The Chehalis Peaks

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Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 10, 2011 - 02:29am PT
In the Squamish thread, Perry said:
OK Mighty, agreed, we could use a Chehalis thread, you start it.
Anyone who's been to the SW Coast's "Bugs" will probably agree and post up.
I've got few pictures but some good stories.

Yes, this place certainly could use a Chehalis thread. But since Anders has probably long since finished his milk and cookies and tucked in, I'll start it. No pictures (or not until I have a chance to root around in the ancient slide boxes) but a fond memory.

Don Serl and I hiked in to do a new route on Mt Clarke to the right of the North Ridge. We got a couple of pitches up, and it started to rain. So we rapped off (bit of an adventure in itself) and were back on the valley floor just in time for the rain to stop and the sun to dry everything up. We didn't have time to get back on the thing we bailed from, but rather than give up, we raced to the west end of the peak and made what we thought was probably the second ascent of the original route on the mountain.

We reached the summit at the end of the day, had a bite, and settled in for the night. Minimal gear, and cool temps led to a certain amount of "It's not unmanly to cuddle if you're freezing to death" but that was soon forgotten when the first lightning split the sky to the south.

Since the highest point in the range is not really the ideal spot to sit out a lightning storm, we got fully dressed, packed up everything except our sleeping bags, put our boots close to hand, and tucked back in -- ready to flee if the storm moved closer.

But it didn't. We got to spend a truly memorable hour watching the gods try to shatter Mts Ratney and Bardean with gigantic thunderbolts as the storm hovered there, a couple of miles to the south, and eventually petered out. Or, the lightning petered out. Sometime in the middle of the night the rain moved north, and we had the wettest descent in history the next day, but the previous night's light show made it well worth enduring.

I don't know if the route we tried has ever been done, but it's certainly worthwhile.


Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 10, 2011 - 03:01am PT
This should be a good thread. I like the start so far.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Jun 10, 2011 - 03:05am PT
Thanks Ghost.
First trip into the Chehalis was with Flavelle in 84.
Scott had his eye on the Right Fork of Bardean.
Beat the crap out of Jan's bug on the drive in, she was never the wiser or at least never busted me for it.
We did the obligatory, bear infested bushwack up past Statlu to a nice bivi at the base.
Next day some scrambling up to the business which turned out to eight or ten pitches of beautiful featured rock up to 10a-b protected by cams, RPs and the odd blade. About four or five hundred feet from the top the climbing seemed pretty easy so we unroped, left all our stuff and third classed to the top with our lunches. Lunch was very nice but climbing off the summit back onto the face we'd third classed up was horrifying. Puckered tighter than a duck's butt in a power dive! We were real happy to get back to our ropes and gear without pitching off and kicked into rap mode which went pretty smooth. A bunch more downclimbing and I think we walked out the same day and headed back towards Vancouver. Great route, didn't know what to call it other than a great time.
The guidebook calls it the Flavelle-Beckham, pretty inspiring name. Not!
More Chehalis stories to follow.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 10, 2011 - 10:59am PT
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
MORE PIX ! !
sac

Trad climber
Sun Coast B.C.
Jun 10, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
One time... my friend B. and I were on the this really sharp ridge,
traversing from Viennese Pk. and B. found an spearhead sitting in plain sight in a little patch of gravel. B. just happened to be an archeologist,
and explained how the native ppl. would hunt goat on sharp ridges, hiding on one side, w/ spears, goats on the other..... yeah , cool eh? I sat visualizing, and felt so damn alive!!
We left the spearhead sitting as it was.

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2011 - 01:07pm PT
David, you and Don climbed the route my dad and friends climbed for the FA of the peak in 1949. How was it anyway? some chimney or something? They approached from Stave Lake to Stump lake

It was fun. Endless scrambling over beautiful granite. It wasn't difficult, and I think we third-classed it. Getting to the start of it from below the North Face required a bit of bushwhacking, but the thing that hit both of us was how badass your dad and friends must have been to come in from the west. Now _that_ would have been a bush whack.

Ghost, I believe the late, great Brent Matheson and I climbed that blunt rib to the right of clarke n ridge in a one day car to car push in 95 (the cars went a lot further in at that stage)-The weather really took a turn for the worse resulting in us needing to rap the short end of the north face in classic clagged in thundering cascades rain -something about some equalized blades on one rap if memory serves.

If my fading memory can be trusted, the line Don and I started up couldn't really be called a rib. More of a face with some nice looking cracks. But it was a long time ago so we may be talking about the same thing. What I do remember is that the approach from the valley was up an apron of hard snow and that the only way we got up it in our rock shoes was by stepping from sun cup to sun cup. Kinda freaky. Then there was some pillowy rock that offered no possibility of protection. Not very hard, but when we came down in the rain we didn't want to downclimb it and had a hell of time finding an anchor to rap off to the side. Your comment about shitty blades is resonating.

Another one of those odd things that sticks out of my memory is that when Perry and ??? climbed that big hanging slab on Viennese, everyone in Sqaumish was amazed by the fact that he did it in Boreal Ninjas. This was an "Alpine" rock climb. And this dude flies up it in slippers! Talk of the town, that was.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Jun 10, 2011 - 05:09pm PT
This thread is awesome.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Jun 10, 2011 - 05:11pm PT
Current approach beta: Skwellepil Creek is 2wd to about 4km, where there is a persistent debris flow that leaves a wall of boulders across the road. One hour walk to south faces of Bardean and Stonerabbit from there.

For points north of that, it's 2wd up Harrison West and thru Mystery Creek to a point north of the lake. Bridge across the river just north of the lake is failing. Wulf P and friends rebuilt a trail last summer from the 2wd parking that goes NW thru a clearcut and then over a log bridge over the river to pick up the Statlu Lake trail beyond. About 2-3 hours to Statlu Lake say those who did it last summer.

Pics:

I have a bunch that I'm not going to overload this thread with. You can browse through them here.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=36543076@N00&q=chehalis

OK, maybe one

[Click to View Linked Image]
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jun 10, 2011 - 09:07pm PT
^^^^^^^hahahaha. the voice of experience.

the pix of chehalis always looked killer, but never had the chance before i left.


new stuff happening there now?
bmacd

Social climber
100% Canadian
Jun 10, 2011 - 10:30pm PT

probably my best Photoshop compositions yet. Beach rocks, superimposed on blue screen with eletronic fogg/mist to obscure the viewers perception
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 11, 2011 - 03:10am PT
I never really heard much about these Chehalis Peaks. I'm wondering if you Frosties are trying to sandbag some noob Yank into an epic. Not that I mind... Oh well, carry on. Great thread. More pics. My addled mind needs visual stimulation.
perswig

climber
Jun 11, 2011 - 06:25am PT
You icebacks tell some good stories.

Carry on, please, at your leisure.
Dale
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2011 - 11:09am PT
I never really heard much about these Chehalis Peaks. I'm wondering if you Frosties are trying to sandbag some noob Yank into an epic

Damn. We're busted.

Yeah, Wayne, you figured it out. That's why there aren't any really clear and identifiable pictures in any of these posts. A bunch of us got kinda drunk the other night and decided to see how far we could string you all along. There's really no mountains worth climbing in BC, so we photoshopped a few pictures of Yosemite, and ran with it.

So yeah, "Chehalis" is just the name of some little town in north central Washington. We thought it sounded cool, but that's probably what gave it away. Maybe if we'd picked a better name, it would have taken longer for someone to bust our little joke.

Hee hee.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 11, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
HaHaHa! When this thread first appeared I spent a few minutes with my index
finger poised over the mouse trying to decide if I was truly so clueless as to have totally
missed out on a hidden Cascade sub-range. And then that Ghost troll tries
to further obfuscate by citing its "north central" locale. That is rather
like the killdeer's broken wing ploy methinks to lure you to the Okanagon or
even over the border into Osoyoos! Most dastardly, sir! I eagerly await
your next roman a clef.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Jun 11, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
Chehalis obscurities:

[Click to View Linked Image]
Trio Creek spires. One, two ascents max. Some steep rock on the other side. Some of it is outside the batholith & red-coloured volcanic rock.

[Click to View Linked Image]
SW face of Stonerabbit. Fabische/Ewart route from the 90s (10 pitches, 5.6?) is unrepeated.

[Click to View Linked Image]
Rabbit's Ear wall with an 11aR route on the left-central portion.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 11, 2011 - 03:24pm PT
This bad boy needs a bump. More pics and I wish could still walk for miles.
bmacd

Social climber
100% Canadian
Jun 11, 2011 - 05:46pm PT
MH2

climber
Jun 12, 2011 - 12:19am PT

Yes, there is a Chehalis Range. Or what looks like one. I've seen it, though only Grainger, Viennese, and Clarke.

I'm a rock-climber and only go into alpine terrain by invitation, usually from the glint-eyed star-crossed haunted-by-demons alpinist-type climbing partner.

We set off in his red pick-up. On the first real hill it had trouble and we had to load the back with rocks. Down in several water bars we had to dig under the rear wheels and place rocks for traction. We made it to within a 30 minute walk of the end of the road, at sundown.

After the road and a bit of logging slash the options were to walk up a vigorous stream, fight through alder, or hold your breath traversing islands of last year's snow pack, where the walking was easiest but these snow (actually ice) patches didn't go in the direction we were heading, alas, and there were large cavities underneath which you might crash into if you made the mistake of breathing.

This is a moderate approach.

My partner who knew the way was out in front, thoughtfully turning back to look at me from time to time so I could see his headlamp, but his demon kept scaring him on ahead and I often lost track of his headlamp.

The final steep climb to the col was welcome relief from the previous obstacles.

Early in the morning we were up and off, following the base of the mountain, my partner once again hunted and chased so far ahead that I went sideways instead of up, or vice versa, and we lost maybe 30 minutes trying to see if we were both still on the same mountain.

We arrived at a place where my partner decided we should start. It being rock that we were on and under, I was called to action. I climbed the rock. It was not my favorite kind of rock. There were large pieces of it that were not attached but instead were resting on or wedged into other pieces.

I wasn't too worried because the route had seen many ascents.

I found a place to belay and my partner came up, went on ahead, didn't like what he found, and came back down. Even the demon couldn't motivate him. I was offered the lead but the climbing was hard and unprotected, and I didn't have a demon.

We rapped.

We headed back down the approach slabs. My partner looked back and noticed the more commonly used start of the route about 100 meters left of where we had climbed. There is an obvious scar, seen in the picture below, above the snow remnant. It indicates the real start. How could my partner have missed it?

We discussed going back up. Although we had left our bivouac gear at the col, we would be traversing from the summit along a ridge that led right down to camp.

However, a different demon had come along to spell the others, and my no-longer glint-eyed but still star-crossed partner said he had to make a plane the next day and thought we wouldn't be fast enough.

On the way back to the truck my partner got so far ahead I feared I might find myself walking the road out.

My second trip to the Chehalis was less successful.



[Click to View Linked Image]


North ridge of Mt. Clarke
photo by Oplopanax
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 12, 2011 - 12:39am PT
My second trip to the Chehalis was less successful.

Well, no worries. At least you had one successful trip in. Some people never experience the joy and reward that you found on your first trip.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Jun 12, 2011 - 11:36am PT
Opus is one I really wanted to see in Alpine Select but K M was dead set against including it for some reason.

I remember when Don printed his list of the top 10 alpine rock routes in SWBC back in the late 90s in some short-lived general circulation outdoor rag (can't remember the name but Steve Threndyle edited it), Opus was on the list.
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