Type: Trad, 400 ft (121 m), 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 186 total · 14/month
Shared By: Daniel Chode Rider on Oct 19, 2020
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

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Climbing Red Mountain via its long East Ridge. Fred Beckey describes this route in his CAG as 'some minor scrambling east from the Kendall Katwalk,' this is not correct in the slightest. On the Internet, only a few instances of people attempting this route have been recorded, and all of them as a descent route. Trying to ascend this way would be disastrous. (Beckey's error is possibly because, in a previous edition before the new PCT was built, he wrote 'it might be possible once the PCT is built to scramble the East Ridge,' and apparently never went to try it.)

It is possible to descend this route; I have done it. However, it involves very dangerous and slippery downclimbing on alternating polished slabs and unpleasant loose rock. I will describe it as a descent rather than an ascent, as that's how I've done it. Begin climbing down the summit block to a few slabs; traverse along them underneath the ridge crest until the ridge drops sheerly ~20 feet. Downclimb farther down to avoid this. Continue along the ridgecrest for a short while, then downclimb through loose rock around another drop. Soon afterward, downclimb into a short gully and across to where the ridgetop is heathered and forested.

Everything previous is dangerous and unprotectable, although easy: a slip would lead 200 feet down onto gentler slopes. Here, however, it becomes REALLY unpleasant. There is a sheer 200+ foot cliff in the ridge; on the opposite side is a talus field that leads to the Kendall Katwalk/PCT. Downclimbing ridges and bushy gullies on the west side of this drop is a long, tedious, frightening, dangerous affair, as there's no place for a rappel and it's very difficult to see if you're leading to a straight drop or finding a passage down. 

Once you're down, near the head of a Commonwealth Creek tributary, begin climbing polished slabs that lead up toward the talus field. In wet weather, stay in the bush clumps as these could become very treacherous. Follow the talus field east to a final slope that reaches the PCT; then hike 6 miles back to the trailhead.


Either start from the summit of Red Mountain or from just before the Kendall Katwalk.


A rope might be helpful, but there's very few anchor/protection options when you need them.


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