2nd Free Ascent of Basketcase: a story

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 121 - 140 of total 159 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 4, 2012 - 07:51pm PT
I meant to go up on that one because it was the only old school off width that I never did. But I broke my leg in the summer of 1976 and when I went back to the Valley the only guy who would go up was Yabbo, and he had already done it - with who, I can't say. Maybe Dale or Kauk. I don't know anyone else who has done that route, and it had to be the best off width line in the park. Probably still is. Must be an entirely different experience with big cams.

Great article by Peter.

I did a bunch of climbing with Drummond that year - including the 2nd ascents of Free Wheelin' and Quicksilver. He was very skilled on the open face, and could run the rope with the best of them.

JL

bob

climber
Jan 4, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
Luke, we came in on the blue line in your photo one time, but closer to the mini-dome in the gully butted up to it. Its smooth sailing and definitely the way to go. I've gone up, down, and even across and back from Snow Shed (sp??) trail. Warbler did a really nice description of it in his Milestone write-up.
Get on it
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 4, 2012 - 08:27pm PT
Larg, I bet it was Dale. He was WAY more motivated then Kauk, and he really dug offwidth. It is hard to imagine that in his day, he would never have done the route.

Culture, you use the upper of #2 in your latest image. Do NOT take the lower of your #2. When you get out of the little brush-choked chute between the dome and that little crappy forested arete prior to traversing to the actual base of the route, it becomes completely clear what to do--- you traverse over to it on very easy 3rd class, following the path of least resistance. At no point should you be 4th classing anything to get to the base of Basket Case; it should all be elementary. If you get into real climbing or anything risky, you are off route.

Zander, your line is drawn too low for the traverse; see Culture's upper #2 as noted in this post.

What is so awful about the BC approach? The brush is dense and very deep. At times we were walking on top of vegetation that was 5 feet deep and would fall through it at times. And all the brush points vigorously downhill, making uphill progress much much more icky. And there is quite a bit of this, you are at 6500 ft or so and higher, a direct southern exposure, no water, and some miles from the road.

Granted it is a terrific place to be, the summit. Like Watkins. So as a mere hike....I can imagine a whole lot of other things to do for hikes other than these two approaches..but as we are all saying, the several climbs are flat-out world class climbs.

EDIT: My Basket Case story reached its final and best form this last year (2011) in Alpinist Magazine; I think Issue #33.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jan 4, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Peter, thanks for the Great story, I probably reading it third or fourth time after every bump.
But only now I realized that number of assents for this route can be count on one hand ..
Donini and TM
Bridwell and Klemens
Haan and Ward
Dale Bart and ?

anyone anymore?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 4, 2012 - 10:46pm PT
As to cultureshock's photo with lines -

The pink line for Milestone, or "Orion" as it will probably be known in the upcoming Yosemite guidebook is accurate.

The approach / descent is off though, and I've done it enough times to have it dialed. You exit the ND trail back in the woods well before you can see the backside of Basket Dome. You leave the trail to the left at a dip in the trail, before a slight uphill section to the top of the rounded open ridge which is visible in the upper left of the photo. This is about 300 yds past the end of a long uphill section, which ends at the trail junction to Indian Rock on the left.

Head down the draw to a little meadow and follow the western edge of the meadow down until the terrain changes to steeper angle. This meadow is the headwaters of the seasonal stream which flows down the gully underneath BD's bulging east face. Cross the drainage at this change in terrain angle, and head east, perpendicular to the drainage along the edge of a mostly open flat area for a couple hundred yds, without losing elevation. I think it's the open area above the green line in the middle of the photo.

When the open terrain ends, enter the forest and bush tending in the same direction and descending slightly. You should shortly arrive at the rounded open ridge with views east to Mt Watkins, above and right of the bivy site in the photo. Follow slabs and sandy slopes down to the bivy site.

This route may seem indirect, but it avoids bushwhacking which is abundant any other way.

The bivy site is really nice. From there the blue line is not the way to go.

From the bivy site drop down a steep section into the notch btw the rim and the big triangular shaped slabby dome below and to the right of the bivy site. The photo doesn't show that the dome has a summit with a notch behind it. From the notch, descend wide gully down the backside of the dome to the east, and then follow right along the base of the slabs back around to the west and toward Basket Dome. After some level traversing, several options down steep sandy slopes appear. Definitely don't want to be down in the brush as the blue line goes, but rather above it.

Cross the stream bed to the base of Basket Dome at the biggest fir tree in the gully, growing almost in the streambed - don't descend further to the last crossing option as it is a hellish thicket at that point.

It would be awesome to be out there this time of year - this is a rare opportunity. That little dome has some nice looking moderate 3 to 4 pitch lines on it...


Edit : Peter, just noticed your surprise that I managed Milestone at age 40 - you're a decade off, haha! I'm right behind you, old friend!


Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 5, 2012 - 02:43am PT
All wonderful stuff - thanks! Looks like a lot of potential for new climbs up there, for those willing to work for it. Has anyone looked at the big corner just right of Basketcase?

Kevin's tale of Milestone/Orion: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=391916&msg=392685#msg392685
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2012 - 11:26am PT
Mighty Anders, the "big corner just right of Basket Case" is Straight Jacket and the Scott-Child variation, routes from the 1970's. The gigantic (2nd) corner further right of Basket Case is just to the right of Kevin's Milestone (Orion) route (Milestone plays out on the beautiful smooth face verging on that huge corner/arch) this huge dihedral is not a climb yet, nor the awesome east face of Basket Dome even further right---the mini-wall rising above that crazy steep gully running up toward the summit.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 6, 2012 - 03:24pm PT
Anders, I looked at the big corner - it was the first thing I saw the morning I woke up on the bivy ledge. There is a good crack in it, but it is fairly dirty and grass filled, kinda like the first corner pitch of The Good Book was when I went up there to clean it with Yabo. The corner is probably 500 ft long and 40 ft deep.

Hmmm...

The wall to its right is a very beautiful one with golden rock for hundreds of feet, steepening to overhanging as it turns the corner to the east and enters the gully. Unclimbed for probably 1500 ft to the right. The rock looks amazing over there and mostly flawless. Mostly.


Hmmm...


Alexey, something tells me Ed Barry has done Basket Case, possibly with Dale, and maybe Walt told me he did it.

cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jan 10, 2012 - 12:47am PT
Thanks for all the comments and advice.

I had a great hike and found the base via the gully Warbler described. On the way down, i took a bit of a detour by going away from basket dome instead of towards it... OOPS!

Google Earth of Basket Dome approach GPS track.
Google Earth of Basket Dome approach GPS track.
Credit: cultureshock

The East Face sure is spectacular. I was pretty hard pressed to see anything that might be free climbable. Perhaps better eyes/binoculars are in order.

East face of Basket dome.
East face of Basket dome.
Credit: cultureshock

I might write more later, perhaps in another thread with photos.

 Luke
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Jan 10, 2012 - 01:12am PT
Luke... Great shot of a rarely seen face!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2012 - 07:52am PT
Interesting! Here you also get a better idea of how hideous the bushwhack is down along the East face to get to Kevin's route start.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jan 10, 2012 - 11:50am PT
that looks like it could be a sport climbing crag! our own ceuse!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 10, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
Ceuse... that'd be nice! yeah, too bad it's not covered with Medlicott knobs.

That wall must be the widest swath of unclimbed clean granite in the Valley.

karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jan 10, 2012 - 01:06pm PT
hey luke, how long did it take to get to the base?
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jan 10, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
So I went the "long" aka wrong way, on the way down. It took me about 2 hours to the base from the car. I ran most approach on the trail then had to hike the rest due to cliffs/steepness and route finding. It just over 2 hours on the way back since I knew where I was going. Over 2000 feet of elevation gain from the base of basket dome back to the car.

The GPS data is here:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140223667

Lap1 is where I left the North Dome trail on the way down
Lap2 is where I met up with the correct approach (midway down the gully).
Lap3 is near the bottom of basket dome where you would go across to climb Milestone/Orion
Lap4 is the top of the "sub dome" ie the top of the approach gulley.
Lap5 is where I met back up with the trail.

From lap 3 to lap 4 is golden. A good way to get from subdome to the base and vise versa. I still didn't get the XC travel from the North Dome trail to the top of the sub dome quite right. It's hard to see and not quite obvious where the least amount of shrubbery is. I thinking I did better on the way down (leaving at Lap1) but just turned the wrong way when I got near the steep part.

 Luke
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 10, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
Luke,

Wow, that was quite the tour you did!

Your lap 3 to 4 was right on, sounds like. You left the trail on the way in a little too early, and then... boldly went where no man has gone before, looks like.

The way to go from the top of the dome is through the clearing/ bivy site just above it, on the east side of the creekbed, and then up and right paralleling that drainage on an open rounded ridge with low angle slabs and sandy slopes. In your last photo with gps coordinates the route is a diagonal line from Lap 4 up and right toward the buttonhook north you took on the way in. You can see how clear it is in the photo

You only go half the distance btw your two trails though, and then jog back left and diagonal thru that open area midway between your way back to the trail, and the start of your cross country walking on the way in. Pretty much parallel to both ways you went, but equal distance from both.

It's about an hour and a half to the base from the car if you get it right.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 21, 2012 - 07:51pm PT
This great tread should be bump with story of 5-th free accent with 21century camelots..
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2012 - 08:06pm PT
Alexey, I would love to read subsequent ascent reports too, but there are so very few that have climbed this great route.

Twenty-first century protection (Camalots, etc) would not make this climb really very different. It is not a protection challenge at all. When you are doing the crux, you are only about 10-12 feet above your protection and on a smooth vertical to overhanging wall. If you did put a large cam in at the crux, it would have to be deep. The temptation to pull on it would be terrific, too. The challenge is the offwidth climbing itself, those special few feet that are out of view of the belayer and up around the corner you have turned.

Modern big pro, however, does substantially change Twilight Zone; Left side of Slack; right and left side of Hourglass; Crack of Doom; Excalibur pitches; Narrow Escape; probably Edge of Night, for instance.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 21, 2012 - 08:44pm PT
Peter, let me express admiration of your ability to describe climbing you did about 30 years ago and only once. The description is so vivid that I can see this glassy stem box crux and you climbing it move by move
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
Bump
Messages 121 - 140 of total 159 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews