Starting at the Spruce Creek Trailhead (8,560-ft.) cross-Tarryall Creek on a good bridge and continue 2 miles on the well-worn Lizard Rock Trail. After about a mile of relatively no elevation gain the trail swiftly begins to steepen. The trail will escort you through a maze of towering granite walls and domes. After the initial 2 miles on the Lizard Rock Trail you will come to a trail junction with the Hankins Pass Trail (9,300-ft). This junction is signed. Turn right and enter the Lost Creek Wilderness and continue 1 mile to the 10,020-ft Hankins Pass. This trail ascends and traverses the north slopes of South Tarryall Peak.
From the pass, you can easily see the super intricate south ridge. You cannot see the summit, but what you do see is one of the ridges that actually curves around the base of the real summit block. We initially thought this was the summit and went directly towards it. Do not do this unless your interested in the intimate hanging gardens located on "Catamount" southwest face. If you take this route it requires tricky route finding and class 3 climbing to climb over the south ridge to get to the east side of the mountain where you will need to be to actually summit the peak.
At Hankins Pass, turn left and locate the Lake Park Trail and continue 1 mile to a pass at 10,900-ft. This pass is the beginning of Lake Park. Your objective is the gentle wooded drainage in between Tarryall Peak and the Cata Mount. Your class 4 chimney systems is on this side of the Cata Mount.
Finding the Lake Park Trail from the start of Lake Park is easy. Follow this trail as it will deliver you to the base of the mountain. On the trail about half way up the drainage look sharp for this
landmark, a burned branchless tree. Leave the trail here and head towards the base of the peak. At this point it is kind of tricky and hard to explain in writing but I will do my best. Your next objective is to climb the steep granite terrain by the path of least resistance. You will probably have to experiment a bit with your way up. Look for crack systems to help aid your progress. Here
is a photo that will help you get to the starting spot for the class 4 chimneys. Look for the white dots. There are two different class 4 chimneys that will get you to the summit. One is more difficult than the other. I only attempted the more southern chimney (YELLOW) for ascent and Josh took the more difficult (PURPLE) chimney. Once at the base of your chimney of choice ascend it by using a couple of different crack systems and by pulling yourself up and over granite slabs, sometimes having to stretch from one to the other thus committing yourself. The reclusive summit is yours!
There is water at Lake Park. It may get skimpy during August.
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