American Peak 13,806, Jones Mountain 13,860
Solo from Burns Gulch TH
I left home at 4a.m. and arrived at Burns Gulch TH at about 6:50. I was underway by 7:00. I decided on leaving the snowshoes in the truck. I carried crampons but never wore them. I took a different approach than last week on Niagara. I took the northern fork of Burns Gulch and traversed under Jones Mountain’s north face. I found a route up to the American/Jones saddle.
From the saddle, the snow was sparse. I followed the “trail” across the talus slopes of American’s west ridge. I summited all the minor peaks on the west ridge route, as I remembered from climbing Victory Col and going down Traitor, that the views were awesome. We previously failed to summit American Peak because of a nice June snowstorm.
I took a direct line into Snare Gulch (straight from American towards Jones). As I was almost off American’s south slope, I fell injuring my knee badly. I’m pretty sure I strained or tore my MCL. I got my head together and realized that I had no choice but take some ibupropen and do my best. It was very weak for the rest of the trip. I used my hiking sticks like a cane. All’s well that ends well.
I started up Jones Mountain on a SE ridge. I’d say the line was easily 3rd class with some moderate snow slopes. I later joined the NE ridge route. I left the summit of Jones Mountain via the west ridge. Instead of dropping into the valley, I followed the west ridge all the way back to my vehicle. I arrived back at 4:30.
The snow and cornice on Jones NE ridge was a little problematic as it was getting soft and the rocks shifted easily below the snow. I didn’t set any speed record and lost use of GPS (battery failure). So I have no idea about distance and vertical gain. The wind gusted a few times, otherwise the weather was spectacular.