Pine Creek

Submitted by JoJo on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 15:09

Ari and I did Blue and Green Gully yesterday, Sunday November 20th.

Both are in fine shape with great ice although the low angle middle part on Blue is kind of scrappy.

I climbed Blue with Chad Chadwick's original early 1970s era Chouinard Hammer and Axe making it quite a fun climb as the techniques and styles needed to climb with those versus new tools are completely different. In short, modern climbers are not worthy. New tools make it so much easier to bully one's way past all the different ice qualities and ignore the more important arts of knowing where to swing and how to stay in balance. With modern ice screws it's was actually very enjoyable and engaging! Thanks Chad.

Green is in fine early season shape. More of a hose than than the big fatty it will become. The top is narrow and thin in places but has great gear if you know how to work for it.

The approach is fine, if not bony, with no wind slabs or otherwise. Can't speak for the thousands of feet above the climb. The road up there is snow packed and good traveling. The switchback might get awfully slick with the clear weather.

Justin and I climbed in Pine Creek today and I wanted to give an update on conditions. We got on Green and Blue, both were in decent shape although extremely wet. Seems like a good cold spell will bulk both of them up quite nicely. Green was probably the wetter of the two, with the top simply hosing. Very wet ice made for decent climbing but it was still a little crumbly in the last few meters.

More or less the same for Blue, lots of wet ice and some growing to go yet. Not quite as crumbly, but thinner in places than Green (in the middle as JoJo mentions in his post).

Approaches are in excellent shape, good boot pack all the way up to Green and then a really nice, easy traverse over to Blue. Some new snow made us a little hesitant about the gullies above, but we saw no indicator of recent avy activity and nothing to indicate any increased hazard while were there.

Also made the trek over to Pine Creek falls, and much to my disappointment the Lower Falls is really, really thin. Mostly verglas on the lower half of the lower falls, with thin, spotty ice up into the gully. Sporty conditions on that route, but White Twister and the other routes on that left wall are fat.

Upper Pine Creek falls is mostly fat, with nice cauliflower down low and good sticks up high, but the middle third is pretty hollow. Tread lightly.

Road is in good shape, some new snow but we had no problem getting to the TH, nor did another Subie. Keep getting up there!