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East Ridge

East Ridge

East Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.47400°N / 120.945°W

Object Title: East Ridge

Route Type: Technical Rock Climb

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: II 5.7

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: rpc

Created/Edited: Jul 8, 2005 / Jul 17, 2007

Object ID: 165772

Hits: 10923 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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Follow the directions on the main page for Ingalls Peak, North Peak to reach the gully leading up to the notch between South (on left) and North Summits of Ingalls (the gully starts at Ingalls Lake below). As you're looking up the the gully, South Peak is above you and on the left; North Peak is above you and on the right (as is its South Ridge Route); East Peak is on the right but lower than North Peak. Your goal for the approach is a side gully directly below the notch separating the east ridge of North Peak from the East Peak. The low point near the right in this photo or the low point near the center of this photo (in both cases, East Peak is on right; North Peak is on left). East Ridge route climbs to that low notch and then traverses leftward staying on or near the ridge top to the North Summit.

Great overview photo: here.

Route Description

Nelson and Potterfield guidebook (Vol. II) describes this route as being done in five pitches. As majority of the climbing here consists of 4th to low 5th class scrambling, most parties will no doubt do at least some simulclimbing. Where exactly you terminate the pitches is arbitrary (low angle terrain - endless belay station opportunities).

Pitch 1: low 5th, 200+ feet. Once you hike up the talus into the side gully mentioned above, look for low angle ramp system on the left side of the notch/chimney separating North Ingalls (its far east terminus) from East Ingalls Peaks. Rope up where you feel is comfortable. Climb the ramp system up. Terrain steepens slightly (from 4th class to low 5th class) about 40 feet before you top out on the ridge proper. Belay once atop the East Ridge.

Pitch 2: low 5th, c. 140 feet. Climb the easy terrain bypassing the mid-sized gendarme on its right. Continue hiking the ridge until you're forced tow downclimb ~20 feet (4th class) into a notch in the ridge. Belay in the notch.

Pitches 3-5: mostly low 5th with one section of 2 5.7 moves (supposedly), c. 500 feet. Describing these pitches on a pitch-by-pitch basis makes little sense as there's endless possibilities where you might choose to belay. Scramble out of the notch and follow the ridge staying atop the ridge and bypassing any difficulties on the right side. Midway through this section you'll encounter an easy, 20-foot long knife edge traverse (trending rightward, see photo) followed by more ridge line hiking. About 100 feet below (or rather before) the summit, you will come to the crux of the route (see photo): 2 moves of climbing rated at about 5.7 (crack on right and face features get you through this short section). Belay atop the summit of North Ingalls Peak.

Standard descent involves rapping the South Ridge route. From the summit scramble down (minimal exposure - most do this unroped) and left. In about 150-200 feet you'll come to the upper terminus of the South Ridge route and three very beefy rap bolts. Double 60 meter rope rap (double 50 meter might work too - untested) brings you to a large ledge at the base of the cracked slab (you're rapping the upper 2 pitches of South Ridge). Scramble straight down about 50 feet (class 3) and you'll see another rap set up (slings around boulder). Do another double rope rap to the hiking terrain in the notch between South and North Ingalls Peaks (top of above-mentioned gully). Hike down the gully passing the start of East Ridge on your left (easy to retrieve stuff from the base of the climb).

Essential Gear

A light rack with a few nuts and a handful of cams up to about a 3.5 inch unit. Two ropes if you're going to rap the South Ridge Route.

More Route Photos

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Additions and Corrections

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James PitkinEast Ridge Additions

Hasn't voted

Climbed with Larry 8/19/17. We pitched the whole thing out, although looking back, the “third pitch” (actually our fourth) we would have felt fine simul-climbing.

On the approach, do not go too far up the gully. Not far at all, actually. You will pass two distinctive bands of white rock going up the left side of the gully. The second, narrower band is the way up. Follow this band of white rock to what almost seems like a skinny sidewalk.

After a short distance, look to the right, and you will see some 3rd-class terrain – basically another, much smaller gully. Scramble up this, and when it becomes easy 5th-class rock, this is the start of the first pitch. We built a gear anchor here.

The first pitch is fun but maybe stiffer than you would think, and some of the rock is slippery. I’d say it’s a 5.5.

There were slings with rap rings waiting for us at the top of this first pitch, and we used this as our belay anchor for the next pitch. It’s clear that some people have bailed rather than continuing on from here, for reasons explained below.

The start of the second pitch was an unexpected crux. You have to pass on the right a large gendarme. There are two ways to do it.

You can go straight up a set of jumbled “staircase” steps. This is really only 3-4 moves of low-5th-class climbing. But there are no good hands, the steps are down-sloping, the rock is slippery, there is zero pro whatsoever, and it’s kind of a long way from the belay. If you slipped, you would slide off sideways from the belay and end up dangling over a cliff.

The second option is to start a little lower down and to the right, near the sheer drop-off to Esmerelda Basin, where there is a short crack to protect. You can put in up to three pieces here if you want, but the crack is really only a few feet high. Then you have to execute a large and awkward sideways air-step, with minimal and awkward handholds. Larry led this, and he didn’t have much trouble. But I actually fell following it. I found it even more difficult than the real 5.7 “crux” later on. I would say this move is a 5.9.

All variables considered, I think the best course is to reach deep and go up the low-5th-class steps with no pro. Definitely put rock shoes on. It’s only 3-4 moves, and you would not hesitate to do this if it were just off the ground. But it’s not.

After that, there is a tricky short down-climb to a notch. This is where the Nelson/Potterfield book suggests you might want to belay, but after the 5.9 air step, Larry belayed me from not far above that before heading down into the notch.

So we were already on our third pitch as we passed the second (much smaller) gendarme and got to the start of what’s described as the “third pitch” in the Nelson/Potterfield book.

This “third pitch” (actually our fourth) is easy and fun climbing up the ridgeline, on solid rock, with lots of pro. This was the money pitch.

That pitch ends directly at the start of the knife-edge traverse. The knife-edge is short, easy and super fun. It’s sufficient to put in one piece of pro at the start and just skitter across. Larry led this and belayed me up from the second large rock structure you pass after the knife-edge ridge.

From here, I led another unremarkable pitch to the base of the crux. This spot is easy to find, because the route changes direction and heads off to the right before reaching the crux. I stopped where the route changes direction. You can identify the crux up above, because it’s a lot steeper and bulgier than anything else you’ve climbed so far.

This was the only gear anchor we built on the entire route, except for the one at the start of the first pitch. The other anchors we did by using existing slings (at start of the second pitch), or slinging the very large, solid features that are abundant all along the route.

Looking up from the belay station to the crux, you see two cracks side by side. There’s a wide one on the left side, which appears from this perspective to angle off to the left. There’s another crack just to the right, which is much thinner and goes more straight up. The correct way to go is by taking the wide, angling crack on the left. A #4 cam was perfect for protecting this 5.7 crux. There are only 2-3 moves, and then it’s over. It’s more awkward than difficult. There are very good hands to be found by reaching high up.

After the crux, I continued climbing around and to the left, all the way to the summit, where I put in a final sling anchor to belay Larry up. From the summit, there’s a walk-off down and to the left to the South Ridge rap anchors. The rap anchors are out of sight, past another (slightly lower?) summit just beyond the summit where I did the final belay.

It is possible to rap down the South Ridge with a single 60m rope, in three raps. You rap from the top to the midway anchors, and then rap again to a wide gravelly platform. From the platform, scramble/downclimb a short distance to another rap anchor (slings). From there, do a third rap to the base of the South Ridge route.

We brought along a second rope for the rap, because we thought maybe two were actually required to get down. They are not. You can do it with one rope. The second rope just combines the first two raps into one, so you do two rappels total instead of three. It was obviously not worth the extra weight to save time on one rappel.
Posted Aug 22, 2017 11:34 am

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