New Route, Winter Ascent
Andrew then climbed the remaining 20 meters of the gully, fought through a short squeeze chimney, then continued up snow with intermittent ice beyond.
I popped around the corner from Andrew into a left-angling gully, the key to the upper face. It was not visible from our campsite but is plainly visible from back down the valley. This had a tricky, thinly-iced exit. We then had to move together nearly 30 meters for me to reach a belay on the left side of a snow trough.
Andrew continued right up the trough, passing above a little promontory, and climbed a couple of ice steps. I moved with him about 20 meters to allow him to reach the rock wall at the top of a major snow “Y”. I went left, and in 60 meters just reached an ice flow.
Andrew climbed the flow and disappeared around the corner. The rope paid out slowly. He finally ran the rope out and eventually a call came to follow. What a fine pitch it was with considerable ice and two short vertical steps. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much gear and most of what was there was poor.
The cornice above beckoned for a full-rope-length pitch. Taking the lead, I got a pretty good screw into ice after maybe 10 meters and another at 30 meters, then three rock pieces into a wall five meters below the crest. The snow under the cornice was powdery and collapsed away underfoot to reveal slabby rock. However, I reached the crest by semi-chimneying between the snowy slabs and the underside of the cornice overhang. There was a crack that I had convinced myself would be easy to enlarge, enabling an exit to the East Ridge. We were tired and it was late, so we declined trudging up through the sun-softened snow the extra couple hundred meters to the summit. We rappelled once down the East Ridge then once into the first south-facing gully, after which we descended back to camp.
Gear Notes: 2 screws (4 would have been nice) 6 nuts (small to medium) 5 cams (finger to hand-width in size) 7 pitons (2 long, thin LAs—don’t ever leave home without them! 1 medium blade and 1 long blade; 1 baby angle; 2 Leepers, which we did not use)
Fallacy Peak, West Ridge, Probable New Route
On March 13, 2005, Fay Pullen, John Roper, and I climbed “Fallacy Peak” (Pt. 4800+ half-a-mile south of the outlet of Boulder Lake on the Mt. Stickney Quad).
Starting out from the car (elevation 1,650 ft), we got to the 3,700-ft lake in good time. From the lake, we mounted Fallacy’s alternately brushy and open lower North Ridge. Several routes to the top presented themselves, including the timbered upper North Ridge and the Northwest Face. However, we had earlier seen a notch on the West Ridge and so decided to have a look at that. The West Ridge appeared lower angle on the map. The notch required about 70 vertical feet of brushy Class 3/4 to get to.
I took off up the initially narrow crest on fairly solid rock. It was barely Class 4 at the hardest but I had John belay me anyway. Fay prussiked her way up the rope then continued ahead on easier rock to scout out a route. We had come to the apex of the slabby southwest gully where it becomes a headwall.
Several rock climbing options exist at the headwall. We went right to look around the corner. I traversed across on alternately frictiony and licheny slabs until the rope paid out. Then we did a running belay to the corner. We continued up a short distance to another minor Class 4 section. We stayed in the brushy dihedral but all sorts of harder though more aesthetic climbing could be found on the rib at left. After the brushy dihedral we walked and scrambled all the way to the top, passing one last false summit before getting there.
For the descent, we chose a very steep pygmy-evergreen-choked gully on the Northeast Face. The little trees came to an end and we were forced to do a rappel. We then took this down and leftward to the 4,300-ft notch on the North Ridge. The west side offered a bypass (where we came up) and soon we were back at the lake.
Grade III, Class 4
On March 12, 2005, Toby Froschauer and I climbed the Northeast Ridge of Foley Peak in the Cheam Range. After hiking up the road, the remarkably well-kept trail saw us at our camp in about five hours. From there, the ridge looked steep and not at all straightforward.
We emerged from the tent the next morning in a full-blown windstorm that continued for most of the day, making the climb more difficult. I led a mellow snow slope to get us established on the ridge. Toby then led off into a small chimney coated with ice and powder.
Following my pitch of really loose rock, Toby led on an amazing pitch: a slanting ice-filled groove. He traversed steep rock that put him on the snow slope a few pitches below the summit pyramid.
We simul-soloed the snow to an ice chimney. Toby continued up the chimney, which consisted of amazing ice in an even more amazing position. By the time I made it onto the ice he had set up a belay and began belaying me up.
We were about 20 meters from the summit when I told Toby to finish it. I came up and grabbed the last hold, which was loose, so I moved it over to the side.
“Hey where’s the summit cairn?”
“You just moved it,” Toby said with a laugh.
Right on! The last move is the summit cairn.
We motored down the Southeast Ridge. Some easy down-climbing and one rappel into a couloir led us down to the Lucky Four Glacier. We were back at camp in 10 hours round-trip.
On March 12, 2005, Jason Hummel and I headed out from Cascade Pass with the intention of capitalizing on the excellent weather forecast. Our march led us across Cache Col and on to a camp at Kool Aid Lake.
Out of camp, we cruised back up to the saddle at Art’s Knoll and skied to the base of Spider Mountain. We found ourselves at the base of our intended route and the snow conditions were getting icier the higher we got. Jason and I took a break and discussed our predicament. We both knew but didn’t want to admit that Spider was turning us away for a second time this year. Looking across the cirque, we found our "Plan B”. The south couloir of Hurry-Up appeared to have everything we were looking for: steep pitch, continuous line; and it was south-facing so we knew the snow would be softer. Once in it, we were instantly impressed at how long and steep this couloir turned out to be. We estimated the bottom 1/3 to be at about 45 degrees, the middle 1/3 at 50 degrees, and the top 1/3 near 55 degrees; None of it was ever wider than 20 feet in the upper 2/3.
The snow took front points and whippets quite well although towards the end we both sort of wished we had our ice axes in our hands rather than still lashed to our packs. At the top of the couloir the path was easy to the actual summit, some 15 minutes away.
Back at the entrance to the couloir, as we peered down the slot, we knew it was a go. The top 15 or 20 turns demanded full concentration before we could fully settle into a rhythm. At the bottom, with a handshake between friends, we knew this was more than just a consolation prize.
Silver Star Mountain, West Face, Central Couloir, New Route
On March 15, 2005, Anne Keller and I climbed a new line on Silver Star Mountain. The couloir we climbed splits the West Face and is visible from the highway. It begins down the slope from the West Buttress and tops out a few hundred feet north (climber’s left) of the West Peak.
A flow of water-ice marked the couloir entrance. The ice was not climbable so we scrambled easy 5.4 rock for the first 60 feet and began to simul-climb in perfect néve and smears of gully-ice. The couloir was wide and varied between 35 and 50 degrees but quickly narrowed as we entered the narrow passage of the main line. The snow was perfect Styrofoam in most places with a few pockets and facets that did not hinder the climbing. The steep-walled couloir averaged 40 feet wide and became slightly steeper as we progressed. Gear was always available.
We came to the first of two mixed cruxes. The first was a large chockstone with steep ice frozen to its sides. The left side yielded thin gear and rotten ice. The right side went at M4 for a 50-ft pitch to a belay on the right side. I had to ditch my pack to fit through the slot. We then resumed simul-climbing. The couloir had again narrowed and became slightly steeper. The conditions and climbing continued to improve. We climbed the steep couloir for several hundred more feet toward a “dorsal fin tower” and its large cave. At that point we saw that the couloir forked just as we suspected. We simul-climbed into the right fork and saw it continued to the ridge and led us to the summit, where as the left fork did not. Before we reached the ridge a second chockstone crux greeted us. This crux was shorter (M3-4) and was climbed on the left up a small column of ice. We continued up the steepest, narrowest section of the couloir for the final 200 feet then threw in a belay. Anne then stepped off the snow and battled out the final 125 feet on easy but loose 5th-class rock. She topped out on the flat slopes just a few hundred feet north of the West Peak.
For the descent we made one short rappel to the northeast off a block under the summit on the final steep snow ramp to the saddle due to highly faceted snow. Then we descended the Silver Star Glacier to Burgundy Col on good Styrofoam and minimal post-holing.
GEAR 60m half-rope, set of cams 0.1-3in, set of nuts, six stubby ice screws, monos helpful, two tools, pins/tat if a retreat is required.
Grade III, AI-2 M4
Other new routes
July 28, 2004, Talchako Mountain (between Bella Coola and Mount Monarch in the B.C. Coast Mountains), Northeast Ridge/Buttress, by Drew Brayshaw, Ray Borbon and James Nakagami (with Fred Beckey)
February 27, 2005, Thar Peak (near Coquihalla Pass, B.C.), North Face Couloir, Drew Brayshaw, solo
March 12, 2005, Mount Outram (near Ghost Pass, B.C.), East Face (“Ghost Passenger”), by Drew Brayshaw, solo
“Poster Peak” or “Pica Peak”
In NWMJ 2004, Issue 1 (Short Reports, part 2), Scott Johnston reported two possible new routes on point 7565 ft, near Washington Pass, locally known as “Poster Peak.” These were described as the left and right east-northeast buttresses of the peak. In Fred Beckey’s Cascade Alpine Guide (Vol. 3, 2nd Ed., p. 313), this peak is referred to as “Pica Peak.” Beckey describes two routes on the peak, a “SE ridge” climbed in 1973 and a “NE ridge” climbed in 1987. It is now believed that Beckey’s “SE ridge” is the same as the “left east-northeast buttress” described by Johnston. Also, Beckey’s “NE ridge” is the probably same as the “right east-northeast buttress” described by Johnston. Based on the descriptions, the 2003 ascent of the right buttress likely varied somewhat from the line of the original ascent.
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