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Thread: Burgundy Spire

  1. #1
    Trail Master RAM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Out on the edge of the bell curve

    Burgundy Spire

    t had been 15 years since I had climbed the spire and I had fond memories of
    it. Then we did it as an overnight, throwing in some other peaks. This time we
    decided to try it as a long day trip. It still had some meat to it. Over 4,000
    feet of ascent, leading to 7 pitches, with 4 of them being 5.8 and perhaps a tad
    harder in a few places.

    The day starts with a descent into a river valley and a river crossing. The log
    was thin. The log was wet. The log was slick. I am an old stiff man, in the
    morning. I should have taken the boots off and waded the sucker. Laziness
    prevailed. I was half way across the log and thought to myself "you are moving
    awful slowly " I decided to pick the pace up. You know....if you don't stay any
    place too long, you can't fall from it.....not! I started lose balance. I sped
    up. Tried to sprint the last 8 yards. Went over the side. Strode for the far
    back. Came up short. In to the thigh I went. The foot wedged. OUCH! With the
    foot stuck, back over I go, to the butt and then the neck, in 3 feet of water.
    Foot got freed quickly. Scrambled up an out.

    So here I am, pack and body completely soaked to the nape of the neck, in ice
    water, at 6 AM, limping on a jacked ankle, to go with the balky knee and
    strained calf. VERY tempting to just head back up and call it a day. I decide to
    march up the hill instead. Three thousand vertical feet later I stop for the
    first time, soaked still, but now from sweat. The boots are still squishy on the
    inside. I find a crag to wedge them in, with favorable sun angle and switch to
    rock shoes.

    The climb is wonderful. Less lichen on the route that before and 3 pitches in
    particular are memorable. The the crux off width is the very last move, before
    the precarious step up to the tiny summit. The day is sunny, we are warm, the
    climbing great and we laugh easily. Many raps later, we haul down the hill. We
    find a different log to cross the river. And I have walked my boots dry.

    A look on the webs, at weather forecasts show the western Cascade's due some
    great weather. We decide to go and tackle some of the routes on our primary wish
    list. The list of scary places avoided or failed at, in the past. After 3 long
    day trips, we are ready to try the more challenging alpine fare again.

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