| Weavin' the Dream and Flying the Dutchman
Climb of Mt. Meeker (13,952') via the Dreamweaver couloir, and then down the ramp west of the Flying Dutchman couloir. The classic mixed-climb lived up to its reputation: it was the first time I've set snow-, ice-, and rock-anchors on the same climb.
The couloir consists of a series of stretches at a steady angle, separated by 4 steeper cruxes. Dreamweaver is tucked behind the Flying Buttress on Mt Meeker and approaches the European -channel- style of route much of the way up. The angle ranged from 25 degrees at the base to I'd say no more than 45 in a few short places, with the average of ~35 degrees. Supposedly early season finds everything covered in snow; mid-season finds the cruxes covered in ice; and late season has exposed rock. We found it just on the tail end of mid-season.
The descent joins the ramp using a steep descent (seemed like 50 degrees) from the Loft followed by an exposed ledge. You may want to consider crampons for the top - the ledge has a precipitous drop! There is a 40 degree slope when the ledge meets the FD couloir, so perfect for a long glissade the rest of the way down.
Despite the weather forecast above freezing, the snow was solid (frozen) in the morning. With the recent hot weather, we opted for an early start. That was worth it through a long day. Happy to find a pretty much continuous coverage of snow and ice all the way up. I brought snowshoes for the approach (really the pm return), but did not need them at all. The little remaining snow is well packed and you can get to the base of the couloirs easily without snowshoes. Clearly in early season, snowshoes would be a good idea though!
I have to disagree with a recent report suggesting to use 2 ice tools for this climb. Jake and I each used an ice ax and ice tool. There were a couple solo climbers that day, but we found 30m of rope between was well suited to belaying from the snow sections about the cruxes. In retrospect, i would recommend 2 pickets, 2 ice screws (shorties), and a set of cams (just the medium and small ones) if you bring a rope. Early season maybe more pickets for snow; late season maybe more rock pro.
I tired to specifically photo all of the routes i know of:
I have to imagine that the Lambslide couloir was in good shape, based on how we found Dreamweaver. I've climbed Lambslide a couple weeks later in a past year.
I don't know the Broadway route of Long's, but a couple guys were deciding whether to do it in the am.
There was a good amount of snow on the Homestretch (if you are finishing Long's that way).
The Loft itself was pretty bare of snow.
The direct couloir to the summit of Meeker from Sandbeach lake was broken (past season).
Martha's couloir on Lady Washington seemed thin (past season) to me.
Met up (Coal Creek Park 'n Ride) at 1am
Got the Long's peak Th at 2:20
Started at 2:40 am
Started from the couloir base at 7:15
Summited at 1pm
Back at car at 5:30pm.
I'm dedicating this climb to my high school buddy Tony Gilbert, because i found myself singing his alternate lyrics version of 'Dreamweaver' and some of the other songs from the Wayne's World soundtrack a lot of the day.
Link to photos, route, map: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19047247@N04/sets/72157634069526007/