Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ingall's Peak - East Ridge - 07.06.10

3400' elevation gain
8 miles RT
Left car: 7:20 am
Summit: 3:30 pm
Back at car: 8:20 pm
13 hours car to car

I set up a trip of Ingall's East Ridge for my students to get a nice outing at a good easy level. Unfortunately, only Jay could make it, but Vance and Lorin also came along.

I opted for a more leisurely start, and we met at the park and ride at 5am. We were at the trail head at 7am and walking by 7:20. In typical fashion for this area, it was really cold in the parking lot, and we had a lot of hiking to do before the sun would eventually shine on us. We reached Ingall's Pass in a little under two hours with the last bits before the pass being continuous snow. We had lost track of the trail and scrambled up the snow to the pass where we took a break. It was warm and the snow was already soft, but we got out our ice axes for the rest of the approach. Aside from a few navigational discussions we headed over to our gully and the start of the route.

We geared up on some flat rock below the start of the route and walked on rock to the base where we started to climb. The objective was to simul climb the first two pitches, but at the notch I was stopped by rope drag and brought Lorin up. He continued out on the next pitch and brought me up.

I led out on the "down climb pitch." It was easier than I remembered, and I tried to place enough gear so that Lorin would be protected. Once at the notch, I could not protect the moves back out and had to do them without the security of protection. Beyond that, I scrambled around to the next belay.

While I was belaying Lorin in, a guide and client combo also started the third pitch. The guide placed no protection during the pitch and crossed our rope. I kept thinking if his follower fell, he would take us out. Lorin and I kept close attention to where his rope was running, and we tried to stay ahead of them, but they managed to zip past us on the fourth pitch. (Fairly easy considering the guide was soloing.) I simul climbed with Lorin a bit on the fourth pitch before he brought me in, citing rope drag as the reason for him setting a belay.

I quickly led out on the next pitch, which was almost a full rope length when I reached the notch below the crux pitch. I set a belay and brought Lorin over. We watched the guide and his client go through the crux with the guide trying to explain to the client what a fist jam was. We re-flaked the rope as I wanted a crack at leading the crux. We didn't have a #4 cam, and the #3 wasn't very useful as protection. I actually got a #10 stopper in higher than the cam. After multiple attempts and not making progress the way I liked, I finally backed off. (We had time, as Jay and Vance were not even in sight.) Lorin and I switched ends of the rope and he gave it a go. While it was not pretty, and F-bombs were dropped, Lorin got through the crux and there was rejoicing. I followed mimicking Lorin's earlier moves, but I could not duplicate his left leg smear. (Not just foot mind you, but whole leg.) The moves were awkward and strenuous, but it probably is just 5.7 and I am not used to climbing off widths buried in corners. It would be much easier in rock shoes, but we were wearing boots. After some grunting I too was through the crux and heading to Lorin a little beyond that point. Before continuing, I mentioned to Vance what we had done, and tried to show him the easier way up that I had done the last time I had climbed the route.

With a quick change, I led out on the final bit to the summit and brought Lorin in. We ate, hung out and went to set up the first rappel before returning to the summit to heckle our friends. After over an hour, Vance finally came over the ridge. Apparently Jay tried first, but was misdirected by my earlier beta into trying something more difficult than what even Lorin and I had climbed. After down climbing and giving the sharp end to Vance, Vance saw the error in his related information and found the easy way up. They joined us on the summit as Lorin and I headed back to start the rapping.

We made one single rope rappel from the summit area and then two double rope rappels back to the snow. A quick clean up of gear, and we were able to plunge step and glissade back to the basin and traverse our way back to the pass. A final break at the pass and then a non eventful hike out where we were back at the car and never had to turn headlamps on.

This was a fun trip and one I was glad I revisited. I do not know if I would do the crux the same way again. It is much easier to climb the bypass and then forgo bringing a large cam. This route is really enjoyable and not technically difficult.

My pics are here.
(I'll try to post links to other's photos when I receive them.)

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