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Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Kangaroo Temple/North Face

Fun day with the best team ever

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Despite following GPS tracks and looking for cairns, we couldn’t find the “climber’s trail” for more than a few feet. Stay to the climber’s right of the Early Winters creek, and be prepared for a slog.

We had KT to ourselves on this gorgeous June day. Our team of four left the hairpin turn around 6:15am and made our way through the boulder field / forest strips / snow posthole nightmare that is the approach to Kangaroo Pass. The path is easier to follow after the pass. The gully leading to the notch between KT and Little Finger was mostly snow free, and we only had to put on crampons for the last short traverse. Some fun class 3 moves got us to the base of the climb.

As others have mentioned, rope drag is… a drag… on the first pitch, so we opted to split this pitch into two, using the lowest set of rappel anchors as a belay. Second pitch is still short. Third pitch was especially exciting for the assistant leader, who had read about the blind corner but had somehow missed the memo about the exposed ledge - fun times at 7000ft! Protect the ledge for your follower with several cams at foot level, then take the right-most of the two cracks to get to the final belay (solid tree). 

The night before I'd read from Beckey's chapter from Challenge of the North Cascades, describing his 1942 first ascent of KT: 

It was a joy just to be there in the sunshine, seeing and identifying peaks jutting far to the west and north [...] I particularly remember the solitude and the utter quiet, disturbed only by an occasional burst of wind. We were kings atop a temple of nature. 

Not much had changed in the intervening 77 years, but...  

Such meditations had to be broken - there was the descent to consider. We rappelled via the north face [...] 

We did too! There was still snow on the top, though, so we had some trouble getting to the first rappel station. Eventually we were able to set up a handline across one of the slabs using a ledge slanting left from the last rappel. Be careful if you do this - the granite slabs are exfoliating, and I easily pulled off what I thought could be the first hand hold. 

Althoughone double rope rappel could have gotten us to the base of the climb,  we chose to do three single-rope rappels  to the notch to avoid getting the ropes stuck.  We then did one more rappel to avoid downclimbing the steep gulley.

The return slog was just as sloggy. We pulled a tick off one of the climbers (and another tick was noticed on another climber's pack). The beautiful snow slope on the north side of the pass had be churned by another party, but at least they also found all the holes in the snow for us. 

Back at the cars by 7:45pm. Long day included quite a bit of time spent hiding drinks in the snow by the parking lot in the morning, then spending way too long trying to find the hidden drinks at the end of the day because 13 hours later all rocks look the same (pro tip: use a GPS waypoint).

Photo credit: Julia S. Many thanks to the entire team!

 

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