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Old 09-20-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
mudrat
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Basin: Irene's New False Summit Slide: 9/18/11

Disclaimer

A Few Thoughts
I’d wanted to climb this slide from the moment I saw the first aerial come in on the net thanks to Drew Haas. Upon looking and without studying the profile of the upper slabs, I assumed some parts would be technical and others would be more conducive to friction climbing. I then mentioned my plans to a few friends. Mastergrasshopper was supposed to come along, but due to family matters couldn’t, so I formally dedicate this climb to him. He was nudging me toward making this the primary goal of the second day (I originally had it placed second to Saddleback’s northeastern slides). After reflecting on his words, I reworked my itinerary. Thanks, Glen…wish you’d been along on this with Mark and I!

Pictures: CLICK HERE. Pics are captioned for clarification.

The New Slide: Basin's NE Shoulder Slide
This trip begins mid-day into the second day of exploring Irene’s new slides. Mark Lowell and I camped at Bushnell Falls Leanto #1 and subsequently bushwhacked up Chicken Coop Brook in hopes of ascending its slide as an expeditious route to the area. Instead, we stumbled upon and climbed an array of four or five NEW and expanded slides coming from various ledges on Basin’s northeast ridge. They funneled together in the valley to the slides where they joined Chicken Coop Brook…but that’s another report to be posted soon. We then descended Saddleback’s South Slide to the point where Basin’s slide rubble intersected and began the climb.

The destruction from the joining of the two slides was like nothing I’ve seen. It’s scale was beyond that of any of the new Wolf Jaw slides that I spent the prior day descending and ascending in a connected route. Twenty feet of dirt, trees and boulders marked the way to the base of the old Basin ledge as the slide run-out snaked down toward the valley below after splitting off into two parallel paths. Our first pitch (about 3,350’ in elevation) was a hundred foot run of clean slab emanating from the bottom of the old face, its surface spotted with moss from years of exposure. Some was cleaned from the scouring fall of debris from above.

The second pitch, the old face (about 3,500’ in elevation), was a convex surface over 500’ across…its upper reaches disappearing into the blue sky above. A small dike marked the bottom of the face. This appears as a straight line in satellite images. The right-hand side, marked by a jagged vertical ledge, was freshly exposed and provided a great surface with ample contour to climb. We didn’t want to tangle with main face with its moss and minimal contour so we skirted the vertical ledge and eventually hopped atop it until a sharp vertical cliff blocked our way. The steepest portion was near the edge and it tapered as it progressed toward the center. Meanwhile, the destruction that we walked amongst was now far below and sprawled out to the southeast. Intermittent slab showed through the dirt and debris on occasions. It was awesome to behold from our perch on the new section of face.

Atop the ledge, the new section of exposed slab displayed a feature rich landscape. Dirt and debris littered it on occasion, but the climb was easy due to the clean stone, various cracks, ledges and pits in the anorthosite. It was flatter than below the cliff, though still well pitched. This decreased with elevation as we followed the track to the north-northwest. Mark manned one camera, and I the other as we each photographed items of interest…including each other.

The combination of fresh anorthosite dotted with various trees was telling of the forces at work. I nostalgically thought back to a few weeks ago when, the day after Irene’s flooding scourged the area, I walked down 9N in Upper Jay. Friends’ houses were destroyed and 100’ trees with root-balls torn from the ground were scattered in and about the road. On the slide, however, no structures were destroyed except those of nature and new creations were un-skinned for all to explore. I remember walking along saying, “Wow…wow.”

Basin’s slide was also different from those earlier in the day on the other side of the ridge or on Upper/Lower Wolfjaw….(also another forthcoming report). The breadth of the destruction on those slides seemed immense at the time. Basin’s slide dwarfed them. Imagine the sound when it came flowing down over the face and impacted the lesser sloped ground peeling it clean!

The bright sun illuminated Saddleback high above to the north. Photographing the slide, however, was challenging in the late afternoon light. The sun was just above the treeline so the tendency for lens flares to obscure the scene became annoying. Eventually, as the shadow drew closer to us and us to it, the color desaturated, but the task became easier without the sun refracting. Shooting to the eastern panorama was beautiful. Trees upon the slide’s edge became silhouettes against the bright backdrop of Pyramid and Gothics.

As we approached the final pitch (about 4,100’ in elevation), the slope decreased to well below 30 degrees. Mark remarked at our renewed perspective of the final ledges, seemingly vertical from Saddleback’s summit. They were steep and carried enough handholds to climb without the feature that attracted his attention. A dominant diagonal fracture which probably funneled the water that triggered the event, led like a staircase about two hundred feet up to muddy trough at the top. We chose different routes until we began an alternate climb of the muddy rut between the ledges. Embedded rocks gave my feet the only purchase in the slippery mud as my hands braced from the side. I’d climb and Mark would wait below and to the side in case a rock broke free. Such was our ascent until the final few feet where the trough was only about six feet wide at 4,500’ in elevation. I exited to the north (right) and into the dense cripplebrush. A combination of the stiff, flexible and downright ornery spruce brought us to a crawl as we navigated the ledges and eventually made our way to the path around twenty minutes later.

During the walk back to Bushnell Falls over Shorey’s Short Cut, I reflected on the day and couldn’t imagine a better end to two days of climbing Irene’s fresh slides.
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Last edited by mudrat; 01-17-2013 at 05:52 PM. Reason: add report
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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Awesome!!! I was looking forward to these after talking to you two at the Loj; can't wait to hear the whole story. It was not a fun drive back to Vermont...
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:39 AM   #3
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Awesome pictures Kevin, they give the feel of being there with you
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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WOW!

Great photos... looks like a tough climb.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:06 AM   #5
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Nice, thanks for posting. Some pretty steep stuff!!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Wow, I knew, someone will be heading there sooner than later, after I saw pictures took last week from Pyramid Peak, the slide you did was just so tempting, I am glad you did it, probably another first in its actual form.

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Old 09-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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very cool in a manner ....thanks..
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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Those photos are just incredible! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nangaparbat View Post
Wow, I knew, someone will be heading there sooner than later,
IT's the September place to be!
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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Holy Basin Slide batman!

Very inspiring. I can't wait to get back out there.

The raw experiences shown in this photo set totally supersede the pursuit and conquest of any peakbagging list.

Last edited by Neil; 09-20-2011 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:40 PM   #11
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Wowzers. That one looks like a doozie.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:05 PM   #12
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Awesome photos - that's the closest I will get to the slide Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Holy Basin Slide batman!

Very inspiring. I can't wait to get back out there.

The raw experiences shown in this photo set totally supersede the pursuit and conquest of any peakbagging list.
Agree 100%
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:42 PM   #14
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Soooooooo, who got there first?
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:54 PM   #15
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Great pictures! I don't think I will be traveling up that..........
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:02 PM   #16
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wow

very cool
last time I stood at photo 7 it was all trees downslope !!
There were creaks and cracks of avalanch fault lines on the face above !!
Photo 3 looks like downslope of "big pink" old face is still a jumble of debris ?
did the south side slide and basin false slide really cojoin or is there still a seperation ?
looks like new slide above old face is really nice and lots of varied rock.
how close to false summit does it run ?
All questions I'll have to see for myself but look forward to full report
Sorry I missed this one but no way around it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:14 PM   #17
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I'm thankful to Mudrat for inviting me along on this. It was my first time back on High Peaks since March or April. It was also my first time on this side of Saddleback and Basin. I'm not a slide connoisseur (thanks, spell-check), so I didn't fully appreciate what I was doing. I did appreciate the views, the rock intrusions, the company, and the fear.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:54 PM   #18
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Thanks Kevin and Mark! Too bad—for me—you didn't do the Wolfjaws report first; I'm headed there tomorrow morning. Looking forward to exploring this one too at some point.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:07 PM   #19
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As usual a very precise report with great pictures. Cory's addition to the thread only confirms the positive side of Irene. So many new things to explore.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:59 AM   #20
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Procook131:NIce to see you again! I'm working on the rest. Doing reports on the array of new slides that drop from the ledges on the opposite side of Basin's false summit ridge, bennies brk, the new slide just over the ridge on lwj with 2 tribs, and a couple slides on UWJ. Fall colors were stunning against the trough torn through the trees!

tmax:Actually tougher getting there. Saddleback S slide has some steep/wet areas that are just a pain to descend, but it was the best way for what we were doing. Climb was exhilarating!

Snickers: Yeah, beginning was steep in the center especially, but I skirted that area and stayed on the new slab.

nangaparbat:I was so thrilled to be on it and share it with a friend. Very awe-inspiring.

cory d: I knew you'd be heading there sooner or later. Looking the trail register and saw your name on a few in the area. Cool area eh? By the way, really nice perspective pics!!

neil: Raw describes it well...wish you'd been there with, your humor with mark and I would have probably made us fall of it laughing!

mirabela: that's one way to put it!!!

masshysteria:i was there about 3pm sunday the 18th, not sure who else was there or what day

mastergrasshopper: Photo 3 looks like downslope of "big pink" old face is still a jumble of debris ?
YES, ALL DEBRIS AS FOR 500' ACROSS AND DOWN TO THE VALLEY

did the south side slide and basin false slide really cojoin or is there still a seperation ?
NO SEPARATION AT 3300...A 20' WALL OF ROCKS AND TREES NOW LIES ON SADDLEBACK S.

how close to false summit does it run ?
IT STARTED ROUGHTLY 500 LINEAR FEET FROM SUMMIT...LESS VERTICALLY.

markL: was great to have you along on that one...nice taking pics back and forth too.

Gregory Karl: still working on the uwj/lwj reports and pics...so many pics to filter through. looks like you did some great stuff. I've gotta read them later on after work!!

rtspoons:thank you! yup, the storm did give us a whole new "playground" to explore.
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