) and we head over to the base of what Brad thinks is the route in the moat around 9. Brad, shoes wet and cold from the snow, fingers also cold from the snow, starts off on what we think is the first pitch, Becky 5.8. His rack consists of 7-8 nuts and some slings. It's a horribly broken, loose 5-6" crack. Brad climbs 5.12 trad and he's working hard for this pitch so I know it ain't no 5.8. I think he places 2 nuts total. I have to give it everything I got to follow, I call it 5.10. Jeremy calls it 5.9+ or 'Beckey 5.9'. The next pitch I think we are back on route, a somewhat aesthetic 'Beckey 5.8' chimney. Of course Brad has to lead it with no pro as we didn't bring a big bro. I don't get to chimney very often so this was pretty fun! Jeremy is carrying the pack so his life sucks even though he hangs it from his belay loop hahahaa. The last roped pitch should be easy but is completely horribly loose so we're required to use thinner solid holds. We simulclimb from the false summit and reach the summit. No summit register here! In fact, I see no signs of humans anywhere. No rap slings no pitons no nothing. Are we the first ascent in decades?? We make all of our rap stations and rap back down the route. Brad on the heinous first pitch. Perhaps it is an FA? Probably an LA too. No good photo of the kewl 5.8 chimney, but here's Brad on the third pitch: SUMMIT! I would love to hear from anyone else who has climbed Cascade Peak. We're back at the col at 4:30 PM. I do not relish downclimbing the couloir. 3400' of two-toolin face-in downclimbing sounds like hell to me. We did see some huge rockfall/icefalls off JBurg although they stopped on the Sill glacier and never entered the couloir. It's late in the day, the snow is slushy. Every other TR recommends something called 'Doug's Direct'. I must wheedle and cajole Brad into doing this descent, as he was super excited to be so close to the car. I claim I have 'used up all of my mental bravery and would just like a nice easy way back to the car even if it's long.' Brad relents, and that my friends is where I get PUNISHED for being a PUSSY. Who is Doug? EFF YOU DOUG! Doug will tell you a good way to get to Seattle from Portland is through Los Angeles! This descent should NOT be listed as a possible descent at all. The only option is the couloir. After the circuitous unpleasant not any safer 'Doug's Direct' I realized the couloir isn't bad at all. I would rather die in the CJ couloir than do Doug's Direct again. Endless heather sidehilling, up 1000' through 3rd-4th class rock mixed with heather, sketchy 3rd class downclimb on the other side (where it started thundering and all I could do was constantly exclaim "I'm STRESSED OUT!" to make myself feel better), endless traversing on snow and navigating through rock bands to 5 miles of trail back to the car. With all our bitching it did only take us 4.5 hours to reach the car from the col but we were also practically running, fueled by anger at Doug. At least DD is pretty, if you're into that sort of thing. Thanks to Brad and Jeremy for the awesome alpine twofer adventure!! Gear Notes: JBurg: set of doubles for longer raps. There is nowhere for ice screws in the couloir so leave those at home. Leave crampons and ice axe at base of east ridge. Rap stations are plentiful. Cascade Peak: doubles, 7 nuts, mank for rap stations, 1 crazy ass ropegun Approach Notes: None! Approaches are for suckers!! 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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