Forum Index

Trail Talk

Partners

Trip Reports
 

Stewardship
/History 

Gear
/Food/Photo

Support
/Links 

Saloon
/Trade 
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Assassin Spire (8,680'+) - NW Face - First Ascent - 3.6.10
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday



Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 2434 | TRs | Pics
Location: The 'Snatch
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:15 pm    Assassin Spire (8,680'+) - NW Face - First Ascent - 3.6.10
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Assassin Spire - The Shooting Gallery (IV, WI4+)


Assassin Spire is a subsidiary summit of Lincoln Peak, one of the intimidating Black Buttes on Mt. Baker.  Until this weekend it had never seen an ascent via any route.

Daniel Jeffrey and I headed up to Marmot Ridge via Warm Creek off the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River on Thursday evening after work.  We had planned to approach that evening, but it was raining when we arrived, so we decided to postpone the approach until the following morning.

Friday morning we awoke at 3:30AM, and got ready to head up.  We were crossing a very icy Warm Creek by 3:50 in complete darkness.  We then headed up new growth timber through a clearcut for 700' to gain Marmot Ridge.  From here, it was a long, undulating journey to camp at ~6200' in the basin below Assassin Peak and Heliotrope Ridge.

The next morning we awoke at 3:30 again to crystal clear, starry skies.  We brewed some water and coffee, and proceeded to cross the basin to the base of the NW Face.  We had spied a vertical line of ice (~3 pitches of WI6) below the hanging glacier, but it looked a bit intimidating for us, so we opted to try a less sporty line on climber's right.

2 25m pitches of WI4+ (90-100 degree ice - short stretches of overhanging on the first pitch) separated by a ledge led us up to a 55 degree buttress.  The ice on the curtain was very brittle and it took multiple swings to get good placements.  This was very tiring, and we pumped out fast.  I led 20m on the first step before running out of screws.  I then lowered off and belayed Daniel up to finish the last 5m (one more screw placement).  From here, he belayed me up and I led the next 30m pitch.  The ice was better here, but still brittle in spots.  A swing of the tool would shatter the ice as it broke off huge chunks.

From the top of the first curtain, we climbed 55 degree snow (firm and punchy here) to gain the hanging glacier.  Above the hanging glacier lies an amazing amphitheater of ice and rock that rivals anything else I have seen in the entire N Cascade Range.  How impressive!!  Many lines are waiting to be climbed here consisting of very aesthetic, sustained, and solid ice.

We traversed the hanging glacier to another gully (45 degrees), which we simul-soloed.  This gully led into some 70 degree ice which we also soloed.  We went right at John Wilkes' Tooth before arriving at the final ice curtain (20m WI4+).  Daniel led this and we topped out in another steep snow/ice gully to 55 degrees.  3 more pitches led us to the summit.  What a place!

From the summit, Lincoln Peak looks impressive, as does Colfax and Baker.  We spied about 15 snowmobiles parked under Sherman Peak, and saw 4 climbers at the col below the upper slopes of the Coleman Glacier.

We were buzzed on the summit by an EA6B Prowler who did a double-take and circled us 3 times.  The pilot tipped his wing.  Very cool.

We downclimbed almost everything but rappelled the ice pitches (3 raps total on twin 60m ropes).  Things were glopping up in the afternoon sun and the ice pitches were now snice pitches.  Our crampons and even ice tools were balling up near the bottom of the climb.  I have never seen snow that sticky.

This was a fantastic trip of epic proportions with a great partner in Daniel Jeffrey.  Thanks to John Scurlock for flying over before the ascent to take recon photos, and thanks also for flying over on approach day thinking we were on route (we had told him we would be climbing Assassin on Friday).  We saw him circle about 10 times looking for us.  If only we had a flare gun...  biggrin.gif

Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
Movenhike
\m/..mmmmetal\m/



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 643 | TRs | Pics
Location: Leavenworth, WA
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:21 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

hungry.gif  up.gif  up.gif

--------------
"Make it your Friend"  -John Bull
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Movenhike
\m/..mmmmetal\m/



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 643 | TRs | Pics
Location: Leavenworth, WA
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:38 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Cascades Rock drink.gif  breakdance.gif

--------------
"Make it your Friend"  -John Bull
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Yana
Hater



Joined: 03 Jun 2004
Posts: 3768 | TRs | Pics
Location: Out Hating
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:47 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Awesome!  up.gif  up.gif

How'd you get down?

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 3680 | TRs | Pics
Location: Shoreline
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:48 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Wow, Tom, that's truly impressive.

It says something about the difficulty that Assassin is one of the few spires in the Cascades that really hasn't been climbed by any route by anyone.  At a time when there are few places left to make a first ascent, even by contrived routes, this is a real one.

100 degree ice?  As in overhanging?

Can you mark your route anywhere on the photos?

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Malachai Constant
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jan 2002
Posts: 11900 | TRs | Pics
Location: Back Again Like A Bad Penny
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:52 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

I looked at that when I first climbed Baker and thought to my self who would be crazy enough to climb that? Now I know up.gif  up.gif

--------------
"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
raising3hikers
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 1412 | TRs | Pics
Location: Edmonds, Wa
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:02 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Unbelievable!  Congrats on getting that FA done up.gif  From my vantage point on Sat., Lincoln and Assassin looked very intimidating
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
Stefan-K
Member
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2009
Posts: 300 | TRs | Pics
Location: seattle
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:12 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Fantastic!

cool pics too. I tried to get a sense of your line though couldn't quite connect it in my imagination. I second Matt's request for a route marking... or is it stealth as in assassin?

I didn't even know there were still peaks unclimbed...
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Layback
Proud Papa x2



Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 5493 | TRs | Pics
Location: On a Bike
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:15 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Congratulations on a truly awesome accomplishment Tom.   I hope that we'll get to reread this in the AAJ and NWMJ.  This is a big deal.  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Michael Lewis
Ribbit



Joined: 27 Apr 2009
Posts: 259 | TRs | Pics
Location: Lynnwood, WA (for now)
Post Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:39 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

The overhang was the first pitch, right? Looks like an intense warm-up! And the photo of looking down from the top... I don't think I could explain all the emotions I'd have to hold back if I was there.

Just curious, have you read any of Joe Simpson's books?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
tmatlack
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 2363 | TRs | Pics

Post Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:13 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Beasts!

From the photos I feel like I was up there...cold, tired,  scared, 100% out of my comfort zone. That's why I love these "extreme" TR's.   up.gif  up.gif

Tom
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
EastKing
Summit Addict



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 2014 | TRs | Pics
Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
Post Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:47 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

You always blow us away, Tom. This time you really top all of us!! Excellent TR and photos!

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
RokIzGud
Cozza Frenzy



Joined: 08 Feb 2010
Posts: 1052 | TRs | Pics

Post Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:46 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Wow awesome! That looks like a really cool climb!

--------------
North by Northwest
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 3811 | TRs | Pics

Post Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:55 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

beautiful ... awe inspiring .. jaw dropping stuff tom .. big wahoo on the grabbing the 1st ascent!!!!

--------------
PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 12296 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Post Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:35 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

I remember when I met Tom last summer he mentioned that he had a few interesting things he wanted to climb.  He said he wanted to climb them soon as he 'wasn't sure how long he would be climbing at this level'.  I thought I knew what he was talking about when he said 'this level'.  I clearly did not.  Congrats on a very cool FA.  up.gif  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
  
Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours 
 Post new topic Reply to topic
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Assassin Spire (8,680'+) - NW Face - First Ascent - 3.6.10 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next 
  Happy Birthday teasethedog, christy_E, Jim G, TimJJohnson, geronimo509, Cody s, littlebit, zachpratt25!
 
Jump to:   
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
Search this topic: 


   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
Privacy Policy