Afternoon at the Northeast Cascade

February 8th, 2016
Jay takes his turn up the corner.

Jay takes his turn up the corner.

A day after walking out to inspect conditions on Crane, I returned with friends for an brief afternoon run on the only feasible ice left on the mountain: the Northeast Cascade.

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Latest Crane Ice Report 6th Feb 2016

February 6th, 2016

And it isn’t a good one. I packed enough gear to climb any casual ice that was in – which meant I took my gear for a walk today.

Waterfall Wall 6th Feb 2016: Not In

Waterfall Wall 6th Feb 2016: Not In

The photo looks better than it truly is: the thickest ice at the steep part of the Waterfall Wall is currently under current: there is water cascading along that sole thick swatch. The pitches above look even worse.

Having confirmed my suspicions, I continued NNE along the base of the mountain, to see if perhaps the NE Cascade is in.

NE Cascade: Barely Doable

NE Cascade: Barely Doable

It is, though barely. A way could be made up the easy right side, though my guess is there is no ice on the uppermost slab, so the route would have to bend right to escape.

The good news is, the left side of that cascade is in very well. While leading it may not be feasible, top-roping both the corner and the sheer face would be fine.

Steep options on the left of the NE Cascade are in fine condition

Steep options on the left of the NE Cascade are in fine condition

For those who might be tempted to walk even farther, the news is bad. I did go awhile longer, but everything I saw was out: Gem’n’I, Ramps (why bother anyway?), Three White Rappers are all no-go. I did not get in sight of Nightshade or Leap of Faith, but doubt they are in (the latter is definitely not in; I can see that from the road).

Fifi’s is probably in enough to top-rope. Tier Drops is not, By Golly Gully is not in (could probably hike up it with occasional tool-use and a lot of weaving to avoid bare slabs); in short nothing else is in.

NOTE: if you want to leave a response, email me first. If you are not sure of my email address, search around, you will probably find it. Or drop me a line from the Mountain project site.

New Routes 2015

February 5th, 2016

NEW ROUTES 2015

Bruce descends after the FA of "All Wet" the entire run, including the top pitch, of the Waterfall Wall.

Bruce descends after the FA of “All Wet” the entire run, including the top pitch, of the Waterfall Wall.

This summary has been a long time coming. Lots of new routes were put up in 2015, with a lot of people pitching in to get the jobs done. This season added several strong climbers to the parties digging for FA nuggets on Crane, and resulted not only a lot of new routes, but a marked increase in the difficulty of routes here.

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One Visit to Fifi’s Thus Far

February 5th, 2016
Paul Leads up the second pitch of Crane Mountain's Waterfall Wall

Paul Leads up the second pitch of Crane Mountain’s Waterfall Wall

On the 23rd of January, Paul and I climbed three pitches of the Waterfall Wall, then headed left to climb Provando. That route wasn’t in, so we walked back to Fifi’s, where another pair, Mike and Mike, were setting up to climb. We each borrowed a run up this before calling it a day.
Thus far, this is our only visit to this lovely flow. The weather of early 2016 has not been kind to SAdk Ice.

And our one and only chance so far this winter to climb Fifi's

And our one and only chance so far this winter to climb Fifi’s

So Wrong Feels So Right

February 4th, 2016
Selfie looking straight down On the Fence

Selfie looking straight down On the Fence

ROCKCLIMBING on February 2nd. That just isn’t expected. I might go out on one of those rare, barely-possible days to prove a point, crazy as it seems. But to go out and have a great time, warm fingers, sunny views?! This winter has a few nice surprises up its sleeve.

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Castle Rock

February 1st, 2016
BlueMtn

View of Blue Mountain from Castle Rock

With a still-minimal snowpack, conditions are optimal for exploration, so this weekend, Ra and I headed for a small summit near Blue Mountain Lake. We were to find that, while still far from normal depth this winter, the snow around that part of the country is quite a lot deeper than our neck of the woods.

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Another Starbuck Run

February 1st, 2016
Steve powers up Banana Almond Bread

Steve powers up Banana Almond Bread

Another brief run to Starbuck awards us with even better ice, and this time some company joining in the fun. Tom, Steve, and I made a midweek trip to the now-familiar parking spot on the side of Route 28 and, after an extended delay (don’t ask), headed in to Starbuck Right once again.

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Moose Inspection

January 20th, 2016
Looking up the slopes of Moose Mountain from low on the side of Burnt Mtn.

Looking up the slopes of Moose Mountain from low on the side of Burnt Mtn.

I’ve been up on and around this mountain a handful of times in the past two decades. Always it seems I am just out of sight of something significant. With a day off and nobody to play with, I decided to take one more look.

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First Trip to Starbuck Avec Comparison Pix

January 20th, 2016
Paul on the early thin ice of Dark Roast

Paul on the early thin ice of Dark Roast

In the flurry to post several late entries, I missed a couple, one of which was mentioned in another article in the batch put out yesterday – but not published itself. Hence this late addition. In order to lend some true usefulness to this tardy edition, photos taken on our last trip are included for comparison. Likely, conditions are even better now.

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Starbuck with Steve

January 19th, 2016
Steve climbs the thin smear lying along the right edge of O'Ryan's Belt

Steve climbs the thin smear lying along the right edge of O’Ryan’s Belt

With a serious thaw between, I should add. The ice at Starbuck has rebounded well from the New Year’s thaw, and was better than ever when Steve O and I passed through last Thursday.

We were able to set up TRs and run down the line, right to left, skipping only Cool Beans. I managed to get up five runs, Steve made six, before our arms were shot and our time run out. That makes close to 350’ of steep ice for me, about 400’ for Steve, all in less than five hours car-to-car. Starbuck has certainly turned into a good choice for time-limited ice days.

We began on O’Ryan’s Belt, which has yet to see a lead; not surprising, since the pro would be sketchy at best. The initial ten feet is extremely sketchy, almost naked slab. Realistically, it’s the crux of the route, though the ensuing thirty feet to a first possible – and none-too-good – ice screw doesn’t seem easy, either. The small comfort of the bolt above the bottom slab wouldn’t help for long, though it might be backed up by a cam or sling in the slot above it, for an additional three feet of safety. In any case, we chose, like everyone else so far, to rely on a rope from above.

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