All too true about the little stone softballs, but having to be extra vigilant about not knocking down rocks in itself doesn't make a climb crap. I thought it was a magnificent climb. We had a party of three below us on the way up yesterday, and on the way down as well (we spent a long time on the summit, enjoying that view), and we had no problems. I don't mind having to be a little more careful. We went up the Secor route, off the glacier, and down the other side, crossing back to the moraine on the red/white Class Lousy band. Now THAT side is loose. Kind of a drag. That I wouldn't do again, but we were curious to see what it was like.
There were pockets of fresh snow and ice on the route which made things that much more interesting as well, and in lieu of finding the supposed easy 'almost a walk-up' route to the summit block after the little traverse from the summit ridge, we chose a more direct route over a couple of blocks which involved what the other party called a 5.6 move. I'm skeptical, but it did take some thought to solve that problem. Fun!
Personally, I think this climb holds its own against Russell's east ridge just fine. Plus, for me, any mountain that involves at least a little snow, even if it's mellow and easy, is always a plus. I find the glacier walk-offs to be very relaxing and pleasant, and the approach was infinitely more fun than having to travel across the moraine.
Weird sight in the snow: a perfectly preserved Monarch butterfly sitting in a little melt cup; it looked as if it had just landed there.
Gafoto wrote:The visitors center people scare off the less committed visitors because of the guarantee of getting your feet wet.
Ah but you don't anymore! You can cross cleanly, quickly, and dryly by hopping across a few large boulders now. We got across both times in about 30 seconds per person and stayed completely dry. Big improvement over earlier this summer!