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KaskadskyjKozak

[TR] Horseshoe Peak - Standard 9/7/2014

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Trip: Horseshoe Peak - Standard

 

Date: 9/7/2014

 

Trip Report:

 

This weekend I enticed a few folks to tackle this remote, less-traveled peak. Interestingly enough, we were far from alone - a party of two that I am friends with hit Horseshoe and Buckner C2C the day we approached, and we encountered another party of 3 doing the same itinerary as an overnighter.

 

We got to a crowded Ranger Station at 7:15 to secure our permits and drove to Cascade Pass TH tout de suite, anxious to make progress on this long approach. We set no speed records to Sahale Camp (~4 hours), took a water break, and then proceeded downwards along the impressive rock walls extending from camp to the E.

 

Cascade Pass around 9 am:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_017.JPG

 

We stayed on rock as we traversed before crossing one short snow patch above a recently calved snow/ice block and then headed down class 3 rock.

 

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_027.JPG

 

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_028.JPG

 

We stayed skiers left to avoid the potential objective hazard from these blocks and to keep the stream in sight. This proved to be a mistake as the going was slow and halfway down the waterfalls the terrain steepens dramatically and is no longer class 3.

 

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_029.JPG

 

After some scouting around, I traversed sharply to skiers right and then angled downwards and right all the way to talus. From here we descended cement-like, bullet-proof dirt with embedded rocks to cross the stream at about 6700' and then went up a short steep slope to the top of the "hidden gully" leading down and into the upper Horseshoe basin. We crossed a small snowfield and then scouted around the slabs above us for a reasonable flat spot to camp. Within a few minutes we settled on a spot at about 6800 feet. Total approach was 9 hours with all the route finding shenanigans, but it was only 6:30 or so.

 

We woke up before dawn and began our traverse around the basin. The first 1/2 or so of this was on a very nice easy ledge/slab system that went quickly. Once we hit talus the going became much slower and more tedious. We ascended dirt to the remnants of an old mine.

 

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_064.JPG

 

We then continued up hill under Ripsaw Ridge, keeping right against the wall where the ridge meets the talus as much as possible.

 

Pano looking back towards camp from the traverse:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_032-PANO.jpg

 

Early on we hit one snow patch, which was bullet proof and required crampons and careful footwork. At about 8000 feet the going became significantly worse as we crossed a few nasty drainages (dry). The very top of the ascent was the worst by far, once Lick of Flame came into sight.

 

Just below and to the left of Lick of Flame:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_063.JPG

 

After a brief rest we began scrambling class 3 terrain trying to find a way to the base of the route which we could see. In fact a party of three was already topping out the route there. With some routefinding shenanigans we found ourselves at the base of the climb. I led first and placed 3 pieces of pro. The final move to the summit required some thought, but I was able to get a cam in right before and felt comfortable pulling the move free. I brought up my follower and then our other party members joined us on a 2nd rope.

 

The views were spectacular!

 

Buckner:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_060.JPG

 

The mighty Boston Glacier:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_035.JPG

 

Since we had two ropes we just did a double rope rappel which got us to the soft dirt in the gully just below the route.

 

Rappeling next to the one and only technical pitch:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_056.JPG

 

View South:

Horseshoe_Peak_-_Sep_2014_055.JPG

 

It was late (1:30) and we knew Buckner was not in the cards today. We retreated retracing our steps to camp. Two party members were feeling the effects of 2 long days (9 hour approach, 12 hour camp to camp summit day). With only 1.5 to 2 hours of daylight remaining to get through the nasty gully, bullet proof dirt slopes, and class 3 terrain by the waterfalls we all opted to spend an extra night out and beg forgiveness from our bosses post facto. We slept until 3:30 am and headed out. The weather was already worsening in the morning - cold, windy and cloudy, but no precip. We all acknowledged that we'd made the right choice as even fresh in the morning it took 6.5 hours to get to the cars.

 

The ice in my cooler had melted completely but my beer was still cold. :-)

 

Gear Notes:

C4 #3 or .5, red tri-cam, small cam, long cordelette for anchor.

 

Approach Notes:

99% snow-free (or at least you can avoid it)

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Let me guess, was it Linsey who did Buckner and Horseshoe CTC?

Edited by DPS

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Nice job.

 

You mention there was only one "technical" pitch, which maybe means you broke out the rope and belayed, but it sounds like there were lots of other spicy moments that underscore that mountain routes can be harder than their technical ratings would suggest.

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Nice job.

 

You mention there was only one "technical" pitch, which maybe means you broke out the rope and belayed, but it sounds like there were lots of other spicy moments that underscore that mountain routes can be harder than their technical ratings would suggest.

 

Thanks Rad

 

I found the route to be pretty chill... nothing too spicy. But perhaps I'm just inured to it at this point. :-)

 

It's a wild place though, and very beautiful back there!

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