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| | |-+  July 7/8, 2012, Baker North Ridge, CD ski descent
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Author Topic: July 7/8, 2012, Baker North Ridge, CD ski descent  (Read 2017 times)

Posts: 93

July 7/8, 2012, Baker North Ridge, CD ski descent
« on: 07/11/12, 11:54 AM »

Mike and I have had a good run of skiing this spring while overcoming a few "equipment problems".  On Pandora's box in May, my Dynafit grommet blew out 500' below the summit.

On Shuksan in June, my replacement boots boot fit wasn't ready for prime time, so I had to go heavy.  Saturday, at the Baker TH, I'm feeling nervous about a big route in virgin boots; when I try to clip into my Shuksans (that I just had remounted), one of the pins on the binding pops out.  The top plate of the binding has 4 screws (normally).  I only had three.  Wait, no I don't. A 2nd screw is there, but it is broken half way down and holding nothing.  Cranky. 

Throwing caution to the wind, we figured we would work it out. with duct tape and rubber bands.  Worst case, I could ski without the heel locked in.  Folks have been doing that for years, right?  What's it called?  Freeing the heel or Tele something?

A leisurely start Saturday allowed me to participate in the Wallingford Parade with my kids prior to moving onto other fun.  Despite the parade, boot shenanigans at the TH, and the washed-out $75,000 bridge, we still managed arrival at camp at 6,300 feet by 7pm.  I think we found the last flat dry piece of ground available.  We hit snow at 4,800 feet and skinned all the way to 6,300 feet (save a short boot carry of about 100') by 7pm.

Thanks to Chris at our camp who had some good repair advice and swapped my rubber strap with his that was just long enough to strap my boot to the binding.  This just might work!

We left camp at 3:30 AM.  Two parties of two had carved a route across the Coleman the day before and a party of 4 was out in front of us.  Another party of two was also just behind us.  All the traffic made route-finding straight forward.  The others went left and took the toe of the ridge; we took the short-cut ramp but managed to get passed due to swapping to carry skis.  Weather was warm -- the snow was soft all night and never firmed up. 

We were last to the ice cliff where we discovered that the first two parties of two were in over their heads.  Two guys were on the route but were wigged out and yelled that they were coming down after one pitch.  Their friends joined them and the third party that had passed us granted us rights to the pitch as they too were thinking of bailing. 

We had made pretty slow time up until now and were feeling the pinch of time and warm sunshine and were happy for the cuts.  The ice on the pitch was decent, but required excavation of a few inches to take good screws.  There is about 60-70 meters of ice climbing before you are back on steep snow again.  We had a 35 meter rope so made it in 2 pitches.  We pitched out for 1.5 more of the steep snow pitches, and then were back to steep snow climbing with skis. 

The final obstacle is a beautiful and massive ice cliff crevasse that you can literally bypass, but you walk right next to it.  There must be 100 feet of ice wall up and down from where you stand next to it.  Truly amazing.  I'd attach a photo, but the photos don't do it justice and I can't figure out how to post more than 3 photos!

The beauty of having skis at the summit is that despite screaming legs and many rest breaks, you can make it from summit to camp and from camp to car in just a few hours.  I think we left the summit about 2:30 and made the car by 6pm.

Baker will be skiable for another couple of weeks I think.

A few photos of the climb attached - I think.

* Boot_repair_2_missing_screw.jpg (49.95 KB, 604x453 - viewed 659 times.)

* Mike_following_pitch_1_2.jpg (50.05 KB, 453x604 - viewed 666 times.)

* Mike_leading_pitch_2.jpg (45 KB, 604x453 - viewed 656 times.)
Doug Hutchinson

Posts: 35

Re: July 7/8, 2012, Baker North Ridge, CD ski descent
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/12, 01:32 PM »

Nice work Rob and Mike working through the gear issues to still complete your objectives!

Maybe time to think about getting some tele gear if you want to avoid equipment malfunctions.  That dynafiddle stuff still needs some kinks work out, it has been only out for a little over two decades.  I think I have only heard of one, maybe two, possibly three times that anyone has ever had a telemark gear breakage problem...

OK Rob, time to put the summer wax on those boards and go climbing!
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