|arly Morning Spire, SW Buttress, New Route|
On August 14-15, 2005, Hannah Carrigan and I climbed the buttress or ridge to the left of the SW Face of Early Morning Spire. Intending to climb the SW Face, we mistakenly began rock climbing about 600 feet too low, at the rock toe left of the snowfield that leads to the base of the face. We started left of a major dike or chimney. After some scrambling and a full roped pitch, we crossed the chimney to the right. The second and third pitches angled up and right with poor protection. The fourth pitch passed right of a prominent white roof and ended at a huge ledge. Above the ledge, three good 50m pitches led to a low-angle ridge at about the elevation of the bottom of the SW Face. Four easy pitches along this ridge reached a transition to steeper climbing. We traversed right to a groove and climbed three pitches with poor belays to another ridge crest. From here we could see the summit looming far above, while the sun was approaching the horizon. Three pitches along the ridge, just interesting and loose enough to preclude simul-climbing, exhausted our daylight. I ran out the rope another 50m to a sloping “ledge” where we were benighted. After a warm, calm night we climbed three pitches with considerable loose rock to the summit, arriving 24 hours after starting the climb.
5.8, about 21 pitches
Toppling Tower, North Face, New Route
Grade II, 5.5
Dragontail Peak, NE Buttress, “20-Sided Dihedral”, New Route Variation
Sometime in August 2005, Eric Wehrly and I climbed a new variation to the NE Buttress route on Dragontail Peak in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The routes takes an independent line to the climber’s left of Jim Yoder’s Dragonfly route and climbs through three pitches of steep, dirty—but good—rock to the big ledge on the North Face. On the pitch just below the ledge, Eric pulled powerful 5.10+ moves into a manky 5.11 corner, where he took a huge, clean whipper. Eric then cranked through the gnarly corner, with a quick pull or two on some gear. After the ledge, I led up through what would have been a beautiful and clean splitter if it hadn't been choked with sod. I had to briefly hang to clean. After a small belay ledge, some 5.9 moves around the corner led to good rock up some hand cracks to an awkward bulging layback that I surmounted using a few points of aid. From that belay, a pitch or two of 5.8 climbing through a chimney led to some easier ground, where we simul-climbed to just below the ridge crest and joined the NE Buttress route. We simul-climbed and soloed along the north side of the crest to the summit.
Grade IV, 5.10 A0
From August 24 through August 26, 2005, Mark Allen and I completed our long-standing goal of traversing the entire Silver Star Mountain/Wine Spires/Vasiliki Ridge massif, which makes up a four-mile-long unbroken chain of steep ridges and jagged spires. We started up the two-mile-long East Ridge of Silver Star and made our first bivy just below the west summit. The second day, we traversed all the Wine Spires and added a new route along the way on the South Face of Burgundy Spire. We made our second bivy at Burgundy Col. The third day, we traversed Vasiliki Ridge, climbing new ground on some of the spires.
Grade VI, 5.9+
On August 27, 2005, Loren Campbell and I climbed a new direct line on the North Face of Johannesburg Mountain. Several years prior, we had to retreat off the same line due to sections of steep, unprotectable rock. The route went up rock and gained a hanging glacier high on the North Face, considerably left of the 1985 route. From the base, many rock pitches up to 5.9 led to a wide, overhanging band that we passed on the left via a long, overhanging, stemming rock crux (5.10b). Above the rock crux, we climbed lower-angled rock quickly, as the upper hanging glacier was very active. Shortly after reaching a small prominence of rock, a house-sized portion of the glacier calved off and scoured the section we had just climbed. Upon reaching the hanging glacier, we encountered broken conditions with sections of vertical ice climbing. At the top of the glacier, the route led left onto the top of the snow arête of the 1957 route, from which we soon reached the summit. We made a bivouac on the descent at the Cascade-Johannesburg Col after 22 hours of continuous climbing.
Grade V, 5.10b AI3+
“The Stovepipe” (Green Glacier area), New Route
The next morning, things had socked in sufficiently to dissuade more intelligent people from attempting new routes with 85ft of rope. Luckily, I managed to threaten Tyree's ego just enough to convince him to wander across the glacier in a whiteout and climb a sweet little pinnacle I had been eyeing since my first trip to the area.
The climb turned out to be great. After scrambling some solid third- and fourth-class slabs off the glacier, we climbed a short pitch of 5.4 up a chimney. Tyree led a final rope-stretching (85ft) pitch to the summit. The rock was bomber and the face got progressively steeper and narrower, leading to an incredibly small summit fin. Two rappels and some downclimbing got us back to the glacier. For lack of a better name, we called the pinnacle The Stovepipe.
Gear: One rope and small rack to #2 Camalot
Skookum Peak, East Face, New Route
On September 7, 2005, Rad Roberts and I climbed the East Face of Skookum Peak. We had returned to the Green Glacier area with the optimistic plan of climbing this wall, which may be the largest in the area at about 1,200 feet, in a long day. Five hours after leaving the car, we roped up at the base of a stellar-looking finger crack. Two long pitches of fine climbing (5.7) led to lower-angle and unfortunately rubbly rock in the center of the face. After simul-climbing through the junk, we climbed two more pitches on good rock directly to the fine summit. Shortly after arriving, a fighter jet cruised by no more than 200 feet out and dropped a wing for us. Based on the summit register, this was only the fourth ascent of the peak since 1996.
Worried about descending back to the east, we (I) decided to head down the west side and pick up the logging roads near Dailey Prairie. Five long hours of talus-hopping and bushwhacking later, we finally reached the roads at 8:00 p.m. All that was left was 12 miles of logging road back to the car.
To make the approach to the Green Glacier, hike Elbow Lake Trail approximately 1.5 miles to a switchback at 2,650 feet. Traverse into woods, crossing Hildebrand Creek at 2,600 feet. Immediately ascend to 2,700 feet and begin a long traverse into the valley. After crossing several dry streambeds, climb to 2,800 feet, keep traversing, then drop down through the open forest to Green Creek at 2,770 feet.
Castle Peak, NW Buttress, “Sod On Me,” New Route
On September 29, 2005, Darin Berdinka and I climbed a new route on the NW Buttress of Castle Peak in the Pasayten Wilderness. The first few pitches were spectacular steep hard granite climbing. Then the route turned f'ugly and took on a new character of vertical moss mushrooms (thus the route name), so we busted out the ice axes and laughed our way up to the summit. This peak and the approach are absolutely gorgeous and stunningly beautiful in autumn.
1,400 feet, 5.10+, M4
Green Creek Wall (Twin Sisters Range), “Evil Twin Arête,” New Route
On October 9, 2005, David Trippett and I climbed a prominent arête that rises approximately 1,000ft to the East Ridge of the South Twin Sister. On my first attempt of the route with partner Zach Koehnke in September, we named the route Evil Twin. The arête lies just east of the Mythic Wall and Green Creek Arête, two climbs that were also first done in 2005 and pioneered by Darin Berdinka. The crux spots of the eight-pitch Evil Twin were an overhanging roof-chimney to end pitch one and a steep, clean corner on pitch six just before the rock quality deteriorated markedly higher up. Rappel the route or scramble/descend to the east; one would need to construct anchors.
Grade III, 5.9
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