West of Banks: Champagne, Sundance Kid

p1190229Doug and I packed up the full array of ice gear and headed out in his plush truck camper for a overnight jaunt to the lesser known realms just west of Banks Lake. Neither of us had climbed out there, and man what a great outing we had! We drove past Champagne to find it was the most sheltered and sunny, therefore best option in the frigid temps. To stick with the pattern though, we found Joe and Jason already enjoying the steepness of its 2 great pitches. We did the 2 pitch route in the afternoon shade after them.

The next day we went into stunning Moses Coulee ( reminds me of Cody), and proceeded to get very humbled gazing at the very formidable Butch Cassidy. It reminded me of a longer version of Zenith, another legendary sandbag.. We drove past it and other scare fests to do the Sundance Kid. Doug took the lead under virgin conditions, excavating his way up through the overhangs. Banks is such an amazing yet stiff area to climb. It matters dramatically whether or not the ice conditions are good, bad ,and/or untrammeled. Be careful out there in this banner season, stoke is high yet there have been a good number of accidents. Pay attention to the grades and realize Banks is a bit sandbagged at times when conditions are less than optimal.

Shitting Razorblades, Banks Lake

..with a name like that…

The internet is a mixed blessing when ice season rolls around. It is tough to be tortured daily by photos of amazing routes, yet nice to know they are in and have been getting climbed. I had a 1 day window that James and I used driving to Banks Lake and had a wallop of a time climbing!

Razorblades is a 2-3 pitch route that rarely see its first pitch form, and P1 has seen very few ascents. P1(aka, Eating Razorblades) was in chandeliered and drippy shape. It had a back off sling that attested to that. It took a while to get up the steep, thin and rotten ice, but this was my shot, and I made the most of it all the way to the top. I found it to be difficult and awkward going.

I was lucky enough to be climbing the first pitch when a talented photographer was nearby. He took the following 4 pictures. His outstanding site is here: http://jonjonckersphotography.format.com/

 

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonkers

p1 Photo by Jon Jonckers

upper tiers report

Jens on upper tiers,   snap of recent

The last 2 pitches were no gimme either. A strong leader with lots of screws could combine them, but I was I no hurry even though wet  from drips on all sections. What a great climb!! I hope to head back this next weekend too.

Escape to the Desert: part 2

I have just discovered my floor for the lowest temps I am willing to ice climb in: 7 degrees fahrenheit. So the temps were heading much lower for the week that I had set aside for my friend Mike. He convinced me that the thing to do is get a  plane ticket and enjoy the sun and warmth of Red Rocks and Zion. It worked out fine doing about 20 pitches in the 2 areas over 4 days . Up first was a romp up the south face of Windy peak. We had wanted to try Jubilant Song but to keep with the crowding theme, there was already 4 people ahead, we opted for a route next to it name Hot Fudge Thursday. It is a fun 6 pitch route that has 4 great pitches mostly at the start. We also found out why it is called Windy Peak.

We were then excited to try the Tatooine Route on Kinesava in Zion: A legendary  15 pitch 5.11 route on the South Face of Mt. Kinesava. We hiked in with heavy packs and spent a beautiful night at the base. The only problem was that spending 14 hours on a ridgerest pad is not good for our backs. We both were stiff in the morning and climbed as high as we dared push. We cleared the first 4 pitches and were impressed with the quality and position of the climb. I will be back to try again with a different tactic: fix 2 ropes, and fire the next day. We rounded the trip off with 70 degree  perfection cragging at Black Rocks near St. George.

 

 

Canada Ice 12-16

Kidd Falls, p2

Kidd Falls, p2

Please, Click here to help my fallen friend Tyler

Stoke never runs higher than the first ice trip of the season. When else would you try find a last minute partner, drive 24hrs in a 2wd vehicle, spend 5 days in the same motel room, and suffer single digit temperatures?

“..because it’s worth it”, replied my friend Priti. She had just finished a quicky trip to the newly frigid Rockies. Her and her hubby got good early season laps on great climbs such as Bourgeau Right , R+D, and Twisted Sister. Stoked after seeing pics of many fun adventures , I somehow found a willing partner myself on mt. proj , and off we went. I had climbed briefly with Joe a few years back, and remembered that he was safe, and willing to try most sane proposals. High on my list was yet another run at Amadeus, Unicorn, and other mixed treats. This particular season has produced great conditions.

Just like with our incoming administration, there was an impending sense of doom coming in the form of a cold front that was to push the mercury down to single digits. We knew to act fast and make plans fluid as the crowds and conditions allowed. Only the last 2 days had rough weather, so we had a great time doing the following 11 pitches:

12-2-16 haffner 4p to m6 w/joe. Lean conditions, yet lots of ice building.

12-3-16 Kidd Falls wi4, 2p w/Joe. We drove past 4 cars at Amadeus, and only found 2 parties finishing with Kidd, Spectacular route! Warning: Severe avalanche danger on this route!

12-4-16 Grotto 3p to wi4. Drove to Icefields and the roads hadn’t been plowed in a while. Then, past 2 cars again at Amadeus. Plan c: Snowy day at thin His route for laps.

12-5-16 Amadeus wi4-m5, 2p w/ Steve, Joe. Finally only 1 car parked there in very cold temps, Great to have Steve, and his #4 cam along!

Red Rocks ’16

Escape to the Desert part 1

Sandstone has its own flow and its been a couple of years since I’ve touched it. So fun to climb on, and I am glad to have had extra time to climb and ( a sweet condo to..)recover. Thanks to Bob for the invite and the idea to spend a great couple of weeks in Red Rocks!

10-19-16, wake up wall, 5p to 11a

10-20-16 Breakaway/ La Cierta Edad 10d, 6p

10-22-16 Nightcrawler 4p 10c

10-25 -16 The Hood, Mt Charlston 4p to 10d

10-26-16 Inti Watana, mt. Wilson, 10c, 12p

10-28-16 wake up 3p to 10d

10-29-16 SourMash BVW 10a 4-8p

10-31-16 Eagles Dance 10c, A0 9p

11-2-16 Black Corr. 5p to 11a

First up was combining Breakaway/ La Cierta Edad. Wicked steep intro to the game on Breakaway, spicy too. It was nice to wind down on La Cierta, but got worked from the overall day.
10-19 Hoover Dam sightseeing on rest day. Quite an experience for a concrete guy such as myself!
10-22 Nightcrawler 4p 10c Just wow, what a great climb. It was so hot, that we just waited in the shade (until 130pm)at the base for the whole route to go into the shade, got back at dark though. Great straight up trad climbing.

10-26 Inti Watana, mt. Wilson, Not hard for the grade just long and pretty fun. Tiring day.

10-29 SourMash BVW 10a 4-8p Super fun route and the moves are great! Probably my favorite route  of the trip! Did it in 4 amazing pitches.

10-31 Eagles Dance 10c, A0 9p. Ended the trip on one of Red Rocks great climbs! Even more enjoyable to me than Levitation, and it has a single rope (70m)rap line!! We combined a few and did it in 7.

What fun it was to have relatively great weather in  the disneyland-for-climbers that this place is. Can’t wait for my next trip here.

Click images to enlarge..

Heaven’s Gate ’16

9-11-16 Heaven’s Gate, UTW Index 5.11a/b 4p, 1 fall w/ Priti

I was eager to lead the crux pitch after following it clean back in 6-9-13. Steve was going for his 3rd try at leading it clean back then. It has a super steep finish capped by 2 back-to-back roofs!

Heavens Gate is an incredible face/sport route that starts again with the great giver, 1st pitch: Lamplighter. I am getting to the place where I need to repeat routes at Index, and this one was high on the list. Everybody on Mt.proj gives it 4 stars. Priti, a delightful, up-and-coming climber, picked this route on my list and we were off and running on my only day off again this week. She spared me my 5th straight lead on Lamplighter by getting her first red point on it. I then took the remaining 3 pitches(P2 is Hard!!) and systematically (slowly) worked each of them until the top of p4:  I got off route on the roofs twice, and couldn’t recover the 2nd time taking my own whip off it like Steve did 3 years ago. Makes me even more excited to climb it yet again, after easily dispatching the crux after my 1 fall. Beta is approach each roof from the left then moving right after over the lip with the arms. Stay leaned off to the left.

I have a bad case of Upper Town Wall syndrome and will probably be on Lamplighters trio many more times.

Heavens Gate

Thompson/Fuller Memorial

The Crimson Eye

Blake on HG

About David Gunstone the first ascensionist

Scroll past photos for specific info on the accident.

lesson to be learned from the accident:

Squamish Chief newspaper, Friday 28 May, 2004:

Quote:


Climbing death ruled accidental by coroner
‘Breakdown in communication’ cited in 2003 death on Grand Wall
By John French
Reporter
Like many days last spring, May 31, 2003 was a great day for climbing.
While it may have started as a good climbing day for David Christopher Gunstone, it certainly didn’t end that way.

Gunstone was in Squamish, visiting from Seattle, to do some climbing on that Saturday afternoon. He was with a group of friends and they were climbing a route called Exasperator at the base of the Grand Wall area of the Stawamus Chief. Exasperator is a popular route with a moderate difficulty rating. The route is described as a two-pitch crack climb.

Gunstone, 41, finished a top rope ascent at just after 5 p.m. He was on his way back to the ground when things went fatally wrong. Gunstone fell 25 metres to his death.

Coroner Jody Doll investigated what happened leading up to Gunstone’s fall and determined his death was accidental. Doll’s report was completed May 6 of this year.

Doll determined that Gunstone fell when his climbing team failed to tie two ropes together. Essentially, where two ropes were needed to lower him to the ground, there was only one in place and he fell to his death because he ran out of rope.

According to Doll’s report, Gunstone and his friends arrived at the bottom of Exasperator and met two other climbers already on the route. Gunstone’s group had met the other two climbers through previous encounters in the climbing area. The two climbers completed the first pitch on Exasperator and said they wanted Gunstone and his group to join them and lead the climb up the second pitch.

In consultation with climbing experts, Doll determined that two ropes were initially used to begin lowering Gunstone. One of the ropes belonged to Gunstone while the second one belonged to the other group of climbers.

“Mr. Gunstone and his group planned to leave after Mr. Gunstone was on the ground,” Doll wrote in her findings. “Their rope had to be removed from the system during the knot pass and replaced with a rope from the other group. When Mr. Gunstone’s rope was untied, the replacement rope was not attached in time. As a result, the rope passed through the belay device and Mr. Gunstone subsequently fell to the ground.”

Gunstone and one of the other climbers were using a belay system. Gunstone was on the wall and the helper was on the ground with a mechanical belay device attached to his harness. Gunstone also had a harness and the rope was securely attached at his end.

According to Doll, rock climbers have to look after their own safety and share responsibility for the safety of all the other members of a climbing party. “It is an accepted and common practice for climbers to double check knots and harness configurations, confirm instructions and vocalize plans,” she wrote.

“When a climbing situation develops into a social atmosphere, as is often the case when larger groups of acquaintances congregate at the base of a climb, and especially in a controlled top rope situation, a relaxed atmosphere often evolves,” Doll wrote in her report. “In these situations, the direct line of communication and psychological connectivity between the climber and the belayer is interrupted by exchanges taking place in the group on the ground.”

Doll found that a number of factors contributed to the fatal accident that spring day last year. “There was no well-communicated plan to complete the transfer of the ropes and there was a break down in the communication between the belayer and the rest of the group on the ground,” Doll wrote in her report. “The belayer instructed the third member of Mr. Gunstone’s group to complete the rope disconnection and reconnection process. The belayer stayed focused on Mr. Gunstone and assumed the rope reconnection had taken place. The belayer began to lower Mr. Gunstone and continued without noticing that the approaching end of the rope had not been reconnected.”

Doll learned that confusion developed between the two groups in the minutes before the fall as 60 metres of uncoiled rope lay at the base of the climb.

“This created a confusing mess of multiple untied rope ends that could not be easily identified and separated,” Doll concluded.

Gunstone’s resulting fall caused massive head trauma. After the fall a call was made to 911 and local emergency officials arranged for an air ambulance helicopter to take Gunstone to hospital in Vancouver.

Hwy. 99 was closed at the base of The Stawamus Chief for a short time while the injured climber was loaded into the aircraft.

“His injuries were catastrophic and he was essentially dead [from the impact],” Doll said in the days after the accident. “When B.C. Ambulance got there, people were performing CPR on him. Some of his body processes were shut down.”

 

Oregon Adventure Climbing

 

Oregon Adventure Climbing

Black Spider in topo.

The Center Drip, Black Spider, Mt Hood

Oregon Page
Welcome to my Oregon extreme climbing page. This  is where I learned to climb. I have a deep romance with the place as a result.
Oregon”Backwoods”climbing has a very distinct edge of adventure to it. Though it may be an acquired taste(and skillset), those who enjoy it can reap great rewards. Be careful here though , The rock isn’t always great.
Always carry extra gear to get down, and wear helmets.
           

Ice-Columbia River Gorge-the Black Dagger WI5+, FA

Black Dagger

 

 Oregon and more Access Page 

Tim’s New Book!!: NW Oregon Rock Climbs 1st edition

Mt Hood Guidebook!!

tme

Monster and Rabbit Ears

My Favorite Oregon Adventures:
Trout Creek
Turkey Monster    My report     Bens Red Bull Report
Rabbit Ears
Steins Pillar
St Peters Dome
Monkey Face
Beta: – Find The New I-rock Topo!
Portland
Rock
Beacon
Beacon Rock Stories
Abraxas- the Monument
Picnic Lunch Wall
Ice Climbing in the Gorge (When and if)
Mt. Hood: OPB Special
The Black Spider, it is a 1000’ East facing(!) wall, must be cold

Arachnophobia direct, Black Spider
Illumination Rock-Some of the best mixed climbing on the west coast.

Rime Dog trip report

SW Ridge in summer.

SE Butt in summer

illumination-rock-12-023

I-rock, Pitch 2- photo by Beau

Steele Cliff -mt Hood

Glacier Caving
Razor Blade Pinnacle
Lamberson Butte
Wolf Rock –Jeez!
Opal Rock, vast potential

TMGuides Cascade Classics
The North cirque of Thielsen is very beautiful!
Oregon Pinnacles Page
     St Peters Dome bit:
It was June of 94, right in the middle of my divorce. I went on a series of near suicidal climbing trips to test my mortality. An avalanche ridden solo on Johannesburg, an 80 foot unbelayed fall off Wind mt. .Eventually a solo of St Peter’s dome was the only success on the trilogy of trauma. The Dome was a great climb. Finding the start and good anchors was a challenge. When I got to the start ledge I was greeted by a selection of railroad spikes . They came in handy for the belay and one of my first aid placement. Working my way up on bugaboos exclusively, I was convinced for a long time that I was off route. There were no pin scars  to be seen. I later realized that an entire layer of rock had worn off since the last ascent in the 70s. Watching the blocks shift as I pounded, I could see how this happened. After a short free finish to the crux pitch, I found the belay sings rotted off the bolts and sitting on the ledge with the rap ring still through it. The traverse was exposed yet easy . The final pitch was difficult to find and very loose, When the angle eased off it became a foot thick carpet of moss. I tunneled under it for holds until it could support my weight. The summit was exhilarating and a forest had grown there that wasn’t in the old time photos I had seen. The register was a fascinating history of  those who dared the venture. As time wore on, I copied all the entries and enjoyed this amazing and exclusive summit . The descent was uneventful until I heard voices in the forest across from me. It seemed Bud Young was leading a party on the Mystery Trail. What an unlikely party we had at the saddle. Truly a bright spot in a difficult part of my life.
Part of a Mazama Annual Journal.

Update On St.Peters Dome!!The Big SPD got its (approx,) 20th Ascent!! Here is the Trip Report on Cascade Climbers!

Dave Jensen Photo Of SPD

Right before Christmas in 2005 The Columbia River Gorge became windy and cold enough to freeze its many waterfalls. One of the unclimbed prizes was a route behind Ainsworth state park. It  had seen many strong attempts, including one where Bill Price and I reached within 30 feet of the top.
During the brief 05 cold spell I looked at the route through binoculars, only to see Marcus Donaldson about to finally be the first to succeed on the amazing route.
That left only one unclimbed route to do: The Black Dagger (photo).

Ice Dec. 2005 040
I rushed back to Portland to tell my friend Lane of our new plan. It included him buying new ropes , and us leaving at 4:00 am to try this extremely steep and exposed water course. As you can see the ice cicles do not reach the bottom of the cliff. In complete darkness I led up the loose rock and moss to the right . The way left evidence of previous attempts both to the right and straight on. A steep mixed traverse allowed me to reach the ice proper . With Lane and I committed now , we struggled up its overhangs and busted away the many smaller icicles that impeded progress. Most waterfall ice climbs are tucked away in corners or gullies. The Dagger is out on a prow, offering a steep and tremendously exposed position. 3 wild  pitches left us feeling like the climb had given us a tough go, but at the top we found the easy looking finish to be very tiring.
Reaching the top was so much more than a consolation for missing out on Ainsworth. We both agreed it was perhaps the best ice either of us had climbed. Our joy was cut short however on our last rappel down when one of Lane’s new ropes got stuck. Going with our new-found luck though , He got it back days later when the pillars melted away.
Lane confided when he took the picture , that he may not have been willing to try this route if he had previously seen it!

Oregon has a surprising amount of adventure climbing, as well as sport climbing. It is conveniently located between other great states for climbing. Often overlooked as a result, it does make a great place to live and play. Enjoy Oregon !!

1

Wayne's site

Black Spider in topo. The Center Drip, Black Spider, Mt Hood

Oregon Page
Welcome to my Oregon extreme climbing page. This  is where I learned to climb. I have a deep romance with the place as a result.
Oregon”Backwoods”climbing has a very distinct edge of adventure to it. Though it may be an acquired taste(and skillset), those who enjoy it can reap great rewards. Be careful here though , The rock isn’t always great.
Always carry extra gear to get down, and wear helmets.
           

Ice-Columbia River Gorge-the Black Dagger WI5+, FA Black Dagger

 Oregon and more Access Page 

Tim’s New Book!!: NW Oregon Rock Climbs 1st edition

Mt Hood Guidebook!!

tme Monster and Rabbit Ears

My Favorite Oregon Adventures:
Trout Creek
Turkey Monster    My report
Rabbit Ears
Steins Pillar
St Peters Dome
Monkey Face
Beta: – Find The New I-rock Topo!
Portland
Rock
Beacon
Beacon Rock Stories
Abraxas- the Monument
Picnic Lunch Wall
Ice Climbing in the Gorge

View original post 826 more words

“Free ” Mojo, S. Early Winter Spire

In my never-ending quest to climb every long rock route at WA Pass, Free Mojo rose up the list for this recent mini-weekend. I dropped my tools at work Saturday 2pm, and rushed off to meet Doug at my place, soon to be camped out at my usual haunt. Immediate relief followed once getting settled  back into my favorite mountains for a few relaxing hours. Doug is always good company too.

Blakes 2013 fa at the bottom of his page:

mojo

From Blake’s page, Free Mojo on left.

Dawn always arrives though and soon we were headed up with the masses to the busy town on the West side of the Early Winter Spires. First up though, I dumped 2 liters of water inside of my pack.

We had confidence we would be the only party on this obscure route “put up” only a few years ago . The condition of the rock was an immediate issue with lichen and patches of kitty litter on the rock surfaces. We figure the route had maybe been climbed 5 or so times, perhaps less. Doug made good on the headey first pitch with only 1 take, and I barely got the tr-onsight of it with cold fingers.  I had not climbed in several weeks, but was stoked about my chances at cruising the next pitch. I danced through a tough intro, but came off just above the first roof for a 15 footer. I sure haven’t taken a fall in the “alpine” in a long time.  I figured out that sequence, but the rest of the pitch was quite difficult too, and had me grabbing gear a couple of times at the tough, thin finish. I kept the lead going all the way to the top of p3. It didn’t seem to offer a good anchor where the book suggests, belaying atop p2. I suggest bringing 2 full sets of brassies for the lead too. The rest of the climb is very fun: p4 is $$ for 5.9 fun. It then joins the SW Rib for social time. Key beta is the N. face now has a rap route to the packs(single 60m).

For the most part the rock quality is good, and if more people climb it, cleaner conditions will arise. I will also suggest being prepared for a very difficult climbing experience. Much more difficult than the West Face of N. Early for example. For me though, it is fun to climb routes that are over my head. That is where the ambitious climber should find themselves from time to time.

Some photos courtesy of Doug. click to enlarge

Update from my friend Jeremy 8-20-16:Got on this today and a couple of thoughts: great route with a ton of potential but man it needs more traffic and needs to be cleaned. I’m wondering if it’s OK to take a small hand saw and take out some of those smaller trees to prevent all the crap from filling back up the cracks (I did a little crack excavation today). Pitch 2 and 3 are easily linked with a 70m. (Wayne: I did it with a 60m)Just save a .5, a small cam, and few small nuts for the heady ten section right before the belay and a 1, .75 and small nuts for the belay

My friend Laurel

Approach in the fog Photo by Laurel

Approach in the fog
Photo by Laurel

I only got to climb and socialize about a dozen times with her so I won’t pretend to have been one of her closer friends. I can’t tell you that much of who she was. There are just a few times I caught glimpses of what she was like, and I grew to appreciate this unassuming person based upon what I saw. Perhaps the most striking was when I was desperate for a climbing partner my last weekend before going back to steady work again. I had offers from people who would go cragging with me but I was holding out for something “Big”.

“Is Der Sportsman big enough for you?” She dryly inquired. Not only did she invite me to join her and Zac, but spend a long weekend with them and Daphne at their short term rental in Leavenworth. With that invitation I remember thinking that she didn’t fit the “Seattle Chill”personality. I had a wonderful few days there with them all, cragging, eating(lots of root veggies), and eventually getting on with Prussik peak. That is where I caught another glimpse into her steady and unpretentious nature to the bitter end( for me) of that 21 hr day.

Perhaps our finest outing together was her only first ascent that I am aware of, and my first in several years. I felt that we really became friends on that trip. I got to see what she was like all excited at getting to the top, and all the way back to town there was that smile. I remember being excited to have found another top-notch local climbing partner. It is so like human nature to not realize what you have until it is gone, and in this case there can never be recompense. She was too much to so many people. I sometimes feel like a composite of all the different people that I have known, and I will save a good part of myself for her.

Off belay Laurel Fan

My favorite Index pitch: Up’er Zipper

“Thanks for the work developing that climb! Tom”, I said as we hiked down the Upper Wall trail. He yelled out “You’re welcome” He was arguing with his friend over the FA of the route and renaming it.

“It” was and old 7 pitch aid route on the Cheeks formation, that now goes mostly free. Many people enjoy the 1st pitch of the (lower)Zipper, a total sandbag 10b. Just above that is a A3 roof that is mind blowingly big, steep, and thin. Above that is some dirt scrambling to reach the ledge called the Beach, an airy perch that is usually reached by traversing “the Perverse Traverse, 5.5” via ferrata style. There lies the war chest that Tom and friends use to scrub some of the steepest rock at Index. A few years ago they scrubbed and bolted the upper part of the Zipper route, and rumors floated that it was one of the best long pitches at Index. I went up there early last year with Jeremy and it was too wet. Last Sunday, I got my first shot at it after the usual spend Saturday-in-bed-rest. Doug was fresh off a one year sabbatical, and raring for the plan once I told him of the obscure and hard to get to adventure.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/uper-zipper/108146751

It totally lived up to the hype. I made the mistake of not warming up on another route, but it was supposed to rain that afternoon. It got up in the face with steep powerful movement right off the ledge.Welcome shake out rests occur about 7-8 times along the way. What a way it is too, when combining the 1st and 2nd pitch into an mega 60 meter lead! Alternatively breaking the lead up into 2 pitches though leaves the party at a hanging belay, then leaves a committing start off the belay as well. It seemed more natural to do it in one long push. After spending 5-10 minute at each rest, I joked that I did the lead in 8 pitches. I got up it with 2 hangs to de-pump in an effort that took way more than an hour to get up. It is such fun that is hard to describe. You will encounter: every size crack, with flakes, knobs, sustained, steep difficulty, and an unbelievably classic pitch that will not easily be forgotten. As Chandler says: “I climb at Index because it is the highest quality climbing I have ever been blessed to experience. As far as the individual routes go I can’t imagine there being anything better in the world”.

‘Nuff said, enjoy some pics: