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Old 10-20-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
mudrat
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Upper Wolfjaw NW Ridge Slides: Western Enlargements & New Center) 9/17/11

I’m over a month overdue on this, but here it is…the last of my Post Irene Slide reports from 9/17-9/19/11. This is for the "Wide Slide".



Full Picture Set

My trek up the westernmost slide on the NW ridge of Upper Wolfjaw (Wide Slide in Haas' book) began after the descent from the Irene-created Lower Wolfjaw slide (facing Upper Wolfjaw). The Wolfjaw Trail from Johns Brook Lodge would have accomplished the same task. I walked from the confluence of the drainages up to the path and followed for, perhaps, 100 yards before intersecting the run-out with the slide. Trail crews had re-routed the path around an area where the run-out had swept it away. They’d also broken through the wall of debris on both sides. The Wolfjaws Leanto sat near the debris. I found it amazing that it wasn’t swept away, but it was just high enough and far enough to escape disaster.

The stream was a rock hop for a brief period before turning into a serpentine track of mud, trees and stones for a few hundred yards. I felt the proximity of the path to the north, just feet through the woods at times. The first pitch of the slide proper lay before me upon arriving at the final portion of the debris run after ¼ mile of debris hopping. I only had to look over the jumble of trees…and figure the easiest way over or through them. In hindsight, I could have taken the path and then walked the 20’ over to the base of the slide instead of walking the debris field…no fun that way though!

The first run of slab, a few hundred feet long, was moderately inclined and quite wide. Immediately ahead I saw a steep high ledge of about 75’ in height. Much of it looked mossed over, evidence of an older exposure which one can verify via satellite images. I made a judgment call to drop my pack and carry just some water and a few necessities up to the base of it. My error was in leaving my rock shoes as well. They weren’t necessary for me on the initial slab and I really just planned to take a few pics of the ledges once up close. I didn’t envision trying to climb the entire run this day. I was also carrying an unmatched pair of shoes. I lost one of the pair that fit with Neil the prior month and substituted a good, but smaller shoe to make a set. It was painful to wear, so I practice the age old tradition of avoidance. In retrospect the pain in my foot would have been worth it.

The initial pitch and final pitch atop the ledge descend almost due north with a cleft that descends and effectively dissects them at a northeastern angle. The fault was a jumble of blowdown and rubble ranging in size from a couple hundred pounds to car sized pieces of stone. The walls were steep on either side. The southern side was a bit mossier and the northern side contained some nice ledges that allowed me to climb with ease. I assumed the rubble was stable, but trod carefully so as not to become a MudRat pancake. The more I ascended, the more I wanted to ascend to get the perfect picture.

Finally, I worked my way across near an area where the cleft veers more southward and surveyed the mossy ledge up which I wanted to climb. At this point, I reprimanded myself for not bringing the extra ½ pound of footwear.
Using an upside down/uprooted pine, I shimmied up and crawled out onto the wet slab. The pitch was moderate after the initial steep portion. It increased in slope…and moss higher up. Using a switchback pattern necessitated by a lack of good footwear, bear spots in the rock and various hand and footholds I climbed most of the way up the top pitch. Wet red moss surrounded me by the time I found the “perfect” picture. I relaxed and soaked in the view of Lower Wolfjaw and the slide I was on.

Down climbing was a precarious challenge and I moved to the east once the grade moderated. The slab was enlarged on the eastern side from Irene’s torrential downpour. A couple other runs were new as well. A short trek through the trees found an addition, though, small slide that ended by plummeting over the ledge. A view of the first pitch immediately below to the north met my gaze. I’d no intention of playing near the top and simply trekked east and down in search of a break in the ledge. Ten minutes of brushing my hair with the dense trees found me at a spot where I could slide down the, now 10 foot high ledge. I walked west and came out on the first pitch right next to my pack…perfect!

I was also experimenting with a gravity filter, though I had chlorine tabs in the pack. They tend to make me nauseous by the second day, thus my experiment with the aqua pure filter. Forty five minutes and 2.5 liter later, I ended the trial. I took the time to reorganize and lounge while planes flew curious destruction-peepers around the area.

Once back on the trail, I ascended in search of the eastern-most slide on the ridge. I’d climbed it years ago and bushwhacked to the summit via its ledges. I knew it to be enlarged to the east and probably a lot cleaner then when I climbed it. En route, about five minutes from the lower slide, I crossed another, smaller new slide. It had a meager headwall and total length/width of perhaps 150’/30’.



I set a turnaround time of 2:30 p.m. since I still had to get my overnight gear from the woods below (I’d stashed it earlier for the climbing of LWJ and whatever I could on UWJ). I then had to trek over to the Bushnell Falls area.

I never did reach the third most eastern slide (Neil calls it the Skinny Slide, though it’s not skinny any longer). Once I began the trek downward, I relaxed my pace and check on the Wolfjaws Leanto which escaped intact.

I reached Bushnell Falls around 6:30 p.m. The leanto across Johns Brook was occupied and the campground just behind had been overrun by Chicken Coop Brook. It was a sand bed and I only had a bivy sack. Bushnell Falls Leanto #1 was unoccupied however, so I settled in there, ate and spent another hour watching water drip from the filter at Bushnell Falls.

So, in summary since this is really part 2 of the day: I first climbed Bennies Brook Slide, bushwhacked down the new NW Lower Wolfjaw Slides, followed the run out/path up to the UWJ Northern Exposure (westernmost) slide and photographed the small slide to the east. A full day that would lead to a decent night’s sleep and climb of Basin’s multiple new slides the following day with Mark Lowell.
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Last edited by mudrat; 11-27-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:55 PM   #2
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Well, I'd say that anyone wanting a complete guide to the new slides could now come close just by collecting the recent posts on this forum. Thanks for your latest, if belated, contribution

I agree it's more fun to walk the debris fields and runout; it's new at least! I haven't gotten to any of the UWJ slides yet. Maybe next year.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:43 AM   #3
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Nice hiking and even nicer TR....no wonder you two looked so whooped in the Loj lot the next day!
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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Yeah we were beat. I did the WOlfjaws on the 17th. Mark arrived at the leanto at 2:30 am that night. We woke up and whacked Chicken Coop to the slides in there and started at the Big SE exposure Basin slide on the other side at 3:30. Arrived on summit around 6 or so and it was near 9:30ish when we got back to L2. We were gonna do another day, but by the time we lugged the packs up from Bushnell Falls to Marcy Dam, we were both whipped. We did however take a nap on the slabs at Indian Falls

You did some heavy work that weekend as well...nice job!
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregory Karl View Post
Well, I'd say that anyone wanting a complete guide to the new slides could now come close just by collecting the recent posts on this forum. Thanks for your latest, if belated, contribution

I agree it's more fun to walk the debris fields and runout; it's new at least! I haven't gotten to any of the UWJ slides yet. Maybe next year.
You'll enjoy the new slides, I think. It's easy to do several in a day. Could actually make a nice traverse by of going up the WHite slide then coming down the eastern most slide on this ridge...and even hit another to boot! Then just exit at the garden
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregory Karl View Post
Well, I'd say that anyone wanting a complete guide to the new slides could now come close just by collecting the recent posts on this forum.
Gregory, I've also been updating the Catalog of Irene slides as new reports get posted. Each slide I've found a report on has a link enabled now.
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