Trailhead: Minnehaha Gulch 2WD road
Elevation Gain 2,409'
Max Difficulty: class 3
With both Kevin and I arriving to the trailhead after dark, we wanted an easy day before the bigger one on Pilot Knob and group. So we went with some peaks I had been eying over July 4th weekend. When I saw the peaks from Hansen Peak across the way, I realized they wouldn't be simple tundra/talus strolls and that maybe I should see if there was a TR for them. So before running out the door on a 6 day vacation, I found a words only TR by Furthermore to print in prep. At least there would be some beta, I could then add photos to his descriptions of the route.
So at the crack of dawn we started up the middle mining road, and were treated to some amazing sunrise on clouds and moon views. We hoped those clouds were not an ominous sign of things to come!
A lovely sky morning
Red sky and moon
Up the old mining road
Spooky looking clouds to the west
Beyond the mine, we could see the two ridges that Furthermore had contemplated for ascent. There did appear to be a cliffy area on the NW ridge, so up the west one we went. I spied out a semi grassy gully just to the left/north of the ridge that looked like it would go. So we gave it a shot and started up the gully. Loose in the middle, but the sides were reasonably solid.
Looking up west ridge on Proposal
Spotting the gully just left/north of west ridge
Kevin coming up the scree in center of gully
Semi solid rock at sides of gully
Kevin hoping the gully goes
Above the gully, the route goes back to class 2 and is fairly easy all the way to the top. Loose, but manageable.
Class 2 above gully
Storm Peak looking mighty
Soon... Ice Lakes Basin peaks
On the summit of Proposal, we can now see the route finding challenge ahead of us on the ridge. There is a notch just off the summit which requires a class 3 up climb. It's not too bad, but I had a foot hold blow out, so it was a good reminder that I was no longer scrambling in the more solid Sawatch, Sangres, Gores or other easier mountain ranges. Oh the friable volcanic crap of the San Juans! We knew we eventually had to drop off the ridge, but when. I forgot to reread the description on the summit, so we continued down the ridge, and then along the ridge for longer than we should have. Getting along the ridge, the remainder looked very airy-scary and after my hold breaking loose, I was all over the dropping lower on kitty litter to traverse around the ridge gendarmes!
Ridge over to Emery and Bonita
Ridge off of Proposal
Notch in ridge off proposal, some airy class 3!
Descending off Proposal. Just drop to the east and go below the cliff bands from here.
Looking for a way back up the ridge
Yeah... the ridge might kinda "go", but it's airy, scary and loose - Turn around
After traversing around on loose scree and talus, there's a nice grass ramp on the way up to Emery
Looking up at slope to Emery once rough ridge is over
Kevin taking the final steps up Emery, Proposal ridge behind
Dropping off Emery, there's one more route finding challenge. There's a loose gully just off to the west, that will get you through the notch in the ridge. Very loose, and requires some spread eagle type moves to avoid sending the gully further down the mountain.
Looking down the notch off Emery
Looking up, halfway down
Kevin doing the Spiderman moves down the notch
After the last notch, the route is simpler, and even involves a bit of a climber's trail up Bonita. We stay on the last peak for a short while, as the clouds are building to the south, and we have some prep work to get to before the next day. There is a trail between Emery and Bonita, but we decide to drop immediately off Bonita and hit the mining road back to our vehicles. Even got back before a drop of rain hit us!
Last bit of ridge up to Bonita
The Emery Proposal Ridge from below on the mining roads
Storm Peak, looking stormy!
Over all, a great short day in the mountains to start off a scrambling - climbing vacation!