Peak(s):  Mt. Toll - 12,979 feet
Date Posted:  07/30/2012
Modified:  02/20/2014
Date Climbed:   07/27/2012
Author:  Brian C
 North Ridge of Mt. Toll (5.6)  

This is taken from the full report on my site. All the photos can be found HERE at Brian in the Wild.

Mount Toll via the North Ridge (5.6)

July 27, 2012

Crew: Jason

Mount Toll on the approach. The North Ridge goes up the right skyline just behind what is visible.

Picking a good route close to home was easy this time. I was going to be tired from the previous day's ascent of Inwood Arete and didn't think I'd be up for a huge day. Thankfully Jason understood, and we immediatley decided on the north ridge on Mt. Toll. Sitting just under 13,000 feet, Mt. Toll is a beautiful peak that sees only a fraction of the traffic of other, higher peaks. It dominates the sky in the Indian Peaks with it's unique shape and the North Ridge is a dramatic sweep of rock that offers a short/steep climb up to it's summit. Of the very few reports on the route, loose rock was said to be the biggest obstacle and the route-finding was supposedly vague at best.

We left the trailhead at 6:30am and quickly motored up the trail We soon skirted Blue Lake and moved carefully into the loose boulders that led upward. A small slope of snow had to be negotiated and I carefully kicked steps while Jason moved easily around it. The final slopes were steep, loose and put up a fight. We carefully clawed our way up the disintegrating slope and soon found ourselves looking up the impressive north ridge. Climbing the ridge directly is much harder than the moderate 5.6 rating, and most climbers start on easier terrain slightly on the west side. We scrambled up an easy ramp and uncoiled the rope at the base of a slanting crack system. The shade provided a nice chill to the breeze and we didn't waste time to get moving. The opening pitch moved up tricky cracks onto an easy ledge system and a comfortable belay just off the edge of the ridge. From the Jason moved up toward the ridge and tiptoed up loose rocks to find himself on the large ledge below the summit. According to Gerry Roach's guide, we expected another pitch to reach this point and were surprised it came so early. From here, we unroped and scrambled the large ledge around the corner to the western side The easiest was up appeared to be a small chimney system and we briefly contemplating soloing it. Thankfully, Jason talked some sense into me and as I led up the pitch found it to be much more awkward than it looked from below (5.5). A brief scramble put us on the summit and a marmot relaxed on the cairn.

Down P1

Jason coming to the summit. Paiute dominating the background.

The hike down was uneventful with the exception of a few reports of thunder. Fortunately, the weather held the whole way out and we simply made a line for the Toll-Pawnee saddle straight to Blue Lake. A crowd of people sat enjoying the beautiful lake and we snapped a few photos before heading out. The North Ridge had proven a fun and short moderate climb in the Indian Peaks that I really enjoyed. We did not experience the rumored loose rock and found the worst of it to be avoidable. A climber could do numerous lines on the face, but we chose to climb up toward the ridgeline and found it excellent. I would recommend this as a first alpine experience or a good climb to take a lesser-experienced friend on.

Marmot chilling on the summit cairn.

Gear taken: 60M x 9.5mm rope. We did 2 longer pitches (about 160 feet) to the ledge then one half pitch to the summit.
Rock protection: 1 set of nuts, C4s 0.5-3 with doubles in 1 and 2. Doubles not required but helped for anchors.
Slings. Took about 10 shoulder lengths and 2 doubles. We could've done with a few less.
Helmets! Even though the rock wasn't too bad there still was plenty of loose stuff too.
Route: Many possibilities exist. The ridge could be climbed directly but it would be hard. An obvious ramp leads from the northern saddle up slightly onto the western side and put us at some 5.6 cracks that led up and back left toward the ridge. Another pitch led to the large ledge that we scrambled onto the west side and climbed the obvious chimney with a fixed pin to the summit plateau. The descent went down the easy talus to the Pawnee-Toll saddle then straight down to Blue Lake being careful to avoid some small cliff bands.

More photos here...

 Comments or Questions

07/30/2012 15:04
Brian, I am looking forward to having you lead me up this next year!

Dave B

Killing it!
07/30/2012 15:09
Looks like your alpine summer is going strong!


08/01/2012 01:09
Looks like that guy is lounging off some kind of stupor. ;)
Your report is a nice addition to this site!
Keep it up!

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