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.
The 3 haggard climbers struggled back to the car, now separated, traumatized, and glad to have avoided a major epic. Stuck ropes, incomplete descent beta, and sustained climbing difficulties made for a long 2 days out at the Big Kangaroo. The 4th of July weekend started out with the Liberty Traverse though, so let’s check back on the 3 exhausted dudes later.
First up, Jenn and I went after our second grade 5 route together: crossing all 5 summits of the Liberty Bell group, you can make it as hard as you want. We tried to begin with the North Face of Liberty Bell. Once recovered from an off route start, we found the Remsberg variation to be quite fun. Water grooves stepping at its finest. It was cool to be up there so late in the day after the crowds were gone. We had to get over Concord(N. Face Directisimo) before dark though to keep our pride intact, then find a lovely bivy between Concord and Lexington. What a great sunset, and view from there. I am sure the traverse is fine getting it done in a day, but…..
Sunset, then sunrise..
Lexington was a chossy blur first thing in the morning, and on to the real business of NW Corner of N. Early Winter Spire. Sustained and old school climbing at its best. We had fun behind a couple of young men just getting into this sort of thing. Their stoke was refreshing. We were also next to Jenn’s friends that were having fun on the West Face route too! We did punt a bit on S. Early, taking the easy way up it for lack of energy, not to mention hunger. One of the better traverses in the state.
The second half of the 4 day weekend was to be devoted to the Skinny Start of the Kearney/Thomas route.
James, Lane, and myself aimed to do the possible 2nd ascent of the 4 (not 3) pitch variation start.
We expected typical “alpine” rock climbing, but got closer to Index type climbing(hard!), with dirtier conditions. The trad gear/anchors went in well, making the insane climbing slightly more sane. It is tough to describe how heroic each lead was in its own unique way. Right from the start, it gets after you and builds in intensity right on through the crux and beyond! There is little respite once getting on the more established K/T route. I barely got the crux pitch clean, but James fell early following and jammed his rope into the thin crack in 2 different places!!! Lane had to climb past him and aid the whole pitch to free the stuck rope and get the frustrated James moving again. Surprisingly the maneuver only cost us a cam and 1 1/2 hrs. On to the next crazy pitch and our next surprise at the top of the route: We couldn’t find a rap anchor along the whole top of the suggested rap route: Becky-Tate. It became clear that we needed a back-up plan. I took charge scouting a direct descent to the car for my partners, and then got busy retrieving our overnight gear that we left at the base of the climb on the opposite side of the mountain. The entire descent had to be done in rock shoes for my friends, but at least I got back to my approach shoes at the base of the route. For me it was difficult but passable to stay high traversing to the saddle, this tactic seems to be the best option despite adding onto an already LONG day. The 60lb pack(s) made quick work of depleting my reserves, but burgers became that much closer with each step. We avoided a full blown epic through sheer will. What a weekend!
More info in Blake’s new book, but be careful with the beta, there are more pitches than described, and didnt find the rap anchors for going down the Beckey route.
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:
So I must REALLY like ice climbing because I went up by myself for 2 weeks with only 1 partner lined up for 4 of the days. Why else would I spend countless hours in sub-freezing temps, put up with cold toes, screaming barfie hands, slick roads, lonely evenings , and one good meal per day? There were many fun days no matter my complaining. One of those days in particular was one of the best days of my ice and mixed career too. Here is the break down of the fun I had with 10 different people!
1-15-17 Junkyards 4p to wi4 w Jack
1-16 Haffner 2p w14
1-17-17 Guinness attempt 2p to wi3 w/Jenn, Paul. small sluff sent us packing
1-18-17 Redman/Whiteman 4p to m6 wi6 w/ Jeremy R
1-19 -17 Johnson wi4 w/ Jeremy P
1–20-17 Wuthering/Green Angel 3p to wi4 w/ Steve, Jeremy
1-22-17 Big Dipper, Little Dipper 3p to wi4, w/Jeremy, trying to find Lacey G.
1-23-17 Hafner 5p to m6 wi4 w/ Mike, Rachel, Trystan -soon to be bad asses
1-24-17 Circus Circus wi4 3p w/Jim Elzinger. Rarely formed route with a legendary partner
1-25-17 Unicorn/Kitty attempt wi4 2p w/Nolan, broken pick
I have to say, the day with Jeremy R on Whiteman/Redman was especially awesome. I was happy to give the crux of Whiteman to Jeremy, and what a super job he did on that intimidating lead! We spent 14 hours that day in a beautiful area doing the 4 amazing pitches.
It was fun doing 2 days in the Ghost with Jeremy, and Steve too climbing 3 routes that I hadn’t done yet. Both days ended in a headlamp blur at the end of long distant approaches for great ice with no crowds. Of course after 50 pitches of ice and mixed so far this season, I hurt my knee(mildly) on flat ground , so now Index is on my mind for a few weeks from now. What an exceptional ice season, I hope this can be the normal type of winter once again.
Thanks to all of my wonderful partners, and especially Steve for setting me up with a room, and partners for most of the days.
I only got to climb and socialize about a dozen times with her so I won’t pretend to have been one of her closer friends. I can’t tell you that much of who she was. There are just a few times I caught glimpses of what she was like, and I grew to appreciate this unassuming person based upon what I saw. Perhaps the most striking was when I was desperate for a climbing partner my last weekend before going back to steady work again. I had offers from people who would go cragging with me but I was holding out for something “Big”.
“Is Der Sportsman big enough for you?” She dryly inquired. Not only did she invite me to join her and Zac, but spend a long weekend with them and Daphne at their short term rental in Leavenworth. With that invitation I remember thinking that she didn’t fit the “Seattle Chill”personality. I had a wonderful few days there with them all, cragging, eating(lots of root veggies), and eventually getting on with Prussik peak. That is where I caught another glimpse into her steady and unpretentious nature to the bitter end( for me) of that 21 hr day.
Perhaps our finest outing together was her only first ascent that I am aware of, and my first in several years. I felt that we really became friends on that trip. I got to see what she was like all excited at getting to the top, and all the way back to town there was that smile. I remember being excited to have found another top-notch local climbing partner. It is so like human nature to not realize what you have until it is gone, and in this case there can never be recompense. She was too much to so many people. I sometimes feel like a composite of all the different people that I have known, and I will save a good part of myself for her.
Off belay Laurel Fan
…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.
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. Just remember, dreams can happen.
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
15 Der Sportsman, Prussik Peak
15 Twisted, Superbok, Mixed Master, and Bourgeau Left
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.
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%)
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
Here is a link to a 19 minute long set of pictures from 4 first ascents I participated in the Picket Range. Included is a short video while getting rained on approaching Mongo.This show is dedicated to the efforts, friendship and memory of Chad Kellogg. Enjoy, Wayne