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Saddleback Slide, 06-20-2015

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  • Saddleback Slide, 06-20-2015

    My first slide (unless you count Macomb) and now I'm hooked. After reading all the slide climbing resources and reports I could find, especially Trail Boss' report, I was anxious to tackle this slide, and saturday turned out to be the perfect day. So it was up at 2:00am to get an early start. The Garden parking was practically full at 5:30.

    After crossing the bridge at the Ranger Outpost, I headed up the Orebed Brook trail. Cool, crisp morning, no bugs, bright blue skies, just perfect. Shortly after passing the lean-to, one encounters a massive house-sized boulder on the right, which was my cue for the short descent to the Orebed Brook itself. I could hear the sound of water rushing from far away, and was worried that the increased volume would impede my climb. I entered the brook on a flat expanse of rock, and basically started rock-hopping, avoiding the deeper sections of water, climbing ledges, and stopping constantly to take photos....water pouring or trickling over one stunning set of ledges after another.....just beautiful, bold and bodacious. It was still very early, and the sunlight was just filtering through. The colors were vivid. Part of the challenge was figuring out the best route to get through. As the elevation increases, you encounter broad expanses of flat white rock, with narrow films of water sliding down....very picturesque. The headwall soon appears in the distance, and it looks forbidding. The climbing is fun, but becoming more strenuous, more slide-like....with ledges and lips and routes that have to be carefully thought out and negotiated. I still had my boots on, with trail shoes in my pack. The rock surface was was quite grippy. The views are stunning, with Gothics slides on climbers left and the valley below. At this point I stashed my poles, slipped on my gloves, tightened my cap, and adjusted my knee pads. The winds were gusting from the summit downwards, trying to push me off. There are many clefts in the rock, some just barely wide enough to get through, some impossible. The climb now is on all fours, keeping the center of gravity low. The headwall features a dike that runs in the center, and is stepped....to a point. It doesn't feel steep....but it's deceiving. I stopped to snap some pics. on my left and right to show perspective. This was at least 45 degrees. Now I'm at the end of the dike...I can almost touch the vegetation in front of me. But it was impossible to climb straight up and out of the dike..too deep and difficult. I read about this. I debated climbing on to the headwall on my left or right, but this was too steep and a little out of my confort zone...for now at least. I had to find a way out. So, very gingerly, I straddled the dike on all fours...the rock surface was clean....there was a tree limb a couple of yards away. With my toes and fingers I gently but forcefully torqued my way up....no slippage. I tested the limb...solid. I made it. A big sigh of relief. At this point I angled to my left to begin a solid bushwack. I encountered a massive cliff band....I backed up, just a little, not wanting to lose elevation, and angled a little more to my left. I noticed what appeared to be a faint herdpath of sorts...not sure. I went straight up, and popped out on the range trail, with the summit marker just a few yards in front of me. And resting right there was Thomas, a forum member. Nice chatting with you!

    I spent a long time lingering at the summit, encountering many doing a GRT. The descent via the Orebed Brook trail was fun....nice solid ladders running along side of a massive slide, at the end of which was choked with trees swept away by Irene I assume. Total trip time: 9 hrs, including over an hour resting and taking pics. A perfect day. I'll be looking for new slides to climb.
    Last edited by DennisK; 06-21-2015, 03:56 PM.
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