IntroductionDue to serious head aches, pain, and getting busy I haven't written a climbing report in a long time. Fortunately things have gotten better, been working out, going on 5 mile runs, eating healthier, losing weight, becoming a lightweight-aholic (gear wise), and am back on the road to alpinism. January Will and I climbed the North Buttress Couloir of Colchuck as a starter kit for the year. Avalanches, bad weather, sickness, and extreme pain had it's vengeance February through April. Rather than throwing my hands up I kept training, stayed motivated, and sought after the opportune moment to get my first multi pitch ice lead in. Triple Couloirs has been on my to do list for a long time, definitely a great route. With 6840 feet of gain, 20 miles, 18.5 hours of hiking & climbing, 4 pitches, and a lot of kicking in steps it made for a good work out.
We woke up at 4:15 a.m. and were hiking up the 4 mile road by 4:45 a.m. There wasn't snow until the last 1/3 mile. As others have mentioned the trail is completely solid making the hike to Colchuck Lake luxurious. After the second creek crossing shortly beyond the Stuart Lake junction we re-filled our water. Making excellent time walking across the lake, felt refreshing to have the entire place to ourselves. At the base of the route we put on our harnesses, crampons, and ice tools. I was extremely pleased that the route was in.
Coolwars and Ice Battles
The ramp had alright snow conditions, some ice/snice, with occasional tool placement failures due to soft snow. Inside the first couloir the snow climbing felt cozier while having dazzling theatrics above. At the top of the couloir we enter the Runnels which is when things started spicining up. It was the beginning of the ominous sound track the mountains play as the day progresses. Ice chunks coming down, loud humming of snow/rock chunks, and small doses of spin drift. I dug a small ledge just wide enough to setup a belay. As Thatcher setup the anchor, I did an alpine dance to regain feeling into my toes and fingers.
Let's Book itOut of food, water, and time we didn't spend long on the summit. Looking below I could see our descent route had nasty cornices making for a potentially precarious descent. As we near the Dragon Col I start picking up the vibe that a potentially deadly cornice is blocking the route. Luckily there was a slightly steep escape ramp that bypassed the standard route making for an easy descent down to Enchantment's basin. Was able to get a few glissades in around Aasgard Pass. At Colchuck Lake we could see that significant melting had occurred, near the end of the lake our foot prints were already submerged in water. Thatcher discovered that we could refill our bottles from the lake itself which was very exciting news for our parched lips.
.3 - 2" cams
Rack of nuts came in handy
3 pickets would have been better than 2
Flotation not needed
Don't let the sun see you without protection. I got sizzle faced from only 1 hour of sunlight