Hall Pk. Attempt - Cascade Alpinism Defined

Discussion in 'Documentary/Journalistic' started by Jim Dockery, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    It seems like I may be one of the few climbers participating on this site, and likely the only NW alpinist. What follows is an insight into the hardest part of climbing many peaks of the North Cascades - the off trail approach through brushy complex terrain. Climbers in the Rockies and Sierras have it easy and don't understand or appreciate the dark art of moving through such ground as efficiently as possible.

    Hall-Pk-Attempt02.jpg
    Hall Pk. on the day of my attempt

    After flying my drone up The Mountain Loop Hwy. a couple days ago I thought conditions looked good for a winter attempt on Hall Pk. I made a summer attempt many years ago just following my nose up the complex brush covered ridges of the NE face, but got cliffed out about half-way up. This time I went armed with betta from a trip report on NWHikers and hoped to find good snow climbing once past the initial steep hillside of brushy trees and cliffs. None of my partners had the time or inclination to join me so against my wife's wishes I went solo, telling her it was just a simple snow climb.

    Mt.-Loop-Drone-1.26.19-96b.jpg
    Where I ended up climbing on Hall Pk. I'd hoped the gully next to the ridge I ended up on was filled with snow, which would have made for a quick and simple climb.

    The weather was perfect and all went well on the approach until I was in the midst of the steep hillside of brush, trees, and cliffs that must be negotiated to reach the open snow slopes of the peak. I'd put on my micro-spike traction devices to get better footing in the steep slippery slope and did many pull/push ups on branches and roots as I found my way around and above many small cliffs. I took the following pictures thinking they might help me find my way back down. In the end I didn't need them for that, but they make good documentary images of terrain most people never see.

    Hall-Pk-Attempt07.jpg
    I crossed the fallen tree and pulled my way up the slope to the left.

    Hall-Pk-Attempt12-Pano.jpg
    Many little cliffs like this dot the hillside requiring time consuming detours.

    Hall-Pk-Attempt16.jpg
    Nature's jungle gym

    Hall-Pk-Attempt28-Pano.jpg
    This is where I turned around - very steep long drops on either side of the ridge, and hollow snow in front of me, with no easy route visible ahead.

    Hall-Pk-Attempt25.jpg
    Looking over to the north face of Big Four which I climbed in the winter a couple times back in the 90s - way out of my league now.

    My wife was very happy I got home well before dark in time for a delicious spaghetti dinner.
     
    #1 Jim Dockery, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
    AlanLichty likes this.
  2. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Nice photo essay - too bad the dense brush didn't cooperate with your dotted red line path in the second shot.

    It's difficult to describe just how thick/dense the vegetation gets in the NW compared to the Rockies without pictures. What I thought was deep forest in the Rockies look like open meadows with scattered trees to me after living in the NW for the past 20 years.
     
  3. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Awesome documentary entry. I wish we could have more then one Daily Featured Post.

    I really enjoyed the writing and the photos. While I haven't done mountain climbing to your depth, I have certainly done lot's of bushwacking and exploring and photographing in mountainous area's so I can appreciate very much your approach and what you had to deal with.
     
  4. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    Great write up, and a great challenge for you from my perspective.
     
  5. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys. Yes Ben, it was a good challenge to brush off my old skills, and get a good workout. Now I just have to return another day and finally get on top of the damn thing - it's such a beautiful peak I just have to climb it!
     
    #5 Jim Dockery, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  6. Leslie Hunter

    Leslie Hunter Well-Known Member

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