Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Beartooth Spire & the summit register



The other day Liz and I made the trek into the Beartooths to camp for two nights and climb the spire behind us which the range is named after. It was an amazing adventure into the wilderness, not seeing another soul for over 48 hours, wishing we had more time to walk further, see more and climb higher.

We climbed The Bear Tooth Spire in 4 pitches, and descended in 6 rappels back to the shoulder above the scree covered slabs, in which we made 4 more rappels back to the snowfield below.

It was 19 total hours of hiking in and out for 2 hours of climbing and 1 hour of rappelling. The ratio doesn't make any sense, but you wouldn't understand the value if you haven't been there yourself.







The summit register was worked, it was soaking wet, smelly, old and falling apart.  Liz and I decided to pull it and bring it back to town.  We spoke with Marko in Bozeman and he is going to install a new one, where the old one is destine to end up with a local climber hopefully named Rusty as soon as it can be dried out and delivered.

That summit register is bad ass, quite possibly the coolest summit register I have ever tried to sign (the last page was too wet to write).  Jack Tackle, JoJo, a guy named Lauren like 600 times, the FA party on the first page and my favorite entry by Derek that posted a Jim Birdwell quote, and other climbers I have heard of and some not all dated and signed..  There were many years the spire didn't receive an ascent, some years only a few and one recorded winter ascent by that Lauren guy again...He gets after it!

Hopefully the register will be preserved for the history of Montana climbing and more people will venture out and onto the top of the Spire.









"Sport Climbing is like Sport Fucking! ...a lot of fun and not very much commitment!"
Jim Birdwell




Friday, July 25, 2014

The Diamond in the sky


330am.  The stars were amazing and the moon was bright on a warm night in the cirque.  The girls were sleeping in a rock shelter and the boy (me!) out in the open.  SNOOZE....334am..I guess we better be getting up now.



















736pm we walked into The Rock Inn to get some dinner and a drink.  1hr wait says the hostess until three people left the bar at the same time and we saw Bryan (one of the fine proprietors of that fine establishment).  He hooked us up fat and we ate quick.  Polly was hungry, I was thirsty and I am not sure what Tera was, as I just meet her a few days before in front of Ed's on main.

1128am.  Polly lead the crux pitch to table ledge and brought us up.  Pulling 10a moves a wee bit below 14,000 feet was a wee bit hard. I was hyperventilating at the belay...

450am. We started up the North Chimney before the first real light along with 7 of our closest friends getting to the Broadway ledge in three 60 pitches and a bit of simul-climbing.  I lead in sneakers and loose rock.  At least it was dry loose rock.

~550am. Tera lead pitch one and two, I lead three, Tera lead four and Polly lead five and the traverse off the face. We were a good team, smooth transitions, smooth climbing and laughing all the way up the 1,700 feet of climbing from the snow at the base to the top of the mountain.

1210pm.  We stopped for "Treats and Water" when we found a bit of snow melt to fill our bottles on the way to the summit.  We were out of water as we only brought 2.5L up the route with us.

100pm.  SUMMIT PARTY!  Need I say more?!?!  Girls jump, boys watch.  Good times.


308pm. We were stoked, sunburned, dehydrated and tired, but made it back to camp, treated more water and took off for the beers (for them) and some Makers in the creek stashed far below.

414pm.  The beers and whisky were put down & I felt drunk (not lying) then the girls took off running and beat me back to the car.

537pm the next day.
Vanessa.  "I just got your text"
Me. "Huh?"
Vanessa "From yesterday"
My text.  "Mutha Fuckin Crushed it! So Stoked!"
"My phone sucks..."

Begin the slideshow;

























Friday, July 18, 2014

The chossy choss pile of chossiest choss

The Maroon Bells in Aspen. In the summer.  Bad idea. Why to people even do this?

But, we didn't know.  We had no idea.  "You don't know, what you don't know".

So, Fabrizio and I set off the other day to climb the Bells traverse, from south to north.  We brought a rope, a light rack, a few slings and no harnesses just incase.  The old bowline on a coil should work just fine for that.

We hiked in a bit before 5am, and got back to the car about 11 hrs later with around 5500 feet of elevation gain for the day.  A few pics below of the choss.


















Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Teton Classic

Andrews Pics found here on his stream;
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aewike/




Jake, Andrew and myself hiked up high into the depths of the central Teton Range on Friday to attempt the Black Ice Couloir, which separates the Grand Teton from the Enclosure. Avoiding the storms to our south, we arrived at the Moraine camp, set up shop and cooked dinner.

Out of camp at 3pm we made quick work of the Valhalla Traverse in the dark, arriving almost to the turn of the SW ridge by first light.  The traverse was still holding snow in certain north facing aspects, but soft enough to plunge step our away across.  We made a quick rest stop to put on our crampons and eat before turning the corner into the west side of the mountain.  

Traversing on the rocky ledges and the snow slopes were pretty straight forward to get past the Enclosure Couloir which was all terrain I have been on before, but was a slight guess in my head after.  I continued to lead the last of the snow traversing up and left to get to the base of the rock, which I believed to be the opening 5.6 slab to gain the route proper.

We pulled the gear out of our packs and tied into the ropes for the first of 7 belayed pitched.  The rock was completely dry (not expecting that!) and looked like it had a lot of good edges to keep my crampons on. I lead out a full 60 meters to the set a belay off a cam and a fixed pin with a fun bit of climbing up and over small roof at about the 40m mark. 



Jake and Andrew came up and we set off up the couloir in another 6 pitches. There was a lot of snow still lingering around from the long winter with small patches of ice below. The ice crux was high up the Couloir, about 60 meters below the top.  It consisted of a stubby about 1/2 the way in for gear, but good ice and quality climbing up and over the small chockstone.

Andrew took the last pitch to the top in sugar snow....that sucked...and we started back down to the valley bottom for pizza and a long ride home to get back to Madison by Sunday night.