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Ascent of Pica Peak on 2020-07-04

Climber: Andrew Yi

Others in Party:Andrew Hladecek
Date:Saturday, July 4, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pica Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:7565 ft / 2305 m

Ascent Trip Report

10 pitches, 5.7. The first 3 or so pitches are very easy, mostly 4th class with some low 5th class moves mixed in. On the middle third of the route, rock quality improves considerably and the climbing is mostly easy with one 5.6/5.7 ish lieback crack to the right that is easy to protect. After some more easy climbing, we reached a second crux pitch, which I would rate as having a single 5.7 move.

Once at the notch, we did an airy and exposed traverse to the right for above 30 ft, which I protected with 2 cams. Then I had to head straight up some horrendously loose and run out low 5th section for over 100 ft, nearly stretching out my 60m rope. The rock was incredibly loose, with many holds ripping out and shattering below me. I had to meticulously check out hand and foothold prior to weighting it. Definitely was the "pucker factor" crux for me. I was very relieved to finally reach a suitable ledge to build a belay and yell for my partner to take me off.

After this loose and very runout pitch, the Rock quality improved considerably and we were at the summit shortly thereafter. The views are incredible.

I would have given this route 3 stars if it wasn't for the horribly loose and runout, albeit easy pitch. I deduct a star for that reason. This was my first alpine lead climb (second trad multi pitch lead ever) and my partners first alpine rock climb ever. I will definitely remember this climb forever, for that reason.

Afterwards, my friend who climbed on a separate rope team visited the goats beard in Mazama, which is an awesome store, by the way. The store employee asked him what we climbed. When he bears blues buttress, he said "you guys climbed blues buttress?! Nobody climbs that. It's a sketch fest. They need to remove it from the guidebook." ??

Gear notes: a 60m rope is more than sufficient. My rack consisted of a half set of smaller nuts, the dmm offset nuts from 7 to 11.and BD C4 camalots from 0.3 to 3. I recall placing each cam at least once on the route. Bring at least 2 double length slings and lots of single length slings or alpine draws. Rope drag is an issue, especially lower on the route
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Blue's Buttress
Descent Statistics



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