OverviewHalf Moon is the crown jewel upon Kangaroo Ridge and deserves to see more ascents than it does; the rock quality, route selection and setting are quite good. Located near the center (of KR) the crescent-shaped summit provides both a striking profile from the S and the N and also a climbing challenge. There are at least 3 difficult (and no easy) routes to the summit.
Half Moon is a SW to NE trending rock Fin which lies between Wallaby and Big Kangaroo on the N half of Kangaroo Ridge. Kangaroo Ridge is a three-mile long N/S ridge of peaks and peaklets, E of the Liberty Bell group and SW of Silver Star Mountain. The summit of SEWS, 2 miles to the West, is an excellent position to look upon the steep NW Face while Wallaby Peak (close to the SW) provides an excellent view (below) of the equally sheer South Face.
During this time the peaks of Kangaroo Ridge were seldom visited and climbs in the area could be made without any sign of previous ascents. Nothing remains unchanged and now some summits (of KR) are visited often. Climbing parties can still effect some solitude today by hiking in to the more remote and less visited summits of the area.
Getting ThereThe preferred approach involves driving Hwy 20, either from the East or the West, to approximate Milepost 163. There is a large pullout at the Hairpin turn, directly below and E of the SEWS, this is the parking area.
Follow cairns and paths through the brush, staying W of and above Early Winters Creek, heading S towards Kangaroo Pass (3 miles distant). At about one mile from the car you will see a small clearing by the Creek and you might notice some old wreckage from a small airplane.
At 2 miles from the car a decision must be made about which route to take. Eric contributes: "When headed to the N ridge, Beckey's guide advises you to practically circumnavigate the peak. Don't. Hike the valley from the hairpin in the highway. Cross the last, soggy meadow before ascending towards Kangaroo Pass, and start up. Look left to a talus gully/slope/ledge that angles back toward the notch N of Half Moon. It takes you straight to the climb."
If you choose to climb the South Face route continue S 1mile more to Kangaroo Pass (3 miles total from the car). Here again a decision on which direction to follow must be made. In Fred Beckey's CAG he suggests you can climb N up (from Kangaroo Pass) over the top of Wallaby and make a descent down the N ridge (this can involve either some glissading and or down-climbing of some rock, depending on the season). Another alternative is to traverse E (slightly below the level of the pass) beneath Wallaby's S slope, and cross N over the ridge at an appropriate low point .
Note: Choi Oi and Hai Towers can also be climbed in combination with either the S Face or the N Ridge routes. Simply rappel and down-climb from the summit to the base of the first tower.
Red Tape & Recreation InfoKangaroo Pass is on the N border of the Lake Chelan / Sawtooth Wilderness area. Check with the Okanogon National Forest for rules and regulations pertaining to parking, camping and wilderness travel here, Okanogon National Forest.
When To ClimbThe North Cascades Highway is seasonally closed usually from late November till early April. The Talus fields, on the approach, are real leg breakers if there is not enough snow cover so either do the climb early in the spring or wait until July. September when the Larches change color and the days are still warm make for very pleasant climbing.
CampingBecause of the short approach and also the fragile nature of the upper Early Winters Creek meadows and Kangaroo Pass, camping is not recommended in these areas. Forest Service campgrounds are close by and only a short drive East on Hwy 20. Check the recreation link (above) for the Okanogon National Forest for location, availability and fees.
If planning on climbs on the E side of Kangaroo Ridge camping and or bivouacing can be done in the upper, barren (almost lunar-like) basin E of Big Kangaroo. This could be combined with a traverse over to Snagtooth Ridge and a climb of Big Snagtooth. The easiest approach to the upper Cedar Creek Basin is to hike S up Early Winters Creek and cross over Kangaroo Ridge at a low point on the ridge N of Half Moon and S of Big Kangaroo, the farther S you hike (up Early Winters Creek) the less brush you encounter.
Mountain ConditionsCheck wih NOAA, for current weather conditions.
Check with NWAC.US here or here (text) for avalanche conditions.
There is a webcam shot of Goat Peak, here,10 miles to the NE of Half Moon, updated every two hours, provided by Sun Mountain Lodge and MVSTA. Kangaroo Ridge is also a popular XC Ski area in the winter, though the drive is long.