I have such strange luck when traveling alone. Dread of long hours alone in the car -in the middle of nowhere -is new to me in my recent years. The scars from my Euro trip still showing? Though I wish I could have found a full-time travel partner, I am looking forward to meeting up with several friends on a multi-state journey starting tomorrow. Wish I wasn’t such a wuss about it.
When we found out that Goats Beard was in, all other plans were shelved.
Once I was off work and the ice formed, what busy plans they were. It started in Canmore for 5 days. Back to Seattle for a day, then Hyalite for 8 straight. A night at home, then Leavenworth then, Lilooet , …you get the idea. I came home from the latest trip to low temps, and many messages from wanting partners. . Shaun asked me to join him in trying Drury Falls, A route that comes in nearly every year, and stays in until the temps or any danger goes up. Shaun was game for the new Goat-oriented plan which was to be his 1st multi-pitch ice route and 3rd ice route overall. Worried about the routes objective hazards, we were comforted by reports of 2 parties having success on it the days before our try. Reports of hanging daggers overhead all day, and double with sunlight made sleep uneasy the night before. A 3 am wake-up from Shauns house in Leavenworth, and a 700 am start on route. We were stunned by the first light on the route. Earlier that summer, I had done a 7 pitch 5.11 route just next to our waterfall! We were impressed that there was a way through the giant roofs guarding the top forest. It had to be one of the longest, and more importantly-,Funnest ice routes I have ever done. We were like kids at the playground of our dreams. Though Shaun and I were at opposite ends of our career, and had barely met, We were newborn to the world and grateful for life, instantly and forever connected by this thread of temporary ice. Thanks to his roommate : Heidi, ..Vern and Craig for having the cahones to do the onsite, …John for the reassurance, …Shaun for the solid effort on his first big ice route…. Christina and Pro Mt Sports for the hardwear.
We did the route in 6 LONG pitches, 6 hours car to car. We found the first crux to be a long wi5 (p2). the other cruxes were the section through the roofs( a clever, thin corner in the middle of giant roofs, p5). The last pitch was an endurance pillar that took my last shred of energy, p6. The ice was greatly varied in type and consistency, adding yet another element to the intense experience. The route is never super difficult, but the position is always on your mind. It saw 3 ascents in 3 days, and thanks to the internet, it may see more until it falls apart.
pics are in reverse order.
Feeling very lucky to land in Bozeman this season, and enjoy some climbing with Vern, and Keenan. 2 young men that I have had discourse via internet, and now swapping leads with them, on some great ice routes. Huge Thank Yous to Ari, Marko, Lisa, Charles, Vern, Keenan, Anita, and Tab, for being such giving friends.
Day 1. Vern and I ran into Anita and Tab on Palisade Falls, after saying goodbye to 2 friends from Oregon. It was in smaller, steeper shape with large cauliflower’s to manage. Great fun for laps on different lines.
Day 2: Killer Pillar is still soaking climbers on both sides. The left side being slightly drier. The mixed is fun and drier, so is the tube start behind the pillar on top rope.
Day 3: Late start works great for getting up Slight of Hand, which has a short approach since the road is till ungated as of late. (gate will close jan 2, unless snow depth warrants earlier closure) Very fun route.
Day 4: Rest for me, Vern and Keenan head for Horsetail Falls.They report good conditions there too, then did Palisade again.
Day 5: Vern, Keenan, and I go after Climb above Dribbles, now known as “Alex in Wonderland” ,starting with Silken Falls. It is a long approach and the 1st rock pitch is loose and sketch. Keenan led this, but V and I froze at the cold belay. We were also running out of daylight so we bailed before the crux 2nd pitch quickly.
Day 6. Vern and I do a very wet Scepter. We recovered from that in warmer temps and did the 4 other routes to the right. Starting with Mummy 2 then Matrix (fun) ,solo right of Matrix, then finishing with Feeding the Cat. Great day!
Day 7 Responsible Family Men is a great pitch. Worth the long hike up there, the exposure and ambience is like that of a big Canadian route. We took the direct approach using Markos great beta yet again. We wound down the day with Switchback falls , and the mixed route to the far left. Fun day!
Day 8: Cleopatras Needle was in great shape, but less there than the other 2 times I have done it. Ari, and I followed a tired Vern up and I got some great shots in the early morning sun. What a great trip we had, hooking up with friends for climbing and socializing. Quite a sport for occupying the darker, colder months of the year. Thanks to Marko,and Ari for putting us up for the week!
Here are some shots and thoughts from a 5-day trip I took with Lane, Steve, and Christina.
Canada is such a reliable place if you have to go ice climbing. We had hoped to go to the Hyalite Icefest, but the team agreed we had better chances at a lot of ice going to the colder regions. After all, it is still early season in the first week in December.
Day 1, I have taken to visiting the closest crag first, in order to climb as soon as you can finish the drive. Haffner Creek is great for that. Tough short routes immediatly reward the long drive. Satisfy the whole clan, including Christina on her maiden ice trip! Huge thanks to Pro Mt Sports for having all the latest gadgets for this crazy fun sport.
Day 2, Another warm up day on Moonlight and Snowline again with Lane, Christina.
D3, following the great advice from Steve, we head into the Ghost. Enjoyed Dead Bird, Yellow bird, and Good, Bad , Ugly rounded out a fun outing. Hope to see the rest of this cool valley someday.
D4 and it is time to try something big with the master himself, Steve. He had his eye on a set of routes ending high on Mt. Wilson. Oh, Le Tabernac is a 2 pitch 5 that gains access to an even bigger cliff that offers much greater prizes. The most obvious hard route was Whoa Whoa Capitane . Steve had already done the crazy one on the far right: Les Miserables. He saw fit to do the 1st lead on OLTab. It ended up being so very wet for him, enduring a constant shower for half of the pitch. With guilt I led the dry second pitch, and we started the big wallow up to the upper bowl. What an amazing set of climbs are up there!!! The ultimate Ice Crag, offering a half dozen multi-pitch stunners. We were to be humbled by more water pouring down the early season ice (bailed). Next time.
D5 Cold temps can be dealt with unless accompanied by high winds. That was the scenario that led us to the Grotto Canyon, enjoying its shelter and very fun routes. Enjoy the photos, and please be a part of the online content , post your report soon.thanks.
Also, I am selling 3 pairs of plastic double boots. they are lightly used and going cheap.
Postscript: I have just learned that Nick Dodge passed away sept 28th after a battle with cancer. I cant say how big of an influence his work was in my early climbing life. I dedicate this story to the memory of this man, RIP, Mr. Dodge
There is a constant battle going on inside the mind of the climber on a scary lead. Ambition and stoke are at war with self preservation. Throw in added stresses like loose rock, exposure, and constant overhang, and you have the supreme conflict like we had on the Turkey Monster last weekend.
Hidden in the trees of the Menagerie Wilderness in Central Oregon, the Monster towers above the canopy with its bizarre sculpture. The 350′ tall tower defies physics with a much larger girth in its midsection than its skinny base. At the top of the crumbling tube is a summit that reminds one of , of course, a turkey, but I see the devil himself.
Originally climbed in 1966 by legendary climbers Eugene Dod, Dave Jensen, and Bill Pratt, they aid climbed the steep cracks on the NE Face using 70 pitons and placing 30 now ancient or subsequently replaced bolts. Later free climbed at 5.11, many of the anchors were updated, yet the large loose blocks and the sketchiness remains.
Obsessed with it as I was from the old Dodge guide, Bob M, Tim O, and I climbed it in 1990, swapping leads and chucking blocks on our way to the top. I still had vivid memories of the amazing yet scary time we had on it with great friends. Here is what I wrote in my journal 22 years ago:
“Truly a Monster. It had been a goal of mine ever since I first saw it in (Nick) Dodges book. Was really a serious undertaking. I had to muster a lot of gumption for this one. Bob led the first one, a 10a or b., rotten, but neat! 2nd pitch put me on the sharp end to tackle the first wide roof, then the “Giant Rotten Bong” crack, which was incredibly loose, perhaps the loosest of my career. After that came the cool, 5.11 crux which Bob attempted. it was so tough to clip the small hangers, he “took” on the last one. I stranded him at his belay above by pulling his rope and leading it myself on “pink-point”, barely pulling it off. From there, easy to the summit, found a rotting summit register and some rabbit bones with my new lucky rabbits foot!”
A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune of making friends with Ben and Bekah Herndon, from Moscow, ID> An aspiring pro photographer, he asked me what climbs I thought would make a good photo shoot. I of course set his sights south to the Monsters lair. We planned it for last year, but weather didnt allow. We again planned it for sept of 2012 and tried to get a much help as we could. I brought along Christina, and Ben, his wife. Nobody else made it there, so we went for it with the team we had. Bekah did great, following my leads on the first day all the way to the top! I am grateful to not have pulled down any loose stuff on her at the belays. ” Sorry I killed your wife, bro” was not something I wanted to offer my good buddy. On the way down we fixed a static line and rapped to the beloved earth.
Early the next morning, I did the first 2 pitches again(!) for the close-ups pictures. They werent any less intense doing them for the 3rd time. What a run, and I hope Ben gets his great article in a coming magazine! Thank you B+B, and X-tina for a wonderful, and safe weekend.
Some photos courtesey of Christina M.
I have a new favorite route. Last minute planning brought Lane and I to the base of the Burdo/Johnson route they named The Hitchhiker. It rambles up the steep SE Face of South Early Winter Spire. Originally planning to attempt Gato Negro for the 2nd straight weekend, we opted for more sunshine instead. The switch was last minute, so I didnt have the anticipation nor expectations. I was blown away by the quality and positioning of the climb. It has every type of climbing as well as serious exposure to add to a full-plate meal of a climb! Dihedrals, led to slabs with thin cracks, flakes, (easy)wide sections, roofs wild traverses, you name it. Leading every pitch was stressful, as the climbing is thought provoking, but it was so fun, I didnt care. It took almost 8 hrs to do the 9 pitches. Each lead had its own surprise. Though the route has about 20 bolts, it still requires a big rack and I am glad I took 1 aider for the 3 short sections that I couldnt free. I know I write in superlatives but this route for sure is a gem. I hope to see more reports on this relatively newer route.
Great way to spend my 49th birthday. Thanks Lane and Christina for the cake and climbing party weekend.
Burdos book and these reports will have more beta, enjoy!
Cascadeclimbers description, very accurate!
Now for some pics!
This being my only weekend off since July 4th, I wanted a route with maximum fun, as well as minimum effort. I have been working overtime six days a week for months and am chronically exhausted. I picked the perfect route with the selection of Acid Baby in the Aasgard Pass area, next to Dragontail. It wasnt going to go smoothly however. Overnight permits on labor day weekend were scarce, and my partner bailed at the last minute due to injury. Cascadeclimbers to the rescue again. I found a dental student in the partners wanted section named Jon, and we were off. Not able to get a permit from the daily lottery, we crunched the trip into a long push.We did it in 5 long pitches ( +1 belay move), each lead was totally enjoyable. Its grade fairly @ 10d(+) a little strenuous in places, dicey traverses, and some wide stems. The climb is fantastic, both in quality and atmosphere. I give it four stars. It felt like I was finally home again after being away a long time.
Some stray notes:
We think we saw the accident site, and there are still loose blocks there to dance around, save a small yellow metolius for plugging in above the blocks. They want to be trundled but the base would have to be cleared of the endless hikers below.
-If you get the odd numbered leads, you will get all of the best pitches and cruxes too. All leads are very fun though.
-Make sure your leader is not pulling for slack, while he is actually falling!!
-Hats off to my friends -Mike, Rolf, and Dan- who did the first ascent of this amazing climb!
It is out, the Northwest Oregon Rock/Ice guide!
I wasn’t expecting it, and it surprised me greatly. The trend in Tims series gradually had less content as the new editions came out. This one obliterated that trend with an exhaustingly complete catalogue of nearly all of the major ares as well as dozens of the obscure. Such a treat for the adventure groveler. Areas include 80 different climbing areas from south to Eugene north to St Helens. East to Hells Canyon. From winter mixed on Illumination Rock, to a brief section on the Menagerie. He also included Gorge Ice! The Wolf Rock section is amazing. Absent is the Portland area crags, and the Beacon area, but he has covered that well in the past efforts. Not since the Dodge guide have we seen a book that covers so much of Northern Oregon. This edition really floored me with the vast array of information and areas I hadnt even heard of. Cant wait to check out some of them for sure.
Hats off to you Tim, and thanks for nearly 20 years of hard work in your public service to us all, Wayne
Buy it here, for surprisingly little $ : http://www.portlandrockclimbs.com/portland-rock-climbs
Its the 2nd book down the list.
Footnote: This is hardly an unbiased review of this book. Tim has been a dear friend to myself and others for many years. I have enjoyed his work greatly, and have enjoyed working with him on a small part of his relentless efforts to bring it all out to the climbing community. We expect to have the new Mt Hood Guidebook out soon. Again it will be a biased review, as Tim and I were some of the main authors to that particular project.
Faced with the possibility of working 6 days/week all summer is not a fun prospect. I wanted to have a trip with sun, fun, and full value routes. After considering several options, I went back to the Sawtooth Range of Central Idaho for an ass-whooping 4th of July 2012. While Lane and Christina (X-tina Princess Warrior) did the the Mountaineers route, I joined forces with Nic H. on Fine Line. It may be the most amazing rock climb I have ever done. Boasting 10 steep, sustained, and amazing pitches, there is some special movement with every lead. Nic, a local Idahoan, provided a strong partner for swapping the leads. I will have to come back again to this route to try to free the 3 places I “aided” on the first pitch.
The next day after, Lane, Nic and I teamed up to dispatch the spectacular Sunrise Book on the shorter West face of Elephants Perch. It offered 5 crazy pitches up a dead vertical and overhanging corner. This intense route ended in a giant chimney/roof that was one of the all-time sick finishes. The Elephants Perch is fast becoming my favorite alpine wall! Enjoy the photos, and go there someday!
The Fine Line/Sunrise Book slideshow:
There are many different “sports” within the sport of climbing. May 13th, 2011, I decided to revisited one of my old favorites: Aid climbing. I really used to enjoy its propensity to allow me to be in some ridiculous places. In the late 70s, and early eighties, I dreamed of doing El Cap and many other amazing routes that require such skills.
Then came sticky rubber and I was almost exclusivly a free climber after that.
Aid climbing, however, gave me a great base for rope management, rescue techniques, and getting out of trouble basics, that I think every climber should have.
After recent decades of ignoring, I decided it was time to dust off some old skills. Turned out to be worth doing for a couple of reasons..
Saturday practice for Beau on City Park (c-1), and we tried to sleep to the sound of rescue helicopters pulling a multi-fractured climber off the wall we were off try on Sunday: Upper Town Wall, above the town of Index.
Sunday we got up early, as the temps were expected in the mid 80s for the day. We were going for a south-facing route called Town Crier. Beau had the rock shoes, so he took the first free sections. I then kicked into the first of three, c2 pitches. The 6th placement blew out on me taking with it numbers: 5, 2, and 1. At least numbers 3 and 4 held! The 20 foot fall stopped by Beau (The Awesome Belayer/Climber) Carrillo, left me 5 feet above him and a ledge, PHEW! It was nice to know the system works.
Below is a picture I took a from a few feet above the scene. I had almost made it to the fixed red sling you see just down my rope in the shade. Beau is belaying below.
The last c2 pitch saw me taking a shorter fall, which I caught myself by grabbing the rope in just the right place. The rest of the route went great, with Beau leading the mixed aid/free pitch to the top! What a ride. Now to repeat Davis-Holland!