Sunday, June 22, 2008

7 Consecutive Months Skiing - June 22

Quite a feat considering I only learned/started to ski in December '07. Sammy and I did dawn patrol at Alpental then toured out to Source Lake. Weather was cool and rainy for the first few hours then stopped, but didn't really clear until we got back to the car. We mostly connected the downhill portion of Cascade Traverse to Sessel and then St. Bernard. There was dirt for about 30' at the top of the St. Bernard chair, and another 10' of dirt where the cat track turns to become the St. Bernard slope. Other than those two spots we connected turns on corn snow the whole way down. We then traversed out to Source Lake and returned. Home before 1pm and then working in the yard is sunny warm Seattle.

Sammy nearing the lake.

Avalanche destruction.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lundin Peak - W. Ridge - June 15

Julie and I headed up the Commonwealth Basin to climb the West Ridge of Lundin Peak. The route is supposed to be fairly easy climbing and a reasonable day trip. The approach was fairly straight forward, although there was a 'fresh' layer of snow above 5000' that made going a bit slow. Before long we were at the far western end of the West Ridge. We simul-climbed the first bit which I would say was 2nd class. After some route finding issues, it made more sense to belay the pitches which consumed time drastically. The climbing was generally not difficult, but not super enjoyable either. The rock was fractured blocks and pro placement was somewhat suspect. (Except trees.) Also the beta for the route states that is generally stays to the north side of the ridge, but there were at least 3 full pitches for us on the south side of the ridge. We also climbed a block/tower that was off route and perhaps low 5th class. We finally summited around 5pm, only to then question the rap anchors on the East Ridge. We couldn't find anything better, so went with the standard (which was a jumble of detached microwave sized blocks) rap anchor. There was wet slide activity on the southern approach slopes (triggered by skiers during the day.) So we set a few slides off before plunge stepping back to the car. Overall a nice learning experience and our first summit of the year.

Avy Destruction from the Winter.

On the West Ridge with South Face showing.

Lower West Ridge with ski cut on the south slopes.

On the lower West Ridge with Rainier on the horizon. (Photo Julie Labrecque)

Julie on the final pitch to the summit.

Me on the summit. (photo by Julie)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Icicle Buttress - May 31

Julie and I took yet another trip to Leavenworth to climb some rock. This time we got in the moderate 'classic' R&D. (Can't believe it was my first time up this route.) There was some slow individuals on the route when we arrived, so we bypassed them by taking the Cocaine Connection variation. Having never done the first pitch of R&D, I don't know how it compares, but the first pitch of Cocaine Connection had an interesting 'roof' move right off the start to gain the slab, then wandered the slab to a belay. The second pitch of CC was more slab to a bolt then 3rd to 4th class climbing to the base of R&D pitch 2.

After an enjoyable climb up R&D, we walked off and decided to try something different. I started to climb The Arch (5.8) but backed off as it was strenuous and I was a bit tired. We settled on Chicken Gully(5.4) which is a horrible route. The first pitch was mossy and dirty as if no one has climbed it. The second pitch was 3rd class ledges which we simul-climbed. The third pitch, which we also simul-climbed had a nice short step (the 5.4?) and on to 2nd and 3rd class ledges to a tree. Julie was done leading for the day, and I wasn't sure what the best way to keep going up was, so we rapped and down climbed Chicken Gully to end the day. Turns out that the Cave Route(5.4) was just around the corner from the tree at the top of the third pitch. Oh well.