Followed the ridge from Merriam - Royce - then Feather. Descended the W/SW Face - bad mistake. lots of 4th/5th class downclimbing. From above, it didn't look so bad, but got stuck a number of times on some hairy moves. Finally found some fortuitous cracks and ramps that led me down, but it was long and tough. Take the South Ridge for descent, don't do the face.
With Dan Curley and Rock Horton. Perfect ice!
Camped around 11,100' below the Royce Lakes, then climbed couloir the next day.
Fresh snow on the glacier and lower couloir, up to 50cm in some places. No bergschrund. We simulclimbed up to about the level of the rock island in the middle of the couloir. David led a pitch of snow / neve / ice patches, then I led the 2 pitches of hard, brittle water ice to the top, mostly on the right side. Split the last pitch into two smaller ones to make it a little easier. About 50-55 degrees, classic Sierra couloir climbing.
Rock scramble at the end was easy - solid class 3 in my opinion. After descending the class 2-3 ledges on the southeast slope of the peak we slogged up the sand on the other side of Feather-Royce col and rapped twice on 60m double ropes.
The first rap anchor was from good webbing / slings on a rock horn on the climber's right about 100' (?) below the col proper - there was a dirt/snow path down to it. This got us down to a patch of good water ice, where we used a v-thread to get down to some easily-downclimbed fresh snow.
Don't underestimate the descent - the class 2-3 ledges are probably treacherous in the dark. Probably also good to recon the rap route.
We made it harder than in needed to be, but no one complained
Did a car to car trip from the Pine Creek trailhead with Neil Satterfield. It was a long day (13.75 hours) but under perfect conditions. About 7 hours of the time was spent getting to and from Royce Lakes. The ice in the couloir was in great condition with very little rock fall. The last Class 3 bit up to the summit was easy going and the views from on top were outstanding. The descent down the notch between Feather and Royce was loose although the ice could be mostly avoided. Found an old biner on the descent with CP engraved on it. Guessed it may have belonged to Craig Peer....
great fun, part of a 5 day backpack with good friend dan asay.
I climbed the Feather Peak Couloir on October 28,1994 after hiking in from Pine Creek Pass. I remember some rock fall from the right side of the couloir, where it ends in the sharp rock ridge. Worrying about the rock fall made me climb the extreme left side of the gully on solid blue ice. The descent was unusual. One downclimbs the ridge toward Royce Col(?), then downclimbs the couloir between Royce and Feather Peaks on 40 degree ice. I liked this ice couloir very much. Its way out there in the backcountry (10 miles +), the area has a lot of lakes and the view of Merriam Peak's buttress is really great.
Russ Faure - Brac and I climbed the Feather Couloir under perfect neve conditions, and found it one of the most enjoyable ice gullies in the High Sierra. Highly recommended.