Monday, February 27, 2006

Sunset Amphitheater

The Headwall Couloir...

A team of five climbers made a strong attempt on this remote and difficult route a few weeks ago. Here are a few images from one member's website; I'll attempt to sumarize the trip. They decided not to post a report, but did share a few details with me.

The team first noticed that a major section of the Tahoma Creek Trail was destroyed below the suspension bridge/Wonderland Trail. Last fall, glacier outbursts from a heavy rain storm took out some of the westside road and Tahoma Creek Trail. The trail washout, in particular, was rather amazing. The original trail abruptly disappears into a creek bed of gravel, rock and boulders. What was once an old growth forest, moss, downed trees, dense vegatation, is now a creek bed with gigantic trees. The forest floor is buried. In all, about 1/2 mile of the trail is wiped out.

As for the climbing route... The team reported a few problem, the first significant one being a dropped set of tent poles. This would make things difficult later on. Also, and maybe more importantly, they selected a route up St. Andrews Rock that cost them a day of travel... This exposure left them more vulnerable to the changing weather. And that's what happened, wind, snow, /12 a tent, and a snow shelter... It made for an interesting night.

After losing the effectiveness of one tent, and a day of travel, the team reluctantly retreated with plans of returning. Despite not summiting, they felt the route was a go! Here is a closer picture of the Amphitheater and upper Puyallup Glacier.

For more information, see:
a listing of climbs here. These photos are courtesy of Alexandre Mineev