Devo's Climbs

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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