My quest for the obeliesque started many months ago while reading your guys' posts. I figured that between quarters at school I could make a run for North Twin. The combo bike - climb sounded like a great idea. Now that my mission is accomplished I see that I should've spent a bit more time training for this.....
Started out from the parking lot at 8am with my satellite images, old trip reports and USGS maps. The snaking of logging roads was daunting but I figured I had enough beta to find my way. Many posts describe the way in as some biking with some pushing. Well, those gentlemen must have thighs of steel cause my method was mostly pushing. After a mile I was passed by the oiling truck who layed a thick coat on the road all the way to the quarry.
Now I know they put down the oil for a reason but the whole thought of oiling the roads just didn't sit well with me. Not to mention it coated my bike and my boots. The next couple of miles smelt like burnt turkey and kept reminding me of thanksgivings with my ex-wife.
I followed the road and the maps to what I was sure was the right turn-off and after some bends and hills, arrived at a logging site.
I met two nice good ole boys named Bubba and Bill. They explained that the roads had changed and that I had taken the wrong one. Bill, the dad, offered to take me in his pickup to the right road so I tossed my bike in the back and we headed off. As we drove, Bill gave me the history of the mountain. He started logging here in the 60's and never left. He said in the next year they're going to make the roads better up to the the TH for us kids (?) to get better access and he's going to work on putting up some signs cause he keeps finding lost souls. Bill said he climbed North Twin back when the mountain was smaller. Not really sure what that meant but just left it at that....
I headed up the west ridge and was blown away at the grip the dunite rock had. This mountain was made for climbing! The handholds made the class 3, 4 routes seem like climbing a ladder.
I was on a solo mission and a couple of times was so into the climbing I would find myself on faces that started to get a bit intense. It was easy for routes to get fairly steep and had to hold myself back from getting to crazy. I wasn't afraid of falling..I was a afraid that if I fell the dunite would leave the palms of my hands on the holds. In one section I kept finding pitons, then I heard some voices. I looked over and the guys next to me were roped in and putting in gear. They were just as amazed to see me as I was to see them.
I topped out the summit at around 12:30 and must admit..I was feeling pretty spent. Trip reports never reflect the stress and strain that people feel and tend to lead me to think either some guys are climbing machines or they just don't want to let anyone know their pain. I'm honest....after taking anatomy and physiology this summer, I can name each and every muscle that was cramping and screaming. Nonetheless, I was stoked and I had a mission to finish. I ate lunch at the summit and enjoyed the views. We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
I decided to take a more southernly route on my descent and follow a goat/climbing trail. Don't do this...head down the west route along the ridge because I spent the next couple of hours trying to traverse back to the west ridge. Lots of going up..coming down, nope cliff...back up and then down..nope cliff....over and over and over. The sun was beating down and I was quickly getting drained.....
I made it back to the TH and was excited for the bike ride down. The only problem was that my energy reserves were depleted, legs gone and hands numb from the dunite sandpaper. My ride turned into a bullet bee-line to my car with me holding on for dear life. Oh yea...and that damn burnt turkey again.
North Twin is a great climbing experience. It's too bad that the mountain isn't a bit more accessible but that makes it only for the die hards. I would recommend that a person be ready for a long day and spend less time studying in the library and more time training for this one. If you're willing to pay the price...this mountain is definitely worth the climb.
That's a great scramble! We were eyeballing it from the railroad grade last weekend, thinking it would be fun to do again. That rock has the most amazing friction I've ever seen but some fellow climbers had to wear light gloves to protect their fingers from the sandpaper-like rock. Would love to see some clear updated directions since the roads have apparently changed quite a bit in 10 years.
PS Sorry about the burnt turkey...
-------------- "May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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