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HammerRoute Climbed: North Ridge Date Climbed: July 22, 2000  Sucess!


This was to be the first mountain that Mike and I decided to do on our own. We had both done a couple of others with more experienced people but we thought we would give it a try. We had both been rock climbing for a while and the 5.1 rating seemed as though it would not pose too much of an obstacle.

We decided that we would take it easy and spend some additional days on the mountain eventhough we could have done it from the trailhead. We drove up from Salem in the late afternoon and put up our tent at the trailhead campsites for the night. We enjoyed some excellent food as we were car camping. The next morning we packed up our gear (which was way too much) and headed off down the trail. We had no difficulty finding the cairn that marked the climbers trail and we were soon almost to the ridge. The weather was already getting hot and we decided that this would be a great campsite that afforded some great views. Our only worry was water. We found a 5'x10' patch of dirty snow that would suffice.

We set up the tent and camp and settled in for a day of relaxation in the sun with our books. We had dinner and went to bed early.

The next morning we woke up wet. Through the night a system had come in and the fog was thick! We hadn't put on the fly due to it being as nice as it was, unfortunately leading to wet bags. We got up and ate breakfast only to have near zero visibility. We discussed our situation and decided to go ahead and move up and reassess it as we went. As we moved up it only got worse. We were forced to have to use radios to communicate where we were as we searched out the trail to the summit pinnacle. If we got more than twenty feet apart we couldn't see or hear each other.

After thinking we had summited twice on Gendarmes on the way to the summit pinnace we finally reached the notch. Having never been up there before and trying to remember what the guidebook said we got off route a couple of times and made the route much more difficult than what it was rated. We never did the 5.1 pitch at the beginning but instead a hairy traverse around a very exposed bulge. Near the top we did not move far enough east to see the easy chimney and we ended up leading a variation to the summit that I would rate at 5.6.

After enjoying our accomplishment we headed down through increasingly nasty weather. As we were trying to rappel the final pitch we weren't able to throw our rope down due to the wind. Finally we made it back to our camp, took a short break, broke camp, and hiked out to the trailhead and the biggest mosquitos I have ever seen.
Posted Oct 2, 2001 5:49 am

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