Post subject: Re: A Year in Review, My 2013 season
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm Posts: 532
Sweet! Nice Kyle
Question for you PNW'ers: Why are no splitters going after the N Face of Mt Fury??? That is the sickest, proudest, most aesthetic line I've laid my eyes on in the PNW (well, photos at least) Get on that shit you pussies!!!
3 day approach through insanely complicated terrain and that is just to get to the base of it. To say it is sketch is an understatement.
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I truly feel fortunate to follow my passion
and with that...........
In the beginning of April we had another break in weather so I met up with Scott and we hatched up a plan. Back to North Fork Bridge Creek and more importantly Goode. With the opening of Highway 20 we went up and over the southern shoulder of Black Peak.
After a few hours of bushwhacking there he was the north face of Goode.
We went to bed in the valley and got up early with plans to just check out conditions.
The crazy thing about Goode is that it is about 5,500 feet of fall line.
With crazy Cascadian fluting.
We made it to the base of the NE col couloir. A few years prior we had climbed it and were unhappy with conditions, dropping the backside and skinning around 30 miles so we had a history. We decided we would check conditions and turn back when we became uncomfortable.
It turned out it was soft easily climbable conditions and what had taken me 8 hours a few years back took us 2 hours this time. It felt awesome finally riding this line.
The next day we set our sights on the source of the North Fork, Mt. Fremont.
It was cool being back up on Logans Douglas glacier but this time from a different drainage.
At the top we ripped the skins and rode another 5,000 vert run nearly back to camp.
I epiced pretty hard on this trip first by getting myself caught in a wetslide and second by burning my boot liners that night in the fire. Needless to say my up and over 4,000 vert ascent/descent back to the car wasn't the funnest of times.
That night I made my way home dried out my gear and was back on the trail with Scott Rinckenberger and Ben Starkey this time off on a 3 day trip up the Napeequa River to Ten Peak.
We skinned until sunset arriving at a high col right as the full moon came out. Yet again another surreal experience.
The next day we rode the lower slopes of Mt. Clark to the Napeequa and started heading up valley.
We skinned for a few hours making our way to the Butterfly Glacier which is the source of the river setting up camp at Butterfly col.
With camp set up we were within striking distance of the NE slopes of Ten peak so we made a late afternoon skin up the mellow ridge.
I love these two perspectives.
From the top of Ten we could see that clouds were moving in. What was sunshine today was going to be rain the next day.
Then it was back to camp
The next morning we packed our stuff up in the rain and were off.
It's not an official Cascadian trip report until you put in a creek crossing.
Witht he weather looking good I felt guilty at the thought of sitting on a couch so I was off to Rainier with my friend Boot.
It was planned that we would skin up to Whitman Crest together and he dropped south back towards the car while I dropped north towards a solo 5 day traverse of Rainier.
Making camp up on the Emmons Glacier.
The next day was calm and quiet so I packed up my gear and made it our of the shadows and up the Emmons
Climbing to the top of the Interglacier.
From there I dropped 4,000 feet to the first creek hole that usually opens for water. Then I took a break and climbed up the 3rd Burrough and rested of the summit waiting for corn thirty.
Around 1 P.M. I made my decent down the West face of the 3rd Burrough on to the Winthrop Glacier and making my way over to Mystic Lake.
The next day I skinned into one of my favorite zones in the area, Moraine Park. For the next three days I camped w/ the Willis Wall in full display and rode awesome lines.
It was rad but the one thing that stood out was the backwards sunset. It was surreal watching the alpenglow head up the mountain.
The next morning I woke up to find that my skin had blown away in a wind storm so I pulled out some Voile straps and made my descent onto the Carbon Glacier.
Turns out Voile straps are good for anything.
In all honesty I gave up on naming this one.
I wasn't home for long before I was back in the Park but this time via hanging out in Fryingpan Creek.
We decided to go directly up a creek and work on our veggie belay skills.
We've pretty much got this zone dialed so from Frying Pan we rode the NE Banshee Couloir, The Cowlitz Chimney, The Tamanos Chute and Tamanos swath pretty much back to the road.
Post subject: Re: A Year in Review, My 2013 season
Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:39 am
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm Posts: 532
I got an email in May asking what I was up to for the month of June and if I was wanting/willing to put in a huge traverse of the North Cascades. At first I wanted nothing to do with it but after a day of thinking about it decided that it would be better than sitting at home. I was game to Attempt the American Alps Traverse. Long, long, long story short it was the brainchild of PNW pioneer and ski historian Lowell Skoog to do a continous traverse from Highway 20 to Glacier Peak. Logistacally it was pretty intense, following the North Cascade crest over 100 miles a 4 seperate traverses ( Isolation,Ptarmagin, Extended and the Suattle high Route) The thought of it was overwhelming so I just broke it down into surviving mini missions. So for the rest of May I just relaxed and prepared for June.
June came fast and although May had been a wet month in the Cascades the 7 day forecast was calling for clear days, we had hoped for the best and we got it. I was nervous packing my bag for the first leg but I was excited to get into a zone I had never seen from the alpine. So we packed our bags and started off at the Pyramid Lake trail head @ 2,000 feet on the North Cascade highway. It took about 4,000 feet and multiple hours before we hit snow and were able to start skinning but from then on we hoped we would be skinning for the next few days.
It wasn't until the second day that the clouds broke and we were able to see what we were up against, but it was awesome.
For the most part it was snow but occasionally we would get onto these massive open platforms made all the more amazing because undernealth them was almost vertical rock faces dropping into the Mcallister valley.
It was by the third day that the weather got really warm and we came upon an area called the Devils Backbone. Now we were pretty deep into the Cascades and the valleys that surrounded us were the stuff of bushwhacking legend.
We expected corn but what we got was avi prone slush. Ski cuts would cause wet slides that ran down thousands of vertical feet. We had hoped to run accross the 3 mile ridge had to slow things down. Cut the slope, watch it slide than repeat. We hoped for an hour but it took us about 7.
We had planned goals of camping spots but that fell apart with a quickness. We had made it half the distance of what we were hoping but our campsite for the night would turn out to be our favorite of the trip. That night we watched the sunset over the North Cascades and went to sleep hoping that travel would go smoother from here on out.
We had hoped for a total of 5 days doing the Isolation but it had actually taken us 4. Once arriving at the Dorado Needles I was back in a familiar place. Knowing we were just a few hours from the Eldorado trailhead and where are food resupply was waiting we just put our heads down, skinned and made our way almost 6,000 feet to the valley below.
I had mixed feeling about the next section of mountains. I was excited because I had never been into the region before but not so excited because the terrain was many miles of sidehilling. I was feeling good so far so we packed our bags to full capacity and started off up the mountains. We decided instead of rushing the section we would take our time and do it in multiple days so we climbed up the Cascade River valley and camped on Cache Col just above Cascades Pass.
That night clouds came in and it started raining. The next morning we made the decision to call it a weather day and took to repairing gear and keeping log of how much food we had and looking at the topo maps for the millionth time.
That night we came up with plans and since we had lost a day because of weather we would have to make it up. We watched the sun set over Sahale and Buckner and set the alarm for 5 a.m.
We started really early in the morning and what we hoped would be corn hadn't softened up yet. While Jason had it pretty easy doing a mellow ski traverse I was on my heelside edge. At some points when exposure was a real concern I would put on my crampons and walk across the section.
The next 12 hours was monotonous. Side hill, climb up a few hundred feet and ride a quarter of a mile. This went on and on forever and with visibility pretty low it was by far the most painful day of the traverse.
We got to camp which was a melted out spot near White Rocks lake just as the sun set and threw the tent up. The day was long and we were exhausted to we decided to set our alarm for around 8:00 and laze around for a bit before moving on.
Extended Ptarmigan Traverse
We had completed the Ptarmigan traverse and were now getting into the extended Ptarmigan which there was no official route for. What we knew was that we had to make it up and over Gunsight col so we started across valley and started coming up with a plan.
Only a few groups had done this trip before and they had all started it at Dome peak which meant we would be sidehilling for a few hours, which I was over with. Jason and I made the decision that instead of traversing we would drop low and skin up the Chikaman.
The route up onto the glacier went smooth and we were stoked. From here on everything was up in the air and this was the first moment that I actually felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The glacier was stunning with crevasses littering it and was an easy ramp until we arrived at the crux which was an ice cliff.
There was no way that the actually glacier would go but we had spotted a ramp running up the side to the upper ice plateau. We didn't know what to expect but at that moment we couldn't ask for things to go more smoothly.
That night we camped up at Gunsight col and took in the views. In every direction was a stunning vista of mountains that never see any human contact. In the distance we could see Glacier peak our final destination. Though it looked like we could touch it we were still at least a week away.
Coming up with a route we looked upon an area called Bannock Mountain. We had hoped there was a smooth ramped that we could ride onto the mellower slopes below but from topos in looked like 95% of it cliffed out. I stressed about this section for a long time and from our vantage point the potential ramp was blocked from view. We decided to go for it and hope for the best.
Once we got there we found a ramp down to Bannock Lakes. It was almost melted out but luckily it was still in. In my case a lot of stress went away the moment we started making turns down the slope.
With the crux of the trip over with we set up camp near one of the lakes and found a warm rock to rest on.
The theme of the Extended Ptarmagan was that everything was unknown so the next day we decided to drop down to the PCT which was dirt then go climb up and over Bullstooth mountain before descending into the Agnes valley, up and over Cloudy Pass and set up camp at Lyman Lake. We skinned from 9A.M. until past sunset but it was a huge relief being at the familiar shores of Lyman.
The next day we woke up and dried out our gear before heading down to Holden Village where our food was stashed.
We made our way to snowline and stashed all our snow related gear before hitting the trail down valley. Down towards Holden it felt like Summer.
Once in town they fed us, offered showers and gave us our packages of food that had been mailed a few days prio. I stuffed my face full of food enjoying the all you can eat desert trays.
Suiattle High Route
Our time in Holden was limited we were 2/3rds done with the traverse and according to the weather forecast a huge front was going to hit the Cascades in 4 days. After one night in town we had all of our stuff packed up and we were back up at Lyman Lakes camping in the rain and getting ready for an early start.
When we woke up there were clouds in the sky but it seemed as thought the weather was improving so we packed our gear and started heading for the summit of Chiwawa Mountain.
After a hour or two the clouds rolled in and we were climbing with visibility only limited to a few feet in front of us. We were fortunate that the terrain wasn't that complex and we had a GPS that we kept checking. Once on the summit we dropped down the west slopes riding by braille.
Our next climb of the day was to do another up and over but this time via Fortress Mountain. We hadn't heard of anyone climbing/riding the East ridge but we decided to check it out. We quickly found out why we hadn't heard of many people doing it before.
It was challenging but we kept pushing up the exposed ridge before finally getting on mellower slopes. It was then that we found ourselves breaking out of the clouds.
From the summit of Fortress the only mountain that was above the clouds was Glacier Peak which we had hoped was only two days away. This was the first time in the trip that I actually thought there was a chance that we were actually going to pull it off.
We ripped our skins and rode down the west face of Fortress riding down to a flat dry spot and put up camp. The next day we would be back in the Napeequa which I had been in a few months prior.
We woke up and started following a dry trail up to Buck Creek Pass and over to High Pass but the slopes quickly got covered in snow. We were hoping that the ridge was climbable but we were forced to sidehill on steep slopes until arriving at High Pass. From there we would be heading down to the Napeequa River at the base of the Dakobed Range.
We found an animal trail down valley and were on the shores within a few hours. It was amazing to see how much snowpack had melted out but luckily it was pretty straight foreword travel.
We decided to put camp up at Ten Peak which we both knew was striking distance from Glacier Peak as we had gone this way twice before. From our camp we could see our final summit so we went to bed excited that we had almost pulled off our goal.
My whole body ached when I woke up. A part of me wanted to turn around but there was no place to turn around too so I put down my head and just started moving.
It felt awesome skinning by areas that we had camped at on previous trips. I found it rather obvious why this is one of my favorite places in the Cascades.
We could see a nasty front pushing in from the east as we climbed, hearing the crashes of thunder in the distance. It was a race with the weather and we had no choice but to push on.
Our final thousand feet on Glacier Peak were surreal. The front was close and we could hear the buzzing of electricity on our gear. Once cresting the top we knew we had little time to celebrate so we hooted and hollered took a photo and were off.
As we descended the from slammed into the mountain and immediately it started pouring rain. A part of me wanted to ditch my board but I put it on my pack and we started bushwhacking down the heavily vegetated slopes finally running into the old PCT trail that was damaged by a flood almost a decade ago.
That night we camped at the devastation that once was the Kennedy Hot Springs which is now covered in 5 feet of dirt. We were stoked that all the mountain climbing was done and all that was left was some washout trail. I had been on it when doing the solo trip of Glacier Peak and I knew it had a lot of downfall but it was much worse than I expected.
The trail was in the river and the washouts were unstable and just plain dangerous. Falls simply were not allowed.
In the end those 3 miles took us almost 5. When we got to the trailhead we found a note on the sign and walked the final 7 miles out to the road. We were proud and stoked but wanted to get out of the mountains ASAP. Hummel was able to hitch a few rides up to the North Cascades to grab his car and picked me up at around 9 p.m. and within minutes the storm hit the Cascades hard.
It was an honor to pull of the Traverse and to be the first group to do so. We had planned on it being around a month but only turned out to be 16 days, 120 miles and 60 thousand vert,
For the next month in a half my board was put in the closet and tickets were booked to spend 4 months in NZ and Australia. Stoke level was on high.