Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Need More Weight!

2x BW +5 lb DL... I think I need a couple more weight plates.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Enter the Dragon

Sneaking in just after a rain storm and immediately before a stint at work, James and I had a good couple of days alpine rock climbing in the Stuart Range. We were a little apprehensive due to reports of a fresh foot of snow in the area, but the sunny weather resolved the situation quickly.

After an Inversion IPA induced late start, we set off for the snow creek wall hoping for an enchainment of Orbit and Outer Space. Outer Space had a party armed for bear, roping up at the first pitch. Orbit was empty so we headed that direction.

James climbing a splitter moderate crack on Orbit. I think Orbit is a better climb overall than Outer Space. However, Outer Space has a couple amazing pitches.

We finished Orbit quickly, but two more parties had gotten on Outer Space. We watched the lowest party as they spent nearly an hour leading a 30m 5.9. We were positive they were going to spend the next five hours on route, so we headed out for Gustav's.

Next up was the classic climb, Backbone Ridge. Neither James nor myself had climbed any rock routes on Dragontail. Essentially we had to get this classic off our ticklist. Teams seemed to take about 15 hours on route. Titans-Steelers had a 5:30 kickoff so we opted for a 3:00 a.m. start. We actually arrived about an hour too early to start climbing. We weren't sure how to get on route so we waited at the morraine until it was light enough to see.

It's actually quite easy and intuitive, but it looks improbable from a distance. The off-width felt a little spicy, but probably because I didn't lug up the requisite protection. Unless you want to take multiple large cams, which I did not, you are required to run the pitch out. A newer-generation #5 protects the first 50-feet with some slung chockstones. You have to leave this piece at halfway and go unprotected for the last 50-feet. I think a new-generation #6 might protect from 50-75-feet out, leaders shaky on off-widths will certainly want one. It felt a lot like 5.7-5.8 rather than 5.9.

From here on out, you just follow your nose, don't stray from the ridge crest too far.

We got confused up on the fin. I'm not sure Nelson's route description is based on reality. We couldn't find any of the feature he describes. In the end we climbed the fin in three pitches. We followed face cracks and left facing corners for two pitches, then James got the plumb pitch following flakes and face moves to the crest.

A couple more pitches took us to the summit and the long descent down Asgard pass.

James on pitch two just after the off-width.

James two pitches up the Fin, Colchuck Lake in the background.

The fin. We conected the left facing corners in the center via face climbing. The final pitch took us just left of the smaller gendarme on the right side of the Fin.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Still need to work out the kinks... but first off to Leavenworth for a couple days of climbing.

Be there... be square. Come for the beer if nothing else!