Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vantage - The Feathers - 08.24.08

Joined Ken, Sabrina and others to lend a hand with an "intro to rock climbing" seminar. Against the advice I normally give of not going to the desert in the summer, we went out to Vantage. We climbed at the Feathers on the north side, so we were not in direct sun. Temps remained moderate and climbing was enjoyable. The novices seemed to have fun, and I as a leader had a good time and got to climb plenty. Learned how to self-belay with a GriGri as well. Finally climbed the Beckey Route (5.7) there as well. In the early afternoon we had enough climbing and drove down to the Columbia for a swim.

The Feathers.

High desert.

Columbia River boat ramp.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guye Peak - West Face - 08.12.08

Took the day off to climb with Sammy, Jennifer and a few other people. The weather held for most of the day. (We got sprinkled on at the summit.) Route is not the most straightforward, but route finding is not super difficult either. From the street, it is boulder/talus hopping up to a gully where there are a few 3rd class steps to reach the rightward (south) trending ramp. We followed the broad ramp (with large trees) to it's southern end. This is where the 5th class climbing starts. There was a short enjoyable corner to climb then plenty of sandy ledges. We unroped briefly for a bit of a trail walk and start the second 5th class pitch. It starts with an interesting 5.4 flake/crack then deteriorates to rocks poorly set in dirt. The finish is an enjoyable chimney that ends in steep dirt. It was interesting, but not a great way to finish. Then it is a walk to the summit, a scramble to the middle summit, and a rap down the middle and gully up to the north summit. A climber's trail leads down from there. We got a late start, and had a long day, but a good day.

My pictures are here.

Argonaut - SE Ridge - August 9-10

Julie and I attempted the Southeast Ridge of Argonaut this past weekend. It is a route that only has a paragraph in the Beckey Guide. Reported good rock on a granite ridge with a difficulty of 5.6. With good knowledge of the route, and a strong party, this could be a day climb. With not much beta on the climb, we decided to make it a two-day trip. On Saturday, we hiked in and set up camp near Fourth Creek. We then went on a scouting hike to determine the approach to the climb. After hiking up a dry creek (which turned into a wet creek) we saw a ridge forming to our west. We left the creek bed and hiked up game trails to 5000'. We decided that this felt like the correct approach, and would take this path up the ridge on Sunday.

We awoke at 4:30 am Sunday and proceeded to take Saturday afternoon's path up the ridge. After about an hour, the hiking became more bushwacking and then scrambling. At some point we started roped climbing for a pitch only to realize at the top of the pitch that we appeared to be too far east. We rapped west of the ridge for some more scrambling to what appeared to be the correct ridge. Roped climbing started again, and after three pitches we could finally see the false summit (SE Spire) above us. Realizing that it was almost noon with at least 5 pitches of belayed climbing to the false summit, we made the decision to retreat.

I down climbed to a tree that started the first of five bailing rappels. The hike out below the rappels was loose rock and alpine meadows with what appeared to be dwarf (<1' tall) madrona trees. Some bushwacking through the woods got us back to the Ingall's Creek trail and then back to pack up camp and then on to the car.

It was an interesting experience, and I think there must be an easier approach to the ridge and the rock climbing is supposed to start higher up. I presume we gained the ridge too low and that was the issue.

My pictures are located here.

Julie's pics are here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ice Practice 08.02-03.08

Ian set up an Ice I and Ice II combined field trip for Sammy. I was the other instructor. Gabriel also joined us to learn. We had the Nisqually Glacier all to ourselves. Weather was cold and cloudy on Saturday, but cleared and warmed for Sunday. We had a fun time climbing some of the ice and teaching Sammy. The Ranger station at Paradise was reporting ~950" of snow for the Winter of '07-'08. There was plenty more snow on the glacier this August than last year around the same time. Ice was not as plentiful, but there was some to be found.

Pictures are located here.