I had been crazy for this route since Steve and friends climbed it last season. Picture , and video of last years Rainbow Serpent. Not only did the stunning Rainbow Serpent come in this year, but so also did Fearful Symmetry. We went in with 4 people, hoping to do a quality photo shoot for Ben Herndon. We were prepared to do a 2 team ascent for top-down photos. The wind and cold did not allow for such shenanigans however. Leaving the 2 Bens at the base, Jess and I split it into 4 pitches to save on rope drag and stay more active. The wind swirled with crazy might in the Recital Hall, at times cracking like a whip. It sent horrendous spend-drift down on the climbers and left the base team to chop away at the huge ice blocks that fell from old icefalls to stay warm. The Hall is an earned and temporary position, with the easiest entry up a multi pitch WI4 just to get to it. (Aquarius)
…also of note the snow drifts before the Big Hill are large enough to need a big rig currently. We couldn’t do it with a Tacoma 4wd! Adds 1-2 hours to the approach. Still worth every step.
1-11-14 -Rainbow Serpent.
Pitch 1 is an easy short way to get to the start of the pillar. 25m, wi3. The lower pillar had crazy mushrooms stacked out into space above you. We found a doable way up the right side, yet the rope drag made progress halt just short of a wild roof formed when a dagger broke off days prior. I got the roof lead,(p3) feeling like I had to do bouldering to get through. A great cave belay left Jess with the 40m finish endurance pillar, (p4, for us, A better party would combine 2 of our pitches). It was a longer route than I expected(The book says 70m, more like 100m), the exposure was tremendous at a few places, and the ice brittle. Despite suffering from the elements, it was a fantastic climb that I will never forget. Thanks Jess, BenH, Ben E.
Stay tuned for Bens Pictures in the coming days!
2-6-2014- Banks came in in a flash again this season, sporting brittle, chandeliered, and thin ice. Sounds just wretched but can be very exciting if your head gets into it. We (Jess, Ben, and I) started by tope-ropeing the Cable route, a deceptively long and difficult route. It is full on for 50 meters, and if in thin shape, the scale can go up dramatically. I was just barely able to get it on tope-rope, feeling like it was the hardest ice I may have ever been on. Super technical(in thin shape), and always steep, it is a mind boggling route. There is a nice 2nd pitch above, that is seldom done. Be REAL careful if you try to set up a tope-rope on this one! The traverse is very exposed.
2-6-13- Jess, Beau, and I head for Zenith, hoping it was in good shape, and more importantly, the high-ever-threatening-ice-dagger would hopefully be gone. We pulled up to it, and noticed it had grown into a enormous 60’+ free hanging monster the size of a large tree. The tunes drowned out the noise of the collapse, then Jess first noticed it was suddenly gone in a cloud of dust. With that good omen in the bag, we were still humbled by the amazing Zenith. It is yet another route that you can just throw the grade system away with, depending on the conditions. I don’t remember ever leading such a long and difficult single ice pitch in my past. I even did a take after the crux. If brittle and thin, it too, is nowhere close the rating offered in the guide book.The other routes in the area look gamey as well, so be careful out there.
Part 1: Snoqualmie mt.
Part 2: Dec, 2013. The temperatures dropped, the messages stack up. Not being the type of person that can say no to an enthusiastic partner, we planned on 2 teams of 2 and headed up to Alpental Valley. Usually buried in deep snow and snow enthusiasts, we found a valley of ease and solitude, oh and some amazing ice. The original plan was to go big, but Doug, Daniel and I had heard bad things about the other local areas. After viewing a knarled finger on my phone, we set out as a party of 3 to tackle the 3 pitch WI4; Flow Reversal. A route I had done in fat conditions a few years ago, Video here . We found it in outstanding shape with water ice from top to bottom. We each had a lead and enjoyed it to the fullest. 2 rapps with a double at the end and we were back in Seattle before dark.
Dougs trip report
The next day Doug and I just had to head back up to get the amazing route to the right of it. We had vague notions of getting the first ascent, but really, there is very little uncharted territory so close to Seattle. Steve Swenson probably did the fa in ’74, lol. It was unnamed however and after comparing it to other options we called the climb: Resistance is Futile. It drew us quickly up it with 2 easy start pitches and a short, but intense WI5 crux at the end of the 300′ waterfall. It was a pumpy over hung 2 column feature that once again had to be cleared of many daggers aimed at my head. 2 double rapps and we were back at the car by 2pm this time! Such a fun route to finish an amazing weekend. Now its off to Bozeman the enjoy the Icefest, see you there?
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.
Faced with a 1 day weather window, and deep snow in the mountains, Beau and I headed for the friendly alpine playground of Illumination Rock. We did the most reliable and fun route on the sunny South Face of the I-Rock, It is a route I named after my girlfriends late pet: Rime, our Scottish Deerhound. I had done the route a couple of times before, it is worth repeating for sure. It offers 4 short pitches of outstanding easy mixed climbing at a moderate angle. It also now has a rap anchor at the finish that gets you most of the way down to the South Chamber with a single rope rappel. We had a blast! Mikes tr, under thin conditions
Jule and friends at Oregon Field Guide did a wonderful half hour special on climbing Mt Hood. Last year she invited me to do an interview and asked for some of my photos and video of various new routes that I was involved in on the mountain. Her team did an outstanding job capturing the experience. See for yourself.
They use my voice-over several times, the interview occurs at 18:43 and again at 24:25.
Lurking above the townsite of Banff are 3 tough ice routes. From left to right, they are:
Terminator, the Replicant ,and Sea of Vapors.
On our second try, Jess R and I tagged a dream of a route. I have been obsessing over it for over a decade. It was so amazing and I will be stoked on it for a long time to come. Conditions, weather, and stoke all came together this time for a great day in Banff. The approach went on forever. The avy danger was non-factor, thank god. It is steep and wanders up and over many features. It is nice to have a boot track, but it will blow over with the wind and you will wallow in some places up high. The 1st pitch was hollow, hooky, bouldery, and sketch. The 2nd is steep and sustained. the 3rd was so long and I got so tired, I stopped to belay after 30 meters. It was tough to follow Jesses pitch and launch into another 5+ lead. Jess then led the last short stretch to the top. I cant remember being so tired from an ice climb. The exposure was tremendous. We felt like we had just done something amazing, and we are so excited many hours later. We pulled in the night before and went right after it, revenging a trip for it a month prior. Yehaa! Cant thank Jim (of Pro Mt. Sports) enough for taking the time to get me the right gear!
We would have had better climbing shots, but the belays are tucked into tiny caves behind the icicles. Now for some pics!
Over the last 23 or so years, I developed an interest (read: obsession) with the ice climbs up an obscure volcanic wall on the East Face of mt Hood. Jeff Thomas’ Oregon High book had some questions looking for any information on the Eiger like wall. I became very curious.
I first viewed the face while doing a solo ski traverse around the upper Mt. Hood in in May of 1987. After seeing ice on it even this late in the season, the hook was very set. It was basically untouched and offered 6-10 big climbs around 1000′ feet tall. Without any info, I started a campaign of exploration up its many ice routes with great results. Steve Elder and I did the first ascent of the main wall in feb-94, followed by a couple other routes that were nothing less than astounding alpine climbs of the highest order.
Then I began a long series of attempts on the “Center Drip”‘ that took the best line on the entire face. Finding never-ending setbacks with weather and conditions, my patience wore thin after more than a dozen attempts.
It finally came together this March with reports of Ice on the wall from 2 great sources. My local Pullman partner , Beau- accompanied me on our successful bid. The climb went so very well.We did it in blocks with 4 total pitches , the final crux one was a full 60 m of airy positioning. The route was an instant classic and deserves many ascents in the future. Besides incredible ambience, It is a very doable route as well.We had a great time on this wonderful classic climb. Enjoy the pictures and video, It felt really great to wrap up such a project. I will do a blow-by blow if wanted and I must promote the new Climbing Guide to Mt. Hood expected out this fall!
As always, looking forward to your trip report, Wayne
Great photo of the wall from the right side.
OPB Special: Climbing Mt. Hood
Update! The left “Unclimbed Ice” was just ascended! Fric/Amos Route