Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Borah DNF

A long Thanksgiving break lent itself well to bigger plans- Why not Borah? After meeting Ralph for some spare tools (Thank you Ralph!), Max and I hit the road for a cold and clear night at Joe T. Fallini. The thermometer in the car when we pulled up read 10, and it got a whole lot colder. The next morning we took it slow, toured around Doublesprings, and ended up leaving Rock Creek around 2. Bad move?
The going was slow, the snow was fresh and deeper than we would have liked, and we opted to take the tent instead of the planned bivy sacks after the freezing night in the campground. After picking our way up the drainage, the sun went down and we made camp at around 9500'. The next morning we got our first proper look at the face-

We took the Hidden Couloir to "Classic" finish.
Had there not been 8-12' of fresh powder, the ice would have been perfect, top to bottom. Instead, the snow was in fact there, and very unconsolidated.

Looking up Hidden

Looking down Hidden

Perfect ice! Under snow. Tool for scale
We simuled most of the lower face, stopping twice to switch over kit and warm the hands. When we reached the final couloir it was 3pm. A little late. The last few pitches looked perfect- with the exception of the last fifty feet- which consisted of house-of-cards rocks covered in a few inches of loose snow.

Textbook terrain belay! 
Getting steeper-

Final pitches- We went right

Topping out into the sunset!

Looking down the last 50'
We topped out the face at about 5:30, which this time of year means sundown. Time to dig in. We stayed in the last notch before the summit on the NW ridge at 12,300', barely out of the wind. After a sleepless night, we set off in the morning to get up and get down. 

Almost there

Looking south

Downclimbing from COR
One four-hour, relatively uneventful descent later, we got back to the car in Rock Creek, exactly 48 hours since we started. Good trip!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Yosemite 10/18

Dylan here-
Having just returned from my now-annual Yosemite Facelift (The 15th anniversary!) trip, here is a bit of a download-

The Big Stone at dawn
I arrived early in the day on September 24th, without much of a plan other than to participate in the Facelift and hopefully climb a bit with my longtime climbing partner Cody, who had been working in the Valley over the summer. He was a bit busy, so I went the usual route of posting an ad at the Camp 4 message board looking for a partner.

Fast forward a few days, to a three-hour hanging belay on a one day push up the Grade V West Face of Leaning Tower with a French-Canadian lady I'd never climbed with.
Looking down on Awhanee Ledge on the WF of Leaning Tower

After ripping the first four pitches in under four hours, it was time to wait in line. For another ten hours.
After fourteen hours of hanging belays, it becomes very apparent why Leaning Tower is called that. It leans!

The West Face route follows the right-hand skyline of the formation
A few days pass and Cody propositions me with something I haven't considered- The Nose. It's been over a year since he and I had bailed from the Sickle Ledge, and I had then sworn off big wall climbing. We have both grown as climbers since then, and his suggestion of a third member (Tyler) to the team made the endeavor much more appealing. We decided to wait out the approaching rainstorm, and do a three-day ascent of El Cap. 

Cody and I preparing to pre-haul to the Sickle Ledge

Going up-
Because of the rain, and how busy the Valley was, we decided it advantageous to haul to the Sickle Ledge in the rain, get a good nights sleep on the ground, and blast off from there the next day. 

What followed was one of the most intense and rewarding experiences of my life. 

Tyler lowering out one of the pitches approaching the Stovelegs

On top of Dolt Tower, after rappelling 40m to unstick the haulbags. All smiles!
We had one excellent bivy at El Cap Tower, and a nice surprise rainstorm the first morning. 

The next night was significantly less plush, with me "sleeping" sitting up with my feet stuffed into the docked haulbag, constantly sliding down the tiny sloping ledge. Cody and Tyler were equally as unlucky, with an equally sloping, but more exposed ledge a little higher up. Too miserable for photos. 

The next day was set to be our last. We blasted up a few pitches to the Changing Corners, apparently hard aid. Luckily for the party my parents gifted me with a decent reach, and we sped up the C2 pitch. 

The team waiting to hop on the final pitch

After waiting out a traffic jam near the top, it finally happened. We topped out the Captain! Hugs, smiles, summit shots in the golden light, and a shot of whiskey greeted us before the long walk down. 

An incredible experience. Hard work, and when living in that environment nothing is easy. 

More photos to come from the gracious Tom Evans at elcapreport.com

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sky Pilot - Peak 11,280

Dylan didn't have much going on this past weekend, so I suggested he drive over from Bend, we head to Wildhorse Creek and climb Sky Pilot.  Sky Pilot is a 5.7 alpine route up the NE arete of Peak 11,280, aka Peak 11,300, aka Rearing Stallion Peak.  I believe it was originally climbed by Marc Hanselman and Drew Daley of Sawtooth Mountain Guides back in 2010.  Several other parties have since climbed it, and the photos from their trip reports were inspiring.  It has been on my list for a few years now and I am not getting any younger.

Sky Pilot offers somewhere between 1200 and 1500 feet of exposed ridge climbing to the summit, and at a modest 5.7, was right in my wheelhouse.

Is that Bigfoot moving through the heavy downfall?
To get to the start of Sky Pilot, we did our best to follow the "trail" leading up past an old mine site.  After a steep1000 feet or so, we popped out into a beautiful high alpine meadow.  A short while later we were at Lake 9238 admiring the route in the early morning sunshine.
Peak 11,280 - Sky Pilot is the left leaning arete

Lake 9280
We wanted to make it exciting, so we left (forgot) our beta at home.  I vaguely remembered a reference to a left facing couloir.  Armed with this lack of information, we started up the 4th class slabs that led to the right, hoping to find the couloir.  The 'biner on the ground told us we were on route and a short time later we found the couloir.  We roped up and started climbing about halfway up the couloir.  We obtained the arete on this first pitch and Dylan then led us to the summit.

Rather than trying to describe the 11 awesome pitches we did that day, I think I'll just let the pictures speak for me.
We climbed the slabs to the right of the crack

Yours truly climbing the slabs
The couloir we were looking for!

Dylan ready to go

Looking down after our first pitch

Dylan led all day

As we moved higher, the views continued to improve

Me following (all day)

On a nice belay ledge 

Looking back down the arete

Dylan really enjoyed himself

Another view down

A steep section on pitch 9?

Followed by another steep section

The last couple of pitches had several up and down sections.  Here Dylan belays me up one of them.

One last super exposed move!

And almost there...

All smiles at the summit
After six hours and 11 pitches, we reached the summit at 3:00PM.  What a blast!  Relatively exposed terrain and nothing over 5.7 made for an excellent, exciting day.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Father/Daughter - Standhope Peak

For this year's father/daughter backpacking trip I chose Baptie Lake in the Pioneer mountains.  Other than spending time with Taylor, my goal would be to climb Standhope Peak at 11,878 feet, a peak that has been on my list since her brother and I did not climb it in 2007. 

As we were in the midst of fire season, the smoke was thick as we entered Copper Basin.  Taylor couldn't recall her only time in Copper Basin (2009) and the lack of views did not help jog her memory. 

There was one vehicle at the Broad Canyon trail head when we arrived at 2:30.  Hopefully, they wouldn't be camped at Baptie Lake.
Taking off
I was rocking my sweet, new Biofire hat as we cruised up the initial 3 miles of relatively flat trail .  The smoke definitely limited the views, but we had plenty to chat about, and the time went quickly.
Taylor on the crux of the hike

Standhope is the center peak

The last couple of miles switch backed up some steep sections before ending at Baptie Lake, at a little over 10,000 feet.  With no one else at the lake, we pitched our tent overlooking the valley below and set up our kitchen at the same campsite I used in 2007.

After cocktails and dinner, we hit the sack as it was just getting dark.  Though there was a well used fire ring at the campsite, the fire restrictions put a kibosh on that idea.

The next morning was started with coffee, hot chocolate, bacon and eggs prior to starting our journey to Standhope.  We took the well used trail to Goat Lake at 10,400 feet before climbing the saddle between Goat and Betty Lake.
Standhope Peak Saturday morning.

Recess Peak over Goat Lake

Goat/Betty saddle
This saddle was as far as her brother and I had gotten back in 2007.  The excessive heat and the great fishing in Goat Lake back then convinced Dylan that we should abort our attempt at summitting Standhope.

With a cool wind blowing this morning, heat would not be an issue.  We took it one bite at a time, stopping to rest at every change in rock band colors and in a short time I heard Taylor whoop with excitement as she reached the summit.  A few seconds later I joined her on top.

Looking down at Goat Lake and Broad Canyon

Almost there

Summit Splattski!
 I'd like to say the views were outstanding, but the smoke muted the scenery.  Oh well, what are you going to do? After all, it is fire season.
Angel Lake
After a leisurely lunch, we started back down.  We skirted the couple of loose, sketchy sections up top and made it quickly back to the saddle without incident.

During the course of the afternoon, we heard constant rockfall coming from the slump on Altair Peak across the Betty Lake valley.  I was waiting (hoping?) for a complete collapse, but it did not occur.  We were glad we were not camping at Betty Lake, as the constant rockfall would have been a bit too eerie.
Crater like slump on Altair Peak

With the now cold wind blowing that evening, we didn't dawdle too long after dinner before retiring to the tent.  That night we were treated to a little wind, a little rain, and then a lot of wind!  At some point, we heard a loud snap and then the tent was flapping crazily only 6" above our faces.  I thought the sound was due to the cross-member pole snapping out of place.  It wasn't until the morning that Taylor pointed out we had a small sunroof in the rain fly.  A major pole had snapped, but the tent remained standing.

Though the wind had damaged the tent, the bonus was that we now had outstanding views - no smoke!  After a quick breakfast in the still blowing wind, we packed up and headed out dreaming of hamburgers.

A look back at Standhope
Four hours later we were at the Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum enjoying some fabulous cheeseburgers! 

Another excellent time with my lovely daughter, Taylor.  I wonder where we'll go next year...

Distance: 13 miles
Elevation Gain: 4200 feet

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen