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OlympicMtnBoy

[TR] Silverton - Various 12/10/2013

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Trip: Silverton - Various

 

Date: 12/10/2013

 

Trip Report:

Surprised I was, that no one else seems to have gone to Silverton off the Mountain Loop during this last cold snap. :yoda:

 

I made three trips there over the last week or so, so here is what I found.

 

Thursday December 5th:

Matt S., Kyle, and I headed in with the usual expectations of taking the tools for a walk. There was one set of footprints leading 2/3 of the way in. Travel was a bit annoying with powder over brush/rocks and the first three falls you encounter in the valley were quite wet with big holes as usual. We headed farther in and up a bit to the Silverton Sickle. This was also running with a lot of water so we hiked up the brushy gully to the right of the ice and rapped in to check it out.

There was actually more ice than we thought and it was pretty solid, but we had a TR so we ran 50m laps on the second pitch. The lower angle gulley above had open water and ice on both sides, but seemed like a recipe for a swim. After lunch we did another rap and TR'd the first pitch, also leadable and easy after TRing it (gotta love the early season wussieness factor).

 

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Sunday December 8th:

I returned with my girlfriend Courtney, figuring the continuing cold might have further set things up. I was right and all three of the nearest falls appeared fatter. We chose to try the rightmost of the three falls and climbed ~105 meters to the top of the main falls. The first pitch was fun WI2 up a rocky gully with cool ice features, the second had a tiny bit of WI3 in steps and ended at a small pool. There was a short rotten looking bit of ice above that but we called it good and rapped off a tree and a v-thread.

 

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Tuesday December 10th:

I figured this was the last chance before things warmed up so I talked Matt H. into driving out to join me to climb the longer looking lefthand line of the three. We arrived to find things looking quite a bit wetter than Sunday despite temps still a bit below freezing (high flow?). We headed up anyways.

Great plastic ice just kept going up and up and we ended up climbing SIX full pitches (~300 meters) of mostly continuous ice. The first four pitches got us to the top of the falls including a bit of lower angle stuff on top ending at another pool with a large log across it. I led two more pitches up with only ~40 feet of walking between until things started to get a bit bushy. We could see some more rambling ice a couple hundred feet farther up but didn't want to do the snowy bushwhack as it was getting on in the afternoon and our ropes were freezing solid. I imagine this route parallels the Sickle route, maybe merging higher or getting near the west ridge earlier. A few steps of fun WI3 and some pleasant cruiser 2-2+. We made double rope raps off 3 trees, 2 v-threads. and a rock horn.

 

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We didn't see any signs of previous ascents and who knows how often these freeze solid enough to climb. I'd love to hear if anyone else has done any of these three falls.

 

Just in case though I'll continue the metal implement theme and call the left line the Silverton Spoon and the right line the Silverton Fork. Someone needs to climb the Knife in the middle as I didn't have time and am heading to India tomorrow.

 

At a base elevation of only 2000 ft I would expect these to be falling apart but who knows, the Sickle supposedly stays in shape as it's more insulated in its gully.

 

More pictures here: https://picasaweb.google.com/104708573545176184583/SilvertonIceClimbing?authuser=0&feat=directlink

 

Gear Notes:

Lots of screws of all sizes, no rock gear needed. 2 ropes (the mythical ones that don't get wet and freeze would be nice).

 

Approach Notes:

See Washington Ice. Park on the side of the Mtn Loop highway and walk across the bridge. It appears you have to cross private property to get to the Silver Gulch trail but no one said anything to us. Be polite and low profile.

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pretty cool, collectively it reminds me a bit of belmore / isadorth gullys up on the duffy

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Excellent TR- This is a great place. A buddy and I climbed the 2 left falls about 10 years ago, but your conditions look way nicer. I recall we rapped off some blueberry bushes and a snow bollard.

 

Thanks for the report

 

MH

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Yeah, I was in there in January last year and those three falls were pretty thin and very wet. It was fat this time, no problem finding v-threads when there wasn't a convenient tree.

 

Hanman, how high up did you climb? It looked like at least one more rambly pitch above us but it disappeared into the bushes/cloud.

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Thats awesome! I have been waiting for someone to post a Silverton ice TR.

I have been back to that place a few times over the years, but have never found it as solid as it was in 2000 when we climbed Silverton's Sickle.

Thats a great effort to go back 3 times and get some stuff done. Like the route names also. Thanks for posting.

 

 

 

 

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