ount Adams, Lava Ridge, ski descent
On June 25, 2006, Phil Fortier, Sky Sjue, my brother Jason and I skied Lava Ridge, just east of the Lava Glacier Headwall on Mount Adams. The Lava Headwall is a fantastic ski, but constant rockfall discourages repeat descents. Lava Ridge is not quite as steep but has 3000 feet of skiing to satisfy any ski mountaineer’s appetite.
Jason and I skied the North Face of the NW Ridge on the 24th and Jason was tempted to rest his injured knee on the second day. But the nice weather was his undoing and my gain. After Sky and Phil began climbing Lava Ridge we started up the North Ridge to try and catch them. This worked out beautifully. We caught up and skied together directly down Lava Ridge on spectacular snow. The route was moderately steep rolling off to 40-45 degrees toward the middle and bottom. We enjoyed every turn all the way down to the glacier below the ridge. Lava Ridge is one of the best ski routes on the north side of Mount Adams and well worth a return trip.
(The opening photo on this page shows the ski descent of Lava Ridge.)
Gunsight South Peak, South Ridge, New Route
On July 10, 2006, John Frieh and I climbed the South Ridge of South Gunsight Peak across the prominent cannon hole feature. From Blizzard Col we scrambled north eventually cutting down along the east side of the ridge. We roped up at the base of two prominent corner cracks, and I climbed the right one to its top before moving up and right on great face features. From the crest, John led a balanced and airy 5.8 traverse across the cannon hole. From here, a final low-fifth pitch took us to the south summit. To descend, we rappelled the last pitch and then made an overhanging rappel off the ridge to the east.
Grade II, 5.8
Sherpa Balanced Rock, Free Ascent
On July 11, 2006, Scott Gullberg and I completed what we believe to be the first free ascent of Sherpa Balanced Rock after climbing the North Ridge of Sherpa Peak. Our climb involved a small overhang followed by a dynamic leap for a small edge, 5.10c.
Grade I, 5.10c
D'artanian Spire, South Face, New Route
In mid-July, 2006, Kathleen Cartmell, Eric Wehrly and I hiked into Temple Canyon in the Enchantments lugging extremely heavy packs. We camped out that night, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and the beer, avocados, artisan bread, cheese, Irish whiskey, and chocolate that we had packed.
We intended to climb the north face of the Black Pyramid the next day but a clean south facing wall got our attention and we changed plans. The wall proved as good as it had looked from a distance. We climbed seven pitches of mostly fun, well-protected cracks to the summit. The highlights were the first pitch 5.10+ left-facing dihedral finger crack, Eric’s mid-wall lead involving some extremely run-out 5.8 chicken-heads, and a 5.11 finger crack through a roof (which I freed on second, but Eric pulled on some gear to get through). We were rewarded with a nice comfortable summit with excellent views and an easy descent via the gully to the west.
Grade III, 5.10+, C1
Pernod Spire, Direct West Face, New Route
On July 15, 2006, Tony Bentley and I climbed the Direct West Face of Pernod Spire, the tallest of the Wine Spires near Washington Pass. From the bench west of the spires, we traversed right and climbed the loose, rubbly gully below Pernod Spire. We spotted a potential line left of a large wave-like roof one or two pitches up. I led the 1st pitch (5.8) up nice hand cracks and a corner that led to slabs below the roof. Tony took the 2nd pitch (5.8) up a thin crack and a slab up and right, ending right under the roof. The 3rd pitch was the crux (5.10+). I traversed on slabs left around the roof and launched up an incredible corner with an off-fingers crack. It was steep with a nice bulge. This led to some wild stemming moves and finished with a leftward move into a seam and grooves. The 4th pitch (5.9) started with a leftward step across a slab into more cracks. Intermittent finger cracks led up a full pitch between a corner and a huge freestanding horn.
The 5th pitch (5.10) started with an interesting move right off the belay then an arching corner with a thin finger crack under the lip, followed by a cool move up and over the lip, and finishing with 30ft of fun runout 5.9 face climbing on solid incut edges. Tony led the 6th pitch (5.9) up a broken face and through a little notch and then left on nice cracks. The 7th pitch (5.9) was another nice crack that seamed out for a few moves and brought us up to the ridge crest, where I traversed the airy, narrow ridge until...OH CRAP! We can’t get to the summit from here! A huge, blank, vertical slab stood in the way. We rappelled a full 60m to sandy benches and finished the climb on the 5.10 corner of the Nelson/Bale route, a fine 8th pitch. The summit block has two old aid bolts, the first with no hanger and the second about 1/2 way out of the hole with a loose hanger, providing a couple of exciting moves.
With the sun low on the horizon we made a long rappel to the Pernod-Chablis col. Major rope problems ensued and with shortened ropes we made two more rappels to the snow east of the spires. We returned to our car via Burgundy Col. We thought this was a great route, with varied, sustained climbing, and fun moves on high quality rock.
Grade III, 5.10+, full rack to 4 inches, maybe larger
Orange Tower, SE Face, New Routes
Over a week in August 2006, Pete Doorish and I climbed several routes on the SE facing wall of Orange Tower. The Orange Wall is between 450 and 500 feet tall and had no previously documented routes. Together we climbed four quality lines and later Pete established routes on several more surrounding towers via roped solo climbing. We found quality rock climbing comparable to other fine routes in the Enchantment region. The character of the routes includes enjoyable crack climbing on exceptionally solid rock. Recommended gear includes a set of stoppers, a double set of cams to three inches and a 60 m rope. All routes are Grade II.
Grade II, 5.10 to 5.11
McClellan Peak, NE Face, “Obscurely Enchanting Fur,” New Route
On July 23, 2006, Dan Cappellini and I climbed a new line on the NE side of McClellan Peak. The climb is obvious from Snow Lake and the dike and upper pillar are interesting features when seen from certain places in the range. We started in the clean white corner just right of the dike and climbed four nice pitches of 5.8 corners and face cracks to the top of the lower buttress. About 400ft of third and fourth class led to the upper pillar. We climbed three pitches just right of the prow to the top of this feature. I butchered the first pitch with whining C1, but Dan had no trouble seconding and thought it was only 5.10 or so. He then led a rope-length of sustained 5.10 and I lurched up another pitch of 5.9+. We topped out on a gendarme a short way east of the summit and bailed. Down-climbing to the west brought us back to the packs and a long walk out. The route name is a euphemism for the lichen we found on the last three pitches.
Grade III, 5.10 C1
Pernod Spire, Indirect West Face, New Variation
Grade III+, 5.10 C2
<<Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next>>
|©2007 Northwest Mountaineering Journal|
|Site design by Steve Firebaugh|