Early start but headlamp crapped out so I had to wait in the truck until could see enough - route 542 was closed 1 mile or so shy of the trail head - so it was initially a nice walk at 5/6 in the morning up the road under the starts. A few hours of walking I passed a couple camped at the trail junction 2 miles in, I continued - still in tennis shoes - for about another mile. Just shy of Lake Anne the first snow... On with the crampons and quickly ascended to the common base camp ridge.
At this point I tried a deviation, instead of heading down with the trail towards lower curtis or across the base of the chimneys I instead turned left, pretty much due north. There is a pretty good size spire - I will upload a pic later - and there are two doable gullies. Probably not fun in summer with rock but it was solid snow/ice so just a quick easy one two axe one two axe repeat then some class 3/4 rock over the top...once through and around this object one can turn back right towards the summit along the top of the white salom galcier which appears to be more direct albeit perhaps more technical route to the summit... As opposed to descending on the actual trail then going back up through the chimneys then hells. I personally think this route could peel quite a bit of time of the ascent as like said above one does not have to give up altitude and also will be approaching away from the crowds, it may have a few tough spots but I did not see anything to worrisome.
I can not comment to the final outcome of the summit push from this direction as I did not truly summit. The temperatures were really warming up around noon and I was concerned for snow stability ( not to mention lacking a headlamp ) so I did retreat shy of the actual summit but it looked very doable. I feel that with a true alpine start this route can easily be done in a day... please anybody with knowledge / experience on this route do share. Next time hopefully I can get an earlier start so that I can further comment to the summit approach this way
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