North Arete 5.7

 
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Matterhorn Peak


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
TR, Climbed Matterhorn Pk, Crashed Cessna this weekend!
Monday April 14, 2008 5:59pm
Yeah, no lie.
We freakin blew the takeoff out of Bridgeport yesterday after a three day rockstar trip. What's the last thing you want to hear your pilot say as you approach the end of the runway, trying desperately to gain speed in a small cessna loaded with forur guys, four sets of tele skis and four big packs say? "Come on Baby....come on Baby....hold on!"
So yup, we blew the runway and ended up in the weeds.........then something in the right landing gear caught fire.
Good to have two firefighters on board. Jeff grabbed the Red Bull sized extinguisher and doused the faring covering the landing gear as black smoke and legitimate flame shot up under the wing. disaster thus averted, we set about finding a way home.
A nightmare ride North with a local ex-meth addict brought us to Reno. And oh yeah, we live in Fresno, so we rented a Ford Tempo and shot the horn, arriving at 3:30 am after a "14.99 Prime Rib Dinner" and a few hands of Blackjack at the Silver Palace downtown.
I'm not much of a gamblin man, but I figured a hand or two was in order after surviving my first plane crash. Oh yeah, Matterhorn Peak rocked. Great camp, fun climbing in the East Coulior, though she was a bit skinny, perfect bluebird summy, and fresh corn all the way home.
So here I sit with a bit of rental car lag, a sunburn and a story of the time we almost didn't walk away.
Good day to be alive if you ask me.

  Trip Report Views: 4,260
micronut
About the Author
micronut is a trad climber from fresno, ca.

Comments
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TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:08pm PT
Dude, were you drinking?

'Cause I think you were in the wrong plane.

Looks like a Piper Warrior to me.

Definitely not a Cessna.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:09pm PT
Now there's a trip. Good photos too.
Karen

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:15pm PT
That ain't no Cessna, Cessna's are high winged!!!!


Awesome ski trip however, nice!



















Are those Hammerhead bindings? if so, love em, gotta a pair on my K2's
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:18pm PT
No sh!t - there I was - thought I was going to die!

Looks like a great trip - was in Mammoth this past week myself - got the sunburn to prove it too!

Ditto on not looking like a Cessna - looks like a Piper to me. I've got many skydives out of Cessnas and all were high wing designs.

rhyang

climber
SJC
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:19pm PT
Nice work ! Another one I should think about this season ..
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:19pm PT
oh man, sorry about the plane type. Yeah, it might be a Warrior. They all look the same when the ground is flying by really, really fast. My hands are still shaking today. Kinda wacky.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:31pm PT
No problem. Next time you fly, ask the pilot to show you his weight and balance calculation. Ask him if the tanks are full and how much the fuel weighed.

Seriously that first picture looks like too much weight unless you are flying with fairly minimum fuel for small single prop airplanes.

Then check performance section in the aircraft flight manual (which is supposed to be in the plane). It should have a chart or other means for calculating runway length as function of temperature and barometric pressure.

If he won't do that, don't get in with 3 other guys.

:-)

Glad you walked away from it.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:40pm PT
Micronut
Wow! I'm glad you guys came out alive.
I'm sure I'd have needed a new change of pants after that.
Great trip, except for that!
spyork

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:47pm PT
For most people the first crash is the last crash.

Grats on surviving to write the TR!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
  Apr 14, 2008 - 06:49pm PT
Outstanding!! A REAL trip report....... Great googley moogley. Glad you guys are ok!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:00pm PT
Yeah Trad, our guy was a great pilot and had his act together. We owe him our skins for making the call to put her down when he did. We were not going to clear the power lines at the end of the runway! He had concerns about the temps in Bridgeport rising so quickly and let us know it might be a bit sloppy getting out of Dodge. We were smooth as silk from Fresno to Bridgeport a couple days before, and from Bridgeport out later, but we had nice cool temps. He was really bugged by the way the whole thing went down, cause he's not a cowboy of a pilot and flys high strips in the mountains a good bit. We had some kooky winds and he said he probably could have given it a couple more flaps, but didn't want to risk loading us up and giving it another go. I was freaked anyway, and was willing to walk to Fresno by that time. Seriously spooky, and I'm thankful to be here sussing the whole thing out at sea level.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:06pm PT
I'm very impressed that you took a photo in the aircraft, while this was all going on. Or was that on the flight to Bridgeport?

Anyway, glad it worked out - small planes, and helicopters, don't mix well with mountains. As the solo thread said, some of the most dangerous approaches are in vehicles.
Zander

climber
  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:06pm PT
Woah Micronut,
Thanks for the TR, Nice that you could.
The Materhorn looks stunning.
Zander
sneville

climber
  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:17pm PT
The plane looks like a cherokee 6, did it have four normal seats and two little seats? If it was a warrior or even an archer you better go buy a lotto ticket b/c you just escaped death. There is no way that either one of those planes would be able to take all four of you with gear unless each guy weight 120lbs. My guess is that the brake was so hot from the pilot trying to stop it caught the grass on fire. Check the performance charts next time. Mountains look nice though. Good to hear you walked away.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:39pm PT
TIG wrote

"No problem. Next time you fly, ask the pilot to show you his weight and balance calculation. Ask him if the tanks are full and how much the fuel weighed.

Seriously that first picture looks like too much weight unless you are flying with fairly minimum fuel for small single prop airplanes.

Then check performance section in the aircraft flight manual (which is supposed to be in the plane). It should have a chart or other means for calculating runway length as function of temperature and barometric pressure. "

I tried to follow your advice but the American Eagle Stewardess wouldn't let me talk to the pilot until I insisted and then he called homeland security and they took me and felt me up! I gave him your name as the ringleader of the plot.

That pile of meat above looked like Jeff Dalmer's fridge!

;_0

Karl


sempervirens

climber
  Apr 14, 2008 - 07:41pm PT
Good story! this is dumb... but, where do you go to see the photos? I can't find 'em.
Thanks.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 14, 2008 - 08:03pm PT
Micronut - great pics and nice send!

While I hear you about your pilot not being the irresponsible type, he did put you and your boys into a life-threatening situation. And as in most general aviation accidents, avoidably so, by the sound of it.

Weight and balance, density altitude, takeoff and landing performance - all of this is 101 stuff, and can let you know whether you're going to get off the ground and climb safely or not, given your runway length and any obstacles (like power lines). Sounds like he might have had some doubts before making the go decision.

With three other souls on board, going for it w/o being sure of your numbers is beyond irresponsible. Many situations similar to yours have ended fatally - just peruse the NTSB aviation accident database for a macabre substantiation of this fact.

Not saying this to be down on your friend (or was this a paid service?). I just hope that the pilot is being harder on himself than you're being on him!

Any case, glad no one got hurt (except the plane).
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Apr 14, 2008 - 09:05pm PT
Glad you boys came out unscathed. What's more scary, at least to me, is how devoid of snow that E. Coulior is. This should be prime season for skiing that thing. I'd heard that winds fouled-up/stripped-out a lot of the higher shots, but that's just friggin' ridiculous. I've also heard that V-Notch and U-Notch are already ice climbs. Tragic...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Apr 14, 2008 - 11:55pm PT
Jeepers!
There's a thread title that begs a look.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
  Apr 15, 2008 - 10:42am PT
LOL.

Karl, I hope for your sake the feeler was the stewardess and not the pilot (or the pilot was female - there are a few of them around).


micronut,
Do you have any pictures of the plane with the N-number on the side?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 15, 2008 - 11:20am PT
Thanks for all the corncern. Yeah, it was definitely a Cherokee 6. I don't have any idea what the tail insignia was. I'm just trying to chalk it up to a close call much like our climbing tales of death and daring that we love to tell round the campfire. This one's a bit different though. I'm not in the mood to make light of it yet.
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Apr 15, 2008 - 11:33am PT
Micro,

Nice story! I love happy endings.

Great photos of the skiing, too.

Nothing like a near miss with meeting your maker to allow you to truly appreciate everything about life, huh? Thanks for sharing that.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Apr 15, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Scott,

Glad you guys are ok! Sounds dicey... those little planes are scary, stick with safer stuff, like trad climbing :-) Great pics of your Sawtooth adventure! Lots of snow up there eh?

Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Apr 15, 2008 - 01:06pm PT
Ew. Glad you had a happy ending. Very scary indeed.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
  Apr 15, 2008 - 01:10pm PT
N-number was just a way to identify the aircraft.

micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 15, 2008 - 01:13pm PT
Yeah guys, total gripper. I still think it was dicier riding in the recovering meth addict's Hyundai with no shocks or power steering fluid than the botched take-off. The Eastside is definitely the wild west. Dave, there is still lots of snow, but man the coulior was bony and should have more white stuff in it than it did. great trip though. I'll post a couple more photos soon. How are things in Boulder, you two?
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
  Apr 15, 2008 - 01:17pm PT
Wow...

Cool TR. Glad ya'll weren't hurt.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 15, 2008 - 01:39pm PT
here's a couple more shots....
Top of the class III/IV ridge after the coulior


Suckin wind on the approach to the glacier

Chillin in the coulee

Summit view

Heading down the ridge

Reno Buffet! You been here FOUR HOUR! You go NOW!
climbera5

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Apr 15, 2008 - 02:16pm PT
Nice pics, sure looks fine up there. Not to belabor the point and as a pilot myself, I agree with the previous posts that you were fortunate to survive takeoff. Weight, balance, altitude, temperature, runway length, etc. all are important factors that MUST be respected, checked and double checked. Glad you made it.

Cheers!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:24pm PT
After reading Pvalchev's TR this morning, I thought I'd resurrect this old TR of our adventure and harrowing survival on Matterhorn Peak a few years ago.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
...the right landing gear caught fire.


Is that bad?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
Haha killer report for sure. Good adventure!!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
Dude! I missed this the first time. Awesome!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
nice resurrection

did you get kicked out of an all you can buffet?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Apr 17, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Apr 17, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
Wow! Great stuff! Micronut, my favorite might be the admonishment from the buffet staff/owner.

And I'm tempted to say this comment was the first reference to an infamous rappeller, several years before the El Cap Incident:
Outstanding!! A REAL trip report....... Great googley moogley. Glad you guys are ok!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Apr 17, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Thanks to whoever bumped this, because I missed it the first time. No two ways about it, Scott. Your trip reports set the standards to which the rest of us aspire.

John
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Apr 17, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Glad to catch up to this one! NICE! Glad ya didnt perish in the cessna-cherokee!;-)
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
  Apr 17, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
Great trip report - but a pilot who doesn't think that the laws of physics apply to him or can't be bothered to apply them is, as the immortal words say,



going




to die.

Sooner, rather than later
Glad you could report back, because it makes a great tale
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Apr 17, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
Wow.... any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

Your Pilot learned a lot.

I am really happy you were able to post this one.
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Apr 17, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
Missed this one as well. Thanks for bumping up!

It seems to have left Mark without words......
SalNichols

Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
  Apr 17, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
Interesting that the accident was never reported to the NTSB. I suspect your pilot friend knew that he was going to get a boot to the nuts.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 19, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Glad you are OK, wow, maybe pick another pilot next time.
Great pics, thanks
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Apr 18, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
Wow!


OK, wow!

That's a unique TR.
Glad you had a great trip and survived!
DaveyTree

Trad climber
Fresno
  Apr 18, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Guess He's not done with you yet.......good thing!
pvalchev

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Apr 18, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
Wow, what a crazy story! Thanks for bumping, missed this one first time around. I'm dreaming of getting a license to fly to climbing places, and this trip report is what nightmares are made of... :)
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Apr 18, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
holy Holly that was an adventure!
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
  Apr 18, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
do the math.
Johnny K.

climber
  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:10pm PT
up
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Matterhorn Peak - North Arete 5.7 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from the approach.
Photo: Brad Goya