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sparverius

[TR] Colonial Peak - Watusi Rodeo 2/23/2015

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Trip: Colonial Peak - Watusi Rodeo

 

Date: 2/23/2015

 

Trip Report:

IMG_20150222_130912_1_.jpg

 

Stanislav and I hiked into the Colonial Basin Sunday afternoon with the goal of climbing Watusi Rodeo. This route has been high on my list since moving to Washington five years ago and has been a recurring topic of conversation for Stanislav and I at the start of each winter. The approach into the lower basin took about 4 hours. We encountered moderate but brief bushwacking once we emerged from the forest and camped low with good views of the face.

 

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We awoke early in the starry cold and were moving by 3. The upper basin is guarded by clliffs, so we scoped our approach the previous evening. In colder winters the upper basin can be gained by climbing ice gullies or mixed ground through the cliffs. But without ice down low, our only viable option was to ascend an avalanche gully near the head of the valley. We wound our way up avalanche debris and eventually low angle ice for 1000 feet to the upper slopes. The snow was in perfect condition and we were at the base of the face ahead of schedule. We rested in a moat and waited for first light to illuminate our route.

 

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Once on the face proper, the great conditions allowed us to cover ground quickly. The alpine ice was plentiful and while not offering the best protection, gave secure sticks in steeper gullies and faces. The only real problems came at the very end as I wallowed in vertical sugar snow for 100 feet to gain the summit ridge. The climb had been a dream-like meditation for me up to this point and the real threat of falling through the bottom of the elevator shook me from my reverie. At the edge of desperation I found a knifeblade placement before traversing to the cornice. Once beyond the cornice, 10 feet of rotten mixed climbing vaulted me out of the freezer and onto the sunny summit. We spent a luxurious hour on the windless top and gazed at the Pickets and beyond.

 

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We felt secure enough in the incredible conditions to simul-climb the entire face in four long pitches in just under 7 hours. We wasted an hour or two on the lower half with route finding shenanigans. The ice was thick enough on the flows to place 16cm screws. The descent was circuitous and arduous as we had to traverse the lateral moraine of the glacier almost all the way to the base of Pyramid's north face before descending mellow slopes to the upper basin. Another long traverse, a descent through a steep avy ravaged forest, and a single rappel off of a tree led us into the icy gulley leading back to the lower basin. There might have been another way to get down to the basin from the upper basin, but we could not see it from above or below.

 

We went straight down to the creeks edge to avoid brush and blowdowns later in the forest. It really didn't matter, as the scree hopping was just as bad. Hiking out on the springy moss of the forest floor next to the creek was therapy for our weary feet.

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

6 cams, a handful of nuts and knifeblades, 10 screws and one picket

 

Approach Notes:

We parked at Colonial Creek Campground and hiked on the left side of the creek, staying a few hundred feet above the creek to avoid cliffs above and below. If camping in the lower basin, scope out your approach to the upper basin as well as the descent route.

 

 

 

Edited by sparverius

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Cool, I was thinking the other day that this route would probably be in fine shape. Good job on getting it done!

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just a guess but I think "luck" went to be "look".

 

awesome job on watusi. Curious how often it gets climbed?

Edited by genepires

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just a guess but I think "luck" went to be "look".

 

awesome job on watusi. Curious how often it gets climbed?

 

At least four times:

 

Mark Twight, Mark Bebie et. al.

Forrest Murphy, Dan Aylward

Dave Parker, Wayne Wallace

These guys

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YEAH!!!!! :tup::brew:

 

That is an impressive climb, glad you survived the topout.

 

And Dan, Colin climbed it with someone awhile back.....

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Nice work buddy! Glad the conditions were mostly as good as you hoped, and that you got to climb it in such style!

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just a guess but I think "luck" went to be "look".

 

awesome job on watusi. Curious how often it gets climbed?

 

At least five times:

 

Mark Twight, Mark Bebie et. al.

Second ascent April 89 by rat and Mellonhead

Forrest Murphy, Dan Aylward

Dave Parker, Wayne Wallace

These guys

Corrections noted above

 

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/140726/3

Edited by num1mc

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looking to be one of those magic winters :)

 

If by "magic" you mean shite.

 

For skiing anyway. Climbing, obviously, is good.

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nice job.

 

re: how often it gets climbed, I believe somewhere buried on perhaps Dan's TR I think the understated rat climbed it in the 80's probably for its second ascent, so this might be #7 or so.

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this has only been repeated 5 times or so? wow....

 

I'm part of "Mark Twight, Mark Bebie et. al."

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Posted (edited)

As someone alluded to above, Colin Haley and Mark Bunker climbed it in 2009. Here's the TR:

http://colinhaley.blogspot.com/2009/01/watusi-rodeo.html

Returning home from rock climbing at the Pass yesterday, we stopped at Diablo Dam. The view of northern aspect of Pyramid Peak nearby was impressive. Colonial Peak is out of view to the left of Pyramid, hidden by the forested ridge.

 

FF30C579-3303-4E4F-A803-2B8C132B7077.jpeg

Edited by bargainhunter

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