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Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

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Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby rking007 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:57 am

Hello,

Was sitting here planning my summer journeys for 2011 and I wondered if anyone had any beta or trail reports for this loop...

North Star to Wheeler to Drift Peak to Fletcher to Quandary via the west ridge. Maybe thinking of sneaking in Atlantic Peak as well...

Anyhow, I'm good up and to and including class 3 but nothing above that. Are any of those traverses in that range? Has anyone done this loop? If so, how long was your day and do you have any TRs. I was thinking of starting near Blue Lake so I could just go back down the standard Quandary route.

Thanks!
- Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby Jon Frohlich » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:24 am

I can't speak to parts of the loop but the ridge from Fletcher to Atlantic is serious Class 5. You can traverse below it down in McCollough Gulch and then climb back up to the saddle between Pacific and Atlantic but it would add a lot of time to your day. There is a very old trail down from the Fletcher-Quandary saddle that goes down into the gulch. If you were going to do this I'd suggest leaving Atlantic for another day.

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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby rking007 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:47 am

Thanks! I was just reading a TR on this and yeah, that's out. I've been trying to piece together info from TR's that are just solo Wheeler and solo Fletcher, etc...
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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:14 am

When I climbed Drift this summer, I ran into a guy (very experienced from the way he talked) who was trying to do a loop from Blue Lakes, up the side of North Star, then around to Fletcher and Quandary. At the point I talked to him, he'd already had to bail off the ridge once somewhere between North Star and Drift, descend to the basin, then re-climb the ridge. This was with perfectly dry conditions (in fact too dry, as the gullies up Drift are pretty loose). Cooper's "Colorado Scrambles" (1st ed) says there's a class-5 move somewhere between North Star and Wheeler; maybe this is where he bailed.

There's also a serious notch between Drift and Fletcher that is said to be class 5. I looked down into it and thought I saw a way down that was about 30 feet of slab with a crack, probably class 4 but exposed and dangerous looking. It would probably be an easy rappel with the right gear, and the guy on Drift said it was easier on the other side. It also might be possible to bypass it on the north side by dropping a few hundred feet of class 3.
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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby SuperPolok » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:38 am

I haven't done the whole loop you've described but I HAVE done the North Star-Wheeler ridge. There is a good deal of Class 3/Class 4 moves. The most difficult was a cliff-out just west of the saddle which requires a tricky down-climb and ledge traverse on the south side of the ridge. It certainly requireds there to be as little snow as possible. I can pretty easily say that doing the full ridge would certainly not be Class 3 the whole way. That being said, it was extremely fun! I'd like to do that whole route one of these days.

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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby rking007 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:53 am

Well, I think that will just about change my plans then! I have very little experience with ropes and rappelling and such... my original goal was to get Quandary done and thought I'd add some flavor; a little tour d' Blue Lakes. I'll probably just hit Quandaries West ridge instead. I'd be open to trying the entire loop if I were to go with someone patient and experienced. Seems like it could be an extremely long day however. Thanks for the info!
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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby Kiefer » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:45 pm

Haven't done the Atlantic-Fletcher ridge segment but like Superpolok, Steph and I have climbed the Wheeler-North Star Ridge in a single loop from Traver Peak and descending North Star's South Slopes back to the road (that slope sucked!). Superpolok has a good consensus of that ridge. The rock was pretty bad along this stretch to boot. I wouldn't want to be up there if snow was present. Class 3 all the way with ample opportunity for 4th and low 5th class...on bad rock.
That segment from Atlantic to Fletcher has also intrigued us from last summer. I might have to go 'take a look' next year. :-k

One of the prominant fins we had to bypass on the right (south).
Image

Looking west towards Wheeler Peak
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Looking West
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Looking East towards North Star
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North Star
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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby kaiman » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:51 pm

rking007 wrote:Hello,

Was sitting here planning my summer journeys for 2011 and I wondered if anyone had any beta or trail reports for this loop...

North Star to Wheeler to Drift Peak to Fletcher to Quandary via the west ridge. Maybe thinking of sneaking in Atlantic Peak as well...

Anyhow, I'm good up and to and including class 3 but nothing above that. Are any of those traverses in that range? Has anyone done this loop? If so, how long was your day and do you have any TRs. I was thinking of starting near Blue Lake so I could just go back down the standard Quandary route.

Thanks!


North Star and Drift are on my to-do list for 2011 as well, but I think I will try to tackle them from the Wheeler Lake side...

In answer to your question, I haven't done this whole route, but I have done the ridge from Fletcher to Drift from Blue Lakes and didn't find that it exceeded Class 3. There is only a bit of exposure and a few spots where you will have to do some ledgy traverses in order to avoid a couple of towers/gendarmes (near Point 13,515 as labeled on my Topo), but there is no need to descend any coliours to the basin below Drift.

If you decide to continue on to Quandary, the toughest part of that ridge IMHO is the last part right before you reach the summit which involves some exposed Class 3 scrambling around towers and through a couple notches and should be an exciting way to end the day :)
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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby pbakwin » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:40 pm

Haven't done North Star - Wheeler, but I have done Wheeler - Atlantic.
If you keep mostly to the west side of the ridge, Wheeler to Drift need
not exceed class 3. I've done Drift-Fletcher twice but never found a "good"
route. It's annoying, but not difficult. The whole Wheeler - Fletcher thing
took me like 2:15, but I tend to be fairly quick (I read a TR where the guy
took 8.5 hours in the other direction). There's a very logical sneak on the
east side of the difficult Fletcher - Atlantic ridge. You don't drop below 13K.
This took me less than an hour with the route finding. Your loop sounds like
a good one. Have fun!

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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby polar » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:32 am

I'm thinking of giving this loop a try at some point. Anyone has any updates or inputs since this question was originally posted?

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Re: Has anyone done this loop? Can't find TR

Postby Marmot72 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Doing the full loop and keeping to class 3 would be tough- I imagine some tedious scree descents to bypass towers. I can only speak from my trip from quandary to fletcher and halfway beyond to drift a month back - and there are several towers between Drift and Fletcher and Quandary's west ridge. The latter are more 3 than 4 and easily bypassed in some cases, but the former would involve lengthy bypasses for those who are not uncommonly fast like one of the prior respondents who ran Wheeler to Atlantic in a fast 2.5 hours.
My opinion is the loop on the ridge proper is for those wanting to break out the rope and the loop unroped would involve numerous disappointing down climbs of boring talus and scree.
I have phenomenal route-finding abilities. Specifically, I have an uncanny knack for seeking the path of most resistance.

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