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The "Insides" Couloirs # 6475

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Date: 2005.03.13
Vantage Point: From unnamed glacier

Caption: Paul Baker approaching a pair of steep couloirs at the head of Eight Mile Creek

PhotoDescr: These interesting features are at the head of Eight Mile Creek northeast of Pemberton. For another view, in this photo they are at the right end of the steep north-facing wall (for some perspective in that photo, the big buttress in front is 2100' and the couloirs each about 1200'. I am referring to these things as the "Insides" couloirs because they are so deeply walled that you cannot from any vantage below get a complete view of them. Indeed, I had originally thought them quite benign as the overall angle of the wall is about 45 degrees.

Paul Baker and I went into this valley this past weekend (my third trip, though I say it with nostalgia and not suffering - the place is magnificent) to try one of a handful of the nice lines in the area and settled on the right hand couloir as the nicest looking.

As we started climbing it became obvious that it was more serious than we had anticipated; the first 500 feet were wonderful 50 degree styrofoam neve with a 70 degree ice bulge. But we were soon faced with an ugly section of near vertical and protectionless rotten ice and powder snow. After Paul messed around trying to get a screw or a picket in, we decided to rap back to the base off some knifeblades -- we knew that if the "easier" sections down low were this troublesome, then the real difficulties (massive chockstones with hanging icicles) -- which we could see way up high -- would likely be a real treat.

While writing reports about one's failures never does much for morale, I do want to draw some attention to this area -- the scope of things to do, the relatively easy access, and the longish nature of the lines makes it an unjustifiably neglected spot. Quite nice.

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