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Stairway to Heaven


Member Since: Jul 16, 2003
Last Visit: 10 hours ago
Contact Martin le Roux


Point Rank: # 3,280
Total Points: 130
Last Year: 47
Last 30 Days: 5
15 Compliments
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Areas are worth 15
Routes are worth 10
Photos are worth 5
Comments are worth 1



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Contributions


All (376) | Routes | Areas | Photos (20) | Comments (30) | Posts (311) | Stars (12) | Ratings (3)
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Contributed Comments

 

Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : RMNP - Mixed/Ice : Glacier Gorge : McHenry's Notch Couloir (5.4 AI2 Mod. Snow)
By: Martin le Roux When: Sep 1, 2013

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Comments: Do not - repeat, not - do as we did and attempt this in late August. The top of couloir had melted out, and we had to climb up loose, microwave-sized blocks perched on 50 degree mud. It might be a nice climb earlier in the summer.


Location: WY : Grand Teton National Park : Grand Teton : North Face Highlight Tour (5.8)
By: Martin le Roux When: Aug 7, 2013

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Comments: For more beta on the approach via Owen & Gunsight Notch see www.mountainproject.com/v/the-grand-traverse/106565238.


Location: WY : Grand Teton National Park : Grand Teton : The Grand Traverse (5.8)
By: Martin le Roux When: Aug 6, 2013

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Comments: Went back and completed the traverse over 3 days from Aug 2-4, 2013.

- There are at least two different ways to get from Owen to Gunsight Notch. (i) Follow Rolando's description and cross to the W side of Owen's S ridge at the first notch S of the summit, or (ii) stay on the E side of the ridge for a couple of hundred feet, then cross to the W side at a notch further south. Either way there's much exposed down-climbing and for most people a couple of rappels. Alternative (i) has more loose rock... more >>


Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : RMNP - Mixed/Ice : Glacier Gorge : The Hourglass Couloir (M4 Mod. Snow)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jun 8, 2013

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Comments: As of June 8 2013, this was melting fast. We managed to get up pitch 1 despite running water at the first chockstone (my partner Steve did the leading). It might have been possible to climb further, but we bailed because of icefall from above. Another party was starting the climb as we hiked out; don't know how they fared.


Location: CA : Yosemite National Park : Yosemite Valley : Half Dome : Snake Dike (5.7 R)
By: Martin le Roux When: May 27, 2013

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Comments: Don't be distracted by the shiny new bolts a few feet to the right of the dike on pitch 3. Those belong to Eye in the Sky.

If you're climbing with an inexperienced second then double ropes help minimize the pendulum potential when following pitches 1 and 3. But they're sure heavy to carry all that way.

Most of the belays are semi-hanging. Bring comfy shoes and avoid climbing as a party of three.


Location: International : Africa : South Africa : Table Mountain : Touch and Go (5.10c)
By: Martin le Roux When: May 6, 2013

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Comments: First ascent (1961) was by Richard Williams, Paul White and Barry Fletcher. I've posted some scanned photos from their original trip report.


Location: International : Africa : South Africa : Table Mountain : Jacobs Ladder (5.8)
By: Martin le Roux When: May 6, 2013

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Comments: Maybe it's not done this way any more, but the original route was done in four pitches (not counting an approach pitch):
P1. Same as Davecro's P1, except I don't remember a semi-hanging belay.
P2. Continue up a juggy crack through the overhang, then traverse left to a stance on a bushy ledge (about 10m, S African grade 15).
P3. Traverse back right past the top of P2, then continue up and right to join Daverco's P2. Alternatively, you could set up a hanging belay at the top of the juggy crack on ... more >>


Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : RMNP - Mixed/Ice : Loch Vale & vicinity : Loch Vale & uphill : Northwest Face Route - That... (WI3-4)
By: Martin le Roux When: Nov 5, 2012

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Comments: Climbed this on Nov. 4, 2012. Lots of ice and hardly any snow.

We started down the descent gully mentioned by Leo Paik, but it was very loose and we changed our minds. If you need to get back to the base of the 1st pitch, then it might be better to bring double ropes and rap the route. There are rap slings in place most of the way up.

We ended up going down the way described by Scott Bower. For those with compasses, note that you start by heading NE (not E), and the gully drops down to the N, ... more >>


Location: WY : Devil's Tower : West Face : El Matador (5.10d)
By: Martin le Roux When: Sep 25, 2012

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Comments: To answer Micah Kurtz's question: Your guess is correct. Pitch 2 ("the pitch you've heard about") is indeed the 10d pitch.


Location: WY : Grand Teton National Park : Grand Teton : The Grand Traverse (5.8)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 23, 2012

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Comments: We did the Cathedral Traverse on July 20-22, 2012, which would normally be considered early season, but it was a low snow year, so maybe this counts as mid-season.
- We used crampons and an axe to get down to & across the Koven col, and in a couple other places. Lightweight aluminum crampons were fine.
- There's a good bivvy spot just below the summit of Owen, on the E side of the S ridge.
- The Ortenberger/Jackson book describes a descent of Owen's W Ledges that's different from Rolando's descr... more >>


Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : Silverton : Eureka : Whorehouse Hoses (WI4-5)
By: Martin le Roux When: Feb 14, 2012

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Comments: Pitch 1 is a bit longer than 60m, at least on lead. We had to simul-climb for a few feet. Double 60s were fine on rappel.

As of Feb. 2012, the base of pitch 2 (the easy pitch) was a snow bridge above flowing water. We discovered this because my parter punched through when rappeling.


Location: General Climbing : Beckey's New Book : Post : Photo
By: Martin le Roux When: Jan 5, 2012

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Comments: Yes, it's copyrighted, but I think this is fair use.


Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : RMNP - Mixed/Ice : Loch Vale & vicinity : Loch Vale & uphill : North Face Icefield
By: Martin le Roux When: Sep 26, 2011

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Comments: This is called the "Thatchtop-Powell" icefield in a couple of guidebooks (e.g. Gillett, Cooper "Colorado Snow Climbs"), which is an odd name since it doesn't actually finish between Thatchtop and Powell -- it finishes on the Taylor Peak side of Powell. Powell North Face is a better name.

As of late Sept 2011, this was hard neve with a thin layer of new snow. Angle was about 45 for the most part, maybe 50-55 degrees at the top of the couloir right of the rock rib. Cooper's book says 65 degrees, ... more >>


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : RMNP - Rock : The Saber : Southwest Corner (5.10a)
By: Martin le Roux When: Aug 15, 2011

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Comments: Great climb. The only reason I give it less than 4 stars is that there's some suspect rock on the upper pitches, especially if you climb too far to the left on the last two 5.8/5.9 pitches. The crux pitch is sustained, but I think 5.10a is a fair rating. I didn't find it as hard as the 5.9+ pitch on Syke's Sickle, for example.


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : RMNP - Rock : The Saber
By: Martin le Roux When: Aug 13, 2011

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Comments: As J. Thompson mentions, the rap route now goes with a single 70m. If you're using double 60s, Tony B's 2006 description is still accurate, but the 3rd rap (150' over the edge into space and down to a ledge) now has an intermediate rap station. Something to be aware of if you're counting rap stations and trying to follow Tony's description.

It's not hard to arrange the ropes so they don't run through the rope-eating notch that Tony mentions. This is at station #5 (Tony's original count) o... more >>


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : RMNP - Rock : Long's Peak : Upper East Face : Kiener's Route (5.3 Easy Snow)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 18, 2011

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Comments: As of July 17, 2011, Kiener's was in good shape. Firm snow on Lamb's Slide, Broadway was basically snow-free, a bit damp at the back of Kiener's chminey but otherwise the route was dry. The N Face descent was a different matter - still lots of slushy snow and running water all over the place. Didn't help that we got caught in a thunderstorm just as we were starting the rappels.

If anyone finds a pair of leather Marmot gloves near the top of the 5th class sections on Kiener's, could you send me ... more >>


Location: WA : Southwest Cascades : Mount Rainier : Liberty Ridge (AI2-3 Steep Snow)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jun 21, 2011

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Comments: Beware of loose rock on the lower part of the ridge, especially after the snow cover melts later in the season. We were almost taken out by rockfall when crossing from the Carbon Glacier onto the ridge.

Otherwise it's a great route, although some of the slope angles in the above description may be exaggerated. I don't remember anything in excess of 60 degrees except for a short section at the bergscrund near the top.


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : San Juans : The Grenadiers : Vestal Peak
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 27, 2009

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Comments: Here are some GPS coordinates (NAD27)

If hiking from Elk Park, the trail to Vestal Basin crosses Elk Creek at 13S0270341/4177518.

The trail to the base of Vestal Peak (and Arrow) leaves the Vestal Basin trail in the meadow at 13S0270823/4175556 and crosses Vestal Creek at 13S0270817/4175486 before heading steeply uphill.


Location: CO : John Bachar Passes Away
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 9, 2009

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Comments: The New York Times has an obituary. See www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/sports/09bachar.html.


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : RMNP - Rock : Glacier Gorge : Pagoda Mountain : North Buttress (5.7)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 21, 2008

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Comments: Climbed this on July 19, 2008. Great line - we enjoyed it more than the N ridge of Spearhead, although the rock isn't as clean on account of not getting as much traffic.

The route description above isn't very accurate. It takes 4 ropelengths to reach the ledge below the steep headwall, not 3 (have a look at Jfox's Sept 2007 beta photos). Also, once one gets above the steep headwall there are at least 3 ropelengths of scrambling along the exposed ridge crest before one reaches the summit. No... more >>


Location: CO : CO Ice & Mixed : RMNP - Mixed/Ice : Odessa Gorge : Notchtop & vicinity : North Face (5.7 WI3)
By: Martin le Roux When: Oct 29, 2007

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Comments: Climbed this on 10/28/2007. Nice sunny day and good conditions. Climbable ice on all pitches although a bit hollow in spots lower down. Snow well-consolidated after a week of warm weather. Mid-size cams were useful at belays and for protecting the crux of the 1st pitch. We did the 1st pitch as two pitches; there's a small ledge and a peg belay/rap station on the right-hand side where the ice steepens.

For the descent, we hiked all the way up to the summit (the cornice hasn't real... more >>


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : Mount of the Holy Cross : Holy Cross Couloir
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 9, 2007

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Comments: The climber's trail up to the Bowl of Tears is very indistinct and would be just about impossible to find in the dark. Even in daylight it's not easy to follow. If attempting a one-day ascent from the parking lot it's likely to be mid-morning before you get into the couloir, by which time you'll be wallowing up slush. The alternative is to camp at the Bowl of Tears, climb the couloir while it's still firm and and descend the Teardrop (broad snowy cirque to the south of the peak). With overni... more >>


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : RMNP - Rock : Ypsilon Mountain : Y Couloir (Right Branch)
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 23, 2006

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Comments: Climbed this on July 23, 2006. Good conditions -- firm snow all the way up, despite the summer heat. No ice in the chimney; we climbed 2 pitches of easy 5th-class rock on the left-hand side to bypass this section. Still a bit of a cornice at top but easily bypassed by scrambling up loose rock on the right.


Location: CO : Alpine Rock : Indian Peaks : James Peak : Shooting Star
By: Martin le Roux When: Apr 24, 2006

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Comments: Climbed this on April 24 with John Christie. Lots of snow -- we did 90% of the approach on skis -- but nicely consolidated after a couple of weeks of warm weather. Approached from St. Mary's Glacier. Sunny warm day, which made for slushy conditions towards the top of the climb. We didn't find any ice. We carried two axes each, rope, pickets, etc. but all we used were crampons and a single axe. Other posters have mentioned that the angle reaches 60 degrees at the top, but we didn't find any... more >>


Location: CO : Boulder : Flatirons : South : The Matron
By: Martin le Roux When: Jul 28, 2004

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Comments: Now that the raptor closure season is over, the friendly folks at OSMP have attempted to obscure the start of the climbers' access trail by cutting down some branches and dragging them across the trail. Exactly what this is meant to achieve escapes me.


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