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.

 

 

Scan 9

 

Southern Man, SEWS

I find that if I spend ALL day Saturday in bed, resting, I can do something amazing on Sunday. I know everybody thinks their respective job is tough. As a Union Carpenter- Local #30, I am no exception. We are hustling through a mega- project in Bellevue. $1.5 billion will buy you 2 million square feet, and with today’s engineering, it will not come easy.

Not having to work last Saturday, I rested, then headed up to Washington Pass once again for its amazing, and long climbs. Having checked off Supercave, the next on the list was an obscure yet very wild route up the sunny side of South Early Winter Spire with Steph. Named Southern Man in by 2 acquaintance’s of mine on their ’08 FA of the climb, It was later cleaned, and freed by a later party. I was amped to try to free the 5. 11d/12a route, but my physical-state demanded that I take an etrier, and a fifi hook or “old man gear” as I call it. To my utter satisfaction, I freed all but 10 feet of the route, and what a great route it is. It is steep, and exposed for several hundred feet with jagged, sharp thin crack climbing the whole way. Whoever thinks the feet are bad needs to climb at Index more. The feet and locks are good, just a few are reachy. We did combine a couple of pitches, since the belays are not fixed yet and all. The guide book raves about the quality of it, but really it is a knotch below a Passenger or Supercave type outing. It is still a very rewarding and exiting climb.

Steph’s amazing report

Supertopo

Original TR

Blake

Ian

 

Click images to enlarge.

 

Supercave! Ellen Pea Route, M+M Wall

In my typical bungling-along style, Jon and I eventually succeeded in climbing most(6p) of the amazing Supercave/ Ellen Pea route, Located on an obscure 1000 ft. wall near Washington Pass, there is a growing chorus of climbers that say it is the finest climb in the state. Yes, the whole climbing package is astounding, but how often do we get to try a tough climb that has an enormous cave in the middle of it?

Beta page, squamish climbs

Beta page, Blake

Ellen Pea, and Tiger route, Blake

Mt Project 

sc9

1st  attempt was last year with Paul. after mistakenly going way past the start of the route up the approach gully, we bailed disgusted with how involved and somewhat dangerous the approach appeared. 2nd attempt was done early in the snow year to try to avoid the bad slabs by walking atop the snowpack instead. The only problem with that notion was that Jon and I found the upper part of the route to be very wet- april 19th , lesson learned.

Attempt# 3 just happened June 7 of 2015, and it was just dry enough to climb it. We knew heat was going to be an issue on the South-facing wall so we left the car at 4am! We swapped the lead order and that left me leading the money pitch (p2) which is quite a pitch.   The pitches(2-5) are strenuous and make tough onsights.  Pitch 3: The Arch is amazing, P4 the crux was 1 of 2 pitches that we couldn’t get clean. The cave of course is just crazy, as is the pitch to get out of it! I’m pretty sure a pterodactyl used to live in that cave.  Bring long runners, patience, and fitness, Know that there are stances between tough moves and fair grades. Have a blast on Supercave, it lives up to the hype!

click image to enlarge.

 

 

Desert Trip 2015

Nearing the end of my time off from work, I wanted to do my annual pilgrimage to the Utah desert. Next to the alpine, I find the desert to be the most visually appealing setting. I made 2 lists this time. The most important list consisted of possible partners to go down there with. Lately, I have struggled with finding a partner for just about any plan, but a road trip partner seemed almost impossible. I advertised on every climbing site I could find. I found the usual” hey lets meet here or there” type, but I had big plans that required a constant and reliable companion. I had almost given up hope when I received a random text about going alpine climbing. Adam was a motivated and flexible candidate that took to the idea of going to the desert if he could get a few days in Indian Creek. With 10 days at our disposal, I could see spending a few of them at the best crack-climbing venue in the world.

At the top of my climbs list was Fine Jade on the Rectory. Beau and I got blown off the start of the route in’10. It was time for revenge. We got it, but I didn’t pull the crux clean on one of the best routes in the state. The next day we did the Honeymoon Chimney on the Priest. What a great route that is, with an amazing, and exposed step-across to 5.11 face. Back to intense planning. How do I get back into the White Rim road with my Prius? Big $$$ will get you anywhere. Renting a jeep seemed logical, but it did not seem possible to get in, and do Standing Rock, and get out in 24 hours. Given 2 days though we could get in and do 2 towers though. We picked Monster Tower as our bonus route, and nearly regretted it. It is a ferocious climb that pushed us both and got our only 70m stuck on the 1st rappel. We barely made it down with the remaining 60m tag line and sections of the stuck rope.

Standing Rock was the one route I had most desired. It is an exciting and memorable route. Seeing it at Joe Puryears slide show in 2009 was the original inspiration for my desert career. We enjoyed the fear and exhilaration of this beautiful tower. 4 days and $700 (rope and jeep) later we were satisfied with our tower bagging for now.

I had had 6 prior days at Indian Creek, but never got to see more than 2 crags. A lapse in seasonal bird closures allowed us to experience Cat and Reservoir Wall. We ended up doing 12(me), and 20+(adam) amazing routes, mostly in the 11+ range. Adam went on a tear, I don’t see where he gets the energy. My favorite was on-siting Dos Hermanos(11+). 3 great days there, and we went for the tower that Adam most wanted: N Face of Castleton. It had eluded us previously due to cold temps, and nearly did again when we succeeded . Try it when it is warm and get an early start. It is justifiably popular as a climb and descent route.

We had perfect weather and the climbs were fantastic. I am grateful for this because I am about to start a 2 year work project that will keep me from doing extended trips. I am happy for the time off and the opportunity to work too. Hopefully I can find interesting things to write about in the meantime, until then, please share your adventures with the busy masses, and know that it is appreciated. Thanks to Adam, Pro Mountain Sports and Canyonlands Adventures for making the trip possible

Click images to enlarge.

 

 

 

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

15 5 Desert Towers

15 Ellen Pea rt, Supercave

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.