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whinckley

[TR] Buck Mountain - North Face - Wild Game 2/22/2015

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Trip: Buck Mountain - North Face - Wild Game

 

Date: 2/22/2015

 

Trip Report:

Around midday on Saturday (2/21) Braden and I drove to Fish Lake and the start of Chiwawa River Road only to find it closed more than 20 miles from the trailhead. In hindsight, we probably should’ve checked on this minor detail before loading up the truck and driving out there, but I’m glad we didn’t. We discussed changing plans and climbing something closer to an open road, but after asking around we discovered there were snowmobiles available for rent right where the road was closed. Problem solved - we strapped our climbing and bivy gear to the back of 2 rented sleds and rode them to the end of the road where we spent the night.

 

On Sunday we started at 4AM from our trailhead bivvy (2,800’), walking on 3-5 feet of well-consolidated snow beside the Chiwawa River and then along Buck Creek to access the North Face of Buck Mountain. Travel conditions were perfect, with hard snow the whole way, and it took us about 5 hours to arrive at the small glacier at the base of the face. We started up steep ice to the left of Buck Shot and then continued simul climbing through less sustained terrain. As the face got steeper, we pitched out two mixed sections. The crux pitch came in this section and fell to Braden. This pitch involved wandering, tenuous dry tooling connecting patchy snow/ice with limited protection opportunities and some mandatory simul-climbing due to a lack of suitable anchors. After this we simul climbed up snow and easy mixed terrain before pitching out 2 more mixed pitches to gain the ridge around 6PM. In all, we climbed 8 pitches with quite a bit of simul climbing. After finishing the face, we tagged the summit (8,528’), enjoying the sunset lighting up the sky and the stunning views of surrounding peaks.

 

To descend, we traversed the summit plateau and went down the Southeast Face into the Alpine Creek drainage ending up next to the Chiwawa River about a mile from our bivvy. This descent was more straightforward than reversing our route and approach. The only problem was that we were on the wrong side of the Chiwawa River. We searched for a place to cross, but couldn’t find one, so in the dark night we took off our boots, rolled up our pants, and crossed the river holding on to each other to stay upright. After more than 17 hours on the move, the cold water felt refreshing on our feet and legs, and crossing the river was our final crux. We packed our stuff back on the sleds and raced along the totally empty trail back to the truck. My head hit the pillow at home the same time I had woken up that morning, the final ending to a memorable Cascade adventure day shared with a good friend.

 

Buck Mountain - Wild Game IV WI5 M6R/X ~1,800'

 

Other notes: No exposure to cornices overhead like right side of face.

Beckey book says:

“North Face: The face was climbed by Cal Folsom and Mark Moore in September 1976. The climb proved to be extremely loose and dangerous – the party warned others to avoid this climb.” We don’t have any more info on where they climbed, but believe this was the first time this line was climbed in winter.

 

Buckbetaphoto1.jpgbuckbetaphoto2.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

We brought ice screws including 2 stubbies which saw lots of action, knife blades, lost arrows, nuts, hexes, a single set cams to BD #2, and two 60m half ropes.

 

Approach Notes:

No skis needed on approach

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Nice. Bout time someone climbed something this year.

 

Anyone know where this route goes in relation to Dan and Rolf's route?

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awesome.

 

that might be the first complete ascent (i.e. to the summit) of that face. it is possible that cal and partner climbed the north ridge (see wayne's tr from a year or two ago).

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:tup::tup::brew:

 

It's cool to see the pictures after hearing the story.

 

Was there ever a TR for the Polish Route or just the brief mention in the AAI blog?

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Was there ever a TR for the Polish Route or just the brief mention in the AAI blog?

 

Aren't you on the wrong mountain?

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:tup::tup::brew:

 

It's cool to see the pictures after hearing the story.

 

Was there ever a TR for the Polish Route or just the brief mention in the AAI blog?

 

Wrong mountain but the same team crushing alpine ice in the NC. Will and Braden climbed the PR on Colfax in January and I'd love to see a TR for that climb too.

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No TR for the Polish Route. In short, we caught it in really good shape but it still proved to be a full-value shakedown for me.

 

As far as keeping the stoke alive, Wayne, here's my take..

 

After taking some time away from climbing stuff like this I've come to realize that climbing certainly isn't all there is to life; however, adventure, spending time with friends, physical and psychological challenge, being awed by wild places, and especially the perspective an intense experience like Wild Game can shed on ones life are certainly great reasons to get after it. Taking time to think hard about why I climb has been the best thing I've ever done for my stoke. If that doesn't do it for ya, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjRGHGV_MVI

 

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No TR for the Polish Route. In short, we caught it in really good shape but it still proved to be a full-value shakedown for me.

 

I think this route is completely condition dependent. The actual, steep climbing is maybe 20m, with so-so pro when I did it. For me the challenge was more mental, then physical.

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