Rooster Comb North Buttress TR


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East of Seattle
Jul 28, 2009 - 05:10pm PT
Fantastic story of adventure. And great bonus pics too.
Thanks for posting up.

Trad climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 05:25pm PT
A great read!
Looks like quite an adventure!

Thanks for posting up,

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2009 - 08:40pm PT
Thanks, everyone, for the nice comments. I appreciate being encouraged to revel in former glory. Its easier than putting up new routes at my advanced age, and maybe I can encourage some of you youngsters to get up to the Ruth. There is a lot of nice granite up there!

Someone in another thread has asked for a TR on Mt. Huntington, so if there are no objections, I'll dredge up some more memories. I know this is mainly a rock climbing site, so don't hesitate to let me know if this is too far off topic.

I've done three routes on the peak... think I'll post about the last one, since my partner on that climb was also Keith, and it was another hit from our British friends Colton and Leech.


Social climber
way out there
Jul 29, 2009 - 02:36am PT
Very cool stuff. Thanks for posting! Even us old guys still dream of the alpine stuff...


Jul 29, 2009 - 03:06am PT
I know this is mainly a rock climbing site

Sometimes rock climbers do other stuff. Erstwhile partner Jeff Thomas for example.

Personally I've stayed pretty close to rock but it is interesting to learn about the planning and foresight that go into more condition-dependent routes. A friend who moved to Canmore for the ice told me another major element in his program for staying alive. He has a job but an arrangement with his boss that any day he needs to he can climb instead of work. So he can be patient and wait for the right conditions.

Thanks for a great TR.


Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Jul 29, 2009 - 09:08am PT
Nice TR!!!



Ice climber
Jul 29, 2009 - 10:09am PT
Very nice TR. I've always wanted to do that route on the Rooster Comb and may yet do it next Spring. Your pictures and tale inspire me to get off the couch and do something about it!


Jul 29, 2009 - 10:50am PT
Hey, that's a cool story, and a great piece of obscure Alaskan climbing history. I've always thought people who do the second ascents of hard routes don't get nearly enough credit. If it's a truly good line, it should be worth repeating, not just getting the glory of the FA.

I had a similar experience in the Gorge in '04. Went in with a buddy in the last week March -- there were some rad mixed lines in good shape on Dickey I was psyched to try, but unfortunately my partner wasn't feeling it. A week into our trip, P-Diddy Roderick lands right at our basecamp and drops off two Brits. My partner, sensing this was his chance to escape, tells me right then and there he wants to fly out with Paul. So I ended up back in Talkeetna. It took me a week to get another partner, and when I returned... those f*#kin' Queeners were up on Dickey! Bastards! The line they climbed became Snow Patrol. We went up about two weeks after and did the second ascent...

Moral of the story, never cut a Brit climber any slack. And all is fair in love, war, and climbing.

Trad climber
Jul 29, 2009 - 12:56pm PT
Jay, I always thought this was a CLIMBING site! Far as I'm concerned, without alpine, ice, mountaineering, etc., in addition to all the usual rock porn, it would be hollow to call this a "Climber's Forum"!

And fergodssake, with all the OT political and other crap on this site, nobody should ever be concerned with posting an actual CLIMBING thread!!

Can't wait for the Mt. Huntington trip report! Fire away!
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Jul 29, 2009 - 01:10pm PT

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 29, 2009 - 02:24pm PT
That clean, direct write-up well suits the climb. As I was reading along I thought
"This would be even better with some photos," and then at the bottom there they were.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:37pm PT
Jay has more photos hiding all over the place.

I know him...the sneaky b*stard.

He's going to dole them out reeeeaall slow, to keep us all waiting....D*mn him!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:43pm PT
Damn, all that cold weather.....death chutes....#1 having to save the day.


Full value

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 29, 2009 - 07:20pm PT
Bump this too, for the rad routes!

Social climber
No Ut
Jul 30, 2009 - 10:27pm PT
Now THAT'S what I call climbing! And that's a great trip report. Many thanks, Alpinista, for bringing us along on a great climb all these years later.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 30, 2009 - 10:31pm PT
Your memory seems fine to me. Great story alpinista!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 4, 2009 - 09:06pm PT
Hey Jay,

Maybe you can help me talk the good doctor into joining up here.
He's teetering on the brink right now. Maybe this TR can tip him over the edge!!

More pix please???

Trad climber
Aug 5, 2009 - 12:34am PT

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Aug 5, 2009 - 01:13am PT
If you research the AAJ's from the late 70's through the early 80's, you'll find Jay and his core group of friends climbed just about everything in the Ruth- lots of firsts and many impressive repeats. Even better, often they skied in and/or out of the mountains as bookends to month-long stays in the mountains.

Their exciting and understated journal reports were a huge inspiration for me when I first started climbing in Alaska in the mid 90's and was doing a lot of AAJ research. Among other things, the idea of spending the better part of an entire climbing season in Alaska was put into my head precisely by the example these guys set. Alaska is often about time and patience, among other things, and letting the weather and conditions dictate the pace, rather than one's need to get home.

The Rooster Comb's north buttress remains a badass testpiece to this day. To the best of my knowledge, despite many attempts by strong climbers, the route has only seen one further ascent to its summit since Jay and Keith's 2nd, that being in 1984 by the late Benoit Grison and another Frenchman. It's thin, runout in places, and not without considerable objective hazards in its lower reaches. Interwoven into these variables are one constant: one of the range's best lines.

I gave this thing a shot in 2004 but halfway up we ran away; if the spindrift and lack of ice (i.e. vertical snow/s'nice) were the mountain tapping us on the shoulder, the briefcase sized chunk of ice that came from far above and hit me square in the head and shoulders was the proverbial mountain putting me in a full nelson and dragging me back to camp. No damage done that Vitamin I couldn't fix. While it was a bad day to be up there, I must have the alpinist's memory- it's still on the list. It's that good.

Three cheers to Jay for putting up this report, and for the inspiration- then and now.

More, please!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 5, 2009 - 01:30am PT
Great post Mark!
Messages 21 - 40 of total 53 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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