Devo's Climbs

Friday, September 20, 2013

Alpine Climbing at Washington Pass: DEB of SEWS and more - Sep 12-14, 2013

I met JP at Lone Fir CG last week to get some long-standing projects wrapped up. Hwy 20 was still closed, so I drove from Everett via Wenatchee after work Wed night, arriving at 4 am Thursday - ouch. I slept in until 11 am that morning, had some coffee and climbed South Early Winters Spire Thursday afternoon.

SEWS: Southwest Rib, III 5.8

We left the Blue Lake TH at 12:38 pm, were at the base of the SW Rib at 2:07 and began climbing at 2:40.

JP led p1 through the awkward 5.8 bulge. I led the Wavy Hand Crack on p2, the Nervous Nelly on p4/5 and the Bear Hug pitch. JP started us up The Aretes, I led p7 to the rappel horn, and JP took us to the top. We were on the summit at 5:33 pm - an on route time of 2:53.

We down climbed the South Arete and were back at our packs at 6:15 pm - 3:35 round trip. A leisurely hike back to the TH found us at the car at 7:35 pm.

WEST SIDE OF NORTH AND SOUTH EARLY WINTERS SPIRES


PITCH ONE


WAVY CRACK, PITCH TWO


JP ON THE "NERVOUS NELLIE" PITCH FIVE


BEAR HUG TIME




RAPP'IN' INTO THE NOTCH


FINAL PITCH


SUMMIT GLORY


JP: "HUGGIN' BEARS MAKES ME STRONG!"



Friday was a big day: The DEB of SEWS was on the agenda. I'd bailed off the route back in June of '09 and JP'd been eyeing it for awhile. Time to get 'er done.

SEWS: Direct East Buttress IV 5.10a C0

- Left hairpin 5:49 am
- Base of DEB 7:12 am; a 1 hr, 23 min. approach
- Climbing at 7:56 am
- 10:35 am we were @ the top of p4
- 1:15 pm @ the top of p7
- Summited @ 2:51 pm; 6 hr, 55 min. climbing time

JP linked pitches 1 & 2 and led pitches 3, 5 (A0 bolt ladder #1), 8 & 10. I led pitches 4, 6, 7 (bolt ladder #2) & 9. I managed to free climb most of pitch 7 - I pulled on one draw at the 10+ "throw for the obscure finger pocket" move. All-in-all a great climb worthy of it's reputation. One of the coolest top-outs I've ever done.

THE E. FACE OF NORTH & SOUTH EARLY WINTERS SPIRES: THE D.E.B. TAKES THE LINE UP THE CENTRAL CREST OF THE LEFT SPIRE


SOUTH FACE OF SEWS: THE D.E.B. FOLLOWS THE RIGHT HORIZON LINE


JP LINKING P1 & 2


5.8 ROOF ON P4


JP FOLLOWING P4


ENJOYING THE VIEW AND SOME SWEET FINGER CRACK ON P5


PITCH 8 GAINS THE CREST OF THE BUTTRESS


BIG KANGAROO, SILVER STAR AND THE WINE SPIRES FROM THE D.E.B.


THE FINAL EXPOSED 3RD CLASS WALK ALONG THE SUMMIT RIDGE



We'd used our two cars to our advantage and avoided the descent down Spire Gulley, instead "enjoying" another easy hike down the Blue Lake trail.

Certainly was nice to get done early and enjoy cooking dinner in the daylight! We didn't feel like getting up too early on Saturday either, and climbing in the shade away from people was our preference. So off we went to the NW Face of Liberty Bell - another climb I'd bailed on, go figure.

Liberty Bell: NW Face II+ 5.9

- 12:26 pm at the base
- 12:40 pm climbing
- 4:05 pm summit; 3 hrs, 25 min. on route

JP led pitches 1 & 3; I led 2 & 4. We did hasty belays for the exposed scramble between the false and true summits, losing a little bit of time in route finding. The 5.8+ flake on p3 is somewhat loose and a heady lead. The 5.9 finger crack dihedral on p4 is MONEY!

LIEBACKING SOME CREAKY FLAKES ON P3


JP STRIKES A SERENE POSE ATOP LIBERTY BELL


NW FACE OF LIBERTY BELL FROM THE BLUE LAKE T.H.



After all that, we were tired, especially of hiking down the Blue Lake trail for the third time. Another splendid dinner at Lone Fir was followed by a quick turn to bed. We skedaddled by 8am Sunday. Good times!

Link: Washington Pass Sep 12-14, 2013 photo set on Flickr »


Gear Notes:
Lot's of it!

Approach Notes:
Up down, all around. I've now down-climbed the South Arete of SEWS more than I've climbed it. A car shuttle for the DEB is a gift to the knees...

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Alpine Climb: Enchantment Peak, Acid Baby III 5.10+ - Aug 30, 2013

JP drove from Baker City, OR to climb with me in the Enchantments last week where we each realized a dream: me to climb Acid Baby, him to climb the South Face of Prusik. Good times!

Approach: We left the Stewart TH at 6:15 am; 55 minutes later were at the Colchuck junction; arrived at Colchuck Lake at 8:05. We took a 20 minute break at the edge of the boulder field and at 8:50 we’d rounded the lake and started up Aasgard Pass. At 9:47 am we were at the base of the route - 3.5 hrs with breaks. After a leisurely prep we began climbing at 10:43 am.

ACID BABY FROM AASGARD PASS TRAIL


P1 (5.10-)

A nice hand crack over a short bulge was dispatched handily by JP. You can combine the first two pitches into a full value 65M 5.10+ lead, but we belayed on the first large ledge.

JP DISPATCHING THE CRUX ON P1


P2 (5.10d)

A stout, overhanging OW. It was also literally dripping water on the left side from the previous day’s squalls. There was some talk of bailing, but that was fairly short lived. Eventually I put on my big boy pants and began battling my way upwards, dodging water drops, all the while searching for adequate protection.

After getting a bomber #4 Camalot, I sunk in two tenuous fist jams and initiated a strenuous pull. POP! My feet flew off the wet stone and I was airborne. It was a short fall and I was unhurt except for my pride.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the last of it – I eventually freed the pitch but not without a few more hangs. This was some sustained wide and BURLY 10d climbing and I didn’t trust my damp feet enough to stem in the corner. JP followed it clean, but didn’t think he’d’ve done it any better on lead.

GIVING IT MY ALL ON THE CRUX OF P2


JP FOLLOWING 5.8 SPLITTER HANDS AT THE TOP OF P2


P3 (5.9+/10-)

Here was our only major route finding dilemma. I was using a combination of route beta from several sources and it seems they conflicted. JP eventually followed the line in Layton’s topo photo, climbing flakes in a LFC, then around and over a small roof to the right onto a balancy face to a belay on a slab under the large roofs. The moves around and above the small roof seemed to be more in the 5.10 range than the expected 5.9, but it may have been because the corner was damp. Looking from our belay we spotted what seemed to be an easier line further left, up a slot past a prominent overhang, then right and slightly down an easy slab traverse. Maybe next time…

JP ROUTE FINDING ON P3


SLABBING MY WAY UP THE TOP OF P3


MOUNT STUART FROM THE BELAY ATOP P3


P4 (5.10-)

The obvious splitter 5.8 crack on the right can easily swallow two #3’s & 4’s. I led it with one of each but would have been more comfortable with at least another #3. Above, a thin crack swallowed four DMM Peenuts. Don’t go too high – a nice foot on the face below and to the left gets you to a hands-free rest. Runout some moderate slab up and left to a corner belay below a splitter dihedral with a short lichen-covered roof hanging menacingly above.

JP SAYING: "NICE ROUTE-FINDING D!"


P5 (5.10c/d)

This was the next 10+ pitch, but it felt more manageable than P2. JP led it admirably and I pulled the crux without too much effort, but couldn’t clean JP’s over-jammed .75 Camalot without using my nut tool and ended up muttering some choice words at having to hang for the second time. Bugger! Below the roof, make an exposed but manageable step right to another (easier) open book. Follow this to a very nice belay ledge.

JP CRUSHING THE 10+ CRUX ON P5


P6 (5.10-)

I initially started up the thin crack to the left as per Layton’s description, but didn’t like the feel of the rock or the looks of the pro and opted for a short fist-sized crack to the far right instead. This deposited me on some flat benches on the ridge proper which I followed to a vertical hand crack capped by some loose blocks. Mantle carefully (don’t pull!) past the blocks and head for the prow jutting above. Enjoy some awesome exposure on the right side of the tower! Belay at the base of the prow.

JP ENJOYING SOME EXPOSURE ON P6




BELAYING AT THE PROW ATOP P6


P7 (5.9)

Handrail the über-exposed ridge crest to the summit – so money! JP got this one, lucky guy. As he led, we were treated to a cool view of the ridgeline and our shadows silhouetted on the wall to our right. There was a bit of hooting and hollering on both our parts as we climbed this stellar pitch.

SHADOWS!


WICKED HANDRAIL!


KICK-ASS SUMMIT!


We summited at 6:53 pm. Neither of us had brought water, but we found some catch basins on the summit of Enchantment Peak that had been filled during the recent rain squalls. Sweet!

NECTAR OF THE GODS



Descent: A direct and rather pleasant scramble (by Leavenworth standards) down the wide, sandy gully skier’s left of the summit plateau got us back to the base in an hour. We never saw any rap stations as mentioned by some others, nor did we need them.

ACID BABY ON THE LEFT, OUR DESCENT GULLY ON THE RIGHT



More photos: Acid Baby III 5.10+ photo set on Flickr »


Gear Notes:
BD nuts 4-11 & Peenuts
C3’s red & yellow; Master Cams blue to orange; double Camalots .5 – #3, single #4. (Doubles on #4 would have sewn things up quite nice on pitches 2 & 4.)
60m 9.4 rope.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rock Climb: Index Town Wall with Tony - May 9, 2013

On Thursday I met Tony in Snohomish at 8:00 AM. We weren't in a big rush, so after a leisurely stop in Monroe for food we rolled into the Lower Town Wall parking lot at 9:50 and were still the first ones to arrive. It was sunny and 59 degrees - perfect conditions.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE A CLIMBER WHEN YOU SPORT AN ARC'TERYX TATTOO


I warmed up with a lead of Japanese Gardens (lower) - grunting some at the wide bit, then Tony and I did a lap each on top rope. My second go was a much stronger effort - guess I needed to shake things out a tad more.

TONY ON JAPANESE GARDENS


Next up was Sagittarius. I'd followed / top roped it in the past, but recently'd been thinking of leading it if conditions were right. Today seemed as prime an opportunity as I could ask for.

Climbing Sag was a battle, both physically and mentally, as leading a new route at Index often is. First came a flared lie back directly above a ledge. Was happy to find not one, but two decent cam placements there. Then there was a burly transition into a wide vertical hand crack, where I clipped some old tat slung 'round a chockstone and stepped left into an exciting traverse below a humongous overhanging flake.

After the traverse you haul yourself into a flared chimney behind the flake and shimmy up left-side in. My #5 Camalot came in handy here. Exiting the chimney was a chore, and scary to boot. Then I lie-backed through the ringing flake and got a couple of solid #2 cams in - that helped my mental state.

Unlike the varied and wandering nature of the lower climb, the final stretch to the anchor is dead simple: place a green Camalot as high as you're able and lie back a strenuous 10b flake for 15 feet to the anchor. Just don't cross to the anchor too soon, blow your feet and take a huge whipper! Needless to say, it felt pretty good clipping those chains...

TONY TRAVERSING SAGITTARIUS


Tony did an excellent job of cleaning the route, his only fall occurred just below the anchor when he stepped toward the chains a tad too early. By the time he'd finished it was getting pretty warm, so we headed to The Country seeking shade.

THE COUNTRY'S TUNNEL DOOR HAS BEEN CEMENTED SHUT


I had an inkling of leading Cunning Stunt, but it was still in the sun at 2:15 pm. Heart of the Country was in the shade however and we headed that direction instead. I led the first pitch of GM, then linked the 2nd into the full HOTC for a long stretch of superlative crack climbing.

HEART OF THE COUNTRY: SO GOOD!


On the ground beer-thirty beckoned and Tony treated me to a pint of Local Ink Ale at Fred's for my day of rope-gunning. Good times!

YUMMY!

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Rock Climb: Drizzly morning at Index - April 2, 2013

Gus and I headed to Index this morning. The weather report didn't say anything about rain, but as we drove through Monroe and Gold Bar we encountered heavy mist. We kept driving though. At Index it was lightly misting - a good sign of something, eh? We walked along the Lower Town Wall, scoping out conditions, and finally decided an ascent of Godzilla seemed reasonable. After all - as I reminded myself - I'd certainly led it in in wetter conditions!  My ascent was completed without incident and we then ran several laps on top rope, including variations (Bambi, the City Park bolt ladder). Not bad for a drizzly day's work!

THE ROAD TO INDEX - NOT A GOOD SIGN...


GUS, FIRST TIME AT INDEX, READY TO SEND


GUS ON G-ZILLA

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Monday, April 01, 2013

Rock Climb: World Wall 1, Little Si - April 1, 2013

Got some climbing in before work with Josh and Seth Timpano at Little Si today. Seth and I warmed up with leads of Reptiles and Amphetamines (5.9) and Girls in the Gym (5.10c). Josh warmed up on Aborigine (5.11b). Then it was project time.

WORLD WALL 1


SETH ON GIRLS IN THE GYM


Josh jumped on Californicator (5.12d) and established a high point on his second try. Seth and I worked Aborigine: I got it clean on TR my second go around; Seth TR'd it clean and red pointed it. Then it was time to go. Not bad for a half day's work!

TIMPANO: GREAT TO BE CLIMBING WITH YOU AGAIN!

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