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Old 03-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
mudrat
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Cascade Slide: March 25, 2012

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PICTURES

Well, the Winter 46r dinner was Saturday the 24th and a couple good friends, Nathan Crooker and Danielle Camastra were being ‘inducted’. Since they were up, we’d hoped to climb a slide the next day. Initially, we’d big plans on Giant which changed to Cascade and turned into an incredible day of fun, humor and exploration. Sunday started with an ambition-sucking rain/mist combination. We had breakfast in Wilmington, after which they’d planned to head home given the weather. I ran an idea past them since the weather looked like it might be breaking slightly…climb Cascade Slide. We did a quick change at my house as the mist cleared and cloud ceiling raised to about 3,000’. At 1 pm we took the 1 minute bushwhack from parking lot to the runout and meandered our way up to the base of the falls.

I’d been looking forward to climbing the cascade since watching Phil Brown climb it last year, but didn’t know if Dani/Nathan would be comfortable with it. They’d had some technical climbing experience and were game, so up we went. Nathan darted up the right side to capture shots while Dani and I worked our way up the left staying relatively close to the water on the good rock. Climbing was comfortable, though about halfway up more focus was required. Some of the holds were loose and the rock slopes downward. The rock climbing shoes gripped easily in the cold water, however. I’ve got to say that I felt more exposed during the final 20’ than I ever did in the Trap Dyke. The holds seem smaller and footing is less sure. IMO, the sketchiest area was about 100’ from the pool below, so I took my time and focused on each placement. Thanks to Nathan for 'running' up ahead and taking all those shots of us climbing...awesome pics, my friend!



We took a break at the top and marveled at the view mainly because I though the clouds would be lower. Once the adrehnalin cleared from our collective systems, we went up through the mineral deposit/bouldered chute at the top. Greens, blues, and other colors drew my attention. The diverse textures and mixtures of minerals were truly amazing. The stones in the runout below were a mere ‘teaser’ to the feature above. Many of the boulders seemed to balance on the edge of falling if I sneezed. I tried not to as Dani’s acting career wouldn’t flourish from under a boulder.

Eventually I took to climbing in the water which, to my surprise, wasn’t frigid. I didn’t bother avoiding it since the rock shoes grip in wet or dry conditions as long as there’s no algae. Above a truck sized boulder lay a ledge that we climbed on the right-hand side. Chunks of ice and loose stonework, seemingly held together by sphagnum moss loomed overhead and to the right up a smaller drainage.

To our left was one of the most spectacular features I’ve ever seen on a slide. It was a weathered dike than channeled the water for over 150’. It was about 3-4’ wide and 8-10 feet deep depending on where you measured. I can’t fully describe its beauty. It also had a deep and particularly tempting pool partway down. I resisted the temptation to throw anyone in it including myself. We didn’t stay in the chute during the ascent but rather climbed up its stepped northern wall. Consequently you can see this feature as a dark line on Google Earth if you zoom close enough.



More slab led the way to the next ledge climb. Nathan remained close to the waterfall while we scooted up the opposite side on dirtier ground. At this point we reached a portion that leveled off by comparison. Chunks of ice spotted it on occasion. The slab had a more consistently even surface as well before becoming littered with a bit of rubble before an old mossy tributary slide that intersects at about 2900’. I could feel the water getting a little colder on my feet, protected by only rock shoes. I’d explored the tributary slide a year and a half ago just after the first snowfall.

The main slide continued straight (left-hand track) up small stepped ledges. I could see the cloud ceiling approaching. We’d be enveloped by the time we reached 3100’. Another ledge climb drew us into the fog. Clay was now appearing underfoot. The shoes gripped well in its surface which held the small rocks fast within its grip. The ledges began to disappear as before a traverse up the long track of clay, dirt and pebbles. Perched at the top of this section was a monstrous boulder…a barge in a sea of sand. It was difficult to keep tiny flecks out of my shoes so, again, I stayed in the now very cold slow of water. Only exertion kept my feet from numbing.

The final wall of slab prior to the old horizontal exposure was now at hand. It was 45 feet in height and 35-40 degrees with a wide diagonal dike (flush with the surface) going through it diagonally. Water ran down the center cleaning a nice path through the bits of dirt that dotted much of it. Minute ledges provided the traction necessary to scramble up. Dani had changed into boots earlier on and took to the woods, coming out at the far end of an ice field at the base of the long horizontal slab (200’ long). Nathan and I walked carefully across the ice in the rock shoes, now akin to wearing slippery banana skins on the shifting blocks. Rubber offered no thermal protection and the cold seeped up into my calves. My other shoes were at the base of the falls, so only one choice remained…keep moving. The final run of old exposure and mossy slab was at the northeast side of the wide pitch above the ice field.

At its top we took some pics posed near a large block of sculpted ice, still sitting awaiting its turn to melt and slide down. Nearby we heard a loud ‘thunk!’ as a piece of ice slid down somewhere below us. I echoed its call by pushing another down into the woods. The mist shrouded any views and dampened the area. I could see rain penetrating the fog as well. It was 4:00 p.m. and we’d accomplished half the task. We’d only to go back down the slide. Nathan shot some video of the area, us and plugged 5.10 rock/ice shoes to boot! After 10 minutes of standing in the runoff from the block of ice, my feet were long past numb so walking down the sphagnum was a trick of trusting that my feet were squarely under me.



A few minutes later, I’d walked enough to regain feeling and the annoying sensation of all the grit that had collected near my toes. I stopped in the water and took my shoes off, letting the water clean them as well as my legs. Nathan asked if I thought it was June and snapped a photo. Meanwhile, the clouds were in the process of dropping and rain began to spit a little harder. Once we reached the water shoot near the bottom quarter, we slowed to play around a bit. This time we climbed down in the dike and got soaked from the side chutes entering the main channel. Of course we were already wet to the core. Several more pics later found us scavenging through the calcite and other minerals. Again, I looked up at the precariously balanced rockwork with skepticism as to their solidity. We opted not to descend the waterfall and bushwhacked into the woods along the northeastern side…the area I used to use before Irene came along. We found several slings attached to trees on our way down and were pack in the drainage a short time later.

Then 'tragedy' struck. I don’t think anyone so much as got a scrape on the way up or down. There was suddenly a loud hollow thunk and Dani was on the ground. She’d gotten her leg caught between two logs, slipped and fell hard on her shin. Nathan paled and we rushed over thinking the worst, a break. I looked down and saw an angry white indentation and the skin pushed aside. It began swelling above just above the site. It was not broken, however. We walked the remaining few hundred feet back to the car talking about it 'not being over ‘till it’s over'! Back at my house, I found the next closest thing to an ice pack…two loaves of frozen banana bread in a ziplock. That kept the swelling down and gave them a snack once they thawed on her leg. Always a silver lining! Thanks again Deb for the BB! Of course, she's tough and nails and was at a casting the next day (not leg cast ).

Summary
I can’t even begin to describe the humor of the day. I told Nathan that it begins to hurt after 5 hours of laughing. Our photo sessions reminded me of a game of twister a couple times. A half hour on the initial waterfall was also an awesome treat and exiting thrill. As a word of warning, however, I would not free climb this unless you’re comfortable with rock climbing, have rock or approach shoes and are calm with full exposure. It’s far too easy to make a wrong move and take the fast track down to the base.

I drove by the slide the following morning. It was about 20 degrees rather than 40 or 50 like when we climbed it. The slide looked like a white snake running up through the woods once again. God’s perfect timing gave us a warm climb after hot week before a cold snap moved in again. Thanks to Nathan and Dani for a fun exciting climb!
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Last edited by mudrat; 01-17-2013 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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Well, it seems that you cannot stop... at least until the weather gets back to more spring like.....


I may be wrong about this, but I think this slide is an ice route in winter and that it was not created by Irene.

Love the pics, its give a real sense of what you did.

I will try it, but will wait for dryer conditions.

Last edited by nangaparbat; 03-27-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nangaparbat View Post
Well, it seems that you cannot stop... at least until the weather gets back to more spring like.....


I may be wrong about this, but I think this slide is an ice route in winter and that it was not created by Irene.

Love the pics, its give a real sense of you did.

I will try it, but will wait for dryer conditions.
Twas a good climb. THanks!
Prior to Irene it was just a stream bed with a few open places during bottom 1/3 primarily, though nothing as wide as now (I've been up it 4 times prior). If you look at old pics, the old exposure resembled a sideways "T". See google earth. Now, there's a half circle shaped chunk of forest floor missing at the top of the SW side of the long exposure (the trigger point). That section slid down, hit the base of the ledge and then followed along but to the sw of the old stream bed, stripping it clean including the falls which were pretty lush early last August. I'll send you some pics from my prior climbs. It obliterated the pool at the base and took most of the pipework halfway down the lake as well.
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Last edited by mudrat; 03-27-2012 at 11:52 PM. Reason: add some details
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:22 PM   #4
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It looks like a very unique area for sure. The pictures of the slide had some very cool features, can't say I have seen a slide with such a dramatic waterfall.

Great description, thanks.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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Wow , looks like a great climb and a great group. all the pics are excellent but I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard at #13 and I thought 337 was very creative.

Nice job
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:17 AM   #6
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Wow , looks like a great climb and a great group. all the pics are excellent but I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard at #13 and I thought 337 was very creative.

Nice job
Hi Jack.
13 was really just a cozy nook that fit my lower back comfortably as I looked at Pitchoff. I laughed when I saw the result as well. Nathan was getting some awesome shots from the far side! 37 was the 'human bridge' pics and the result of Nathan saying something about a yoga move. It's a blast up in there and so close to the road.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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Hi Kevin,
Nice pics! Quite dramatic. I loved that slide too—just one great feature after another, for most of the way at least. I really liked the pile of ice shards at the bottom of the last pitch. When Inge and I climbed the slide last year there was much less water.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:53 AM   #8
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Too School for cool... awesome guys.. great pictures
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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Great set of pics and TR, the most detailed I've come across (then again, yours always are). I'm looking forward to doing this in June!
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:13 PM   #10
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Your pictures are amazing . I have been wanting to try that slide this summer.. but hopefully with not so much water. I am a big fan of your stories and pics . I saw you over the weekend at the chain saw course and wanted to introduce myself but there was little time for chitchat and I had to rush out of there when it was over to get my son home for work.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #11
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Your pictures are amazing . I have been wanting to try that slide this summer.. but hopefully with not so much water. I am a big fan of your stories and pics . I saw you over the weekend at the chain saw course and wanted to introduce myself but there was little time for chitchat and I had to rush out of there when it was over to get my son home for work.
Thanks! You'll love that slide and its beautiful runout. The cascade was frozen this past weekend.
I wish you had introduced yourself, but there certainly wasn't much time for chitchat, you're right. I thought it was a good class to re-enforce the basics and learn a little something new.
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