Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maiden Voyage, Black Canyon

Went into the Black with Dave L. from Australia today (Tues. June 23). He had seen the canyon before, but this was his first foray into the depths. We chose Maiden Voyage for his 1st Black route; opting for its clean rock, morning shade, and sweet handcracks!Dave was right on my heels for the descent down the Cruise Gulley, there were nice ropes fixed on the rappels, and we were soon at the base. Dave hiked every pitch like he was walking down the sidewalk.Having fun in the shade!Checkerboard's Island in the Sky.
Back on the Rim 4 hours later. Super fun climbing!
Cheers, CC

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dallas Peak South Face Couloir

Bob O. and I got the chance to go into Mill Creek and climb the South Face Couloir on Dallas Peak on the 19th. Dallas has the reputation as the hardest 13er in the state, and it definitely has its challenges. The SFC is a sweet alpine route for those with good snow and ice skills. It features a moderate (2.5hrs) approach hike, and then 2500 feet of sweet neve, short steps of water ice, and good alpine rock. I'm not sure if anyone else ever climbs this route, but it is excellent. We were the first party on top for the year.This is one of the best alpine routes in the San Juans, period. If you have the skills. Bob is an alpine animal. Should be good for another 2 weeks.

Cheers, CC.

Summit for Someone Course

Last weekend I instructed a 4-day Alpine Mountaineering Course for the Summit for Someone program. It is a pretty cool organization that raises money for at-risk youths to get to go climbing. The folks on our course each raised over $2000 each to go towards the Big City mountaineers foundation.We started with a thorough overview of equipment and packing techniques before heading up into the mountains. We made a nice camp at snow line with running water and great views. The next couple days we learned a ton of new techniques for snow and ice, and then climbed the very alpine South Slopes route on Mt Sneffels. It was a bit brutal in the morning with snow and high winds, but everyone put their best foot forward, and a few hours later Nick was on top of his first 14er! We elected to escape the harsh weather and spent the last day rock climbing and working on rope skills at a nice crag overlooking Ouray.
Super fun course! Looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alpine Climbing Conditions in the San Juans

Spent a few days up in Yankee Boy Basin this past week. Snow conditions are good. You can drive past the toilet to the upper gate and park. There is still plenty of snow for good alpine climbing right now. The south facing routes are holding less snow, but there is enough for great conditions on Teakettle and Sneffels. The north routes like Gilpin are still chock full and even seeing some ski descents.

Tis' the season! Come and get it!

Cheers, CC

Peak 11,300 SW Ridge

I had a great 2nd trip in the Alaska Range in Mid-May. Bob and I flew directly into the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier on May 19th. We set up a nice camp and got prepped to head up on the route the next morning. The SW Ridge of PK 11,300 is one of the finest routes in the range. 4,000 feet of steep snow, sweet iced up corners and couloirs, and loads of clean 5.8 rock steps. From below the route is quite deceptive. It appears straightforward and not too far, but as it unfolds there are seemingly endless cols and corners to navigate before emerging on the summit ice field.We spent the first night at the Grey Rock Bivy, climbed over the summit to the start of the rappels on the 2nd, and back to camp on the 3rd day.Great trip, great company!

Cheers, CC