Dancesatmoonrise wrote: crossfitter wrote:
tmathews wrote:The group that attempted the east ridge had a lot of pro and ropes, but it didn't matter. I'll let one of them fill you in if they want to.
It was scary.
Chris, was the loose stuff more manageable with snow? Or worse?
Were you guys able to summit?
Modest interest in this route, so any info helpful.
Thx. - Jim
We reached similar conclusions as to Nesiha3. I don't have photos to post right now, but Darrin and John have great ones of the problem section. The traverse over the first bump was very exposed on both sides, but I think we all agreed that the snow helped cement the choss together, so loose rock wasn't a problem at first. Things got substantially harder once we reached the first headwall, of which there seemed to be four main options:
1) The "standard" route drops below the first buttress on climber's right but consisted of loose, wet snow/ice on rocks and seemed relatively impassable.
2)A relatively clean-looking and dry, but steep, dihedral running up the middle of the buttress. From the ground the options for pro looked sparse and I can't comment on the stability of the rock.
3) A steep, exposed snow slope on the south side of the ridge. From my understanding in summer conditions this can be used as a bail options to bypass the harder sections. The snow was baked very soft and we did not trust moving on it.
4) A shorter, open book dihedral around the left side of the tall, main dihedral. It initially appeared to be the easiest climbing, but we couldn't see the terrain above it. It took a few awkward stemming moves in boots, but was passable with ok but not great placements. The ledge above this dihedral consisted of loose, wet snow on thin alpine ice on loose rocks. Just about every hold broke off whenever I touched it, and the pro options I found were marginal at best with the light rack I had. A more experienced leader with a better gear selection may have found something workable, though that's pure speculation on my part. Due to the conditions of this upper ledge things became sketchy real fast and Darrin made the wise decision to call a retreat. I left a nut on a belayed downclimb of the dihedral so there's some booty to be claimed. I would not recommend trying this option, however.
We had initially hoped that the snow would help consolidate the choss, but this stuff is every bit as nasty as Roach describes. Blocks which seem attached pull off in your hand, especially the lighter yellow/orange colored rock. In my opinion the quality of this stuff is considerably worse than the bells. While there isn't as much rubble hanging around as the elks, the rock is insanely brittle and breaks easily so it is scary to trust all but the most solid of holds. It's possible
that if you hit it in the right conditions you could climb consolidated snow to bypass the difficulties, but the timing would have to be good. As of right now, it is too melted out. I think the best bet is to wait for the ridge to melt out completely and attempt it in approach shoes.