A strange, yet rewarding ice season

Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It require you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.   Gary Ryan Blair

I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.  Steve Southerland

 

The calendar said it was winter, but the thermometer did not.
A quick vortex blew down in November and again in December that froze up many climbs. After that , it was very warm and dry for western North America. I am trying not to go down the Global Warming worm-hole but after this winter, its tough not to. Fewer routes meant more people competing for them. It took more planning and flexibility to have success. Nonetheless, I made the most of it with my extended time away from work.
     I had decided to get real serious this season. I trained, networked, made a list of routes, and went after them as I could. It really paid off, but it felt like I could have done so much more! On 3 trips totaling 4 weeks, I did 60  pitches, most above wi5 and m6. I enjoyed climbing such great routes such as Curtain Call, Hydrophobia, Upper Weeping Wall, Climb above Dribbles, Avalanche Gulch, Cascade Kronenburg, and many more. Having some time in between routes to rest was a luxury I had as well. My most recent trip was with Alpine Mentors NW Group. We had a fun week visiting the Icefields Parkway, Field, the Ghost, and even the Stanley Headwall! What a great idea to help bring up the next generation of alpinists in this area.
   I am now preparing for a trip to the Utah desert. I am using the list idea again, since we are short on time. I expect to be back at work by mid-march, and the road tripping will come to an end. It has been a great run so far.
   Here is a journal breakdown:

12-9-14 Feeding Cat, Matrix 3 p to wi4 m5 w/ Ari, Kristen

12-10-14 Scepter WI 5 1p+lap w/Ari, K

12-12-14 Climb Above Dribbles, aka Alex in Wonderland III+ Wi5-M6 w Keenan

12-13-14 Monkey Ass Wall WI5 1p w/Jeff, Nelson

12-14-14 Panama Canal M9 with Marko, Ben, Bekah

12-15-14 Champagne Sherbet, Slot 2p WI4, w Kristen

12-16-14 Avalanche Gulch 5p Wi5 m5, w Keenan

1-2-15 Chockstone Falls Wi4 3p variation w joe

1-9-15 Grotto Falls 4p to wi4, m6 w steve

1-10-15 Marble Canyon 3p to wi4 w Nic, Stuart

1-12-15 Sniveling to Weeping Pillar V-wi6 6p w/Nic

1-15-15 Hydrophobia V-WI 5+ 3p w tim, andy

1-17-15 Twisted III-wi5 3p w/ Steve, Bill

1-20-15 Curtain Call IV-WI6 w/ Tyler, Nic

2-15-15 My Daddys a Psycho 3p WI5 w/ Andy D.

2-17-15 Carlsburg, Cascade Kronenburg 6p to m5, WI6 w/ Alex, Andy

2-19-15 Beowulf 4p wi4 w Ryan

2-21-15 Haffner 3p to m6

2-22-15 2p of French Reality w alex wi4

Enjoy some pictures:

 

My favorite trips.

First of all I wish to thank my many climbing partners over the years. These lists and stories would not be possible without a trusted friend on the other end of the rope.

I don’t believe in a pre-climber age for myself. I finally got to use ropes and gear at age 9 or so. It was a relief to be able to protect the crazy antics I had done as an even smaller child. I was the kid way up in the tree. Confidence wasn’t strong in me then though. I learned from books mostly. I had no upper body strength as a lad, so when I got the training and gear, I aid climbed mostly. No rock shoes for years meant 5.7 was scary, and it took many years before I did my first lead at that grade.  After graduating high school in ’81, I got my first pair of rock shoes and took up free-climbing in earnest. I moved to Mt Hood the next year and re-established my passion for the high peaks.  I came to realize how climbing would drive my life. A monster traverse of the Cascade Volcanoes, followed by a few summers in Yosemite, with winters in Tahoe, confirmed that the big routes were where I wanted to be. I willed and worked my way through many of them, always pushing myself to be my best. A few accidents/injuries tempered my ambitions. My carpentry career led me back to Portland in 86, Seattle in 2000, where I currently reside.

Climbing isnt everything to me though. I value being a good father, mate, worker,  friend, and citizen. I have recently become a political activist. I urge you to get involved in your community. Please make a difference.

I had always kept a book-type journal about my climbing. I started keeping a digital one in the early 2000s, which led to launching the 1st waynessite in 2006. I was afraid I didnt have enough content, which led to , of course, way too much content. Later(2009), I started this wordpress, streamlined the extras (Thanks Jon), and now I use it mostly for trip reports.

Here are a few trips/experiences that had a deep effect on me.

1973 Roped climbing at Broughtons Bluff, I asked a party to borrow a harness and a tope rope.

1976 Mt St. Helens age 13

1978 Beacon Rock, first multi-pitch

1982 The Cascade Enchainment: Jefferson to Broken top. 7 summits

1982 South Face Washingtons Column, on 19th birthday, Prow solo in 83.

1983 Zodiac, El Cap, the Nose in 85

1985 Ice 9, Mt Mendel

1986, January injury left me with a lot to think about for 9 months.

86 N Face of Grand, Andromeda, and New Route in Blogett in 1 road trip

88 Guiding 2 trips on Denali, one of them from the Ruth

88 Complete N Ridge of Stuart, Discovered the North Cascades, sigh…….

89 FA,Dragons Of Eden, Dragontail. PFA, Solid gold soon after.

Early 90s-current, Raised 2 daughters

93 FA, Arachnophobia, Mt Hood: My first Black Spider adventure.

94 N Butt, Mt Fury, discovered the Pickets, long sigh….

96 Sunshine route on Snowpatch, world-beater classic.

96 N Face, Mt Temple, phew.

97 South Face Artesonraju,  A month in Peru

2000, Attempt N Ridge of K2, to 7000m. Moved to Seattle.

02 Original West Ridge Mt Hunter , to 11k

02 Direct N Butt. Bear Mt.

03 FA, The Southern Pickets Traverse.

03 FA, NW Ridge Mt Logan. Solo

04 Ham and Eggs, Mooses Tooth

04 FA, The Sawtooth Traverse, 20 summits/pinnacles

05 FA, The Northern Pickets Traverse.

06 FA, Mongo Ridge, West Fury. Solo

07 FA, N. Dihedral Direct , Snow Creek Wall, in winter conditions.

09 Benetiers rt, El Mocho, Patagonia

09 FA, Gran Torino, Dome Peak

10 FA, East Face, Pyramid Peak

10 Scenic Cruise, Black Canyon

10 Index Traverse

10 Beckey- Choinard, S.Howser Tower

11 Springbok Arete, Les Cornes.

11 Mummy 234, Hyalite

12 The Replicant, Mt Rundle

12 The Fine Line, Elephants Perch

12 The Hitch Hiker, S. Early Winter Spire

13 Goats Beard, Goat Wall

13 Oz/Positive Vibrations, Needles

13 The Passenger, SEWS

14 Rainbow Serpent, Ghost

14 The Silmaril, Zion

15  Weeping Pillar/Hydrophobia/Curtain Call

Curtain Call, etc

Just getting back from a spectacular trip to the Canadian Rockies, I am struck with the following trends:

I have enjoyed doing the opposite of the “Smash and Grab” trips. Taking 2 week trips allows me to rest between body destroying leads. Particularly since I just had orthoscopic repairs done on my knee a few weeks ago. “Relax and Acquire” is nice but has led to another trend that I don’t enjoy.

I have found it difficult to go out on these trips with a dedicated partner. It is probably a combination of the various issues such as: Who has that kind of time available? I have a particular agenda/ability. I am a jerk?, etc. I have adjusted to this trend though by lining up “play dates” with various partners.

Global warming is here. Ice climbing is barely surviving thanks to the vortexes that come down each year, but the reach of warming is dramatic and brings a sense of doom to our environment. For now it is nice to climb in more comfortable temperatures.

It is good for me to make lists and be organized. The piece of mind and accomplishments it brings is very satisfying. I still haven’t let it sink in that I did 4 of my dream routes in 1 amazing trip. Huge thanks to Steve, Nic, Tyler, Stuart, Bill, Tim, and Andy!

Appropriately, I ended the trip with Curtain Call. A legendary route that has inspired me to push past intimidating structures and reports of people bailing days prior due to lack of pro. Boldness on our part paid off. Tyler did a steady job pushing through bad fins at the end of his lead. The finish had a few scary things going on: Daggers over the belay, threading the needle between features, where a back-off sling leads to terrible ice. I traversed a few more feet to the left, and found better ice. It led to a couple of scary horizontal cracks in the structure, which later made good foot ledges! Swing and pull like crazy to the finish. What a route! Here are some pictures of Twisted and Curtain Call:

 

 

Weeping Pillar, and Hydrophobia

I sent Steve a list of 20 routes that I most wanted to climb in the Canadian Rockies. Ticking one or 2 off each season is an ideal way to feel good about a given ice season. He told me that over half of the climbs on the list were now known to be in good condition. After a couple of warm-up days and I roped Nic into meeting me for a romp to Icefields Parkway for a run at Weeping Pillar. When we got there we found 2 parties with the same idea. The upper party bailed after the 1st pitch of Weeping Pillar route. Large daggers and the heat of the bright sun sent them back to the car. The other party was a late arrival that knew today wasnt the day to crowd the climb. So up we went, getting soaked in the runny, steep ice. I chose the right side of the Pillar to avoid weird ice formations, and provide great cave belays to protect belayers from the funky ice falling from above. What an incredible experience this climb was, we could not contain our excitement from this big, and amazing route. We laughed and reveled about it until we parted ways again the next day.

2 rest days later, and I was able to talk Tim and Andy into driving into the Waiparous Valley for our first time. Hydrophobia was the route on the list that they saw as the most interesting. That was to prove to be a great call on our part. We did the obligatory strategy session with the Colonel the night before, and were on our way out at 430 am. We arrived at first light donning chains for the last few miles. We had the bare minimum vehicle and chains to get in the 4wd roads. The suburban made it though with a few rally points and shoveling! Thanks Andy for the great driving job. Hydrophobia is the most visually striking route I can think of. It looks like something from a comic or fantasy book. The eye struggles to recognize scale and steepness in its bizarre layout. As an ice route, it is in a class of its own. It frequently has great ice, and is seldom drippy. We caught it in perfect temps(32f), and had mostly great ice. The only issue was the winds kicked up great amounts of spindrift snow. We were also grateful to have borrowed Steves 70 meter ropes for the long, pumpy leads. We all went back tired and happy from one of the best climbs imaginable. Huge thanks to Steve for every thing he provides to the community.

I just finished the trip, here is the damage:

1-9-15 Grotto Falls 4p to wi4, m6 w steve

1-10-15 Marble Canyon 3p to wi4 w Nic, Stuart

1-12-15 Sniveling to Weeping Pillar V-wi6 6p w/Nic

1-15-15 Hydrophobia V-WI 5+ 3p

1-17-15 Twisted III-wi5 3p w/ Steve, Bill

1-20-15 Curtain Call IV-WI6 w/ Tyler, Nic (41p for season)

The wish list and current conditions (1-21-2015):

  • Wolf Street, thin
  • French Reality, thin
  • Red Man Soars, not sure/no
  • Amadeus, no
  • Kidd, in
  • Sacre Blue, in, avy concerns
  • Sea of Vapors, just came in, thin
  • Cryophobia, thin/no, see photos
  • Hydrophobia, in
  • Superbok, thin, in
  • Pilsner Pillar, in
  • French Maid, maybe
  • Tabernac Bowl, thin, in
  • Mixed Master, no
  • Curtain Call, in
  • Riptide,in
  • Weeping Pillar,in
  • Unicorn, no
  • Virtual Reality, no
  • Ice Nine, in
  • Bourgeau Left, in
  • Big Drip, in
  • Twisted,in
  • Cascade Kronenburg,in

Pictures! :

 

Hyalite ’14

Felt very happy to spend 8 wonderful days in Hyalite. Driving out by myself, I was lucky to produce the following:

12-9-14 Feeding Cat, Matrix 3 p to wi4 m5 w/ Ari, Kristen. Matrix is so fun.

12-10-14 Scepter WI 5 1p+lap w/Ari, K. Hooked out,

12-12-14 Silken to Climb Above Dribbles, aka Alex in Wonderland III- Wi5-M6 w/ Keenan. One of the best in Hyalite!

12-13-14 Monkey Ass Wall WI5 1p w/Jeff, Nelson. Obscure but great pitch. Thanks Nelson for trail breaking.

12-14-14 Panama Canal M8/9 with Marko, Ben, Bekah, and Mike. Fell all over it, but fun tr.

12-15-14 Champagne Sherbet, and Slot 2p WI4 w/ Kristen.Fun, long leads

12-16-14 Avalanche Gulch 5p III-Wi5 m4 w/ Keenan. Longest route in Hyalite, very fun.

I had been laid up for a month prior to this outing due to a couple of strange injuries. First I threw my back out on my last Friday before ending the Allen Brain Science Center project. I really wanted to finish that crazy building, but missed doing the finishing touches. I was due to return the following Tuesday, but poured boiling coffee on both legs.  It then took 3 weeks to recover from extensive 2nd degree burns from that fiasco. I cannot thank my very caring girl enough for her care during my recovery.

Motivated to stay longer than just during icefest, I decided to go alone and solicit various partners during my stay in Bozeman. Ari and Kristen were wonderful hosts and partners, along with Keenan being a stud for the harder routes. It was nice to have more time and take each day easier. My favorites were: Matrix, Climb above Dribbles ( aka: Alex in Wonderland: phenomenal route), and Monkey Ass Wall. The routes stayed in good shape despite warm temperatures and large crowds. I think the dry air has something to do with that.

This was my best trip to Hyalite due to attending Icefest, World Cup Competition, great climbs, and spending quality time with great people. It was great to try new gear that I got from Pro Mountain Sports, like the new Laser light Speed ice screws! Huge advance in ice anchors for sure.

Now for a few pictures!

Avalanche Gulch

Avalanche Gulch

 

You.

Yes, you.

Climbing would not be nearly as fun without being  with friends while doing it. People continue to be one of my favorite aspects of the sport. Thanks to many good friends, I have had countless great trips and good times along the way.

Thanks also to you the reader, and if we haven’t already, I hope to meet you along the journey. Thanks for making all of this “me ” sharing a more comfortable thing. It can be a weird idea to publish a personal journal in public, but I have never seen a negative encounter to cause worry.

Thanks to the climbing community. It is amazing what the collective can do at different times. I continue to see great eras,and great change occur, with renewed inspiration for the sport. So, just feeling extra grateful, thats all.

Squamish ’14

First, a couple of things about Squamish “14” It’s a shame that I will only get up here once in 2014, and a further shame I haven’t visited since 2010.  I was once again swept up into the resort-like atmosphere similar to Red Rocks, and Yosemite. Big plans were made and re-made to suit the situation.

I signed on with Alpine Mentors with my friend Steve because I love to teach, and I tend to do that anyway. I was happy to join our 3 (already very capable) students and 4 mentors to a perfect fall weekend in Squamish. Ryan was first to experience my “fail forward” approach, as we tried to find Bulletheads East, but ended  up on Krimo-Liquid Gold instead. We enjoyed doing the pitches without knowing the grade. It was a tough and fun outing.

Next up was Alex and Jon, and we had originally wanted to try Freeway, but came down to earth a bit and went for Borderline-Angels Crest-High Plains Drifter. This amazing link-up is the finest outing I have had in my 5 visits to Squamish. 15 or so pitches with distinctly different flavor, climaxing with the incredible position way up on the high plains. I let Alex and Jon do nearly all of the leading, but requested 1 lead up there. I got the 1st of the 2 on High Plains. It is an enduro hand crack that will make you wonder how much is left in the tank for the last pitch and its dyno for the top. Almost everyone struggled with it, and the leader cannot A0 through it either.

Of course I compared the climbing to my favorite local crag, and I must admit that I prefer the finer coarse crystallization, ambience, and the pitch for pitch wonder of my home crag. This will not keep me from more trips to the north for the long and beautiful routes I have still to see.

P1120802

Laser beta for HPD crux: Dont go up the thin crack too far as you will miss the best hold for the reach to the right. Wind up and extend to the hold, but dont try to slap for a higher one. Step out right, then match hands. Rock onto foothold. the arete gets better up higher. P1120983P1120985

the extension

the extension

Solitude- Lookout Pt.- Index

I had just cleared the crux(s) and was going free again to finish the sustained , steep lead halfway up an obscure yet classic 5 pitch route. Pumped to all get out, there should have been relief at the top hand jams. A thorny vine wove through the crack that I could just barely reach. The spines dug into the skin, both sides of the hand, where some would stay for days after. 

 

I wouldn’t ordinarily write about a local route done at the crags, but I had to share this wonderful route with the hopes of hearing more good things about it. I think my friend Geoff first posted about a Mountain Project link to it. The pictures looked great and I am always on the lookout for sustained thin lines.

The first thing I asked Alex on his lead was “Is there any chalk on it?”. He linked the first 2 pitches into 1 dream lead.  He said there was, but we didn’t see much after that. The climbing justifies more traffic though.

 

Pitch 3 packs a wallop, with a techy crux start to and very thin finger traverse left. I later cleaned the sticker vines out of the finish jams on rappel.

The Chimney after(p4)was short and fun.

P5 was another very fun, varied, and thin crack lovin’ affair. How many routes do you know of that end in a dyno for the summit? We felt like we had really accomplished something that day, and all in an hour and a half away from home. I cant wait to lead 1,2 and 5 on my next go, they are 2 of my favorites for sure. All leads have adequate rests along the way.

I hope the appeal of this route is enough to keep it clean. With the approach and other competitive climbs, it might not however. That is one of the reasons I chose to write about it. Have a go, and let me know how you like it. I think it is a classic, though many may choose to aid a few moves at the crux.

 

Update 10-20014: Found an early trip report of Solitude on RCNW. Also went back up to Lookout Point and did another Multi pitch route starting with Strange Boar and ending on Black Rock, both of which were very fun. Baby Tapir is real good as well.

Now for some pictures:

Inheavendex

Inheavendex

p1,2 Solitude

p1,2 Solitude

my thoughts after watching Alex's onsite of p1,2

my thoughts after watching Alex’s onsite of p1,2

crux p4

crux p3

crux p4

crux p3

obligatory chimney pitch.

obligatory chimney pitch p4.

Alexander

Alexander

p5 start

p5 start

p5 start

p5 start

p5 start

p5 start

p5 finish

p5 finish

p5 goodliness

p5 goodliness

obligatory selfie

obligatory selfie

Patriot Ford

Patriot Ford

 

Mikes new book is out!!

jpeghttp://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Stronger-Faster-Healthier-Beyond/dp/149965667X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+layton+book

So my buddy Michael just released his second edition of his monster book: Climbing Faster, stronger, and healthier! Picture ALL of the “How to” books of climbing put into one! Also throw out all of the mundane beginner fundamentals. It is literally 12 books in one. Outstanding information in all of these areas:

1. Training Basics (my weakness)

2. Preparation and prevention, covers 99% of the body.( web discount codes for the other 1%)

3.4.  Exercises.

5, 6. The Mental aspects of climbing and training. Cant get enough on this subject.

7,8.  Health and nutrition.

9-12.  More than you can ever imagine on planning skills technical equipment, and trickery. These sections validate the old saying “old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill, every time” You will be a way more savvy climber after these chapters!

  I am lucky man to have such great friends. I tend to be drawn to intelligent  people. Though it seems unlikely to have an occasional conflict with such considerate and thoughtful friends, it can happen. I recall a heated argument that left me at odds with my best friend. I wanted to do The Fine Line on Elephants perch, but I did not want to have to lead all of its difficult pitches ( all 12 of them are difficult). I was lucky to find a person to swap leads at the base camp to replace my now upset friend. He was lucky that he found a partner as well to do an easier route. I felt bad for the move, but this is typical behavior for an ambitious nature/bastard. We later talked and made amends, but his argument had holes. I remember him saying: ” Well, you have gotten better” (as a climber). My reply was, ” well, ALL of climbing has gotten better”  ..and continues to. It is up to each individual to either keep up, or enjoy the easier routes with people that stay at moderate difficulty climbs.

I recall another argument I had with a younger friend. I do enjoy discovering when I take the wrong side of the agreement >in this case> We we talking about the harder routes and how after a climb like the Passenger gets done. I thought very few ascents occur annually say, 2-3. We later met that many at the Mazama store that had climbed it prior,  or had climbed it that weekend. “Its the new thing” he explained, everybody’s doing these routes that just a few years prior were thought to be sacred relics of difficulty!

People, the day is here when the crowded classics are no longer just the 5.8s and 9s of yesteryear! They are your dream routes, and they are getting done all the time.

  

   Throw in the aging issue, finding partners and keeping up with the culture of the area, you have your work cut out for you. How about the safety issue? The more fit we are the safer and enjoyable the experience.You wouldn’t even be looking for improvement and knowledge if you ware happy with where you are. It has been my pleasure to work on the several of the ideas in Michael’s book, through trial and conversation over the years, It makes me proud to be friends with a person willing to take on the struggle of amassing such a great body of work. I hope it invigorates your passion for the the next big adventure as it has mine.

There are so many reasons to want to be a more fit and efficient  outdoor person. How about just the joy of sending some amazing hard route? Setting  yourself up for that sick trad route? You’re first – first ascent?, or just looking good at the lake? How about living longer and a more fulfilled life , because, you will only get this one.

  We spring forth from the Earth, and it is always calling us back. Enjoy Michaels new book, Wayne

Gorillas in the Mist

7-12.13-14 Gorillas in the Mist, West Wall, Mt Stuart IV-5,11. With Jon T

A few years back, I was inspired by the efforts of 3 young friends of mine who finished the often attempted wall on the west face of Mt. Stuart. They managed to lead the route through difficult conditions from MUCH loose dirt and rocks, bad weather, forced frosty bivy, and severe route-finding issues. What they left behind is a high quality outing on one of the steeper walls in the Cascades, on one of the greatest mountains as well.

It had been on my list every since, and seemed like the perfect option on a weekend such as this one which was very hot. Not getting sun until the afternoon helped shade the sweltering heat of the long days. If only the mosquitos weren’t so insanely bothersome. Glad we brought a tent for that issue. Jon had just gone in there to do the upper north ridge, so he built confidence in me that this was the time to do this climb. We were very glad we did, what an adventure the climb is. Straight forward and hard at the start, it then takes twists and turns from there on. The route plugs along forcing you to go up or over the only way possible. This leads to long, rope-draggy leads that take time to figure out and rig for smooth rope lines.The gear is good and the climbing sustained. I would love to do the direct finish sometime as well, but I couldn’t find the info on it.

Here are some of the prior reports on it:

The first ascent: Jens, Blake, and Sol 2009

2011 GITM Direct Finish

7-2012 report

8-2012 report

10-2012 report, with topo

Mt. Project report

 

 

Pics:

P1120443

Stuart from Ingalls Lake

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