On a beautiful spring day, the Saturday before Mothers Day, my buddy MtnEar and I decided to follow up an Easter climb of the north couloir of Sugarloaf that we did a couple years ago with a snow climb up the south face of The Shard. I had already been to the west summit a few summers ago and was eager for a chance to get to the true summit. But at the same time, I am not nearly as experienced climbing steep snow as my climbing partner is, and I had my doubts about making it. We got to the base of the climb where we got out our axes and strapped on our crampons, then climbed easy slopes for awhile. The route was very straightforward and it began to get steeper and steeper. The day was perfect, but for me the alternating consistency of the snow was not feeling really good. My thoughts were that I knew I was going to be quite nervous and slow downclimbing the harder snow where it was more difficult to kick steps and plant the axe. I decided I had had enough about 400 feet below the summit. Sure I could have made it to the top, it didn't look to get much steeper- but that downclimb! Too bad we didn't have a rope. My partner MtnEar continued to the top and he made it seem pretty easy and enjoyable. And yes, the downclimb was pretty slow for me and I did not regret my decision to hold back from summitting. In fact, if you are into steep snow climbing, I would definitely recommend climbing the south face of The Shard in good spring conditions. Fun stuff!
It was extremely hot on this day! After arriving at Hart Lake and getting a good view of the south face, the dogs and I were a little humbled and we decided to head up the south ridge instead. Amazing views at the top and the west summit is well worth the effort! Yeah - there's no way I'm gonna try that traverse over to the main summit! I'll definitely come back and climb the south face route.
This one had been on the list for awhile. Views from the top were amazing, though given its location, it would be hard to expect otherwise. The prominent shark fin of El Capitan is especially impressive from this vantage. The highlight of this adventure, however, was camping in the High Lakes Basin. Easily one of the most amazing places I've ever slept. It took some work to get there and it was interesting choosing dog friendly paths through the boulder fields but all of our effort could not have paid off more handsomely.
First time in the "root" in 3 years. My oh my it's been too long! Was blown away at the Chaffin High Lakes area. Special place indeed. Quite a bit of snow in the High Lakes area but dry rock on the south ridge to the summit. Views from top were amazing. I love El Capitan!
I got an early start at the trail head and met my neighbor Alan who camped at Hart Lake, Following some pretty Good direction from Mike Hoyt, the route finding went well, Plenty of loose rocks made assending a bit slow as we waited for one to go then the other to not kick rocks on each other, bout as steep as I care to go up or down, but we made it. Long Day
Spent a leisurely hike in and a night at the first lake. Straight forward scramble to the summit ridge. North face looks interesting...
15sep10 - Used the South Slope Route to take my friend Jim to the East Summit. Beautiful weather all day.
20sep07 - Climbed the South Slope Route and enjoyed the great scenery.
6sep07 - Climbed the Chaffin High Lakes Route and checked out the best back-country camping area in the Bitterroots.