|Type:||Trad, Alpine, Grade III|
|Original:||YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]|
|FA:||Lex Maxwell, Fred Llewellyn, and John Vertrees|
|Submitted By:||peachy spohn on Jul 29, 2009|
|Comments on West Ridge||Add Comment|
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By J. Thornton
Jan 19, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
|A more direct approach to the notch below the Upper West Ridge is the West Ridge Couloir route. This route goes up couloirs and gulleys to the notch. In early June long sections of 35-degree snow where encountered, and ice ax and crampons were used. Follow the approach to the South Headwall route, but depart from that at the fork at the 7000-foot elevation. Go up the left couloir and continue to the notch. The South Headwall route description has a photo of the south slopes showing the approach for this. This is shorter and quicker than the Full West Ridge route, but might not be as good.|
Jul 29, 2015
Very cool! I came expecting great scenery and tons of choss, but was pleasantly surprised at the rock quality. The lower route climbs 4th class gullies on exquisitely solid stone, and the more exposed upper section in 5th class terrain felt very good as well. I found route finding up high would be difficult if you're dead-set on the verbatim Becky 5.4 version; otherwise, it's great choose-your-own-adventure 5.6+. The route had little actual ridge climbing; though 'SW Gullies' may be a better name, I felt it compared favorably to some High Sierra classics of similar grades. The scenery and position of the approach are very high class as well.
The Cascadian Couloir descent wore me down more than expected due to its size. If you don't need to return to Ingalls lake, the Long's Pass route is quick back to the car. Route finding around the Ingalls Creek / Long's Pass trail junction could pose problems at night, as neither seem well traveled and often appeared as washes.
The short N aspect 4th class pitch near the top often gets rime iced from clouds and wind, even on mild summer days. A little more ice than what I had would have changed my experience as a soloist dramatically.