|Peak:||El Diente Peak (Unranked 14er)|
|Posted By:||Mountain Woman|
|Date of Info:||07/25/2011|
RE: Wilson's Trifecta. I wish to warn others of the caution necessary in climbing here at this time. I ascended El Diente from the North Slopes approach from approximately 0600-0830. It had stable hard-packed snow which necessitated use of crampons and ice axe. Also, the coulior could be carefully (but dangerously) diagonally climbed to the left, where the most stable rock lay; however, this rock did not have the best grip at some points and was a dangerous choice. Two others and I were sure to call out falling rock and small hard ice/pack snow pieces. A helmet was sufficient to provide protection from these. From the top of the coulior to the summit of El Diente, I felt a false sense of security from the seemingly hard,secure rock and did as much Class 4 climbing as I could. Retrospectively, these areas had a few rocks I encountered that were slightly loose (I didn't test them long enough to determine exactly how loose they were as I was reaching for stable rock, of course). These were rocks which were large and appeared well attached/connected to major other ones. I maintained 3 points of contact at all times. All hard rock continued with similar conditions across the traverse (we made to the Saddle before making an unplanned descent due to weather). What is unsafe is (a) the rock which would probably normally be stable being loosened by water (my assumption) and (b), on the "emergency" descent we took, the unstable dirt/mud/rock slides which could result in a fall and subsequent sequalae or a crush injury (we did a Class 3-4 descent on the north side of the Saddle). It is hence my opinion, that it would be safest currently to ascend these peaks as an earlier spring climb. For those who are curious, we camped at Lake Navajo the night of the 24th, ascended on the 25th, spent the night in a rain storm, then hiked out this am (the 26th) with the mountains still covered in clouds. In one area on the trails we saw about 10 feet long of an area 1/2 foot deep of large hail.