"Thunder Pyramid" - 13,932 feet
Pyramid Peak - 14,029 feet
"Thunder Pyramid" - 13,932 feet
Pyramid Peak - 14,029 feet
|Thunder to Pyramid Traverse|
Stats: 11.5 miles, 5100 feet of gain. Hike in total took nearly 14 hours. Traverse took 3 hours.
I’ll start by saying this is my first full trip report so bear with me here. As Roach suggests all plans to hike the supposed hidden horror that is Thunder Pyramid begins in a living room on a couch so that is exactly what Ryan and I did. (Ryan is the local legend San Luis kegger for those who may know him and also my husband.) I had booked bells parking permits thinking ah yes maybe we’ll try Thunder and my husband suggested why not traverse over to Pyramid since Thunder is so nasty? We put it down tentatively and our much more experienced friend Joe texted us a few weeks before saying he and his climbing buddy Darren were in. So off we went…
Ryan decided that due to my very limited climbing experience that we would borrow some gear (ropes, anchor thingys sorry I don’t know) from Joe and he would carry it all. We figured that it was likely we wouldn’t need it because the rock is so loose and it shouldn’t get above 5.4. Both were true. I was glad to know worst case we could engineer a way to help me up if it was beyond my climbing ability but thankfully I managed just fine.
Anyways, onto the trip itself!
Next we navigated through rocks (one steep bit we climbed through in Picture 2) and grassy spots picking a line to ascend to a more open meadow.
At some point we decided to ascend a steep cliff band after growing weary off all the rocks and grassy spots. Picture 6 is where we headed up. Pretty sure this is not required but they wanted some spice early on.
We at long last could see the white gulley after reaching a flat grassy area. We crossed over some small rocks and decided for a more direct route. Picture 7. Others have gone around up a different gulley then connected but we wanted to be on the white rock as soon as possible.
The white rock was actually great! Not too loose and pretty grippy. We climbed in pairs so as not to kick rocks down (admittedly I had to call out rock a few times). We stayed close to or on the white rock (Picture 8).
Once we got to 13,400’ we knew we needed to cross over to our right and ascend to the ridge crest. We decided to go just under the white band of rock (Picture 9) and then head for the ridge. This worked out pretty well. It was then a short little ridge walk to the summit (Picture 10)! Hooray—my first Elks centennial! Same for Ryan and Joe. For Darren it was number 92!
And now for challenge! The traverse over to Pyramid (Picture 11). We headed down off of the summit and honestly the downclimbing directly off of the summit until we got a small flat spot of dirt was not so bad. Here’s a section of upclimbing near the start after the initial descent (Picture 12).
The short downclimb from the catwalk was no trouble but the crux of the route lay ahead. Somewhere ahead lay a steep chimney, a 5.4 dihedral, and the final up climb to Pyramid. Picture 15 shows our estimated route through the technical difficulties.
We stayed slightly left at first and were able to find a low class 5 chimney that looked familiar enough from other images (Picture 16).
After topping out on this we navigated through some varying loose rock and more solid terrain (Picture 17) and found the 5.4 dihedral which thankfully was recognizable due to the rock jutting out above it on the left (Picture 18). The rock here was pretty solid and we briefly discussed roping up but there still wasn’t enough certainty in the rock and it seemed reasonable enough. I climbed up with some spotting from below just fine. We then headed around to the slopes on the right to reach the flat spot below the final up climb to Pyramid.
There was a final airy section (Picture 19) getting up to the final section to Pyramid that caught me a little off guard. There were a few questionable small slabs here so caution was needed. The final challenge was negotiating with one of the infamous Pyramid goats to pass to the summit (Picture 20).
By now we all had either run out of water or only had a small bit left—it was so hot that day! This made coming down Pyramid a slog. The route was much looser than I remember from about ten years ago so it felt like ages before we were on good terrain again. Ryan had booked a hotel for us to stay in and thank goodness! We didn't make it back to the trailhead until 5:30 or so which was nearly 14 hours after we started. Other groups had completed the traverse in about half our time but we honestly didn't feel like we were moving that slow or had issues routefinding, it just took 3 hours for us. Overall, I don't think Thunder was as loose as I expected and descending it would not be too bad. The traverse going from Thunder to Pyramid makes the most sense to me direction-wise because you are going up all of the more technical sections vs trying to downclimb them. I hope the image quality is OK as they are from my phone (sorry I can't figure out how to crop that one screenshot after the fact). Thanks for reading and stay safe your adventures! Cheers!
|Comments or Questions|
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