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Author Topic: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face  (Read 1855 times)
jwplotz
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April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« on: 04/14/12, 11:13 PM »

I've been thinking about this descent for a while.  Three years ago, Tom Janisch, Ian from Spokane and I tried booting straight up this face only to be thwarted by the rock band 2/3 of the way up the couloir.  This year, the couloir/face looked to be more filled in.  Despite this, I decided to just approach from the backside to avoid having to do a 1/2 pitch of mixed climbing and all the extra gear that step would entail.

Axis Peak sits just above Eightmile Lake, with the NE Couloir/Face shown in the first photo below.  Axis is striking from the North, with steep ridges and multiple steep couloirs.  Looking at it from the South (Stuart side), it is barely distinguishable as a low-angle, treed slope that blends in to a ridge.


Kyle Flick joined me, kicking steps when the going got too steep near the top of the col just east of the summit.  From there, we contoured around the south slopes and West up to the summit.  Axis has one of the cooler summits in the area, sitting front-row in the panorama of Colchuck Balanced Rock, Dragontail, Colchuck and of course, Mt. Stuart.  Kyle observed the three major lakes visible from the top:  Colchuck, Stuart and 8 Mile, if you're into lakes...

Kyle's plan from the start was to go nowhere near the NE Face.  We thus parted ways as he beat it back down the south side.  I decided to downclimb the upper face to check out the snow.  Satisfied that it was plenty edgeable but very firm wind hammered powder, I climbed back out to gear up with harness, a small rack of stoppers and bail cam, webbing and 30m, 7mil rope. 

The turns on the upper face were ok.  It took some searching to find the best snow, which was found in the sun.  It was continuously steep, and as I methodically worked my way down, finding a crack for a rappel over the rock step was weighing heavily.  Thankfully, nearing the exposed granite, a nice crack came into view, welcoming two large stoppers and the cam.  Dirtbags be advised:  There's booty up there now!  The rappel was accomplished with skis on, which was good as the snow became very icy below and putting skis back on at that point would have been stressful. 

The rap took exactly 15 meters to get below the small cliff.  From there, the skiing was terrible in icy runnels.  Careful survival turns ensued until I exited the couloir onto the main slope where Kyle was waiting for me either to exit successfully or in a bloody heap.  From there, crappy skiing over frozen avi debris eventually transitioned into hollywood corn snow that brought smiles and relief, down to the lake and out.   

I'm glad to finally do this one, and finally summit Axis too.  I think the best conditions for this descent would have been when Johnny Morrow and company were up there a few weeks ago. 





* IMG_1695.JPG (238.92 KB, 597x800 - viewed 1045 times.)

* 75504.jpg (147.68 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 1035 times.)

* 75505.jpg (73.7 KB, 844x760 - viewed 1000 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/15/12, 12:12 AM by jwplotz » Logged
jwplotz
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #1 on: 04/14/12, 11:45 PM »

A few more photos...

The top of the couloir.


The small cliff band.  If you look closely, you can barely see Kyle standing down at the bottom.


A look back.


8 Mile Rd. is melting out quickly.  Expect to walk from Bridgecreek C.G. to the steep grade sign where the road flattens out, which is at roughly 1.75 mile mark(?).



« Last Edit: 04/15/12, 07:26 AM by jwplotz » Logged
lrudholm
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #2 on: 04/15/12, 09:11 AM »

Nice John. It doesn't look as exposed to the skiers left as I thought.
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Leyland
jwplotz
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #3 on: 04/15/12, 04:28 PM »

Thanks Leland. Most of the objective danger you can't see until you're right above it. It's a fun line. In better snow it would be outstanding.
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Jake the Brit
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #4 on: 04/15/12, 10:19 PM »

Ouch, looks knarly.
Nice photo of Kyle in front Stuart's Northside.
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alecapone
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #5 on: 04/16/12, 08:34 AM »

Yeah boys!!

looks fun to me.

Glad you guys didn't try role reversal again. Kyle would have had to air his way out of that one.

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scott
jwplotz
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #6 on: 04/16/12, 01:46 PM »

Yeah boys!!

looks fun to me.

Glad you guys didn't try role reversal again. Kyle would have had to air his way out of that one.



Thanks Scott!  At least now I'll quit bugging you to ski this one, eh?
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ryanl
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #7 on: 04/16/12, 02:38 PM »

Cool trip John and Kyle
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jwplotz
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #8 on: 04/16/12, 03:33 PM »

Cool trip John and Kyle

Thanks Ryan. Hope you got your fill of red and green chili in Taos. It's high time we start working our way to Prusik Peak.
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mikerolfs
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Re: April 14th, 2012: Peak 7550, Axis Peak, NE Face
« Reply #9 on: 04/18/12, 08:40 AM »

This looks awesome!  The broad slope to the lake is on my short list now.  Thanks for the great report.
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