Mighty Mouse!

“Some call it the best alpine rock climb on the West Coast”

Jenn and I went up to try Mighty Mouse again after getting rained, and crowded out of the area last year.

Again enjoying a warm up day at our beloved Squamish on Saturday, doing the classic: Rock On direct, with several fun parties ahead of us. I am so lucky that Jenn enjoys the same things as I. We have such fun together!

Sunday though we had the Joffre drainage to ourselves and got a fair shake at one of the best crack climbs I have ever experienced. Certainly in a class of top crack routes, this climb will bring nearly all shapes and sizes of crack and even start with some amazing face climbing!

Each of the pitches have a unique magic and mild terror to them. I have run into so many routes this season that carry a certain “Go-For -IT !” while doing the moves. This aggressive approach has worked out in most cases, because there have been good holds after the wind it up, and release of the moves. Climbing in this fashion above thin gear is wild!

The first pitch really sets the table, with strange moves and position that keeps you off balance, continuing its awkward, and strenuousness to the top of the 3rd pitch.

The triple crack pitch(p4) is short and feisty! probably my favorite pitch, insecure moves all the way to the top.

p5 was also super fun!! Trust me.

We split the 6th pitch into 2 pitches for safety, that first 11a crack is stiff and exemplifies the go for it!

The finish is astounding as well, so glad to have the older offset master cams, and a full set of c3’s. I used many of my single set of nuts, heavy on the smaller ones too. Sun, and mosquitos followed us the whole route. Later or earlier start =less sun. Belays/rappels are updated.

Our elderly waypoints: Up at 5am, 6-830 hike in, top at 3pm. car at 630, Seattle 1am

This route gives so much, but it will also take a lot of energy, head space, and time. Big day.

Deserving of the hype it will be a highlight of many climbers’ season.

https://www.mountainproject.com/route/113427644/mighty-mouse

https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/81789-mouses-tooth/

https://gripped.com/routes/climbing-mouses-tooth-splitter-west-coast-alpine-route/

https://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3481

https://www.ubc-voc.com/2014/09/07/advantageous-route-traffic-on-the-mouses-tooth-september-6th

 

Ancient Melodies, Exfoliation Dome

With temps in the 90s, it became necessary to build a list of routes that get limited sun exposure, have a higher altitude, AND ease of access. There aren’t that many however. The west faces of Liberty Bell group, and Wine spires meet the criteria, but you will feel the crowds of people and goats.

Research brought me to the Darrington, and to consider the Ancient Melodies route on the NW face of Exfoliation Dome as a shady option to nab a big route with “easy” access. Don’t take the Granite Sidewalk lightly!

Saturday: Sit by the river. rest and relax

It still took a rest day prior to the climb for me to possibly perform. I helped wrap up the mega work project so I was reeling from the week leading up to our plan. We camped at the end of the fs2060 for a prius.

Sunday: Up at 5 am, we had to get up most of the route to avoid the blistering sunny temps we knew would hit (sun hits route just after noon mid July). We simoed the first 3 pitches quickly and had little trouble on the clean lower slabs.

Slab climbing gets little love from climbers in general, but the 4 business pitches on this route were more face climbing than slabby friction. The movement was exciting too, requiring nerve and figuring out the delicate dancey sequences especially with the feet. Pure joy flowed from us as we marveled at the unique features and positions the route offered. The first of the 4 is a slick feeling traverse that has holds appear just when you need them and would be the money pitch on most climbs, but the next pitch is truly the money, with nonstop excitement all the way up to the chains. #3 business pitch is a fun/tips affair that should lend confidence at sending the crux? I was raring to go on the crux, because the route was so good, I wanted to do it justice( and never take the Granite Sidewalk approach again). With loud yells of effort, I did get the crux clean, finding it to be a couple of the toughest foot mantels I have ever done. I was skeptical that a “slab”route could justifiably receive as much love as it had on Mt. Project, but after climbing it: I can see it, and a renewed appreciation for top quality lower angle routes!

City of Rocks ’18

Ahhh the City..

  I have such an amazing history there, and myself and 4 friends just added to it!

It was my 4th time there, and the first for my companions. It was great to see them gaze off at the stunning views, and smile at the possibilities of the exotic granite climbing at hand. Truly a vacation type place, it lives up to both the hype and the chill you will hear about, and experience there.

I went slow at first adjusting to the “go for it” cruxes and vintage bolts in places. I did pick it up a bit- logging 23 pitches, with numerous 5.11 memorable leads. My favorite was Pogemahone, a sweet pitch among other stunning ones such as Redtail, Where Eagles Fly, Chomping at the Bit, and the amazing Bumbly takes a Tumbly! Though the drive takes a while, it becomes worth it with just a couple of the routes here, it’s just that good.

Cant wait to get back.

 

6/29-7/3-18 City of Rocks 23p to 11a w/ Jenn, Chris, Eileen, Tristan

6-29 Eagle Crack, Eagles Fly 2p to 11a

6-30 Harvest, Expect no Mercy, thin slice, No Parking 4p to 10d

7-1 redtail, sudden pleasure, Pogemahone 11a, bloody finger 4p 11a

7-2 Collossus 10c, private I., soaring seagulls, Pygmies Stoned x2, nesting egos tr, 6p10c

7-3 tribal B. Deez Guys, can’t believe it, Bumblie Tumblie 11a, Chomping Bit 11a x2, Heat Wave 7p to 11a

 

 

Late Season Luck

Late season (good)luck cannot be counted on as a weekend warrior in the NW. So, when it happens there is a sense of satisfaction and the sad feeling like its over for the year too. We had the fortune of experiencing this several times during brief weather windows this fall. My focus was of course on multi pitch, but it also became ticking off “top 100 “ routes at Squamish. We did 8 of them this fall, and it rejuvenated my love for the place, even with its growing pains, Squamish is still an incredible venue.

Merci Me 5.8

Sole Mate 10b

Sunblessed + Enlightenment 10b SB is very fun, enlightenment scary however

Blazing Saddles 10b wild!

Rainy Day Dream Away 10c

Pitch in Time (w/extension) 10d

Apron Strings 10b

Rutabaga 11a, possibly my favorite pitch in Squamish!

 

Index also came through with another run at Hell Bent for Glory in the heat, and a spank down on Free at last to flail on the Glass Eyed Tuna pitch that supposedly is 10d? not buying it, but great job on the new guide book fellas!

Even though I’m working a tough job currently, I feel compelled to grab that last bit of sun.

Now It is amazing to think about ice season coming! Wish I didn’t have to work all winter 😦

Squamish ’17 and Hell Bent 2

Weather plays such a huge role in climbing and making plans. We were rained out our alpine plan, but Squamish serves one heck of a plan B !! If you only do 7 pitches there I recommend:

8-19,20-17 Squamish 8p to 11a, w/Jenn

 Rainy day 10c,

A Pitch in Time (w/extension),10d

Apron Strings 2p 10b

Arrowroot 10b,

Rutabaga 2p 11a, Rutabaga especially is spectacular.

All but 1 are top 100 routes according to the 2012 guide, and a damn good time!

a few days later Lane and I did my second go at Hell Bent for Glory in hot conditions. I led all but the 1st pitch this time. Once again the weather was an issue turning us both into sweaty, exhausted, and satisfied people. Such an amazing route, sustained and takes much energy. Fixed lines no longer allow for quick descent, use your 70 to get down and beware of leaving gear at a belay as some pitches traverse a bit.

 

Dairyland, S. Nesakwatch Spire 10d, 6p

Last weekend sent Lane, Doug, and I to the Canada to have a go at an obscure, yet outstanding climb high in the Cascade Range of British Columbia. It was Lanes idea to explore this area that none of us had been to prior, and what fun it was doing Dairyland in what started out to be soggy conditions. We spent 5 hours Saturday going up the 4k+’ vertical approach(ugh), and enjoyed the climb on a brisk Sunday. The climb starts off great, then has a blah pitch. Once that section is over, the crux, and last pitches are quite spectacular. You and your partner WILL be doing the rock, paper, scissors thing for the $ pitch! The whole package of being up in the mountains, good climbing and great friends embody the very reasons I pursue such a strenuous and risky sport. It’s great to be so excited about it even after 40+ years of climbing. It is however strange to run low on quality routes on my (local)to-do list, but fun to explore the unheralded and seldom visited routes!

Special thanks to Doug for providing the SUV for the drive that ended on a pretty rough road. Additional beta in Blake’s new book Cascade Rock.

http://www.stephabegg.com/home/tripreports/britishcolumbia/nesakwatch#climb2

https://muntanyaverda.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/south-nesakwatch-spire-dairyland-bc-5-11-7398/

click photos to enlarge or else they will stay small. forever.

 

 

Hell Bent for Glory, Index

If you are willing to overlook a crappy approach trail,, wholesale excavation/destruction, and dusty starts, the Diamond is producing some amazing climbs. Long, sustained and old school fun is how I would describe Hell Bent. Though short pitches are the norm, the corner pitch(3) is sooo good, as is the last few face climbing pitches. Thoughtful and in balance, you climb more with your brain than body. Jeremy and I had a blast in the cool temps, watching people scrub and work their projects. The route saw 3 parties on it today alone. Thin gear and stoppers are not very useful. Can’t wait to try Sabbra.

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/hell-bent-for-glory/108136104

Freedom Rider, Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell Group

When your to-do list at Washington Pass dwindles to the last few ticks in the book, Freedom Rider will offer an arresting and consuming adventure. Don’t take it lightly, it is a serious affair. At times the rock is loose, cat-littered, and vegetated. (apologies to the party below us!)I would say that over half of it is very fun climbing though. There are also some very memorable sections that surprise the climber too. The crux is a real head scratcher, I got to the highest part described on the 10d thin, and then just did a pendulum past the off-width to save time. I knew it was going to be a long day: up at 430 am and back to Seattle by midnight! We got pretty tired as it was our first big route of the rock season though. A very ambitious project considering that. Thanks to Jeremy for the amazing day!

The super topo and Blakes book are pretty accurate beta resources, here are a few others, and some pics:

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/freedom-rider/109496572

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Washington-Pass-Liberty-Bell-Freedom-Rider

http://blakeclimbs.blogspot.com/2013/06/washington-pass-freedom.html

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=595691

http://iannicholsonslife.blogspot.com/2011/10/freedom-rider-v-511b-or-510d-scary.html

Moab ’17

P1200747I had only been home for a couple of days when Lane asked me again to join Paul, Michael, and him in Moab. The steady rain in Seattle and the pending work project sent me re-packing light enough to fit in a small Honda with 3 guys, their gear, and a dog.(what, am I a teenager?) We met Lane in Moab after a communication fiasco that would be repeated throughout the trip. It is a very different experience climbing and travelling as a party of four. A leader must emerge, yet maintain democracy. Though it may allow greater flexibility, misunderstandings are bound to occur. A few nice advantages become evident however:

If you need 2 ropes to get down, you are set.

If a partner or 2 wants a break, set.

If one of the cars are too lightweight, pile in the other.

Working as a team to get the first leader up the first pitch can be very quick.

Critical gear can be handed back, or left in place for the 2nd team.

Photography.

“Swap-roping” (swapping top ropes)

Makes for fun team meals at camp or restaurants. Shared expenses.

As a result of good weather, luck and company, we all got up some great towers and crag pitches:

4-9-17 Maverick Butt. 4p to 5.11 w Lane, Paul, Michael R. What a crag!

4-10-17 Sister Superior, Jah Man 4p 10+a0. Went too high at the crux, fell. Such a great route though.

4-11-17 W. Face 3 Gossips 3p 5.11 a1. Intense crack climbing, got it with 1 take, and 2 gear-pulls.

4-12-17 Long Dong rt. Kissing Couple 5p 5.11 ao. Our favorite climb, we all agreed. Tough first pitch, got it clean, except the blank section at the top bolt. We came in from the high approach, and 3 of us got to take the low approach out. Paul got the car and picked us up. Met interesting folk on trail.

4-14-17 Scarface Wall 4p to 5.11b. Got the on-sight of the legendary routes at this amazing crag.

4-15-17 Donnelly Canyon 3p to 5.10 w Lane, Ramsey, Whitney. Lane and I got to pretend that we belonged with 2 charming young ladies.

Some photos by Lane, James, and Michael Rowley Photography

Red Rocks ’17

I’m just gonna let the pictures do the talking about my best trip to Red Rocks yet.

Ok maybe the stats can have a word too..

3-26-17 Prince of Darkness 5.10c a0 7p with JC, difficult route! Holds are worn out.

3-27-17 Black Magic, Lotta Balls 6p 5.8+

3-28-17 Epinephrine 5.9 16p, Wow, what a route!!

3-29-17 Black Corridor 6p to 10c

3-31-17 The Fox, Danger Bros. Roof+ 4 others 6p to 11a w Mike. Burley , fun routes!

4-1-17 Y2K, Next Century, Out of Control 7p to 10d, stuck rope y2k, other 2 routes are fantastic.

4-2-17 Community Pillar 5.8+ 6p Think fun tunneling

4-3-17 Fiddler on the Roof 10d 4p So techy, thin, 48p total

Thanks to Jeff, Stefanie, Jenn, and Mike, love you guys..

click image to enlarge..