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jhump


Oct 14, 2002, 4:33 PM
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Cassin Ridge
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I am considering the Cassin Ridge of Denali in May/June. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


bradhill


Oct 14, 2002, 5:06 PM
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Just curious, jhump, why the Cassin?

I hear it's mighty crowded on that route these days.


jhump


Oct 14, 2002, 6:43 PM
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It is not close to as crowded as most other routes on Denali. It has loads of moderately technical terrain. It is a dream climb to me. Tell me about the crowds, because I believed it to be a rather irregularly climbed route. Thanks.
Jeremy


bradhill


Oct 14, 2002, 7:30 PM
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Well, crowded is a relative term. For Alaska, it's a pretty popular route on a popular mountain. I don't mean to say it's a bad choice; it's a classic for a reason.

Still, Alaska's a huge place with lots of really great, challenging routes. Just curious what else you were considering that didn't make the cut?


dsafanda


Oct 14, 2002, 7:42 PM
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I have never seen much conversation on this site about climbs like The Cassin. You might have better luck on a site like http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/. I think the forum on that site leans a little bit towards mountain climbing as opposed to rockclimbing.

I don't know much about it but I had always thought of the Cassin as a fairly substantial undertaking. It's a big step up from the West butt. isn't it?

[ This Message was edited by: dsafanda on 2002-10-14 12:42 ]


jhump


Oct 14, 2002, 9:35 PM
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Does anyone know the best guidebook, or where to get topos?


dsafanda


Oct 14, 2002, 10:21 PM
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A topo for the Cassin Ridge? This is beginning to smell liek a troll. Wouldn't the appropriate topo come from the USGS?



bradhill


Oct 14, 2002, 10:39 PM
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Yeah, it's supposed to be really damn hard. Really. Although mostly, it's long (Cassin spent weeks on it, but he was a notorious snail) and weather and altitude are the big things to deal with.

Which is why I find it curious that it's so popular. If you're really up to that standard, there are dozens of routes to choose from in that neighborhood. Routes that see one or two ascents in a decade, as opposed to the Cassin's one or two a week (in season). Last year there were eleven attempts on the Cassin and more climbers on it than on any other route but the W.Butt and W.Rib. For the time the route's in season ant the time it takes to climb, eleven parties in a year is a lot. It's seen at least as many as eighteen parties in a year before, too.

Why not go to Foraker, Hunter, Huntington, Dickey, or any of the dozen or two routes of similar technical difficulty just on Denali and avoid the crowds? Do you want to have to pass up there?

Jonathan Waterman's High Alaska is a good source of route info on climbs on the big three in the Denali massif. Also pick up a Brad Washburn book like Conquest of Denali and check out the photos. You can call or write to the Talkeetna ranger station, too, I believe they actually do have a specific topo for the Cassin.

But, really, you should know this stuff already if you're really up for the route.

I'm guessing, since you don't, you've never climbed in Alaska before. At least plan on doing the West Butt to acclimatize first.


bradhill


Oct 14, 2002, 10:44 PM
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Oh, yeah. And definitely read Waterman's Surviving Denali.

Read everything that man's written, but read that first.


jhump


Oct 15, 2002, 1:16 AM
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dsafanda,
No troll. I did not mean a USGS map, I meant a climbers topo showing camps, and the features encountered on the climb (Jap Couloir, Ice Rib, Cowboy Hat Traverse, the notorious shrund, Rock Bands 1 & 2, etc.

bradhill,
I have done my homework on this route. No, I have not climbed in Alaska. I understand the seriousness of the route. I have referenced the various sources you have mentioned (except Surviving Denali- thanks for the recommendation), But, I really want to hear some tactics for those who have climbed it. And most of all, those who have climbed it fast. What to bring and what to eschew. Any info would be appreciated.
Jeremy


jgorris


Oct 15, 2002, 1:40 AM
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I've never tried Denali and my hats off to anyone with the ambition to go there let alone go there and try the Cassin.

I've done a fair amount of alpine clmbing in the lower 48, and did the north face of Robson in Canada. I tried St. Elias in Alaska and got spanked. I've heard Cassin is a lot harder. Good luck.


hard:

http://www.gorrisoft.com/robson.html

a lot harder:

http://www.gorrisoft.com/stelias.html

Cassin: Good Luck!



[ This Message was edited by: jgorris on 2002-10-14 18:42 ]


dsafanda


Oct 15, 2002, 1:55 AM
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I didn't mean it as a dig. I wish you the best of luck. Hope you summit.


bradhill


Oct 15, 2002, 6:03 AM
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Yeah, I'm not trying to be a dick, either. Good luck, and kick some ass. The Cassin's way out of my league, and hats off to you if you pull it off.


jhump


Oct 15, 2002, 2:43 PM
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I know taken as a whole, the route is mammoth and hard to get off in a storm. But, I read numerous acconts of the climb that describe the trickier sections as short boulder problem chimneys separated by miles of 50-70 deg ice. I feel that a fit party that can simulclimb the lower angle sections should be able to get off in 3-4 days. Tell me what you think.
jeremy


jtcronk


Oct 15, 2002, 3:02 PM
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Hey there. I was just reading all the posts from your message. I haven't been on the Cassin, but I have been on the West Rib. I'd say that a fit party, THOROUGHLY acclimatized could definitely do it in 3-4 days. Just take your time, head up the W Butt and spend a few days at the 14 camp, do a couple day trips up higher (upper Rib, etc). Head back down, rest a couple days, and move quickly through the NE Fork. It really is an active area, lots of seracs collapsing, etc. Go very light too! Wait for a clear weather forecast, don't get on it without that. Hope this helps.....Jason


dsafanda


Oct 15, 2002, 3:07 PM
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I wish I could tell you something helpful but I'm not really capable of discussing it. I don't have the alpine experience necessary to even think about it. I just got sucked in to this topic because it was a nice change of pace from the usual drivel. You need to talk with people who have first hand experience.

For starters here's a good trip report I found online...
http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/ice/mk-allen.html


bradhill


Oct 15, 2002, 4:39 PM
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Fitness is not the only key to moving rapidly. Experience is very important. Do you have a lot of experience doing route finding and climbing quickly on mixed terrain, glaciers and in super-cold weather? If you haven't climbed in Alaska, have you done this stuff in other ranges?


jhump


Oct 15, 2002, 7:02 PM
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Yes, I have lots of experience, but nothing that compares to this. That is the point. I want to push out into the unknown, seldomly traveled flanks of Denali's South Face. I want big commitment and this route has it. Don't let my age (23) tell you I cant hack it. Last year two 20 year olds smoked it in 56 hours. I'm not them. But, I have been training hard for 5 years and have some solid winter experience under my belt. My partner is older and more experienced. He can get off of anything. He is a rescue expert. We are solid. I wish Dr. Piton read the Alpine forum. He would say, "go for it, you might die, but you sure will have fun."


atg200


Oct 15, 2002, 7:08 PM
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you might die, but you won't have fun. denali ain't yosemite

just out of curiosity, what other big mixed routes have you done? how high have you been? i couldn't believe how much harder 70 degree ice feels at 17K than at 14K, and rock is a bigger change.

good luck though. good to see the young cats pushing it way out in the middle of nowhere.


jhump


Oct 15, 2002, 7:52 PM
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Sorry guys, I'm not going to spray about how strong and experienced I am. I guess we can PM, and I'll tell you what I've been on. I just want some beta. For example: Should I climb the West Butt first to acclimatize and stash food at 17k, or should I just enter the NE fork and do acclimatization runs from there? I have read some rack tips, but I would like to know what I can live without. Tent or Bivies? Where are good ledges for my Eldo? Is the shrund still collapsed to permit easier passage? How much rope is fixed on the rock bands to facilitate emergency descent? Does anyone know someone I can call, PM, or email who would have these answers?
Jeremy


jhump


Oct 15, 2002, 7:53 PM
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Remember: "It doesn't have to be fun to be fun."


highambitions


Oct 16, 2002, 4:11 PM
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Well Son, I know how hard you have trained, and how anxious you are for a committed route. With that in mind I offer you this advice... Go for it, climb safe, and have fun. Love Dad


rockprodigy


Oct 16, 2002, 7:48 PM
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Cassin Ridge [In reply to]
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Well now that the peanut gallery has had their say, maybe you'd like to hear from somebody who has done it.

First off, let me congratulate you on being bold enough to try. What pisses me off is all the nay sayers out there who try to disuade you. I did it when I was 24...my first time on Denali and everybody and their brother told me I wouldn't be able to do it. Well F' them! Go for it...my only reservation is...are you really living in Cleveland, OH?? It's going to be hard to train there!

You don't need much gear, there's lots of fixed pins. We brought 4 cams (metolious #1 and #2 TCU, and BD .5 and .75), a handful of nuts, ten slings and about 5 pins which we never used. We brough a couple screws too, but didn't use 'em after the first 200' of the Jap couloir. We simul climbed the entire route and did it in 3 days...climbing about 12 hours each day. You move much slower at altitude, and we were breaking trail, being the first party of the year. Plus we did it in late may, so it was super cold at night...if I went back, I'd do it in late june. There are some KICK-ASS bivies up there! We used a Stephenson's 2 man tent, and we fit perfectly on Cassin Ledge, we chopped a ledge on the glacier at about 15K and bivied at a small col at about 17k. Oh yeah, I got a trip report at www.naclassics.com with photos too.

The Talkeetna Ranger station has a topo.... If you really want to go fast, I would suggest yo get good at climbing moderate mixed (up to 5.7) in mittens/gloves with a pack on...then you don't have to stop, and you don't get cold, etc..

Oh yeah, don't go up the NE fork. Descend the west rib from genet basin on the Butt.


jhump


Oct 16, 2002, 8:03 PM
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Man, thanks for the encouragement and Beta. That really hit the spot.
Yes I am living in Cleveland and going to law school here. I am not worried about
a lack of places around to train conditioning. I hit the stepper with heavy pack and boots, and boulder/scramble wearing the same year round. I climb alot in NH, and have a few more trips planned before May.
If I have more questions, I will PM, but for now THANKS AGAIN.
Jeremy


jhump


Oct 16, 2002, 8:10 PM
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rockprodigy,
You mentioned simuling the entire route, did you do so unroped or with running belays? Another quesion- In the mixed sections, was it so hard to require tools on rock, or did you drop the tools and just climbed gloved.
Jeremy

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