Jump to content

[TR] Teebone Ridge, Fallen Angel: NNE-facing arete - Act like you're having fun, III 5.10+ 9/14/2016


Recommended Posts

On Sept. 14, Chris Mutzel and I climbed a ~1,000' new route on the NNE-facing arete of Fallen Angel: Act like you're having fun III 5.10+. (John Roper, who climbed the peak from the S side decades ago, has an area-appropriate name for this striking feature: the "Grim Reaper Arete".)


After a 100' or so of soloing, we climbed a total of 8 roped pitches to the summit. The pitches went 5.6, 4th, mid-5th, 5.8+, 5.10+, 5.10, mid-5th, and 5.9 (although there might be a mid-5th alternative for the last traversing pitch).


Big-picture photos from John Scurlock and John Roper, respectively, below. In Scurlock's, the line drops towards the viewer (along the clean arete), and then winds a bit through the ledges to the left; in Roper's, the line initially drops down the right skyline, and ultimately foots to the left of the tree in the foreground.






Approach notes: I took a gamble and lost on this one. Looking at satellite imagery, I had hoped we'd be able to approach from the north by tying into some suspected old-ish growth timber (there was some) on the climb up from the W fork of Newhalem Cr to the basin below our objective. If it worked, it would cut off a lot of distance and 1000s of v.f. vs the S-side approach from the Monogram Lk / Lookout Mtn trailhead. While we did quite well from the car at Newhalem Cr to the final climb from its W fork to the basin, above that we encountered just about every terrain obstacle the subalpine Cascades have to offer--somewhere high up on the BW scale, perhaps even establishing "New Wave" Bushwhack Ratings. A physical, but not mental, respite was offered by a sustained stretch of moss-coated 4th class frog-chimney that got us through the lower cliff bands:




(I'm advancing my "little buddy" walking/bashing stick ahead of me.)


Bottom line: approach from the south and enjoy a longer but scenic alpine tramp, unless you want to embrace the aforementioned travel and route-finding challenges. (I’ll buy good six-packs for anyone that repeats our approach and reports back with an optimal way up to that basin.)


The climb itself was great. The rock, even the junky-looking first pitch, was quite solid and clean, requiring only sporadic, expected alpine gardening. The harder technical climbing, all ~3 pitches of it, was high quality, fun climbing on bright gneiss. Some was downright Index-like. We swapped leads, with Chris drawing the crux 5.10+ pitch 5--spectacular--which traveled near and then on the edge of the arete.


On this pitch he expertly avoided a belayer-slayer that I inadvertently trundled while following, which marred our otherwise pure ascent as I weighted the rope to avoid a crushed foot. A reminder that you can't afford to lose focus for a second out here.


Chris climbing the crux:






Me following the crux:






My 5.10 pitch 6 was more like a 15' boulder problem followed by scrambling on the arete's crest. Then we had two more pitches of rambling peppered with boulder moves over a sub-summit and the summit. We didn't find a reported register, but probably just overlooked it. Summit views from this western outpost of the N-Central Cascades were unique.


Descent: from just W of the summit, we used a single 70m rope to make 4 rappels (all slung horns) down the South face; first directly down a rib, then angling skier's left to alight on an exposed ramp that you can down-climb E, which is where you need to go anyway to gain a notch that gets you back to the basin. (Unless you approach from / camp on the S of the peak, which I recommended above.)


We were back at the bivy by 4pm, drinking big cans of beer. Given the complexity of the return route to the car, we decided to spend another night at comfortable bivy rather than risking the descent in fading light or night.


Despite the extra workload imposed by my approach mistake, we had a blast (particularly on the rock) and recommend this route. Origin of the route name: C is relentlessly ebullient, so high on the climb it felt appropriate to yell the eventual route name before snapping a photo--this provided both a good belly laugh, and a mantra for the long 'shwhack back to the car.


There are a few more photos in the gallery. And over here are even more photos, and a phone video Chris took of me trundling and muttering "explosion".


Gear notes: Medium rack; tri-cams were money, brought pins but didn't use them. Compact ice tool useful for the occasional gardening. We didn't bring crampons, but you would want them earlier in the season, or when sensibly approaching from the south.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well worth the wait!!


I can vouch for how nice the approach is from the south. You should be able to climb the Grim Reaper comfortably in three days from a camp below Little Devil or the basin to the south of Fallen Angel.


More importantly, nice work digging another gem from range! That crux pitch looked quite clean from the Trapezoid so I'm not surprised that it is quality.


I will get a TR up from our Teebone trip here pretty soon, we came out the day you went in, you may have seen our blue subaru along the road?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey Rad, we deproached a different and slightly better way (further up-valley), but i think the best way is probably to head uphill at the first old-ish growth opportunity (far east opp'y)--but getting to that point might be more problematic down low. on the way up, after crossing the W fork, we had followed a dry wash expediently through the brush, and it took us on a probably-suboptimal path. and definitely not a desirable descent route!


did i mention the devil's club, nettles, and sundry sticker bushes, among other Cascade delicacies woven into the alder, scrub pine, and berry bushes? a fine and complete meal.


Jason, I remember remarking on that parked car: "where the hell are they going?" Look forward to your report (and pics). Yes, that's a wild area; and agree that the trip would be a reasonable 3 days from the south, or 2 for a reasonably fast party.


yeah Tom, after that approach with a full pack, I think I'm ready for J-berg.


Jeremy, I'd like to hear more about these pipes...and see any pics you might have.


forgot to mention that we'd like to call the crux pitch "the scythe", a reference of course to the resemblance of the sharp-edged arete to the Reaper's harvester, and to the now-eradicated loose slayer.


been buried with the school year cranking up, meant to respond earlier. thanks for the comments all, hope that you can climb this someday. happy to provide beta for folks, and hoping to hear tales.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done, Gents! Way to slay such a morbidly-named gem! Looks like an sweet adventure in a lonely place, a true Cascades adventure! I am greener with envy that the moss in that approach photo!


Stoked you found such great quality rock in there, even though frankly the approach looks more appealing to me than the rock climbing, but that's just me!


Way to bookend the summer success!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Eric and Chris: Thanks for taking the bait, cheating doom and triumphing over the Grim Reaper his Scythe, and acting like you were actually having fun. Very gneiss, as Rolf said. Great route shots.

Jeremy: Thanks for mentioning Hunich Pipe and Pipe Cleaner (just N of the Trapezoid) which were first climbed the day after Fallen Angel FA in 1982.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Over labor day weekend my partner and I were able to repeat this route over 3 days. We approached from the south via monogram lake trail.


We took a slightly different route up the first two pitches but once we were on the scythe we followed the route almost exactly.


The southern approach was long with big packs and took some route finding but ultimately was nice for descending.


The approach from our camp to the base of the climb took a little longer than expected and we ended up doing the last two raps in the dark.


Great route in the N. Cascades!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...