Backbone Ridge TR

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 22, 2006
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Summer
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76.66% Score
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Page By:
rpc
Backbone Ridge TR
Created On: Jul 25, 2006
Last Edited On: Aug 25, 2010

1

Serpentine RidgeSerpentine Arete
Serpentine RidgeSerpentine Arete

We make plans to climb Backbone. Want to leave Saturday morning and climb on Sunday. Alarm goes off at 6am. The bed at home feels so good. Have not slept in on a weekend in longer than I can remember. We can do it tomorrow in a day. 2am Sunday we’re hiking through the dark forest. I feel sick. Shirley is high on her poison oak medication. Bad reaction with Redbull. Hyperactivity. She’s imposing a pace that makes me more nauseous. I can’t keep up with the conversation. I don’t want to climb. We do Serpentine Ridge instead (album here).

2

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP14
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectTopout Gully

We have a permit. We pack wine. We get to Colchuck Lake on Saturday. We’ve been here before? We drink. We swim. We set the alarm for too early. We hike. We feel sick. We bail and go home.

3

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP12
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP12

We leave Portland after work on Friday. Get to Colchuck Lake trailhead at midnight and change. Place is packed with cars. Short night spent on the bed of our truck – long day lies ahead. Memories of Inspiration Peak are 3 days old in our bodies. Alarm goes off at 2:30 am. I kill it before Shirley’s REM sleep is interrupted. I sit up on the gate of the truck and stare blankly into the darkness of the forest. There’s the trail. We should get going. It’s a nice night – a cool and clear night. I’m falling back asleep. Just a half hour. It’s 9am. We eat breakfast in Leavenworth.

4

Approach To Backbone RidgeApproach
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP2
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP2
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP1
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP3
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP13
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP9
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP11
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectTopout
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectP14
Colchuck PeakColchuck Peak
Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectNear Top

We leave Portland after work on Friday. Get to Colchuck Lake trailhead at midnight and change. Place is packed with cars. Short night spent on the bed of our truck – long day lies ahead. Alarm goes off at 2:30 am. There are LED’s in the parking lot. Paranoia says they’re after our Backbone. 2:45am – time to move. Autopilot on – night hiking. Other party catches up at junction. They’re after Balanced Rock. Relief. Colchuck Lake at 5am. High altitude clouds obscure the sun. We’re worried about thunderstorms. Decide to get on the route. Short snow crossing and we’re simulclimbing the 4th class ledges at 9am. 500 feet up and I’m ready for intimacy with the crux OW pitch. Easier lower half. Walk the #5 Camalot on upper 40 feet. Each resetting maneuver leaves me vulnerable to a big fall. Shit – the pack is in the way. Going is easier than Damnation – more sustained than wide stuff on NEWS. Pack goes on the daisy below. Finally the exit. We look at the sky. It’s dark. What was that??!! Airplane. Commit to upper ridge. Route finding issues within next few pitches set back the clock. Low angle ridge scrambling follows. The stellar Fin looms above!! We’re out of water. Pleasant pitches on the Fin – clean faces and cracks. Dirty ledges. Lose my way on the 3rd pitch. Shoulda listened to Shirley’s directions. End up finishing on the Kearney variation. Excellent jam cracks all around! Colchuck Lake makes for first rate views! More route finding issues on the 4th Fin pitch – pull up on right side of upper gendarme only to see an endless face covered in thick lichen. A disappointment and a downclimb. Try the left side. Thank you!! We’re off the Fin via the backside gully. I shove a handful of dirt-snow into my mouth. Crunchy but wet and cold. Shirley takes small rockfall to the helmet in the gully. Tag the summit at 5 and change pm. Relax but are urged by mosquitoes to get moving. A party from Serpentine tops out as we’re departing. Sweet ice-cold glacier run off!!! Better than the summit views!! Down by Colchuck Lake at 8 pm. Boring night hike out. We lack motivation to move quickly. Rest frequently nearly falling asleep. It’s been a hard week at work. Big fat chunks of fresh Sushi come to mind. Indian curries flowing over Basmati rice. Ice cold smoothies and beers. What time does McDonald’s drive thru close? 2am. We see lights switching off as we’re driving towards the arches just past midnight. Must’ve been thinking of Wendy’s. Too tired to drive home. Why is this deer flipping me off? Never mind – it’s a mailbox. Lag time between what I see with my eyes and what my head registers. Drive back to Icicle Road and sleep in the truck till morning. Heat wakes us up at 6am. Leavenworth will bake in 108 degree heat today. We’re home. We drink cold beers. One stellar outing.

Photo Essay

Colchuck PeakColchuck Peak in the morning during our hike in.

Approach To Backbone RidgeApproaching the route above Colchuck Lake.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley topping out on pitch 1 with Colchuck Peak in the background.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectLeading the pitch 2 OW.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley nearing the top of the pitch 2 OW.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley nearing the top of pitch 3.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley on pitch 4 or 5.

Colchuck PeakColchuck Peak with a couple parties on the glacier.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley on pitch 9 admiring The Fin above.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectStarting the lead of pitch 11 on The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectViews of The Fin from below on the route.

The FinView of The Fin taken from the next door Serpentine Ridge.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectStarting the lead of pitch 11 on The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley following pitch 11, The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley on The Fin, roughly pitch 11.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectBeginning the lead of pitch 12.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectPitch 12, somewhere on The Fin with Colchuck Lake below.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectLeading pitch 13 on The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley on The Fin, pitch 13 or so.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectLeading pitch 14 on The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectPitch 14 on The Fin.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley nearing the top of pitch 14 on The Fin.

The FinAnother view of The Fin from Serpentine Ridge next door.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley on top of The Fin, roughly pitch 15.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectLeading the loose gully above/behind The Fin and just below the summit block.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley approaching the top of the loose gully on pitch 15.

Backbone Ridge With Fin DirectShirley & I on the summit of Dragontail.






Comments

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jtschanz

jtschanz - Jul 25, 2006 6:30 pm - Voted 10/10

Too funny!

Why is this deer flipping me off? Never mind – it’s a mailbox.

I'm nodding my head and laughing out loud at work - I know that feeling! "Shit - that kangaroo is running across the road - I better swerve to miss it!". (slowing down to 30MPH on I-5). "Oh, my bad, not a kangaroo" (looking over at Haydar to see if he's alarmed ... nope!)

rpc

rpc - Jul 25, 2006 8:19 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Too funny!

Thanks Jim!
That's one sign (i.e. seeing crap) I take seriously and pull over to sleep :)

Viewing: 1-2 of 2