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Pyramidal Traverse 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 5500'
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
Season: Summer
Page Views: 230
Submitted By: J Thomson on Aug 13, 2016

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Looking towards Thunder.


This route links Pyramid Peak (14,018'), Thunder Pyramid (13,932') and Lightning Pyramid (13,722). (There is also an unnamed peak at 13,820' on the ridge between Pyramid and Thunder.)

From the top of Pyramid, look south along the ridge, which provides a nice view of Thunder. Lightning Pyramid is not visible from the top of Pyramid.

Follow the ridge south, downclimbing 4th and low-5th class steps (as with other routes in the Elk Range, it is difficult to describe exactly as proper route finding essential). Staying on the ridge is sensible as it yields the easiest climbing for the most part. The crux was about 1/3 way to Thunder Pyramid, when the ridge drops off dramatically. I backtracked and downclimbed to the east on loose ledges to gain a small saddle where I regained the ridge proper.

Timing-wise, 1:15-1:45 is reasonable from Pyramid Peak to Thunder Pyramid and about 1/2 that again continuing on to Lightning Pyramid.

It would be possible to continue along the ridge climbing a couple other unnamed peaks (13,586' and 13,631'), which would be considered the Megamidal Traverse in reverse.

The descent was not ideal. I backtracked down Lightning Pyramid to the saddle with Thunder Pyramid and headed down a scree gully (probably good couloir skiing when filled in), very loose. I passed a couple cairns but mostly felt like seldom-traveled ground. Drop straight down to the basin formed with Len Shoemaker Ridge. Alternatively, continue on the ridge south after summitting Lightning Pyramid to the next saddle; however, topo lines look like it may be steeper than the Thunder-Lightning saddle.


Minimal to non-existent, given the loose quality of the rock.

Photos of Pyramidal Traverse Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back towards Pyramid from summit of Thunde...
Looking back towards Pyramid from summit of Thunde...
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo map showing rough approximation of the ridge.
BETA PHOTO: Topo map showing rough approximation of the ridge.

Comments on Pyramidal Traverse Add Comment
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By Ryan Marsters
Sep 18, 2016

Just a comment on this, but I believe the original Pyramidal also included Len Shoemaker, which isn't trivial. I think it also makes more sense from an aesthetic point.
By J Thomson
From: Boulder
Sep 22, 2016

Ryan, thanks for the comment - I was unaware LS was part of the original traverse. Looks like continuing on the ridge to Len Shoemaker would add approx. 0.75 mi. distance and 600' elevation gain along the ridge to that summit (and more roundtrip).

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