Smith Rock ’19

View from top of Cowdog

Like they say: the only constant is change.

My mind again changed when I went to Smith and remembered how much I enjoy the place.

A huge change that I am on the verge of is retiring from my job/career as a union carpenter foreman. I’m sure I will still work in a limited capacity though. More on that later, but let’s get to the important stuff.

Smith rock has dramatically changed as well. I didn’t think it could fit more people, yet at least there are ever more new routes out there for them to compete for. To say it was crowded was putting it lightly. Pressing to get in line for the “cool kids” newer routes, we did manage to squeeze in 17 pitch effort in a cool/cold three day weekend, 4 multi pitch routes too!

10/12-14 Smith Rock 17p to 10c, 4 mp w/Tom

10-12 Voyage of the Cowdog 3p 5.8+, Fish and Chips 10c, Power direct 10a, Pack Animal direct 10b 2p

10-13 Attempt@ Dirty Pinkos 1p 5.8, Chouinards Crack 5.9, Lets Face It 10c, Lost in Space 10c 4p

10-14 Dirty Pinkos 9+, 4p The place emptied out on Monday!

 

A few thoughts on retirement: I am so grateful and lucky to have been able to work in a signatory union field. The pension, pay, and benefits are something every worker should be able to enjoy. I hope we can rebuild our union membership back to where people can have a living wage! Of course, I hope to climb more during my retirement and enjoy life without the toil of waking up so damn early, and working outside like I have my whole life.

This post is dedicated to Cascade climbers.com. Even though the sites content is flagging, the friendships and memories I have made from it have not.

Diggin’ For Dreams, Half Moon IV-5.11aVS

 

 

James and I had a rather intense 19 hour day going after another second ascent in the Washington Pass area.

I must divide the experience into two categories to tell the story.

One category would be the amazing climbing and setting of this astounding climb! 8 of the 9 pitches we did were fantastic! P3, 5, 6 and 9 are particularly interesting. We added the 4 bolts recommended by the FA team too!

The other category would be the sheer terror of the 4th pitch loose rock section that came with a warning in the first ascent report. I felt grateful to survive pulling on the large loose blocks with nothing solid to step on either. Also, unique to our trip, was a horrible descent down to reach our packs at the base. 6 hours down a vast and terrible gully with 10 rappels on tiny trees. Did we take the wrong way down the right hand of the 2 gullies?? No help having contrary descent beta between the AAI FA Report and the Herrington Cascade Climbs descent beta.

Q: Ok, what’s up with the VS in the rating?

A: Very Serious is an additional rating I am using to describe a part of a climb that is or has a very serious section along the way. I rarely, if ever invoke such concepts into an already serious pursuit. The “Kitty Litter”  pitch #4 on this climb is full-on terror for 30 feet! If the 30 feet of this route disappeared, it would be a fantastic addition to the hard core list of routes at WA Pass for sure. Unless it was turned into a safe lead or via ferrata, we, the second ascent team, would not support this rock climb being offered as a “Select” climb in any list or book.

We did do our part in making this climb better by adding 4 bolts to the finish pitches. This made the finish downright fun.

Beta tweeks that vary from other reports: p2 is easier than p3 for sure. P3 is pumpy, and a damn crazy pitch! P6: don’t keep going up the finish dihedral, instead, step right around the prow to the low belay after 20 meters. Easily combine p6,7 and belay at my first bolt? watch for rope drag is all, or P7 is really short traverse right, a little then up to the exposed ledge on the prow, where I placed the first of 4 bolts. I belayed there and backed the single bolt up with the second bolt 20 feet higher (strange tactic, but would make sense to add a second bolt to make a legit belay). I then went to the summit in a 60m lead from there, unrigging the complicated belay en-route! Hilarity for sure.

Lastly, I have no idea where the FA Team came down that awful area just West of the Half Moon, but don’t take it lightly and avoid the horrendous gullies if at all possible(see photo)

click photos to enlarge

California ’19

 

ww p1

Lane and I got down to the Sierras again this year, ticking off some old school classics at Lovers Leap, Toulomne Meadows, and the legendary Calaveras Dome.

We began our long weekend with Surrealist Pillar direct, finishing with the impressive Hospital Corner. What a great link-up. We wished it were cooler enough to finish with Tombstone or Travelers, but when the sun came around it was oppressive.

I had yet to visit the newly settled Mike and Britne in their new life just outside of Sonora. They stay in a cute ranch together with the mighty beagle known as Chief. We all headed to the Grotto crag nearby and really enjoyed basalt splitters until the sun made that too tough again. Unfortunately, one of our party slipped on the descent trail, and sustained a tib-fib fracture. Heal up fast Brits!

Next Lane and I headed to Toulomne and checked out Dozier Dome, a relatively recent addition to the knobby slabs that frequent Toulomne Meadows. Starting with the 4 star Felsic, then Cheetos and Everclear, and the dastardly Plutonics, rounded out a slabby yet fun day

Crescent Arch was dry! We had a look at it last trip here when it was wet. Glad we hit it dry because it was brutal, and strenuous to lead as is. Enjoyable in the end though.

Wall of the Worlds on Calaveras Dome. Wow, what a climbers climb, and one of the best crack climbs ever! It felt like an expert route setter put this one up. Right from the start it gets thin, then opens up to ring locks, then off hand, all of it exciting, doable movement, with rests in between the tough sections. Then the traverse gets interestingly harder as you go along, climaxing in a wild undercling to flare section. SO good, then the route goes to pure fun after that. We only went as far as far as the top of the Mexican Flake, we had a plane to catch that evening. I’m always impressed with the climbing available in California! I’m grateful for living there for 4 years in the 80s, and several trips each decade since. Thanks again to our great host Michael, Britne, and Chief. Thanks also to Lane, and Sterling Ropes.

7-4 Surr. Direct, Hospital Corner, Lovers Leap 5p 10b w/lane

7-5 Grotto  5p to 11a w/ Mike Brit , lane

7-6 Felsic, Cheetos and Everclear, Plutonics Dozier Dome 7p to 10b r w/Lane

7-7 Crescent Arch, Daff Dome 7p 10b w/lane

7-8 Wall of the Worlds, Calaveras Dome 7p 10c w/lane

 

 

 

The Passenger, and a call to involvement

The climbing community is exploding in numbers, but also too should be our involvement in the infrastructure and our influence. I spend most of my time pursuing my own agenda and pushed on by my “tick list”. I do try to get involved through a couple of volunteer activities, as well. Last weekend I drug Doug along into my scheme to spend Saturday working (still ongoing and needing help)on the eroded base of a prize crag in Mazama. He was promised a few pitches that day. However, he got so into the work, that we came back to task again moving huge rocks to the wall. This time we got to work with Big Givers themselves; Bryan B., Mark A, Lowell S, Jeff T, and many others. Somehow Bryan and I hadn’t met prior, but quickly formed our mutual admiration party.

For Sunday, Doug was promised a run at Bryans impressive route on South Early Winter Spires, S.E. route called: the Passenger.  In perfect weather, up at 4:30 am, we began the long day of hiking up and doing its 8 great pitches. So many memorable moves on this climb, starting with p1s undercling. Right away getting you into tricky moves, I was able to figure out the double undercling again on p2. This left Doug with the sustained p3 and its tough move at its end. I did the crux p4 in the same style falling on the 5.11 friction and aiding the 12 boulder problem. Added bolts on the 10d block mantle make the following pitch less dangerous. Further up, the spicy 5.9 section is a bit  pg rated? The rest of the climb was fun including the direct finish! The place was almost deserted too.

It was my second go at the route and I was able to eliminate a point of aid for myself and great to not have to lead all pitches too!.

Thanks to Doug, Mark, work crews making our crags better, Sterling Ropes, WCC, and the AAC for putting together this awesome weekend!

Stephs reports:

My prior ascent:

click to enlarge photos

 

 

 

 

South Africa ’19

For me, international travel is always a journey from anguish to redemption. I tend to be a rolling contradiction of enjoying my routine, yet craving adventure and uncertainty. Struggling with the idea of wandering off far away, yet always grateful for the experience during and after.  Lucky also to have an amazing girlfriend to share it with. We created a trip of a lifetime with Jenn and Lane planning the stays, and safaris, and myself planning incredible climbing outings at Waterval Boven. Our plan there was to pick the finest climbs at as many different crags as possible, and enjoy kick ass “rest days” in the wilds. We kinda nailed it.

We did plenty of relaxed time in between, and the last 6 days planned en-route!

Bouncing from place to place, this ended up being our incredible itinerary.

5-4 fly

5-5 fly, sleep

5-6 Drive to Waterval, jet lag, stayed Troutways

5-7 6p to 10d Jenga, Dead Ant, Doom, Snakeskin Suit

5-8 5p to 10c Red Herring, Im Macho

5-9-12.  4 days of safaris, stayed @ Satari, Lower Sabie, Bergendal

5-13 8p to 11d! Women Aint Trouble, Triffids, Dendrophilia, Moondance

5-14 5p to 11a Madiba magic, Electric Ave, ENDLESS SUMMER!!, Who’s your Daddy?

5-15,16 Blydes Canyon, saw: Sudwalla Caves, The Pinnacle, Gods Window, Wonderview, Mac Mac Pools and Falls, stayed Graskopp @Sherries. Echo Caves, Sabie

5-17 5p to 10d Rainman, Ms Doubtfire, Shout at the Devil

5-18 5 p to 10c Temple of Love etc. Jenns Birthday at Lebos!

36 pitches in all! Free pdf of guidebook

5-19,20 Soweto tour, Mandela House, Apartheid Museum, drive around Jo’burg. Fly, fly

Aside from the amazing climbing I was floored by the history, and culture of the country! The past and future struggles gave me hope for humanity, and the idea of moving past racism. Overall inequality is never close to satisfaction in most societies though.  We have far still to go.

Huge thanks to : Jenn, Lane, Dyonne, Brian and Rondelle at Troutways, Gus and Alex at Roc’n Rope, Lebo’s, and the very welcoming country of South Africa.

Photos are in gallery form, click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

My Friend Jess

” I’m trying to figure out why this is affecting me so much” said Lane, ” I didn’t really know him that well.”

I offered in reply: ” He was one of our heroes, as were all 3 of them. They had life by the balls, and seemed like good people at heart. We never want good things to end.”

 

I hate you death, and your shocking, random inevitability.

I also must accept you as I now send a friend into your arms.

This unwelcome finish to existence, will have its day.

Goodbye Jess Roskelley 1982- 2019

 

 

We only did a few major climbs together, but we hit it off well back when Beau introduced me to his bestie: Jess. He was very young then (2011?) and looking for what he wanted to do outside of welding. All of his ideas seems great, including the exciting welding operations he did. When he told me he wanted to be a professional climber, I was excited too for that prospect. He of course had to do more difficult climbs, so his ambition fell into my plans of having good partners at my disposal. We disposed some really amazing ice in our short time together. He would outpace me and my local plans pretty quick too. I always kept in touch with him though and tried to pry him away from his amazing life.

I will miss his pictures and posts of him enjoying life with his friends and family. I will miss the possibility of spending time together. I expect to cry every time I drive through Spokane.

Replicant

Cable/Zenith

Rainbow Serpent

My deepest condolences to the people close to your Jess, David, and Hansjorg. I am glad to have met many of you, and may you have peace, and be grateful for what you were offered.

 

Jess on Rainbow

 

Flip of the switch…

…and it’s rock season!

In an abrupt and dramatic change, the deep freeze went ballistic in the other direction. With temps skyrocketing to record setting readings as high as 80f in the Puget Sound.

.umm.

This during “calendar winter”.

Thin Fingers 11a Photo Michael R.

All Index needs is a few clear days though, and yes, there is your rock season whether you’re ready or not. I was stoked to get 12 pitches in, including my first lead of Thin Fingers! I have always been spooked by this route and its ledges. Guess all that training, and ice climbing pays off. Still damp in spots, with tons of snow in places near the bases of the upper climbs!

Other favorites done:

Walking Legend, Meyah( love this one!), Compound W( in newly scrubbed shape, dirty, yet better off), Law and Order( my 5th time up it!) Tried the new, 2nd pitch of L+O, Needs a bolt or 2, will be fun!

The oil trains rolled by, then the coal trains next?

2 last issues:

Please be an advocate/activist for reducing fossil fuels, etc.

Dave E, and Sterling outright gave me 2 Photon ropes to try for ice climbing. I got to try them out at Banks, and they performed like only the best ropes would in the extremely wet and steep conditions. The dry-coat works beyond what I have experienced with new (or any) ropes.

Prior to all that, I already had invested in their heavy duty 70m Evolution rope. It is my go-to for the desert and index. With the durability, it feels a little heavier.( when did 9.8 get to feel so fat!??) They are also more expensive, but worth it if you are pushing your grade. I prefer the extra confidence and handling you will get with the lines I have tried out. Thanks also to Micheal, James, And Jenn for being awesome friends! Thanks for reading, Wayne

Also check out the 70m tope-roping going on in the left side of the Michael photo? All 4 pitches of Narrow Arrow in one mega session!

Banks Ice ’19, and what a season!

Banks Lake and old man winter eventually delivered with a vengeance. I don’t want it to ever end! We got our ice season this winter(2018/19), but it didn’t start until February!! Incredibly too, it lasted until mid-March. Leaving us adequate daylight, we reveled in pitch after pitch, ascending rarely formed climbs that one could only dream of.

For me, this incredible season was not with out struggle too. I ended up in an ambulance with severe back issues for xmas. I did manage a little time off from work though right as the lion of winter got going in February. All told, I ended up with over 70 pitches of difficult ice and mixed climbing, visiting many different areas along the way. I feel so lucky.

What a pleasure it was to end this seasonal voyage with a couple of trips to Banks Lake. Its no secret that it is one of the harder areas to be successful at. The climbs are steeper and bigger than they look. The quality if ice can be a major issue as well.

With the confidence that can only come with new ropes, (Thanks Sterling!) we set out on back to back weekends. After seeing nobody on a FAT Razorblades, we scurried off to our “warm up” route on Saturday,  and anything else our arms would allow on Sunday (Pillar 1). What an astounding adventure Razorblades presents! That start pitch is always wet, crappy ice and yet so fun and difficult. Be careful with this one!

Last weekend we set our sights on Zenith, again in much fatter shape than my previous seasons efforts. We got scooped twice on it however! The second party took pity on us though and gave us the access to this amazing waterfall that I hadn’t gotten “clean”, nor got to the top of, on my prior tries. Lane Jenn and I had a day we will never forget as it was in great condition. Sunday again, was the :whatever-was-left-of-our-arms: climbing day. Banks has such a great atmosphere, we really enjoyed the “power of place” it offers.

click image to enlarge

Local Ice ’19

A local ice season can randomly pound its way into your life. Bringing snow, cold temps, and social media reports, winter becomes impossible to ignore or resist.
Trouble is, a trip to the grocery store can be full of stress, more so trying to climb seldom formed routes in the Northwest. For those that don’t know: our local ice is a scrappy and well-earned affair that requires great patience and grit to handle less than perfect adventures. We don’t make many magazine covers in our shrubs and moss. When cold conditions happen here though, it can be a treat to explore in the back yard! Heck, I happen to prefer “difficult” ice just to keep it from being boring. More beta after photos. (Some photos by Jenn, Doug)

2-23 update: Jenn and I did a most amazing 4 pitch route at Squamish. The West Coast Ice group on facebook gave up the goods on a route called 2 Minutes For Hooking, and it proved to be a fantastic “Deep Forest” ice climb! I can’t say enough about how fun, scary, and exhilarating this route is. Too bad it didn’t photograph well.

Also THANKS to Dave with Sterling Ropes for loaning me the great Photon ropes to demo!!

 

1-13-2019 Blast Rock Wall wi3 m3 1 mile past icicle creek road closure
1-26-19 Icy BC area tr 3p to m7. Tope rope heaven
2-3-19 Rap Wall 2p to wi4r . fun, spicy first trip here, WARNING: Central Cascades Buried in snow currently
2-17 Shannon Left, center area 1 p w3 , scary climbing next to live waterfall!
2-18 Oleson Creek ice route 4p, W3+ (attempt at AST, went too far up canyon)
2-20 Loose Lady 3p W5 Fun, steep with great access.
2-21 3 Ring Circus 3p w5. We didn’t have chains so we road walked an extra 3k up to a spicy approach. Route was chandeliered and wet on p1. from top, we walked off climbers left to road. Tough day.

2-23  2 Minutes for Hooking 4p, w4+ w Jenn. One of my all time favorite ice climbs, just my kind of route. Thin, exciting, and tricky to the finish. The beta on face book is spot on:

Graham Rowbotham to West Coast Ice

Perry Beck and Graham Rowbotham climbed a route on the left side of New Delhi wall at Slhanay East, Squamish on Feb 20. I assume this is Two Minutes For Hooking?

Approach – As for New Delhi crag: park ~2.5 km along Mamquam FSR, start up Big Drop Valley trail then after a few minutes take R branch (cairns) and follow up and right to base ~40 mins.

Pitch 1: ~WI3+ R (thin ice, protection was stubby, spectre and medium nut).
Pitch 2: WI4 (generally fatter ice, except thinner near top)
Pitch 3: ~WI4- (some cool mushroom hooking up ramp, then ice blob traverse up to cave belay)
Pitch 4: WI4+ (steeper column up to trees)

P3 and P4 could be combined with a few more screws!

Two raps down from trees (70m ropes)

Excellent, varied route. Totally dry. Judging by the rap tat, it has had at least one prior ascent this year. Enjoy 🙂

westcoastice.com   archive

3-3 Pillar 1 w5 2 laps. Left of Zenith,  rated a “4” in the book!

3-2 Eating Razorblades 3p W5+ w/lane, zac in easier shape than last year, still burly

3-3 Pillar 1 w5 2 laps burly route left of Zenith, rated a “4” in the book!

3-9 lower Emerald+ Zenith w5+ 3p w/jenn lane. got scooped, yet finished off this route proper with my besties!

3-10 Agent O and More Banks Ice 3p to w5+ Holy crap what an amazing ice season!

 

Colorado Ice Trip ’19

Feb 8-2019: 2 feet of snow is heading to the Seattle area, and Canmore is -20 for weeks.

Thanks to Lane for figuring out the best place to go during the “Seattle Snowpacolypse”. The “Master of the Air-miles” set us up, heading to Colorado (my first time there) taking advantage of the warmer temps and far better weather. We last minute planned it and hit some amazing and difficult routes in Southwestern Colorado! Great joy was found..

2/8-13/19 Colorado Ice Trip 17p to M6-WI6 w/lane:

 2-8 Amphitheater Vail 3p to m5 W5+, including Rigid Designator, Cupcake, and 7th! So much fun!

 2-9 Redstone Slabs 3p WI5 Set the booter into this great climb. First pitch(right side) was fiesty and ended up in bushes! 2nd pitch kinda dangerous, 3rd is super good.

 2-10 Skylight 2p M4/5 WI4+ This is an ultra-high quality and unique route up steep chimney, similar to Urs Direct. Not everyday you get to ice climb in such a deep chimney!

 2-11 Bridalveil Falls 3p WI5+ THE Classic steep waterfall, and lived up to the hype. Picked out yet, 3-d, steep, and fun outing. Nice to climb with my old friend Steve, a partner of a few great adventures in the 90s, including the first ascent of the Black Spider wall of Mt. Hood.

2-12 Ouray Ice Park 4p to WI6 M6. Enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. I found unpicked lines and rad mixed in the “Vic” area just moving the rope a few meters over per climb.

2-13 Rifle Ice 2p to WI6. Wow, what a way to end a fantastic trip. Souls on Ice and the last curtain up the canyon were amazing, and steep af!

Outstanding adventure, thanks to Lane(climbing partner and rad photos), Jenn, Steve, Carly, D.Scott, and Walker. Huge props go to Ouray Ice Park for the amazing dream park!!