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Nov 27, 2006

Grimey Drawer

We left in the afternoon, biked out and camped. Not because we needed the time, but so we could chill and smoke a doobie.


We both turned up with those dollar bags of instant potatoes for dinner. "We're not poor dirtbags anymore, why do we eat this crap?" "What are we supposed to bring, caviar?" My buddy is the peak bagger so he had picked the objective, and had sent this report.
I didn't read it, cuz it's more enjoyable to puzzle it out yourself, but I saw that it was Bannish. Total sandbagger. We cruise the trail to the falls, and scope the lower mountain. We estimate a path and dive into the alders. Our schwack is pretty mellow, plenty of ducking and weaving but not much squeezing and pushing. At treeline we head south along the west flank, and pick up a well established trail. This looks human, is peak bagging really getting that popular? The trail takes us past an improbable looking face, and feeds into a scree slope around the corner. It's starting to get steeper, still class 2 but with a gnarly run out. I'm getting drawn across the slope, and my mate starts to get antsy with the exposed feeling side-hilling "let's tuck in here" so we turn up. I realize I'd been trying to push past the exposure, so I haul up on a tuffet and take a quick snack to settle the nerves. We're now hitting patches of class 3 with the same run out, but at least we're square to the fall line.

Heading up

The broad slope gradually narrows to a choke. I'm coming up the middle by now, but he's still skirting and is getting sucked up the wall. "Hmm, do you see a way for me to get back to you?" "Ah, maybe there?" He tried to traverse back in but got too skeeved, so he ended up back-tracking a bit. I didn't see a good pull off so I kept moving. The choke was maybe 3+, but was cupped enough to at least feel less exposed, and above was pretty mellow class 3. *Clack* Oh gently caress, I just sent a rock straight at him. This is a good place to pause and describe some of the Chugach character, for those not familiar. It's a sweet range to get out in, but it is terrible rock. It's not a rock climbing zone. Another buddy has a garage climbing wall, and a hold was just sitting on the window sill "that's a chugach hold." They just come right off. You expect everything to crumble, and so you scramble accordingly. I hadn't even noticed this one until I heard it impact below. I was cursing myself for not paying attention, but he came into view soon enough. He hadn't even noticed.

Above the choke

   The sketchy soon resumes with no signs of easing up. "I thought this was an easier peak." We check the map, and Bannish's route. Ah, he went up that improbable looking face we saw earlier. Hmm, I hope that means we don't have to go down this, some of that would be a spicy down climb. We approach what seems to be the ridge, and push past some 3+/4- moves. Turns out that was a false ridge, but the angle is lower now, so maybe that was the worst of it. Nope, it's heating up again. I get to a spot with two options, neither of which look good. I edge out towards a traverse over a cliff, and nope back to the junction with a class 4 pitch up. Buddy catches up, "Hey, we're not poor dirtbags anymore, want to call a helicopter?" "They're not allowed in the park, unless it's a rescue." I decide to backtrack and look for another way, and he goes for the traverse. I find another option, and start stemming up a crappy little chimney. I make a move I'm not sure I can reverse, and spend an anxious 10 seconds looking for the next hold, in a position I can't hold for all that long. Thankfully the top has a jug that is solid by chugach standards, and I'm free.

I went yellow, he went orange

      While I'm taking a breath and hoping my mate didn't botch his crux, I hear rocks higher up the ridge. He's already motoring, freakin peak baggers. The ridge is a much more secure class 3, but quite airy, and I've had enough excitement for one day. We get to the top of the shoulder and can see the summit, and the knife ridge to get there. Thankfully he's game to call it, and we flip it around. Descending the ridge is still heads up, but thankfully not scary. Unfortunately the only exits we know of are the way we came, and the Bannish face. His description mentions "kitty litter" which is code for skittery 3+ garbage. I wonder what the north side would provide, but don't have any nerve for gambling at this point. We find the route down the face, and it is indeed skittery garbage, but thankfully relatively short.

Almost down

We descend back into the brush, out from under the gun. Man I'm bushed, wanna spend the night again? I only brought one packet of taters. The wind kicks up. By the time we're on the trail it is raining. Back at camp and it is drenching and the lake has white caps. We bike it out in the dark. We didn't go to the top, but we also didn't die or need to be rescued, so I'm calling it a win. The only casualty was the crocs I forgot at camp. Sorry for littering.

Weather moved in

Our route in orange


The Rat
Aug 29, 2004

You will find no one to help you here. Beth DuClare has been dissected and placed in cryonic storage.

Man that's pretty. Looks like it was fun too!

sb hermit
Dec 13, 2016

Good job! I agree with you - any trip where you don't call for a rescue is a successful trip.

You're much braver than I am... I usually only go down scree, never climb or go across it. It's very frustrating to be unable to make any progress and I'm a lot slower on any land that isn't solid ground.

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