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Author Topic: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3  (Read 2619 times)
alecapone
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Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« on: 04/05/13, 01:04 PM »

This is just a quickly hashed out report. Too much to cover really. and, I have farming to do, it's spring!

 I had the pleasure of spending 5 beautiful nights in the railroad creek valley, entering on Friday afternoon, and leaving Wednesday morning. That gave me four days to explore around and hope for some good conditions. It was my first time in the Holden area so I came loaded with beta, three hastily home printed maps, and a photo of a route description on my phone...



I had only hoped that good step kicking snow would still be there! Whatever. I wasn't overly comitted or optimistic.

I'll skip the travel blog and get to there quick. Started on the boat in Chelan because it's cash only in Field's Point. Lucerne, then bus to Holden. Someone most have told them I was coming because everyone was cheering when I got off the bus! akward.....There was still over three feet of snow on the ground, but it was warm and sunny.  Walked a snow covered road to the ranger station then changed clothes and stashed clean clothes for the trip home. Soft spring like snow in the valley made it an easy skin all the way to Hart's lake. Just beyond Hart's lake I set up camp at the base of two big avalanche swath's. The one to my north I hoped would be an easy approach to the col between Bonanza and North Star.

Woke up a little late Saturday and din't get moving til 8. Decided to try to go up and see how hard it would be to get to the base of the Beowolf, and at least have a look. SNow was bullet proof when I left, but sun and slightly softning snow chased me up slope, making it just easy enough to skin 99% of the over three thousand feet, without crampons, to the saddle above camp. Most of it was quite enjoyable actually. From the saddle I got to marvel at the south side of the Russian route on Bonanza and contemplate how rad Steph Abegge is. Unfortunatly, You still can't see there  from here, so I rode down a few hundred feet, traversing to get around to the north side of the buttress.

And then there it... was?






I looked at it dejected for a while. Oh well buddy, there's your plum, eat it! It was still kind of early so might as well go poke at it. Switched over to pointy shoes, and used a whippet and a whappet. It was north facing, and the snow in the sun down lower was still a mix of refrozen contiditons. All easly bootable. Once out of the sun and into the shady protion I was excited to find some resemblance of powder. From there I figured I could just climb and access as I went while comtting myself to a turn around time of three, and not climbing anything I couldn't ride or down climb. Snow quickly became increasingly more like real powder, was well bonded, and still perfect for booting. Crampons where not really needed.


Usually booting up a long climb can be a meditating event, but once I reached what looked like the unridable rocky section it became very engaging. The first 'crux' I began to disect. while  i was climbing good snow, there was definatly undirdable glare ice, and thinly covered rocks about. I could down climb this short section..or, i poked around and looked some more and decided I could ride it. I got above it and continued this sequence a few times, nice climbable stretches of  great snow, followed by a quick committing move to the next stretch.  still unsure of what was around the dog leg above... I got above the rock band happy that it was a lot easier then it looked from below, and was confident I could get through the entire section without down climbing.

above the cruxes


Looking above it was obvious I had some wasy to go, but it was going to be mostly smooth sailing from here. Other then the contstant barrage of pieces of rhyme ice that was melting and falling from the pillars in the sun above. With the long stretches it became more rythmic and soon enough I was snapped back to reality. I was maybe fifyt feet from the top and the soft snow was replaced by a ryhmey crust. I poked around... worse over there.. nothing over there.  I bet thats some great snow over against the rocks where it is at it's steepest... I'm not even sure how steep it was? Seemed a bit more then the 45 reported degrees, but I am a bad judge of pitch. It's more about conditions, and all of a sudden, everything seemed ten degrees steeper. well I could down climb this section... Up some more til I came to one last obstacle. Several skecthy moves onto a spine to top of the col. Yeah!!... booh! I was sure I couldn't ride this section, and the spine was way steep, and firmer then it looked. I was a half an hour past my 3 o'clock time, and I was just above 9 thousand feet.. Man, so close, yet so far... I threw a chunk of ice and it went over, most likely onto the Isella glacier.

What went up, did not come back down. from my perch below the turn around.


I down climbed the several sketchy moves and completed what was without a doubt the scariest transtion I've ever done. with the very limited space and akward position, it was probably the one time of the trip I was releived to be alone. My gear was ready, but it still took me a half an hour from the point of turn around to dig a small platform, take off my crampons, and put my board on.

Not sure I could tilt the camera in any way to make this not look steep. I am hugging the rock in front of me like it was my mother.



First hundred feet or so where about as bad as it looks. rhymey ice crust. Able to set a good edge thoough a made quick over to the steeper side by the rock where  I 'thought' the better snow was. Yikes! not.. Still, solid edging thought, I scizzored, falling leafed, or scribed back and forth. what ever you want to call it, it was not not side slipping. Quickly, that was over, and now on the good stuff.

Looking back up. See my tracks? me neither..


The rest was even better then I thought it would. pure bliss? The top rode like a dream. fast, solid turns. It was good I nearly forgot how bad I thought the exit crux's would be. But each one went by as I rehearsed in my mind on the way up. one big healside here, , point it here, stay on that spine there... once through the last and seen there was nothing but a huge apron below me I let out some screaming GS turns along the base of the buttress.. I was the one doing the screaming, not the turns. Into the sun and the snow had softened to corn. It was hard not to follow the fall line to the end, but I forced myself to traverse back.

doesn't look so bad from this angle.


Climbing back out I had a brief moment to digest what just happened. I had been carrying that photo of a route description around on my phone for a over year. I've never google earthed the location, nor seen any scurlockian type photos. It was a complete mystery to me. It's hard to explain what I was feeling, but I am 100% positive what I just did was for me, and for the love of doing. Definatly the most challenging thing I've ever done on my own.

From the Col I had a great evening run of over three thousand feet of waterfall side corn right back to camp!

'Approach' run from it's most realistic angle.




Sunday I decided to go and checkout the north side of a sub-peak of Dumbell via the avi path to the south. The day before I was had a good view, and some north facing semi-shaded terrain looked like it could be holding pow. Giving the chance of a nice 3,500' run of mixed conditions. Lack of sun on the north facing, so I booted the fist steep bit, then skinned, the alpine, then booted. same great conditions as the day before. Less exposure, way more fll line. Lazy day back at camp basking int he sun and drying gear by 3.

from across yonder way


Only one crux below this one.


post ride




Monday my ankle was swollen, but it was gonna bea nice day so I went to check out the next dumbowl to the west and have a peak at the north side of Dumbell, and a possible route to Chiwawa.. I reused the first bit of boot pack, then put the split on for the rest of the day, travesing over the next bowl, and skinning to a shorter sub peak of dumbell. North side of Dumbell had a pile of pooh at teh bottum, but again, I found great pow in the shade, turning to corn down lower in the sun.

also from yonder way.


pow chute to corn


Tuesday.... The only day of the trip I left camp before 8 am. Semi alpine start, again I was reusing my booter. it was breezier this am, and I was worried about the weather. Hadn't had contact or outside stimulation for five days and it had been very windy the night before. It made for fast travel, and I made fast ravel, still taking time to enjoy the views and variety of trees. Soon enough I was at the ridge east of Lyman lake. he NE face of Chiwawa looks really steep, and I sat and surveyed the ascent options. Looked like it was skinable.. I rode maybe 800 feet? down to Lyman lake on less then impressive refrozen snow. the only bad decent of the trip. fortunately it was pretty mellow and quickly got me where I wanted to be.

Chiwawa was perfect... Hero skinning almost all the way to the summit. A short boot, and I changed about 20 feet below the true summit. Snow was discontinuous, and I've already been up there. On the descent, yet again shady pow, lots of shady pow, and even pow up high in the sun on this one. back into the sun and soft snow I did a half assed power traverse back to where I started. looking back I wish I ran it right up to the edge of the glacier.

A chiuauas shadow? Is that where chiwawa get's it's name?





I climbed back up to the saddle from where I came and had one more long run down the same shot as the day before, making it the biggest day of the trip.



Back at camp I drank my last shot of whiskey and cheered and thanked each mountain out loud as I had done each night. I came, I saw... But only because they let me.



 


 



 



 

« Last Edit: 04/05/13, 01:21 PM by alecapone » Logged

scott
Rowan Stewart
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #1 on: 04/05/13, 01:28 PM »

This is an inspiring and very eloquent tr - beautiful lines and great conditions.  I have been to holden a few times, but mostly for summer hiking, and climbing. I hope sometime soon i will return to do some shredding there. Nice work getting those remote and seldom ridden lines, looks like a great trip.
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bs.
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #2 on: 04/05/13, 01:39 PM »


damn that's rad!  another inspiring descent for sure.  i'm glad to see so many people making the most of the great weather we had.  gonna have to get out my maps and read your story again...
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Kyle Miller
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #3 on: 04/05/13, 02:02 PM »

That is soo badass!!! You have been tagging rad line after rad line you impress me weekly Smiley

Holden man....Holden
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
jwplotz
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #4 on: 04/05/13, 03:33 PM »

Top drawer trip Scott!
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LukerBee
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #5 on: 04/05/13, 04:11 PM »

I imagine it took a steady hand to tranny atop that micro-perch you etched on the north col - wow.
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powhound
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #6 on: 04/05/13, 04:53 PM »

Great report Scott! You've been doing some awesome solo missions!
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Saign
ryanl
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #7 on: 04/05/13, 05:05 PM »

Awesome write up and trip Scott. And your humility only adds to the impressiveness of it. I remembering looking up at Dumbell from Big Creek some years back and wanting very badly to get up there. Way to chase the goods. And thanks for posting about such an inspiring trip.
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Gregg_C
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #8 on: 04/05/13, 06:29 PM »

That was a great read.  Thanks for the pictures and the offbeat narrative.  Marcus should make you the first TAY staff writer.

It was a great period (long) of high pressure and stable conditions.  A rare March event.
« Last Edit: 04/05/13, 08:55 PM by Gregg_C » Logged
Marcus
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #9 on: 04/05/13, 06:59 PM »

Marcus should make you the first TAY staff writer.

The pay is crap, but the job's yours if you want it...

Great TR man -- you probably got more riding in over the last few days than I've managed all year!  But I see you got some new boots to do it in, finally Wink
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mikerolfs
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #10 on: 04/05/13, 07:46 PM »

Bravo Bravo!  What an awesome trip!
You write great reports.
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philfort
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #11 on: 04/05/13, 07:54 PM »

I'm pretty sure I've "researched" that Beowulf couloir on maps/photos and wrote it off in my mind as unskiable. So, uh... nice work, looked super burly!

Great trip report!
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shred
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #12 on: 04/05/13, 07:54 PM »

Dang! Way to Slay! Your the Raddest farmer that I know!
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skier8484
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #13 on: 04/05/13, 11:09 PM »

Solid work Scott!
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JimD
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #14 on: 04/06/13, 07:56 AM »

Yowza! Thanks for the great TR!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #15 on: 04/06/13, 09:05 AM »

Great trip!

Trivia: Beowulf is the name of Mark Fielding's dog.
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hedonaut
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #16 on: 04/06/13, 03:47 PM »

whole trip looks fantastic!  that first line is high quality, way to buck up for the adventure, solo no less.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #17 on: 04/06/13, 05:10 PM »

Adventure distilled. Thank you!
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Jake the Brit
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #18 on: 04/07/13, 08:31 AM »

Another astonishing solo effort. You guys (you & Kyle) are an inspiration,
I'll just repeat: big cojones, a bag of tricks & a love of the Cascades. Lyrical travel, beautifully presented.
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jtack
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #19 on: 04/07/13, 04:50 PM »

Boy Scott, you have really had a HUGE winter, bagging big line after big line.  Incredible determination to pull them off, nicely done!
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kath
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #20 on: 04/07/13, 06:20 PM »

scott .. this is the most engaging tr you've ever written up .. totally rad! plus all the ground you covered .. so badass .. a most excellent adventure .. just stay safe out there my friend
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #21 on: 04/08/13, 07:24 AM »

thank you for sharing Scott.  Inspiring !
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
avajane
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #22 on: 04/08/13, 03:44 PM »

Hot Dam! So you take a cell phone photo of some obscure ice climb Bertulis put up; hop a boat to some weird little town I've never heard; skin up some deserted valley; sleep out by yourself and then solo and ride the ice climb? Then you do it over and over for the next several days until you run out of Whiskey? Who are you?Huh Very impressed.
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My brain isn't the right weight - it gives me crazy ideas...
alecapone
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #23 on: 04/08/13, 08:01 PM »

Thanks everyone! kind of flattered really.

Thanks for the writer position offer as well, but isn't that what we are all doing? putting the free in free-lance. Besides, you would need a staff editor, and fact checker. your old boots served me very well, a lot of miles, but I think they have had it. I promise you they will have a nice resting place.

And beowulf the dog...? I love it, Lowell.

It was solo, but not by design.  I invited a few of you. Everyone was either on Rainier, or out of town. I would have the loved company. I kind of leaned on you all at times anyways, so it's all good.





Glad you all enjoyed the write up.



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scott
alecapone
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Re: Holden, Hart lake , march 29- april 3
« Reply #24 on: 04/08/13, 08:15 PM »

Yes Jake a while bag of tricks! I even used Kyle's jet boil trick to get my camp fire going.



Don't want to give the impression I am a hard guy or anything. My biggest camp crisis was letting my fire go completely out one night.
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scott
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