JEFFERSON

Kyle climbs Mt Jefferson May '13

Kyle climbs Mt Jefferson May ’13

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THOR PEAK SE RIDGE

En route to Thor Peak

This report is from last fall. Thor Peak is a bear of a climb. The climb started the day before by canoeing String Lake, a small portage to Leigh Lake, then on to the Leigh Lake campsite, 14a. We had a few options from our camp and we spent a while trying to decide what climb to attempt. We settled on the SE ridge route of Thor Peak, a grade 2 5.4 route. No problem.

Fall reflections in Leigh Lake

We awoke at 4 am and began following the climbers trail up Leigh Canyon shortly after. The trail is okay for most of the way to the south buttress of Moran area as it climbs on the north side of Leigh creek.

Leigh Creek Fountain of Youth

We started up the East Face Glacier drainage of Thor Peak to the terminal moraine.

The approach up the drainage, Thor on the left

 

Phil overlooks Leigh Canyon

 

Phil below the East Face of Thor Peak

We scrambled up to the intersection of the terminal moraine and the SE Ridge and found ourselves at the base of the rock pitches. Both the climbing guide and another report we read from Dr Dirtbag’s website described what we saw. The one thing they didn’t stress was the amount of loose rock.

Contemplating the route

The rock was slabby and loose with minimal pro in spots. It felt committing, an isolated big mountain, minimal rack for rappelling, and not knowing if we were “on route”. I had that little feeling deep in my stomach.

Phil on the second pitch

We climbed 3 pitches of loose, slabby, broken rock (5.4) with some 4th class soloing and arrived at a notch in the SE Ridge. Moral was improving, things started to add up, we were gaining some ground.

Phil at the notch and Mt Moran behind

We scrambled into a steep, loose gully that fell away to the East Face Glacier. Scary loose rock. We arrived at yet another notch that overlooked the south face of Thor Peak “Spiral Face” ski route. From here on out it looked to be a lot of scrambling on 3rd and 4th class rock to the summit.

Phil starts up some “3rd class”

There may have been easier routes, the guide book says 3rd class, old school I guess, but we kept on a pretty direct line on the SE Ridge to the summit. We found fun and interesting 3rd, 4th and easy 5th class climbing to the summit.

Mike Calla find some more “old school 3rd class”

 

Phil climbs the upper SE Ridge

 

Mike Calla enjoying the 3rd class

 

Phil contemplates the final portion of the SE Ridge

 

Phil nears the summit

We arrived at the summit and found a register. It was a very old tin can with a few sheets of paper in a plastic bag. It was buried in snow when I was here 3 years ago with Kyle. There were only a handful of signatures in the log, maybe 15 ascents recorded. This Peak is in the shadow of Moran, Thor doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It is a “real” Teton Peak. No trails, and minimal beta.  The views were amazing all around. The ridge from Thor to Moran looks intimidating yet intriguing. The Black Dike goes straight through Moran from the CMC, then continues west through the ridge.

Black Dike Peak

We spent some time on the summit taking pictures and signing the register then readied ourselves for the descent. It was not “in the bag” by any means. We had more than 4000 vertical of trailess, loose, mountainous terrain to descend the “standard route” which I skied with Kyle 3 years ago in April.

The Black Dike slices through the ridge

The Black Dike slices through the ridge

Signing the Thor Peak register

Thor Peak summit

Now is when you want to be skiing. It is long and tedious 4300 vertical ft descent down the west side of this huge mountain to arrive at the bottom of Leigh Canyon. Then we have 3 trailess miles back to our camp on Leigh Lake. Here we go…

Looking back up at the West Couloir Thor Peak

Phil halfway down the South West side of Thor Peak

The South West Couloir becomes smaller and smaller, eventually squeezing you between large rock walls with short waterfalls to negotiate. We passed a few rappel anchors along the way, but did not need them because of the low water in the drainage. It would be a scary place with more water flowing.

The SW Couloir starts to narrow

We arrived at the canyon bottom around dusk and started to walk through the woods. It became dark quick, and the trail became non existant. It became pretty desperate and laughable as we thrashed through a wild trailess Teton Canyon at night. We finally arrived at camp after a few hours of bushwhacking and began to drink scotch, eat dinner and drink Cakebread Cabernet.

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MT SHASTA AND MT MCLOUGHLIN

Mt Shasta Avalanche Gulch

Mt Shasta Avalanche Gulch

After skiing Lassen we headed to Mt Shasta. There were high winds fore casted for the morning, then to diminish as the day went on. We started around sunrise from the lot and made great time to the base of the head wall of Avalanche Gulch. Then it started to blow. Really hard. No clouds, just crazy windy. We got sandblasted and  knocked over a few times. We decided to call it a day. With windy conditions it is dangerous on the up, and the skiing down would be a frozen coral reef. Not for us. We headed for Mt McLoughlin.

North side of Shasta and Shastina

North side of Shasta and Shastina

After the somewhat crowded Lassen and Shasta, we were looking for a little more solitude. Mcloughlin seemed to fit the bill.

They just plowed the acsess road for Mcloughlin.

They just plowed the access road for Mcloughlin.

Quality trailhead living, Mt Mcloughlin

Quality trail head living, Mt Mcloughlin

Mt Mcloughlin NE Face

Mt Mcloughlin NE Face

As we climbed the trail through the beautiful old growth forest we eventually got onto the east ridge of Mcloughlin.

Upper NE Face Mt Mcloughlin

Upper NE Face Mt Mcloughlin

Mike nears the summit

Mike nears the summit

We had the peak to ourselves as we ripped the perfect corn on the steep NE Face.

Kyle skis the NE Face of MT Mcloughlin

Kyle skis the NE Face of MT Mcloughlin

 

Signatures on Mt Mcloughlin

Signatures on Mt Mcloughlin

We skied a little too far out to the north and wound up a few miles from where we started. We ran into some weekend folk.

She is pissed!

She is pissed!

We helped for a bit then realized they were stuck for the long haul. The guy had no gloves or anything to dig. We walked up to him and he was digging with a stick. Darwin was in town.

Kyle walks

Kyle walks

 

Rest Day 1

Rest Day 1

 

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MT LASSEN

This is the first peak Kyle and I skied on our Volcano Tour of the Pacific Northwest. We drove 15 hours straight to the Lassen trailhead from Jackson. We were eager to get moving the next morning and started up from the lot.

Morning approach to Mt Lassen

Morning approach to Mt Lassen

The peak seemed popular as there were numerous old tracks and a few other parties on it that day.

Moonrise over Lassen

Moonrise over Lassen

The wind was howling up top and the upper section was not corning up yet. We chattered down the top pitch and then transitioned into some beautiful corn for 2000 vert.

Can you make out the huge summit dildo? Look closely, it is camoflauge.

Can you make out the huge summit dildo? Look closely, it is camoflauge.

 

Summit Crater

Summit Crater

NE Face of Mt Lassen

NE Face of Mt Lassen

Quality trailhead living

Quality trailhead living

 

 

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ROCKCUCK PEAK EAST FACE

Rockchuck Peak East Face

Rockchuck Peak East Face

The lines out of the String Lake Trail-head have big, consistent vertical with no approach. The approach this time of year is by way of biking 5 miles on the plowed road. Then you go up. All 4200 vertical of Rockchuck Peak.

Animals ski too.

Animals ski too.

The snow was firm which allowed for efficient travel up the draw to the base of the East Face. Thank you ski crampons.

Phil gains the upper ridge on Rockchuck

Phil gains the upper ridge on Rockchuck

We gained the upper ridge after skinning up a steep north facing powder pitch. Then we just kept skinning up the ridge. Thank you ski crampons.

Mike skins the upper ridge

Mike skins the upper ridge

We arrived at the top of the East Face and were greeted to amazing views of the south sides of Woodring, Thor, and Moran.

Thor and Moran

Thor and Moran

Our timing was perfect as we skied perfect, steep corn down the upper ridge.

Corn harvest on the upper ridge

Corn harvest on the upper ridge

We skied the upper ridge in perfect corn down to the north facing powder. It was good.

Phil gets some north facing pow

Phil gets some north facing pow

Mike gets some too

Mike gets some too

Phil

Phil

Phil carves it up

Phil carves it up

Awesome day with 4200 vertical feet of perfect conditions. Next…Volcano Tour 2013!

 

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STILL POW

Worth, en route to Jazz Fest

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DRIZZLEPUSS SE FACE

Mt Moran looms large on the approach

Mt Moran looms large on the approach

This is a huge line that I’ve looked at for years. It is a solid, consistent 4700 vert. Its big. We approached with bikes from the Taggart Lake trail head at 5 am.

Biking season has begun

Biking season has begun

 

Leigh Lake was still in fine shape as we cruised across, and we soon found ourselves at the base of the huge south east side of Moran.

Jon and Phil make there way across Leigh Lake.

Jon and Phil make there way across Leigh Lake.

 Left to right. Drizzlepuss, West Horn, Falling Ice Glacier, East Horn.

Left to right. Drizzlepuss, West Horn, Falling Ice Glacier, East Horn.

The gully at the bottom of the Falling Ice Glacier was filled in great as we skinned straight up it. We trended left up a treed slope that led to a small basin near the CMC camp.

Phil skins up the lower Falling Ice Glacier splitting the West Horn and East Horn

Phil skins up the lower Falling Ice Glacier splitting the West Horn and East Horn

Here’s when it became a little slow going. Difficult skinning and booting with 40mph winds slowed us down a bit. It felt like winter.

Mike and Phil work through the wind

Mike and Phil work through the wind

 

Jon climbs near the West Horn

Jon climbs near the West Horn

We kept plodding along and arrived at the Drizzlepuss summit (11,600) in clouds and wind. Views to the south were amazing with the Grand in the distance and the north side of Woodring front and center.

Views were okay I guess

Views were okay I guess

Disappointed that the CMC face was in the clouds we started our descent. The snow varied along the way with the higher elevations being pretty good windblown powder with some breakable to keep you honest.

Jon drops off the summit of the Drizzlepuss

Jon drops off the summit of the Drizzlepuss

 

Mike finds some powder on the Upper Drizzlepuss

Mike finds some powder on the Upper Drizzlepuss

 

Phil skis the gut of the Drizzlepuss

Phil skis the gut of the Drizzlepuss

 

Mike with Mt Woodring as the backdrop

Mike with Mt Woodring as the backdrop

 

Jon carves up the Drizzlepuss

Jon carves up the Drizzlepuss

 

Phil on the Drizzle

Phil on the Drizzle

 

Mike on the Drizzlepuss

Mike on the Drizzlepuss

The mid elevation trees skied well, but the foot of new snow was not consolidated and was affected by the warmth of the sun.

Some north facing fluff

Some north facing fluff

The lower elevation was also affected by the sun, but was smooth and consolidated corny cream cheese. I am really attracted to these huge lines. They feel so big and commiting on the up, as well as the down.

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THE DRIZZLEPUSS

South side of Mt Moran

South side of Mt Moran

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SHADY END TO THE TRAM SEASON

The Shady Lady Couloir

The Shady Lady Couloir

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RENDEVOUS PEAK

Afternoon stroll

Afternoon stroll

Wow is right

Wow is right

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