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The Climbing Club • View topic - Waddington Range

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:10 pm 
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UW Climber

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Posts: 279
Wow--looks like an amazing trip!


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:38 pm 
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Longshanks
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Denver


The upper Tellot glacier is an incredible playground of fine granite spires rising from a broad icefield, with climbs anywhere from less than 100 to over 300 m in length. However, most of these climbs are an inconvenient 2-3 hour slog up from the Plummer hut. Instead of making that trek every day, Jim and I decided to lump all the pain together into one push, and move camp.

Dragonback is a serrate ridge line a couple of kilometers long that cradles the upper Tellot opposite the teeth of the Serras (1-3), Stiletto, and Dentiform. It's southernmost extent merges gradually into the icefield, and offers excellent camping on dry ground, no more than an hour from the base of the furthest Tellot climbs.

We were going to make the move in two carries, but by the time we were on our way back from the first, the snow had softened too much, and Jim and I both punched through into hidden crevasses. Only one leg at a time, fortunately. Once back at the hut we opted to wait for the snow to harden in the evening to make the 2nd trip. In the mean time, a rousing game of Peak Experience! ensued.

We found Peak Experience stashed in a corner of the hut, and it may be the coolest (for climbers) board game ever! It's a game of trivia and chance. On the trivia front there are questions on everything from practical knowledge questions (weather, climbing situations, etc.) to mountaineering history. As for chance, well, it ranges from "easy plastic ice, +2 spaces" to "Killed!" (there's a spinner to decide these things). In all we played twice. The first time around, Jim was killed, so we decided it was time for dinner. The second time I was killed, but we decided to resurrect so we could continue... then Jim was killed too. Our rough calculation on the descent portion of the game alone was that any given player had a 70% chance of dieing! In all, I would be very surprised if any given individual has more than a 5% chance of completing the game (i.e. climbing K2, and descending). Good times!



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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:43 pm 
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Longshanks
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Location: Denver


Minor 5.9? Say what?

8/3
was a weather day. Threatening clouds and high winds AM, dying toward evening.

8/4
Thick forest fire smoke rolled in with more high winds in the AM, so we decided to try the Dragonback traverse as an easier alternative to one of the Serras. We elected to do it out and back from camp, rather than bring heavy boots and crampons to come back down the glacier. Turned out to be mostly very enjoyable and solid, 3rd, 4th, and low 5th class scrambling. Until, that is, we came to the overhanging off-width corner. Not easy in mountain boots! (lowest notch between the two main summits) I plugged the #3 low in the crack, and somehow grunted up the three or four moves. I emerged on the crest panting hard with my glacier glasses askew. Still not really sure how or what I did! Jim was more clever, and aided it. From there it was one more quick simul-pitch up to the true summit. But then we had to come back. I tried an alternative route I thought would be easier, but that turned into a 5.8ish hand traverse. Serious shenanigans ensued. I think if you try and stick right on the crest rather than letting yourself be diverted, this section would actually go at a very reasonable 5.6. However, it isn't obvious, and I didn't recognize this fact until all was over and done. No matter, another fantastic moderate day out, despite the smoke!



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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:29 am 
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Longshanks
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Location: Denver


8/5/2010
Another weather day. But I still saw one of the most amazing and memorable sights of the entire trip: Jim, making calzones over a whisperlite! I'm not sure there's much more to say about that, except yum!


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Last edited by Obadiah Reid on Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:35 am 
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One Armed Wonder
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Location: a Dungeon in the Physics Student
That looks simply amazing. I'm getting hungry right now looking at it.

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Life can deal you an amazing hand. Do you play it steady, bluff like crazy, or go all in? - Joe Simpson


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:37 am 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:43 pm
Posts: 302
I could suddenly smell pizza/calzone when looking at that... and it's only 9:30!
Jim, can you post your secret recipe?


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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Posts: 921
Location: Seattle
The recipe is one that I modified from the . The book has other great recipes and great info for packing for expedition style climbing trips. This particular recipe is well suited to rest days. This recipe serves two.

Calzones:

Dough:
2 tsp. dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (about)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cup flour

Sauce
1 can of tomato sauce
garlic, to taste
onion, to taste
basil, to taste
oregano, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. oil

Dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt into warm water. Wait until you see bubbles. Poor this water into a gallon freezer bag that contains the flour. Slowly add water under the mixture has the consistency of bread dough (basically the point at which it stops being really sticky). Crawl back into your sleeping bag and keep reading. The dough bag should be in your sleeping bag with you to keep it warm.

Wait an hour or two for the dough to rise. While your waiting you can make the sauce. Add oil to the frying pan and saute the garlic and onion (2-3 min). Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the sauce. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit until you're ready.

Lay a second gallon size bag on a flat surface. Sprinkle the exterior with flour to keep your dough from sticking. Remove half the dough from the bag and form it into a ball. Use a Nalgene bottle as a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Make an effort to keep the shape round. Cover half the surface with your sauce. Top with cheese (mozzarella and Parmesan cheese work well). Fold the half that does not have toppings over the part that does. Use a little water on your finger around the edge to make a good seal between the two sides.

Set up your windscreen on your Whisperlite. Fold the Al foil so that you can rest the frying pan on top (~3 in. off the burner). Add oil to the frying pan and fry your calzone for 8-10 min per side. One secret to frying over a Whisperlite is have the courage to burn, meaning don't check on it every 30 seconds.

As our photos illustrate, this is probably not a recipe to try out in bear country.

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"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Longshanks
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Denver


8/6/2010

The plan was to climb the SE face of Serra One. Supposedly a fine route on solid rock, at 5.8. But then it started snowing.

We woke to a blustery day, wild with clouds. It seemed likely to evolve into a storm, but we were impatient with waiting in the tent. Decided to go for it while the sun lasted. It was sunny and only partly cloudy as we slogged up the glacier, but by the time we had crossed the 'schrund the first snow flurry was passing over. After 15 minutes, the sun came back out, and we agreed to downgrade our objective to the east ridge. This was to be our descent route, and all we knew about it is that it was supposed to be 5.4. We figured this was a route we could climb in boots and gloves, and descend safely in the event of a storm.

We left our rock shoes and glacier gear on a convenient ledge just above the schrund. The first pitch wandered up the south side of the ridge. It was a challenge to find a way up that was both solid, and not stupidly hard. Thereafter, the rock firmed up and things got fun. The 2nd pitch climbed a steep face and well fractured slabs near the ridge crest, leading to the north side of the ridge, and ending on a good ledge on the north side. The 3rd pitch was likely the best, heading up and right on the north face of the ridge crest. Very steep climbing, but with good shelving holds for hands and feet. It finished up a nice corner crack and a bit of face climbing out on a pillar to the left as the crack widened. The 4th pitch climbed straight up through ledgey terrain with a few good jam cracks in it's first half. The 2nd half followed a very steep corner/chimney with multiple crack features, culminating in a comfortable but rubbley belay. The fifth pitch climbed easy-looking but slabby and difficult-in-boots terrain up past a deep gash, and almost reaching the summit. At about this point the sun disappeared for good, and the snow really began to blow. Jim came up to my belay and headed up just high enough to tag the summit, perhaps 15-20 meters above. Then we got the hell out of there.

Three full 60 m rappels and one partial got us back to the rubble just above the notch between Serra One and Stiletto. The snow never let up, but varied strangely between heavy wet flakes that stuck and melted, to styrofoam like pellets that came in on blasts of frigid wind. We were both soaked and slightly miserable by the time we crawled back into the tent. We scarfed some of the food we hadn't taken the time to eat on the climb, and passed out, with the wind and snow skirling outside.

Overall a pretty awesome climb, but some of the stuff we climbed was decidedly NOT 5.4. The steep corner on pitch 4 was particularly hard. Likely we didn't find the easiest possible route.



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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:15 pm 
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Frodo
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:49 pm
Posts: 125
Location: The Shire
The more I read, the more I'm in awe. Well done to both of you! Sounds like quite the trip. Seems like you were able to do some great stuff even if all didn't go exactly as planned.
Does it ever, though?
As for the "downgrade climb," not so bad aside from the whole miserable snow bit. Not bad for settling.
And, WOW, what great pictures


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:36 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2002 11:17 am
Posts: 921
Location: Seattle
Ok, so let me try to catch up with photos here.


I have to admit, I was initially a little intimidated by this climb since we had so little beta. Fortunately Obadiah seemed confident and did a stellar job route finding. We found 2 pins on the route, so at least someone else had climbed it before. The route was quite fun. Not quite as awesome as the WR, but still some great climbing. Oh yeah, the views were pretty ok too.

The approach to the Dragonback campsite and the climb of Dragonback are both in one link.

The day we moved, the guide who was leaving left us with his remaining fresh veggies, which was a huge treat. Yummy burritos and 'Peak Experience' made for a fun evening while we waited for it to cool off.

Dragonback was solid fun scrambling. I think Obadiah gave me too much credit for my 'aid' technique (I use the term loosely here). It required some serious shenanigans.

Serra One was great climbing. Sadly I don't have pictures from this climb as my camera stayed in camp that day. On the descent, I was cold , fairly tired, and a little bit cranky by the end, plus had not eaten enough. We backed up every rappel and Obadiah went first then I'd pull the backup and go. This worked well for our first two rappels. Then I forgot to pull the anchor. I left behind my 0.3 C4. :evil: Still, the climbing was fun but challenging due to doing it in boots.

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_________________
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:13 am 
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Longshanks
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Denver
Nice shots Jim! I don't realize how goofy my camera poses are until I see them!


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:28 am 
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Dr. Crevasse
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2002 11:17 am
Posts: 921
Location: Seattle
Thanks. Those poses were some of my favorites from the trip.

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"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:56 am 
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One Armed Wonder
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:18 pm
Posts: 832
Location: a Dungeon in the Physics Student

_________________
Life can deal you an amazing hand. Do you play it steady, bluff like crazy, or go all in? - Joe Simpson


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:25 am 
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Moss Man
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2002 3:24 pm
Posts: 330
Location: Seattle
Nice! Great stories and shots - keep them coming :)

Its great to hear more about this area - so few people actually do make it out there... it sounds like you had the whole range to yourselves, eh?

I am still planning (dreaming) of a Nirvana->Waddington traverse (nw summit), via Bifrost Pass, Frontier and Outpost, and across Fury Gap.

- Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: Waddington Range
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:31 pm 
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Longshanks
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Denver


8/8/2010
I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to recognize the pattern: nearly all my close-calls in the mountains have involved a snow and ice slope that has received > 2 hrs of direct sun. All have faced northeast. The NE couloir on Colchuck; the Ice Cliff Glacier on Stewart; the NE face of Serra Three. I'm just not going to do it anymore.

Jim and I headed up the Tellot glacier at 05:00. Initially we cruised along on a perfect hard crust, but as we neared the base of the route we began postholing into knee and thigh-high drifts of fresher snow. We were treated to a gorgeous sunrise on the way up the glacier, but that meant the route had already been baking in direct sunlight for over an hour by the time we started up it.

I took the first pitch over the 'schrund and up the steepening face. What looked like snow from below turned out to be a unnerving rotten 2" crust over what felt like hard ice. We opted to pitch it out, neither of us being comfortable enough on the terrain to simul. Jim led a 2nd 60 m pitch up the 50-degree ice slope, using excavated screw placement for protection. I took the 3rd pitch up and right into the couloir directly above us. The slope steepened to 60 degrees.

I put in my last screw, and began the final 10 m climb up to an obvious crack system in the couloir wall were I intended to set my belay. Poised in the center of the couloir, I heard a soft *FUTT* from above. Quite and gentle, like snow sliding off the hood of your car. I looked up. There was a collection of rocks falling from the sky. The big one in the center could have been anywhere from softball to basketball-sized.

I planted my free tool to the hilt, and cowered; tried to hide under my hardhat. I should have shouted "ROCK!" to warn Jim. Instead I closed my eyes and whimpered softly. Thought of Grace. Listened to the tearing sound of the rocks speeding by. Something small hit my shoulder.

By the time I opened my eyes the rocks were gone. Jim was safe, but he'd had a near miss too and understandably wanted me to MOVE so he could get out of the line of fire as well. I down-climbed 15 m back to where a smaller subsidiary gully branched off, and made my way up under the shelter of a monolithic granite buttress. No cracks for a belay, and all I had was one stubby screw. I dug, found some beautiful, solid, gray-black ice. I sunk the screw and backed it up with my tools. Jim sprinted up the pitch.

We could have continued from there. The subsidiary gully cut left across the face, and likely would have gotten us up. However, the ice was rapidly rotting in the sun, and we were psychologically whipped. Instead, we began our V-thread descent. The first of these was fine; done in the same dense old ice as my belay screw. The second was terrifying. What I had taken for a substrate of solid alpine ice in the cool of the morning had rapidly rotted into a porous matrix that resembled loosely bonded marbles. It didn't seem to matter how deep I dug. I didn't trust my v-thread, let alone the backup screws! Still, I managed a tolerable stomp-test of the anchor while clinging to my ice tools. It held, and fortunately got us back over the bergschrund.

So, what is it I'm not going to do anymore? Climb alpine routes? Hardly. What I'm not going to do is climb NE facing ice routes unless I can manage to finish before or very shortly after sunrise. I don't know why it's taken me so long to recognize how important this is.



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Last edited by Obadiah Reid on Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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