Sorcerer/Hydro Link-up Beta
Years ago I read Jo Jo's account of soloing the Sorcerer and Hydro in a day, it stuck in my mind as something I would have to try one day (with a partner, I'm not big on soloing). The linkup is fairly long; about 500M of climbing and a lot of walking between routes, plus there's all the driving just to get into the Ghost. Ten years of "one days" later I finally got around to giving it a go. On Nov. 24th Kim Csizmazia and I attempted it but got lost in a blizzard crossing from the Sorcerer to Hydro. On the 27th we tried again but couldn't make the second creek crossing on the approach. Finally on Nov 28th we got the job done, it was a memorable day for the climbing, setting and just the general adventure of being out in the Ghost. I always feel like I've gotten something done after a full day in the Ghost, even if I never make it to the climb--an event that seems to happen regularly...
We drove in through the Waiporous approach (all creek crossings well-frozen finally) and parked at 8:30. We chose to do the Sorcerer first and then Hydrophibia, but it probably doesn't much matter what order you do them in. There was almost a foot of new snow, which slowed the walking down a bit but we reached the base of the Sorcerer at a little before 10:00. The lower pitches were thin but OK, upper pitches dry/brittle and more difficult than in past years, we hit the top at about 12:30.
To reach Hydro from the Sorcerer, hike up the ridge to the north (climber's right) to the ridge's crest, follow the ridge up west to a high point. If it's clear you can see into the Valley of the Birds apparently, but it wasn't clear and we couldn't see much (photo below). From the high point a ridge leads north above the Hydro bowl. The Hydro bowl is quite large; if you descend off this ridge and into it too early you will wind up above the big rock cave to the south of Hydro, but can still scramble to the top of Hydro. You can contour from just below the high point around the Hydro bowl on a ledge in the scree, but it's probably just as fast to stay on the ridge until you can see the low-angle ice leading into Hydro. You can see the small ice patch at the top of Cryophobia before the Hydro ice. The traverse takes a little more than hour. If you're in the clouds or otherwise have limited visibility it can be difficult to find the top of Hydro, I'd recommend doing the traverse for the first time on a reasonably clear day.
One 60M rap from a V thread down low-angle ice leads to the lip (you could scramble down to the lip from south of Hydro, but it's slabby and steep, easier to rap), four raps down Hydro. We were at the base by about 3:00. One pitch up the apron, one 70M lead and one 45M led to the top, 5:15 (dark). We got our ropes stuck somehow on our first rap off the top and had to climb the last 40M again, base at 6:30, warm truck and Red Bull for the drive home a little after 7:00
This is a serious but fun linkup with a nice high-alpine traverse, just a great day out in the Ghost. I think this will become a classic linkup, I'll definitely want to do it again in the future. We had some nasty spindrift and cold temps all day, so we were pretty happy to pull this off on a very short winter day. Good job Jo Jo!
Sorcerer, lower pitches are thin.
Kim after climbing up and crossing over the ridge north of Sorcerer, contouring over to Hydro.
Hydro, Nov. 28, good conditions.
Kim leading the crux of Hydro.
On top of Hydro and thinking about a warm truck... There's no reason to get your rope stuck, we just had some bad luck, c'est la vie.