Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sherpa Peak North Ridge 8/22 - 8/23
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1908 | TRs
Location: My van
Matt Lemke
  Top

High on the Outdoors
PostMon Aug 24, 2015 1:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Long time no post for me on this site but I figure since my summer is winding down, better start getting TR's written.

Jacob and I finally got schedules to work at a time when I was back in WA from whichever other state I find myself in and climbed the north ridge of Sherpa Peak. I knew the smoke was bad but Sherpa was the last peak in the Stuart range I hadn't climbed and the allure of the north ridge drew me to go despite the smoke. After driving to the Colchuck Lake TH late Friday night, we arrived to well over 100 cars with dozens of people crashing for the night waiting to leave early the next morning. We did the same and tried to get some sleep but the smoke made it hard to breathe.

At 5am we started up the trail and made the quick walk to the base of the final hill leading to Stuart Lake and then followed the boot path up Mountaineers Creek. We followed a cairned path through talus on the slope west of the creek a couple hundred feet above the trees, then dropped back down and continued heading south aiming towards the Argonaut/Sherpa Saddle. At 5,800 we started ascending steeply up talus towards the north ridge. We found some water around 7,000 feet and filled up since it would be our last chance for a while.

Since the gully leading up to the prominent notch in the ridge was completely melted out, we decided to reach the ridge earlier and climb the full route. After some scrambling, and one long 5.7 pitch I led, we reached a huge Class 2 ledge just below the crest on the east side, and walked a few rope lengths. Jacob then led a dirty 5.8 pitch up a chimney where we saw an old ice axe deep in a large crack. I then led another 5.8 pitch up some nice cracks, some of which had some loose blocks. After another scramble rope length, we continued up a deep gully and reached the crest of the ridge once again. We decided to bypass well below the tower just before the big notch and descended 60 feet or so before climbing up again to a large ledge shortly before the notch that we ended up bivying on. I excavated a nice flat, sandy spot on the ledge and threw out my sleeping bad for the night, and other than breathing issues from the smoke, I slept well.

The sun rose right on us the next morning and there was amazingly much less smoke. We could actually see the Teanaway to our south...something we couldn't see at all the day before. We quickly got going again by 7am and I led an easy scramble pitch to the base of the final steep climb to the summit, which consisted of two 5.8 pitches and a long scramble pitch. Jacob led both the 5.8 pitches which he described as scary due to all the loose blocks, and he did an excellent job leading them since he chose to avoid touching them. Since I have been on so much loose rock, I didn't think it was too bad. Following those 2 pitches I grabbed onto most of the blocks he avoided on lead. The hand crack at the base of the diving board tower was spectacular though. After passing to the left of said tower, I went on another full rope length of easy 4th class terrain to a point just below the summit, where I saw a couple guys who had just rappelled down and were heading towards the balanced rock.

We scrambled the remaining 25 feet to the summit and saw a couple more pairs of climbers coming up the west ridge, forcing us to wait a while before we could begin descending however since we reached the top so much earlier than predicted, we enjoyed the summit and conversed with the large group, which was a Mountaineers group. Smoke obscured all the views by this point as the wind picked up. It was about 10am when we reached the summit.

For our descent, we made a very short 30 foot rappel down the final pitch of the standard west ridge route from the large anchor just west of the summit. We then began descending class 3 terrain down a gully trending skiers left (southeast) and after a short 20 foot rappel off a slung boulder to get below a couple huge blocks (optional...low 5th to down climb), we reached a large ledge just before it steeply dropped off around 8,000 feet elevation. We cut left and headed east, over a small rib following goat tracks and reached a notch in the east ridge of Sherpa itself with a steep gully heading down the north side. When snowy, this gully is a descent option but when dry it was hard packed dirt over 50 degrees in steepness...not an option!

Instead we descended 800 feet down to the south from this same notch and continued working skiers left crossing below a series of large ribs. Once we reached the 7,000 foot level, we traversed horizontally, and reached the very large, broad gully marking the last gully before the Sherpa/Argonaut saddle. A short 100 foot ascent brought us to the saddle where Jacob was happy the descent was much easier than what previous descriptions had mentioned. It was mostly class 2, and the first 500 feet below the summit sustained class 3 with a couple short raps. What I thought the worst part of the descent was yet to come. Dropping the 1,000 feet off the Sherpa/Argonaut saddle sucked. Lots of loose rocks barely held in by dirt and sand. One bucket sized rock even came tumbling down and almost hit me had I not dove out of the way just in time. Once we managed to get back to treeline, after much boulder hopping, the rest of the hike out was uneventful. Burritos at South's in Leavenworth afterwards was excellent.

Map of our ascent (blue) and descent (red)
Map of our ascent (blue) and descent (red)

Some photos from the trip below:


--------------
The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
SummitPost Profile
See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6556 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
  Top

Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Aug 24, 2015 1:50 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt Lemke wrote:

Outstanding photo, makes me regret not finding that angle when I was up there. And after everything you did to get here why not climb this too?  wink.gif Great photos and congrats on doing an unusual route to a spectacular peak. Sherpa would get a lot more attention if it wasn't in the shadow of Stuart.

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1908 | TRs
Location: My van
Matt Lemke
  Top

High on the Outdoors
PostMon Aug 24, 2015 3:49 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yeah we didn't climb it because it might fall over  lol.gif
Those two in the photo were part of a Mountaineers group

--------------
The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
SummitPost Profile
See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Jetlag
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 1407 | TRs

Jetlag
  Top

Member
PostMon Aug 24, 2015 5:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great pictures despite the smoke, Matt!

Detailed route description.

I don't remember seeing a picture of the Cascadian Couloir that dry.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
MichaelKnoll1953
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Aug 2015
Posts: 2 | TRs
Location: Renton, WA
MichaelKnoll1953
  Top

Member
PostTue Aug 25, 2015 8:40 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Hi Matt:

On my screen, the topo map you posted was remarkably sharp and clear.  What software do you use, and where did that ultra-sharp base map come from?

Regards,
Michael Knoll
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1908 | TRs
Location: My van
Matt Lemke
  Top

High on the Outdoors
PostTue Aug 25, 2015 8:54 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I use Josh's map generator. See it here:

Ace Maps

Zoom in to the area you want (but don't zoom in too far that the topo lines disappear). Then click generate map and copy and paste the url of the generated image into an additional tab, then save the image to your computer. Edit it in an editor to add lines if you want.

--------------
The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
SummitPost Profile
See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
MichaelKnoll1953
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Aug 2015
Posts: 2 | TRs
Location: Renton, WA
MichaelKnoll1953
  Top

Member
PostTue Aug 25, 2015 8:57 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Spotly
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 3722 | TRs
Location: Mead (Near Spokane)
Spotly
  Top

Member
PostWed Aug 26, 2015 8:14 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
That's the best shot of the balanced rock I've seen.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
ale_capone
Member
Member


Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 471 | TRs

ale_capone
  Top

Member
PostWed Aug 26, 2015 2:33 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yeah Matt! Cool trip, great photos.

Curious, since I got so much grief for it.. Was your wilderness experience ruined by any remnants of the small campfire my friend and I had over the winter?..
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=33496.0

The exit route you took looks like it could be some fun snow riding.. When there is snow.... And stability.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1908 | TRs
Location: My van
Matt Lemke
  Top

High on the Outdoors
PostWed Aug 26, 2015 2:44 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I don't remember seeing any campfire remnants

--------------
The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
SummitPost Profile
See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sherpa Peak North Ridge 8/22 - 8/23
  Happy Birthday Gabigabs!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

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
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy