Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Date Posted:  07/12/2008
Date Climbed:   07/12/2008
Author:  CAVUfool
 Pyramid - Northwest Ridge  

Beautiful day to be in the mountains (minus the fire-smoke haze from California). There is still a good amount of snow in the basin below Pyramid's north face. This image is the area west (climber's right) of Pyramid's north face:
The blue line shows the route I took up. Cramp-ons would have sped things up on the way up but I didn't want to carry my cramp-ons in July!

I wish I had more pictures but I don't think they'd help much in the way of beta. The route is difficult to stay on. I got off route twice on the way up and twice on the way down. By off route I mean it got too loose or class 5 so I went back the way I came and found an easier way. I don't think there really is any one way to do this route. The mountain is very chossy and requires good route finding skills.

My route was class 2 when traversing the loose gullies and class 3 when climbing the most solid sections I could find. Be very careful on Pyramid's rock! I tested every hold and found that many times what looked like a solid hold was really quite ready to peel off! Also, there was small section of ice/snow I traversed just below the summit's west face to gain the south ridge.

The route I finally did only required about 20 feet of class 4. This picture shows the section I climbed on the south end of the summit ridge:
Some might consider it low class 5. There was a cairn at the base of this wall and after climbing it it was only a short walk to the summit interrupted by one mantle move over a boulder.

My car to car time was 8 1/2 hours, with at least 30 minutes spent off route. I started around 6:15am and reached the basin about 8am. Some of the snow was still very solid around 9am as I climbed to the ridge out of the basin and that's when I wished I had my cramp-ons. Summit was at 11am.

I was able to glissade down from the NW ridge to the basin, but I doubt it will be doable 2 weeks from now as the snow is getting shallow in places. The upper section was very steep and difficult to control but by the bottom I was "rowing" myself along with my axe. There was snow from the top of the NW ridge to within 50 yards of the set of 3 very large cairns that one passes entering the basin.

If you have any beta questions don‘t hesitate to ask. Cheers!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Fun Route
02/05/2011 00:22
We just missed you. Elloijos & I climbed the NW ridge today also, but we decended the NE...I'm not sure I would have been too happy downclimbing some of those spots! Despite the loose gullies, it was still a fun route.


basin snow
11/30/2010 17:28
heather14 must have been ya'll that passed me on steep switchbacks just before basin.Glad all went well. The snow field slowed me down even more,but it sure is beautiful up there.


Tour de Pyramid
07/14/2008 14:36
You guys must have had a nice Tour de Pyramid. I thought about doing the same thing but I wasn‘t aware that I had gone up the more difficult way (according to Roach). Just kind of winged it, though it was a good feeling finding the occasional cairn!


NE Ridge Conditions?
07/17/2008 03:23
Heather14 and/or giarcd: Is there much snow on the NE ridge route, between saddle & summit?

CAVUfool: Nice job. That second picture looks a bit imposing.


NE Ridge Conditions
07/17/2008 15:12
JimR - There are a few small patches along the route that shouldn‘t be of concern...they may even be melted by now. There is one longer snow traverse. We only crossed it on the descent, so it was pretty soft, but I‘m guessing earlier in the day on the way up you might want at least an axe as a slip would send you for a long ride. I can send a pic tonight if you would like.


NE Ridge Conditions
07/17/2008 16:54
heather14: Thanks.

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