Ellen Holden and I climbed the North to North-East Ridge of the Thumb III, 5.5, in July of 1997. We cramponed up the couloir and soloed almost the whole route. We roped up one pitch at the top of the ridge where it meets the summit ridge line. The line was on good steep rock and the rating felt fair. If one ropes up, there might be 6 or 7 pitches. Later in the season, the approach gully without snow can be a mess.
First party to sign register this year - Jim and I had a good day without getting lost on approach in the dark at Birch Lake trailhead to climb the SE slope in pretty good snow conditions. Fine fine views from 13K'!
Fine view from the top on an overcast day.
Day 9 of the Sierra Challenge, along with Ed Lane Peak. Trip Report
Sierra Challenge day 9. A burly approach to Birch Lake, then a bit of a scramble to the saddle, but easy going from there. Nice Palisade view. Trip report
Snow hadn't consolidated as much as we had hoped for, so the ascent was far more taxing than anticipated. However, the turns on the way down were very enjoyable. A great first overnight trip post-op from back surgery!
4x4'd as high as possible, then hiked up the moraine ridge to the south of Birch Ck (bad idea) and eventually made camp around 10,200' in a basin below Birch Lake. Skinned up the chute to get to the upper snowfield with terrible glopping on the skins most of the way. Awesome view from the summit. Skied from the top of the snow - the snow was fantastic on the way down! Stayed near the creek on the way back and were able to ski to within 1/2 mi of the car or so.
Up the SE slope
Up SE slope from Birch Lake, down one of the south chutes. Bivy on plateau above saddle dividing Birch and Tinemeha drainages, descend on Birch Creek side back to Birch Creek trailhead. It was nice to get above the smoke, though the Birch Creek trail was terrible.
yeah we were successful, kinda...
we, KB and me were gonna throw up a new route up one of those crumbing north ridge/arete of Birch mt., but they're like jinga piles of collapsing rock and we drank too much before drudging up birch creek- what a pain in the ass. they call it birch creek and you can see the birch trees miles away from the trail, but little to no shade or water on hike up with aid and new route gear. good times, good times...
Two day ascent up Birch Creek and the south slopes with Johnny and Dom. Day 1: 6.5 hour slog to Birch Lake included lots of snowshoeing over plants and rocks, and plenty of side-hilling. Never have I started a Sierra hike so far from the mountains! Day 2: up at 5 then 6 hours of knee-deep postholing to the summit of The Thumb. Snow was soft but stable. The ramp accessing the south slopes was steep but short. Great summit views and perfect Sierra weather. The last people to sign the summit register were the Sierra Challenge members below. Hiked down and out to the trailhead by 7pm. This was our 3rd attempt to climb The Thumb, the previous attempts (one per year) were killed due to poor weather.
down near the mouth of birch canyon we saw a heard of 20 or so bighorn sheep.
Sierra Challenge 2006 Day 5
Day 6 of the 2006 Challenge. This was a very enjoyable day tagging Split/Prater/Bolton Brown/Thumb in a long day. Trip Report
5th day of the Sierra Challenge. Started with 5 at the trailhead for one of the most social climbs of the challenge. Richard, Evan and I took the route through scenic Finger Lake to get to Southfork Pass while the Toms took a direct route from Brainerd Lake. Summitted together with Evan and bechtt. See trip report from bechtt.