Archive for: July, 2017

Prusik Peak, South Face, Beckey-Davis

Prusik Peak, South Face, Beckey-Davis

Monday, July 24th, 2017

The reviews are in, Prusik peak is as good as they say. Chase and I climbed it last Thursday (7/20) via the Beckey-Davis route on the south face. I would summarize the route as sustained alpine granite fun. The following is a summary of approach/descent and a pitch-by-pitch recap of the climb. Hopefully this helps the next aspiring Beckey wannabe find their way up the route.

Approach – we started from Snow Creek TH at 4:30 AM, got to lake Viviane by 8:30 AM, filled up our water bottles, and maneuvered around the east side of the lake to the base of the climb. We started climbing around 9:30 AM.

Pitch 1 – The Chimney (5.7), probably the least enjoyable pitch of the climb. Just general awkward stemming up the thing, good pro though. If I were doing this again I would go up the 5.8+ wavy crack to the left of the chimney, it looked more enjoyable and you can traverse over

Pitch 2 – (5.7?) We went far right from the belay ledge above the chimney and got into some face climbing and hollow flakes. Not great.

Pitch 3 – (5.7) This is where the climbing gets good and the exposure starts. fun blocky climbing to your pick of belay ledges. This pitch would be easy to pass a party if needed. We didn’t have anyone else on the route with us.

Pitch 4 – the Traverse (low 5th) – traverse down a steep step, then up another steep step to a tree belay, now you’re at the base of the crux pitch, but you could climb another 10-15 feet if rope drag is managed.

Pitch 5 – the Crux (5.9) – super fun and positive laybacking in a right-facing corner, then a left facing corner which ends us getting really hard, at which point you have to make a step across to the left and easier climbin. Great pro. This route just eats big pro (1 to 4).

Pitch 6 – (5.7) fun climbing to the “notch” at the base of the true north summit.

Pitch 7 – (5.7) a low-angle ramp on the north side of the peak will take you to the top! the 10a variation looks fun too but we were worked.

 

Descent – Descend via the north face rappels (took us ~6 rappels with a single 60m). Then its a quick walk around to the base of the west ridge and one more rappel gets you to the south face. took us 2 hours from summit back to packs. Then a long walk back to the car. All in all is took us 21 hours car to car. Fun and exhausting day capped with Tim’s Jalapenp chips, the best there is. Great climbing Chase!

 

North Face of Burgundy Spire, Washington Pass

North Face of Burgundy Spire, Washington Pass

Friday, July 21st, 2017

The plan was do to a Paisano Burgundy link up, but nothing that day quite went according to plan. Andrew, Tim, James and I slept at the trailhead 4mi east of WA pass, and were walking by 5:45 Saturday morning. The trail starts by scrambling down past cairns to Early Winters Creek, then weaving up through the woods to the bivy camp. The camp is roomy and has excellent views of the Liberty Bell group – next time I’ll block a few more days and plan to stay here. The trail up the spires is steep, and at times the footing is poor on marbly rocks. It is relatively easy to follow with regular cairns.

As we approached the base of Paisano around 8, it became clear that we would have to wait for a few other parties to climb before our two parties of two could jump on. Weighing our priorities for the day and recognizing that a delay may mean we couldn’t complete the link up, we decided to push on to Burgundy. We scrambled up to Burgundy Col at 7720’, roughly 3600’ above Early Winters Creek.

At the col we left our bags, and started scrambling to the base of the climb. We had planned on climbing the original route that heads directly up the north face of the spire. However we struggled significantly with route finding, and ultimately opted for what now seems to be the most popular route. This option traverses right at the top of pitch two. If I described the climb how we did it, it would be a messy and confusing string of climbing, rappelling, traversing, and so on. I will instead pitch it out how I would climb the North Face of Burgundy if I were to do it again.

P1. After scrambling slightly right and up from the col, rope up where the 5th class climbing starts about 45m above the col. Climb the right facing corner on the left side of the amphitheater without swinging around to the east side. Chossy rock. 5.7

P2. Trend back right to find a crack system with numerous flakes, ending on a large ledge. 5.8

Traverse right 50m, under a large block, to a long ledge to start the third pitch.

Belay ledge for P3

P3. Easy climbing in a left facing corner, then swing right, setting up an anchor roughly 25m above the last belay. 5.5

 

P4. Follow a fun corner hand crack with good pro, sling a horn and belay from a small stance at 30m. 5.8

Belay stance at top of P4

P5. Trend left, stepping around a bulge into a tapering left facing crack. A move or two of offwidth then good hands higher up, and a slightly overhanging jug to pull onto the ridge. Belay from the ridge to avoid rope drag, then scramble left to the summit.

Summit ridge

Descent: Two 60m ropes made for a relatively quick decent. We doubled up to rappel climbers left of our route to the next station. Another single rappel brought us to the ledge at the bottom of the third pitch. Rather than following our ascent path, we cut left down to a rappel station just after walking back under the large block. Three more double rappels brought us back to the col.

Southwest Rib w variation, South Early Winters Spire

Southwest Rib w variation, South Early Winters Spire

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Tim and Andrew beat us to the same summit up the same route two days earlier, so David and I rolled into Monday with some helpful beta for the climb. In hopes of a warmer climb we opted for a later start, leaving from the trailhead at 7am. We followed the Blue Lake trail for 1.5mi, until the terrain opened up and we had views of the Liberty Bell group. From there we took the obvious climbers trail that branched left, headed up towards Concord tower. The trail dwindled, and we got off track trending too far left, getting almost to the base of Concord before cutting back right. A high traverse across snow brought us to the base of South Early Winters Spire.

There were two parties ahead of us, so we waited at the high ponderosa hoping the sun would come over the ridge soon. When the route cleared, we scrambled climber’s left to rack up at the Y-shaped larch.

Looking back up at the approach at the end of the day

P1. The crux pitch starts mellow, then has a few 5.8 moves to get past a bulge. Protects well. 5.8

P2. The Wavy Crack – quick climbing up onto a ledge, then follows a wide left facing crack. 5.8

P3. We opted for the 10.b variation, traversing right 20m to a left facing corner. The seam starts as tight fingers, then widens slightly toward the top of the corner. The climbing gets easier further into the pitch, but has some boulder moves higher up to get over a bulge. Once over the bulge, you’re on the Nervous Nelly pitch and can look up to Bear Hug. Climb through Nervous Nelly to the ledge below the Hug. 5.10b

P4. The Bear Hug – The hug itself is only about 5m of super fun climbing. Protection felt adequate with one 4 at the bottom, but the crack would have taken a 5 and a 6 higher up. From there traverse right to a large south facing corner ledge. 5.7

P5. Easy but exposed climbing on an arête, minimal pro. Stay on the right side of the arête to find a small belay stance before the base of the gully. 5.6

David belaying from the bottom of pitch 6

P6. Low 5th class, drop down and right into the sandy gully before the ridge steepens and would require a rap to get into the gully. Belay off a tree in the middle of the gully. 5.2

 

P7. From the notch at the top of the gully climb the obvious crack system right to the summit. 5.6

Summit photo for mom

Descent: Down the South Arête. At the top trend left to avoid dropping down the gully. There is a tight gently sloping chimney to descend, this awkward move is somewhat easier without a pack or rope on your back. Continue down the arêtes to the first of three rappel stations. After these rappels you are at the base of South Arête, and can walk back to the base of the Southwest Rib.