I added a new Winter Routes page. This is a work in progress but it’ll eventually list lots of the better winter lines in the Cascades. If you think I’ve missed something then add a comment to the page or chime in on the CC.com thread about the list.
Archive for the ‘Site Updates’ Category
The tape starts…
“Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to climb the Improbable Traverse route on the west face of Guye Peak. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds…”
But that’s messed up, it’s the middle of winter. Why would anyone want to try and sketch their way up all that loose rock and then across a slab when it might be covered in snow?
“Well, it’s mission improbable, Dr. Miller – not mission difficult.”
Which is why Chris and I found ourselves gearing up at a turnout below Guye Peak at 7am on Sunday morning.
John wrote up his account of our climb on Wenatchee Outdoors along with some more of his pictures. Check it out!
On Friday John Plotz and I finally made it up Dragontail’s Backbone Ridge in winter. I’ve put photos and a full account of the ascent in the gallery. This has taken a ton of attempts, mostly with Al Turner, and “rehearsals” in the summer with numerous partners.
Couple of other things I learnt on this trip…
- Macadamia nuts are the best alpine climbing food ever. Over seven hundred calories of energy per hundred grams. Over twice what you’d get from one and a half Clif bars. And easy to eat on the go.
- Climbing at night isn’t so bad provided you know where you’re going and the weather cooperates. If either of those things aren’t true then things probably aren’t going to work out.
- Keep watching the weather. That’s the only way to get things climbed in the Cascades in winter. I knew this already but seem to keep needing to re-learn it.
You can read John’s excellent account of our climb too!
Still plenty of time for more winter fun and games before the snow stops.
The Susan and I made another trip to Exit 38 yesterday and climbed Here Today Gone Tomorrow. This route isn’t in the Washington State Ice Guide but it’s fairly easy to find if you know where you’re going.
Things are starting to get soggier and the new snow has made slogging to the base of the climbs a bit more of a workout. We were going to check out the ice at Amazonia too but ran out of daylight.
The weirdest weather ever in Puget Sound this past week has actually brought some of the lowland ice ice routes into condition. The Deception crags at Exit 38 on I-90 froze up and gave some of the best ice I’ve ever seen in Washington.
Usually I’m not a big fan of ice cragging in Washington; young, poorly adhered and hard to protect ice that never lives up the promise of good climbing. Better to drive to BC and try your luck in Lillooet. For a few days this winter things are different but I don’t expect it to last. Hopefully I’ll snag one or two more days with The Susan before it thaws.
There are also new pictures from an ascent the NW Couloir on Dragontail Peak a few weeks back. Most of them are of the easy lower section of the couloir. Don’t let that fool you the kicker is the last pitch.
I found a few spare minutes at the end of a busy weekend to get some pictures of the Cosley-Houston route on Colfax Peak on to the Web. On the right you can see my partner for the trip, Bill, on one of the upper pitches.
I also put up some photos of an (almost) one day ascent of the Torment-Forbidden traverse with Jason earlier in the summer. Why "almost" well while we did get off the route we didn’t quite make it down to the car. Be especially suspicious of partners with large packs, within my lurk bivvi gear and along with it a strange enthusiasm to spend the night out.
My pictures from the Bugaboos are now online in the picture gallery.
There isn’t a full write up yet but the short story is…
Simeon and I drove to Roger’s pass and had bad weather for an attempt on Mount Sir Donald. Went and had a look at getting into the north end of the Selkirks but were defeated by a very closed logging road.
Carried on driving, driving, driving to Golden for lunch and then into the Bugaboos where we climbed; the Kain route on Bugaboo Spire and the West ridge of Pigeon Spire to warm up. Then after a weather enforced rest day, during which we hiked out to the car for beer, we managed the NE Buttress on Bugaboo and the Kraus-McCarthy route on Snowpatch. We also climbed a route on the Crescent Towers on our rest day.
The weather looked like it was going to break so we spent the last couple of days in Penticton doing a little bit of cragging on the Skaha Bluffs. It was very hot but we managed to stick to the shade and get a few nice routes done before heading back home.
If you subscribed to my Stories blog the content has been merged into my Alpine Climbing blog. It still lives in a separate “Stories” category. I’ve also added a new page of photography gear I’d recommend.
Hopefully that’s pretty much it in terms of site upgrades and I can get back to writing new content, like the review of the MSR Reactor I promised to write.