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Gannett Peak Conditions

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Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby JGunderson » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:23 pm

Does anyone know of the condition of the bergschrund on the gooseneck couloir on Gannett peak? I don't imagine the snowbridge being intact after such a low snow year. We're heading in via Elkhart Park August 11th or so and would greatly appreciate a conditions report if anyone has been in recently. The bugs were bearable around this time last year, are they winding down yet?
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby Matthew Van Horn » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:03 am

I will be going in too, from Elkhart Park TH, to Gannett Peak.

Does anyone know of the shortcut from the trailhead to just above Miller Lake? I am certain there is a shortcut that cuts off about a mile of the Pole Creek trail. I have some info on it but am looking for more precise details. It is a stock trail that goes generally straight from Elkhart TH to MIller lake then joins the main trail. I need to know how to find it.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby SarahThompson » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:34 pm

I was climbing other peaks in the area over the past 2 weeks. Word on the trails is that the snow bridge on the standard route fell about a week ago. From across the valley the bergschrund looked open and the route certainly looked drier and icier than it did this time of year in 2009 & 2010. The last party I talked to several days ago said the bridge was still kind of wedged down in there. People were still making it across. The good news is that there aren't many mosquitos at all.

This picture was taken over a week ago, before the bridge collapsed.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby Catamount » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:55 pm

What Sarah says sounds about right. I summited on July 22 and the snowbridge was super thin ... we had 6 in our party and said a few prayers while going across. The next day we watched as a group of 3 approached the bridge and turned around. The flip side is that the gap in the bergschrund wasn't too deep; maybe 15-20 feet. If you were so equipped, you might be able to climb in and out of it before continuing up the couloir.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby JGunderson » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:14 pm

Thanks everyone for the info. From your experience on the mountain, is it possible to simply climb the rock to the climber's left of the 'schrund? Maybe bring a small alpine rack?
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby Catamount » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:40 pm

I actually spent zero time investigating that possibility, but suspect it would work if you know what you're doing.

Here's a shot looking back on July 23. You can actually see the 3 climbers I mentioned in my first post moving up the route towards the 'schrund.

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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby JGunderson » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:52 pm

Our trip to Gannett was successful. There was indeed a snow bridge lodged in the bergschrund but the upper headwall was slightly overhanging at the lip (but doable) and I didn't consider it a viable route for my party. There was also a fixed rope that I considered clipping a Tibloc into, heading up the headwall, and belaying the rest of my party up, but decided against it; not knowing the condition of the anchor. It turned out that the anchor was two half-way melted out snow pickets. Another party shored them up and used this anchor to descend that day.
Image

I considered two routes up the rock, and the route about 10 meters climber's left of the 'schrund was most easily accessed over the moat and it climbed to an existing rappel anchor. Be careful for lose, wet, and icy rock. We pitched out a single pitch then scrambled up to the col. We descended via two rappels the same way we came up.
Image

There are other possible routes up the rock to access a ledge system leading back over to the Gooseneck Couloir. Free/aid climbing these are definitely possible if the rock route we climbed is no longer accessible.

The other party was successful on the same day via the Southeast Couloir. They said they had to negotiate numerous crevasses and jump over at least one, uphill. They also said they encountered a dicey snow bridge.

I'd say the easy routes up are out for the season but the mountain is still climbable depending on experience, skills, etc.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby SullivanMH » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:13 am

To JGunderson,

What type of rack did the little stint of trad require on your way to the summit? I am curious because I intend to make a bid for the summit myself next week, perhaps Wednesday or Thursday. Was it easy enough to do in boots (≤5.4?)?Would I want rock shoes? And what rope length would you recommend? Thank you in advance for any tips you might provide.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby JGunderson » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:30 am

I brought a rack of nuts and a .5, .75, and 1 camalots. I only placed two nuts and the #1. The rock is pretty chossy in many places, but I noticed a ledge system the begins about 100 feet climbers' left of the gooseneck couloir that could make it pretty easy to get up to the col. If you look at Catamounts photo of the 3 climbers on the glacier, the ledge system begins above the gaping crevasse and the climber on the right. It looked to me like the glacier extended directly up to the rock face, but the moat between the glacier and the rock presents a problem in getting on the rock in many places, but it seemed like the further left you go from the couloir, the better the access to the rock became.

Definitely didn't encounter any climbing harder than 5.4, but the wet/lose/icy rock in my chosen route made things a little exciting. If you plan to go for it on the rock, I'd probably bring a little more pro instead of rock shoes, depending on how comfortable you are climbing in boots. I considered aiding a short crack that was fairly easily accessible and having my partners prussik up, but I didn't think I brought enough gear to make it work. We brought a single 8.7mm 60 meter rope and that worked great.

If I were climbing it again next week, the only things I'd do different would be bring a few more small cams and leaving the boots at home. A pair of 5.10 Camp 4s and some strap on crampons would have been perfect for both the walk in, the rock climbing, and the glacier travel.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby Matt Lemke » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:19 am

SarahThompson wrote:I was climbing other peaks in the area over the past 2 weeks. Word on the trails is that the snow bridge on the standard route fell about a week ago. From across the valley the bergschrund looked open and the route certainly looked drier and icier than it did this time of year in 2009 & 2010. The last party I talked to several days ago said the bridge was still kind of wedged down in there. People were still making it across. The good news is that there aren't many mosquitos at all.


Wow you did the Grand Teton two days after I did...well done in the Wind Rivers. I was in the Beartooths in Montana that whole time and never got back there this year so I still have quite a bit of work to do in the Winds. Gotta work on my WA Bulgers for now though.
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Re: Gannett Peak Conditions

Postby WyomingSummits » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:00 pm

If you're looking for a better approach hike, then August is your time in the Winds. If you're looking for better snow conditions, July is much better. Of course, there are weather variations every year, but the snowbridge is notoriously thin in mid-late August on years with even average snowfall. Last year was definitely not the year for a late Gannett trip if you are looking for a decent late year bergschrund crossing. I'll be there mid July in 2013, along with Hood and the Grand. Happy climbing!
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