|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 3300'|
|Original:||YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]|
|Submitted By:||kenr on Jul 30, 2014|
|WHITNEY PORTAL ROAD CONSTRUCTION MORE INFO >>>|
|Comments on NNW Ridge direct||Add Comment|
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Jul 31, 2014
I tried this as a solo climb on a day when the weather did not invite anything harder or longer. I'd seen a report that the traverse over Little Lakes Peak to Mt Morgan had pretty views. I assumed that meant starting with the SW ridge of LLPk, which is also mentioned in the Moynier+Fiddler book. I check in the Secor book and it mentioned that the NW ridge was enjoyable. That would make it a shorter loop to fit the weather forecast, so that's that I chose.
The trail and off-trail hiking approach was mostly pleasant and pretty, as I expected for Rock Creek. I got onto the ridge at its low north end, imagining that the hiking would continue until I reached the steep section closer to the summit. Surprise was that the interesting climbing on a narrow rock ridge with gendarme challenges started much lower while the uphill angle was still gentle.
I kept thinking I must soon be reaching an easy section, but the interesting moves were pretty sustained. Except one gendarme in the lower section, I didn't look for easier moves off to the side, because I enjoy working out fun move on a narrow ridge. Still I felt like I'd had plenty when I reached the summit. I went down the NE ridge toward Mt Morgan, and the difficulty continued sustained (including a remarkable little tower near the LLPk-MtMorgan col.
Here I decided I was getting tired from too many climbing moves, so I abandoned my plan to climb Mt Morgan, and instead descended a talus gully to the NW. Felt some sprinkles while finding my way back to the trail and soon to the parking.
I will do it again - (maybe next time I'll have the time and endurance to add Mt Morgan).
By Tyler Wick
From: Bishop, CA
Jun 22, 2015
rating: Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
This route isn't worthy of comparisons to N Ridge of Conness. Not even close in terms of rock quality or position. Very few sections of solid rock, mostly stacked blocks and talus. Many of the notches between the gendarmes were just scary, loose talus piles. The best rock and climbing came after the NW ridge merged with the SW ridge close to the summit.
I planned on traversing to Morgan from the summit, but the ridge and scramble to the summit just looked like more loose talus. I dropped down the south face of LLP instead, and... surprise! More unconsolidated, loose baseball/basketball sized talus. It's probably better to just go on over to Morgan.
The route is an adventure for sure, just don't expect quality rock or much quality climbing.
FWIW, I walked past the SW ridge on the way out and the rock looked much better on that side of the peak.
Jul 4, 2015
Thanks to Tyler's commeents, I made some changes to the main route description abovs.
Thanks to Tyler also for the suggestion of trying the SW ridge. I went back in July 2015 and tried the upper parts (but not the lower section which had the more compact rock visible from the hiking trail.
And thanks for a different perspective on the NNW Ridge (especially in comparison with Mt Conness North ridge, which used to be mentioned more in the older version of the route description above). Likely it does have more loose rock than the N ridge of Mt Conness. And does not have such a dramatic "position" on a macro scale.
Quality of climbing I see as a matter of taste: I really enjoy scrambling on Sierra ridgetop fractured granite. Of course some of that is going to be loose - (maybe lots of it) - so part of the "game" is being experienced at judging what's not loose, and knowing how to move carefully on different degrees of looseness. If you don't like that game, then be grateful for getting Tyler's perspective in advance - (and he's correct to warn that the SW ridge of Mt Morgan above looks like more of the same).
I guess part of enjoying a fractured ridgetop is focusing on the good stuff and ignoring/forgetting the non-good. If the interruptions of continuity just bother you, then again be grateful for Tyler's perspective in advance.
My perspective is that while Little Lakes NNW Ridge may indeed have more bad rock than Conness N ridge -- but by seeking out the good stuff, I get to enjoy more good fun moves in total -- and for less work than Conness. (My view is that the way lots of parties climb many of the sections of Conness N ridge is somewhat boring.)
From a micro perspective the "position" of many sections of Little Lakes NNW is plenty exciting: narrow arete with serious exposure on one or both sides. The way many parties climb Conness N ridge, in many sections they avoid the exciting crest, and so miss out on really appreciating its macro "position" - (but I really do enjoy Conness N ridge the way I choose to climb it).