“The Circumvention”, aka Fan-Wallace new mixed route

P1170105There we were in thick fog, trying to find a thin, mixed route that had not been climbed before. We were lucky to find the start after wandering back and forth in the deep, and steep snow. I figured it would be a 2 pitch affair, so I asked Laurel to lead the first. (p1)She had a real treat going up the thin mixed corner on cams, pitons, and a screw. After 20 meters she stopped at an offwidth crack. I would recommend to future parties to finish the 1st pitch with the wide crack, so as not to (possibly lead fall, and) land on your belayer. There is a fixed pin there now just above where she belayed from and no wide gear is needed with the gear found in the chockstones deep in this classic section. (p2)After grunting up the short wide crack, I pushed the belay up to a place where one could watch the leader for the last pitch. Once again Laurel was game to swap leads, and get after the steep finish! (p3)Thin, rotten ice led around the detached ice candle. She opted to do an exciting mixed finish to the right rather than try to campus up the rotten candle. What an effort she paid, right up to the finish, where she came off before she could grab the M5+ tree limb at the very top! After regaining the overhanging block, she then pulled to the top of her first, first ascent.  Nice work, Laurel! The Alpine Mentors are proud of you.

   I had been eyeing this line during many prior visits to the Alpental Valley. We in Seattle are lucky to have fairly reliable ice venues so close to town. Its nice to be one hour away from such fun.

Specifics: “The Circumvention”, aka. Fan-Wallace is located above Source Lake area, on Bryant Buttress. To the right of Flow Reversal, and Resistance Is Futile, yet left of where people skin up to Chair Peak. Best approached from the Flow Reversal area, up and right, reaching a sweet thin gully with turf hooks and thin ice. When it gets steep, there could be an exciting direct finish to the pitch, or the obvious off-width crack to the left. We did it in 3 short pitches, but best to do it in 2. Move the belay high enough to see the leader either finish on the ice daggers, or the exciting “Fan” finish to the steep ramp up and  right. 60m ropes just reach the bottom in 1 rap.  Pins, stoppers,cams, screws and specters are all handy.

Other Snoqualmie Fun:

Snoqualmie mt. N. face part 1

Snoqualmie Ice part 2

Kurt Hicks Topo

Mt proj

Gallery, click to enlarge, some photos by Laurel.

 

P1170018

Inspired gadgets: Firn Line Designs

How I found out about Firn Line Designs:

I was headed down Silken Falls after getting my revenge on Alex in Wonderland (aka: Climb Above Dribbles). It was such a great route and tribute to the genius of the master himself. As I was rapping past another party, I was (visually) struck by the gear on the harness of the party leader, Derek. He had on screw protectors that looked easy to remove while on lead. He also showed me the simplest, most compact v-threader I had ever seen. Easy to use, light and compact my 2 improvements would be to make the color brighter for ease of locating it on a crowded harness, and ease of clipping it in and out. Of course I asked all about the manufacture, and it turned out to be a small business from a climber in my home state of Oregon. I contacted Terry and he sent out his whole line of products to me, and a new gadget the we developed together! I was impressed with the minimalism, and function of all the items.

After purchasing the items, I got the chance to try out my new gadget designed to use carabiners instead of the plastic ice clippers. It worked very well except that I need to find some bigger carabiners the size of Ice Clippers. I am sure that most of these items would be a great addition to any ice gear arsenal. Happy climbing!

Ice clip prototype:

simple, make in different sizes?

simple, make in different sizes?

Harness goes behind the biner.

Harness goes behind the biner.

Maybe a little wider of a model would get it past the gear loop?

Maybe a little wider of a model would get it past the gear loop? The biners  never shift once in place.

Canada Ice 12-’15

P1160712.jpgI got real lucky. The job completely stalled out and the Rockies ice routes came into great shape. Lane and I joined our friends Doug and Moira, in the Field area. I had huge plans to try as many big routes on my list as possible. We “warmed” up on Twisted, a route that just started forming up a few years ago. It was in tougher shape than last year, but such a good route. Lane and I went for Super Bock the next day, only to find 4 parties on route , 2 of them ahead of us. It was too cold to stand around, so I tried to find a separate line next to the other parties to keep moving. The last party was not excited about my plan,and went so far as to call me “rude”. Well, the other parties jumped to my support, and even said the route was over their heads. The climb was in very difficult shape for sure. It was dripping, and the ice was a bit rotten. We did it anyways though, and were impressed with how long and steep it was.

Next up was a route that I have been wanting to try for 20+ years, because it never comes in shape. Mixed Master is one the best routes imaginable. 7 great pitches long and gets difficult at the top. I cant describe how happy Doug and I were. We were in party mode all day long!

Lane had been keen for Bourgeau Left. Due to the cold temps, another sunny route sounded pretty good. Once again there was another party ahead that were not impressed with the conditions, so they bailed. Up I went into a very wet and strange ice crux. At the top I was drenched, but happy to have had such determination and luck to get up 4 amazing routes in 5 days!! Next up, Doug and I went after my 2nd try of French Reality, but it was just too cold and the snow too deep without flotation. Off to Haffner to pad the pitch count:  21 pitches in all for a great week. Thanks to Doug, and Moira for such a nice place to stay, and spend a fun New Years with. Lane for going up on short notice, and Pro Mountain Sports for the great deal on my new ropes!

Look for a product review soon from a local gear manufacture that has some interesting line of products! Firn Line Designs from Oregon is next!

Click images to enlarge

Squamish 15.3

I am very excited to have gone to Squamish 3 different times this year!! What a great venue for long routes with low commitment. I can see why so many people are flocking there to climb and live. I hope the town and area handle the growing pains ahead.

I just finished 3 weeks off from work and was frustrated by the weather and lack of partners. I was able to get a great trip to Leavenworth, and finally a great trip with Lane to Squamish right at the end of it.

At the top of the list was Life on Earth on the SW Face of Mt Habrich. We took the Sea-to-Sky Tram which takes you just over half way up the mountain. A few easy miles, then long steep up-hill trail, leads to the split heading to the right in the trail, then the base of the route. Look for a red rope heading up to the base of the climb. The first pitch is very fun with cracks and face moves. The rest of the route has an occasional hard face moves with decent rock the whole way. We were surprised to see many parties up there even on a Friday, but we never were slowed down. We teamed up with the party behind us to double up our collective ropes and rappel the route. Much better option than going down the other way in rock shoes. Thanks to Gary and Elise for the option. Great day in the mountains.

Next up on Saturday was the big prize: Milk Road and its legendary 4th pitch endurance corner. It was wet at the start of the route, but still fun going up the 2nd pitch with its arch and face moves.. but before we knew it, I was headed up one of the best pitches in Squamish determined to on-site it. It got to where it seemed silly to do it in the best style because I got very tired, and the lead took a long time. I should have just hung on a piece of gear, but I was not giving in, and got to the top under what was left of my own power.. The rest of the route was pretty forgettable except for the super crazy 8th pitch. What a wild ride it is, with delicate foot mantles and insane exposure. Once again I was determined to get it clean, and thanks to a great climbing season, I did!!

We topped the long weekend off with Bulletheads East, a 4 pitch romp that has great fingers and hands the whole way up on good rock. I am very grateful to have had such good weather and climb 3 long routes as I am headed back to a work project that will last 12 months with no more breaks. (regular) Life goes on.

Habrich Beta Mt. Project.  cc.com report

Milk Road beta

Bulletheads East mt proj

click images to enlarge…

 

Der Sportsman, Prussik Peak

In the last few years I have done climbs in the NW that make me wonder why I travel far to find quality rock climbs. Yes it is fun to travel and visit these great places, but why go hundreds/thousands of mile when we have some of the best routes in the world right here?

Der Sportsman is one of those routes that I would put up against any other in terms of quality, setting, and pure excitement. Be drawn up this amazing route, and puzzled by the difficult sequences it requires. It is, for sure, one of the top 10 climbs in the Northwest. Sustained, strenuous, and tricky, it remains wonderful the whole way once you get 40 feet off the ground. Enjoy amazing Washington State.

Labor Day ’15 had all the trappings of an anguishing weekend. Bailing partners, and worsening weather forecasts sent me in a tizzy to find a new plan. The internet helped me to find a couple of good people and new plans were made last minute. A bright young man named Matt,  from Marysville/Dartmouth, met up with me to crag at the very fun Ozone Crag in Leavenworth on Thursday, and we did Orbit on Friday. I had wanted to repeat this classic climb for some time, and it was a nice conditioner for what was to come…

I had a back up plan of climbing with friends at Tieton, but as I complained to the internet:” I want to climb bigger routes”, Laurel( my Alpine Mentors compatriot) asked me if I thought Der Sportsman was big enough? I was hooked immediately to the idea, but concerns about the weather and pushing the route in a day seemed like a lot to ask of my knee.

It was. We had to though because the weather hit hard on Sunday and pushed our schedule to do it all on Monday. 6 new inches of snow was still there in the high country when we came over Aasgard Pass on our way to Prussik Peak. The South face was just getting into the sun when we arrived, but it was seriously cold. With numb fingers. We did the first of many amazing sections. Laurel and I felt lucky to have Zac along. He just destroyed the first 2 pitches in freezing wind-chills, while we belayed in partial sun. Clouds sent us into our puffies at every belay too. Laurel did the middle 2 money pitches, and then I was the finisher, getting the very strenuous 5.11 flared hand crack. The glow from this route will not wear off any time soon. Neither will the pain from the long loop we finished going down the trail to Snow Creek parking, 21 hours, and 80,000 steps later.

Beta and Pictures follow:

Sols amazing 2nd ascent report

Mt Project page

Jens’ early trips

Ultimate link-up Alpinist

Audrey Sniezek 

click to enlarge images..

Labor Pains, NEWSpire

So lets just say that your to-do list at Washington Pass is getting low. (It could happen!) I have a great, unheralded climb for you! The Labor Pains route on NEWS is an engaging, fun, and spicy outing for sure. I just kept imagining the FA party squeaking their way up this discontinuous line. Not quite the spook-fest that the guide book suggests, it does take tiny cams and stoppers quite well. It doesn’t have an “enduro” section, or big run-outs either. It does have tricky moves that require a bit of “go-for-it”. I absolutely loved the quality of climbing, position, and atmosphere of the 3 tough pitches of the route. Adventure calls! Add it to your dwindling list of outstanding climbs there.

 

I started a Mt. Proj Page 

We enjoyed the new Matrix Crag in Mazama too. Beta at http://www.goatsbeardmountainsupplies.com/ or at their gear shop in Mazama.

Squamish ’15

I wasn’t even thinking about going climbing last weekend with the hot temperatures here in the NW. It was a tough week at work in 90+ degree temps every day. Doug called me though looking for a partner. I do enjoy climbing with him as he is willing to swap leads and always has fun projects in mind. First up was to get up to shady higher altitude climbing at Fluffy Kitten Wall, near Mt. Habrich. After going up the sensitive watershed road for a few miles(FWD, and clearance), it is only about 45 minutes to the base. The wall goes into the shade around 10 am, which is when we started up the 6 pitch 5.11a gem of a route. The pitches were not strenuous or stressful, just long and enjoyable. Lots of foot jamming, you dont need 4 of any cam either.

Jesse’s Blog trip report

Fluffy Kitten Wall from RC

Double TR on CC

Next up was Sunset Strip, a newer link up in the Western Dihedrals -that also stays shady for the first half of the day-. It is a 12 pitch classic that I hear can get quite crowded, but not for us. we started at 630 am and it took a long time still to get through all the tough pitches. What a package that climb is all the way to the end! I ran out of gas on the last crux.

One of my favorite weekends ever! Thanks Doug for rolling out for this great trip!

Mt Proj. beta

Squam. source

 

 

 

Index top 50. (5.10+ to 5.11-)

My top 50 routes at Index for the 10+ to 11- climber, by Wayne Wallace

Need a new ticklist? Compiled in order of the Sky Valley rock guide, going from left to right. I will be mixing things up as I work on a trilogy of the 3 levels of difficulty I want to do.

Racer X 10b, 3p

First Offense 10c

Turkish Heels 11a

Even Steven 5.11b

Troubled Water 11a

Dr. Sniff, and Tunaboaters 10d, 1+p

Saggitarius 10b

1st pitch of Batskins 11a

KVB 10c+ 1+p

Sloe Children 10d, 1+p

Godzilla and Leaping Lizards 10c, 1+p

NAD p2,3, 10d, 2+p

Thin Fingers 11a

Tatoosh 10b

Apologies to Walter B. 11b

Zoom 10c

Leave My Face Alone 11a, 1+p

Hairway to Stephan 11a-A0 1+p

Tunnel Vision to Angora Grotto 11a, 2p

Cunning Stunt 10d

GM-HOC 10c, 2p

Phone Calls Dead, 11a 1+p

Folsom Blues 10b

Rattletale 10b 3p

Sideshow 10d

Heavens Gate 11a, 4p

Wildest Dreams 11-/A0 4p

Davis/Holland-Loving Arms 11b, 4p

The Zipper 10c

Centerfold 11a-A0 4p

Solitude 11b-C1, 4p

Strange Boar-Black Rock 11a, 3p

Baby Tapir 11a

Law and Order 10c, 2p

Steel Pulse 10+, 3p

Spineless 11a

Sweets for Manuel 10b

 

Routes that I have not yet done.

Marginal Karma 11b, 1+p

Death to Zeke 11b, 1+p

Wipe 11a, 1+p

D is for Dictory 11b, 1+p

Accidental Discharge 11a

Beat Box p1

Amphibian 10d

Up’er Zipper 11b, 1+p

Danas Arch 11a

Pressure Drop 11a

 

Unknown/ no feed back List

Free Range Chook 10b

Bravo Jean Marc 11a

It Just isn’t done 11a

Apes and Ballerinas 10b

 

The door to Index swings wide open at this level of difficulty. Some of my favorite pitches I have ever done are on this list. My friend Alex suggested that I call this list the new “ 50 Classic Climbs of North America”. There could easily be another list this awesome at the next level of difficulty (11+,12-) . One of the things I like about the area is that it pushes me to do harder and harder climbs. So lucky to have this crag close by. This list is a work-in-progress and I welcome your feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best climbing areas close to Seattle.

  1. Index.
  2. Squamish.
  3. Washington Pass.
  4. Exit 38 (the Shangri-la Crag).
  5. Tieton.
  6. Leavenworth

  1. I have always been driven to pursue climbs of quality. Recently the inspiration in the resource for this has been the climbing I have enjoyed at Index, but like all resources it is a limited resource. It may take me several more years to complete the list of routes I want to do at index. In the meantime I have enjoyed other areas such as Washington Pass, Squamish and yes, exit 38. The Shangri-La area reminds me a lot of the type of routes that you would find at Index, but with out the pains of Highway 2 that you would find this time of year. My friend Rad took me out there again, this time during our recent heat wave. We left at 5 am to get as many pitches in as possible before it got too hot. The climbs he showed me were just terrific. Very much like Index type climbing, completely fun as well. There is a possibility that the climbs will go back to nature unless they catch on with the community. Please consider going out there and checking it out for yourself. Its so close to Seattle and traffic is so much easier than going to any other area!

Shanrgi-la Mt Project beta:

Squamish is another area that I try to get to as often as I can. I spent 3 days there with my friend Pat and the Mountaineers Adventure Club. The MAC is youth driven affiliate of the Mountaineers. I enjoyed leading 2 groups up 2 great multi- pitch routes. Skywalker is a classic 5p route next to Shannon Falls. It was fun to top out on that and see the pools at the top of the falls. The bouts with rain came in time for us to finish and get back to the hot tub at the rec center. Next up was getting up an 8p outing up the left side of the Apron on a climb started by Calculus Crack.. It was another stunning crack route that we had to ourselves due to occasional showers. Its turning out to be a great summer in spite of working more than full-time at the job. Now for some pictures!!

Dear diary.

…or, the whole journal thing.

 

I believe it started with me bragging to my aunt that I wanted to try climbing someday. I told her this on a trip to a downtown bookstore. Approximately 7 years old at the time,(early 70s?) She gave me a jab in the side by buying me a “Climbing Journal” published by the Mountaineers at the time. Of course, it would be a couple of years until I got to try the sport. By then reading instructional books and the right friends lent the confidence and opportunity to do the sport. Early on, the journal was a large motivator;  I just had to fill up the pages with quality stories and photos! Climbing became the thing in my life and so keeping up on my geeky journal changed greatly. I had no idea it would lead to this blog site. I now write more for the reader than myself. That alone is oddly motivating, this idea of being watched. I guess I am a bit of a ham in that regard. Thanks for putting up with such vanity. I just hope that it’s helpful to other adventure seekers.

 

It keeps me humble to remember where I’ve come from, and wondering still where I can go.

 

My first climb  worthy of the journal.

My first climb worthy of the journal.

 

 

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