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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grand Teton - Upper Exum Ridge, August 2010



Having contracted a bad case of road-tripperitis this summer, I settled on an alternate course of therapy and decided to let it run its course rather than attempt to fight it. With that in mind, I loaded-up the Passat for the umpteenth time since early June and motored across four western states for a much anticipated and long-awaited for climb of the Grand Teton. I partnered-up with Kyle Walcott on Mountain Project for the Upper Exum Ridge climb-my first time linking up with someone sight unseen for a technical climb.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mazama Rocks, August 2010

Agata and I made our way over to Mazama for the third time this season specifically to be present for the official unveiling of Jerry?s A-Wall. Jerry?s tireless dedication to developing sport climbs on crags in or near the Methow Valley is truly remarkable and seems to have the blessing of long-time Methow routesetter Brian Burdo. The A-Wall crag features five or six fun and safe single pitch routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.10d (I think). To reach the crag, simply follow the (now) signed trail beyond Fun Rock towards Sun Rock. Go left at the fork and proceed up along a newer path for about fifteen minutes to reach a grove of trees at the base of a large crag. Starting at (looker?s) right where the path first reaches the rock are three easier routes that make for a good warm-up for the two more difficult climbs just off to the left. At far left is a final route in the 5.8 range. If you find yourself climbing in the Mazama area and are tired of waiting to get on a route at Fun Rock, be sure to check out the A-Wall!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winchester Mountain, August 2010

I?m not exactly sure why John and I chose to attempt American Border Peak (ABP) for a second time, but rest assured there will NOT be a third try. Perhaps I?ve gone soft in my old age, but the tedious off-trail side hilling and thrashing just to get to a suitable camp spot hardly seems worth the reportedly loose and mediocre climbing on ABP in the first place. If our lack of motivation wasn?t enough to turn us back, then the rapidly deteriorating weather the day of our summit bid certainly was. Just one look across the third and final talus basin separating us from the start of the objective?s SE Route, not to mention the eerie reddish murk that filled the morning skies, and I decided then and there that ABP was not for me. Judging by the look on John?s face, I think he too was relieved by my decision. We returned to camp, packed up and made our way back to High Pass. Just before the final descent to the car, we dropped our packs and made a quick detour up the trail to investigate the restored lookout on top of Winchester Mountain, because well?it was there and we had nothing better to do. We got back to John's truck just as the first drops of rain began falling.

If you must climb something in the Twin Lakes area, I might suggest just scrambling up Mount Larrabee instead. A good trail pretty much leads directly to the base of the standard climbing route, and I doubt the views are much different than from ABP considering that the two peaks are adjacent to each other. Larrabee is likely to test your appetite for choss as it is so leave it at that and take solace in the fact that ABP is a seldom climbed pile for good reason.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mount Mastiff (via Merritt Lake), July 2010

I went on this hike ostensibly to reconnoiter the area for some future backcountry skiing trip, but managed to complicate matters by fooling myself into thinking it?d make for an enjoyable bike?n hike outing as well. A lazy mid-morning Seattle departure combined with a long overdue revelation at the Nason Ridge Trailhead forced me to reconsider my plans for tagging Mount Howard from Lake Wenatchee that day. Backtracking along hwy 2 for several miles, I turned up a bouncy forest road and parked my car, this time at the Merritt Lake Trailhead. After yet another false start with the bike-the trail is far too steep and rough for bikes-Oz and I finally began hiking up. While unsure where exactly I was leading us to at the time, I?m certain we finally ended up on top of Mount Mastiff. It is a boring, mostly dog-friendly hike with only a short bit of scrambling along a sharp crest. If you?re comfortable with clutching a terrified 17lb Russell Terrier in one arm while grabbing for loose holds on a somewhat exposed ridge traverse with the other, be sure not to overlook this...um...gem of a hike!



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