Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ingall's Peak - South Ridge - 08.21.09

Elevation Gain: 3400'
8 miles RT
Left car: 7:30 am
Summit: 3:00 pm
Back at car: 10:20 pm
15 hours car to car

Another late night in the mountains.

Lori organized a trip that was going to be to either the Tooth or Ingalls and was supposed to involve Adam, Lori, myself and some of Ken's students. By the time I had gotten off Forbidden I found out that Adam was still working and I choose the location of Ingalls. We were originally supposed to have three students, but one backed out which gave us nice pairings. After some difficulty finding our way onto I90 in the early morning, Lori and I finally met Deanna and Mike in Issaquah. We piled into Mike's SUV and headed out.

Once on the dirt portion of Teanaway Road, the tire pressure sensor light came on. Mike assured us that it has happened in the past with no issues. As it turned out, we pulled into the lot with a hissing tire, deflating before our eyes. We decided to leave it until we were finished with the climb and deal with it then. We then headed up the trail.

This was a test mission for Lori's knees after starting a new regiment of arthritis treatment. I was still recovering from my Forbidden epic and I think the students were fine with the slow pace we set up the trail. Just before Ingall's Pass we were greeted by a goat posing for us on a rock outcropping. We all stopped to take pictures. After our photo session we continued to hike toward the lake.

Nearing the lake we had to veer off the trail to start the scramble to the base of the climb. Having only done the approach to the south ridge in the snow it was unfamiliar to me. It was not completely obvious which way to go as you could not see the peak to use as a reference point. After a little wandering, Lori, Mike and Deanna found a gully-like ramp to ascend while I ascended slabs to the right of them. We reconnected a short distance from a notch which we passed through and made a few steps on snow at. Then it was just a short scramble to the base at the dogtooth crags.

Since it was 11:30am I suggested we eat lunch. (I had already been up for seven hours, so why not?) We sat about and sorted gear and ate our respective lunches. Around 12:30pm I started off on the first pitch.

Every other time I have climbed the south ridge, this first pitch is usually buried in snow. So we ended up climbing it to the lowest rap anchor as a first pitch. I brought Mike up and we were on our way. I led up a short pitch to move the belay below the main pitch while Lori started leading up the first pitch. I brought Mike up to my location and put on my pant legs and shell jacket as the wind was relentless. Thankfully the sun was shinning, so it was keeping the temps reasonable.

I led off on what was our third pitch. This is one of the nicest pitches of easy alpine rock to climb. The crack is fairly clean, and the pro is good. It is really an enjoyable pitch. I had told the students that they should consider themselves lucky that they were on Ingalls and not the Tooth, as it was a nicer climb. This pitch was fun, but a bit long, and with my reduced alpine rack, I almost ran out of slings to finish the pitch. I brought Mike up and had him leave the #3 cam in for Lori as she did not bring one. (For some reason, the beta on this climb says gear to 2" and one piece of beta even limited it to 1.5"!) I agree with Ian in that if you bring a piece, you'll use it. So I had the #3 and was able to place it at least twice on the route. Although two pieces at 2" would go a longer way for the earlier pitch as getting the #3 in was a squeeze. Next time I may just bring a large hex instead of the #3 cam and see how that works.

After bringing Mike to the top of the pitch we hung out a bit. He was experiencing some leg cramps and wanted to rest them a bit, while I wanted to take pictures of Lori climbing the pitch. After a while of hanging out, I got under way.

In no time, I was at the top of our fourth pitch and done with the technical rock climbing. I brought Mike up and we relaxed a bit. I looked down to see that Lori and Deanna had not even started the final pitch and we decided to untie and head for shelter from the wind. I hung out behind a large rock in the sun while watching the clouds force their way over Mount Daniel, Chimney Rock and the Lemahs. Mike laid out in the sun and wind just above me. I'd occasionally run back to the route to check on the progress of the other rope, and then return to my perch.

At one point, I decided that we should hit the summit while waiting and Mike went up and touched it, while I straddled the rock. We then went to check on Lori and Deanna. At this point, Deanna was on the final pitch and I told Lori that Mike and I would hit the summit again and then start the rappels as it was getting late (Lori and Deanna probably arrived at the top a full hour and a half later than we did.) and the clouds seem to be winning their battle eastward to our location as well.

Mike and I went back to the summit to take pictures, this time Mike straddling the summit and getting his picture taken to boot. We hustled back to the anchors where Deanna was on top at last. I started setting up the rappel so I could add a rappel ring to the next anchor which only had one. Once the top rappel was set up, I had some minor difficulty in making the initial moves onto the rappel as it involves a turn around above the anchor. Once on rappel I made my way quickly to the next station. I had enough time alone at the next station to add a rappel ring and then set up my rope for half of the double rope rappel to the next rap station. Around this time, Mike joined me at the rap station and asked "how are four of us going to stand here?" The ledge there is tiny, and so I then set up my rope as a single line rappel and rapped it the next station to make room for Deanna and Lori.

Down at the lower rap station the wind seemed to be at its worst. I tried to huddle behind some rocks, but I mostly got flapped around by the wind. After a while, I was joined by everyone and we set about the next rappel. At this point I let Lori go first as I was pretty sure she wanted to be back on the ground. It also gave me time to put on a down jacket because the wind was really starting to chill me. After Lori and Mike made the next short rap, they set up a single rope rap to reach the packs.

By the time I reached the next rap station, I had discovered that the rope did not reach and we had to convert the single rope rap into a double. With some quick action this was done and Mike got to be the first to rap to the packs. Lori got on from her location (where she built an anchor) and made the short rap down to the packs as well. Once Deanna made the rappel I was all that was left.

I reached the packs, where we sorted gear, had a snack and started out way down. Going down the loose talus proved slow and then we had a bit of trail finding to make sure we didn't cliff out. Once back at the trail Lori almost had a run in with a goat and her kid. It seemed the goat was defending her child (and the trail) and started walking toward Lori (who was in the lead) with her head down. I started yelling loudly (and the others joined in) and that spooked the goat enough to run up the slope a bit. We all quickly passed and were on our way.

Most of the hike out was uneventful. While the parking lot was near full in the morning, we did not see people until our way out. There were a few camping near the trail, and a handful coming up by headlamp once we had crossed over Ingall's Pass. Back in the parking lot we were greeted by a few more who were getting ready for the popular parking lot bivy.

This turned out to be a good thing. Because not only did we have the tire change to deal with, but the dome light was also left on in the vehicle, and it would not start. The other climbers offered us a jump start, but asked them if they could wait until we changed the tire first. Other than a few issues with how to remove the jack and the spare tire, the tire change went well and soon we were being helped with a jump from the other climbers. Once the truck was running we hopped in for the slow ride back out. (The spare was a donut, so we took it easy.)

And we saw a porcupine on the road on the way out. It turned its back to the vehicle and raised its quills before wandering to the side of the road. Cool.

My pics are here.
Mike's pics are here.
Lori's pics here.

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