Up Horse Creek, base camped with SMG (Sierra Mountaineering Group) at 10,000 ft. Climbed west couloir then down climbed an icy 50 ft slope on the other side. Scrambled up a 3rd class gully then hit a rather steep snow slope. Climbed that slope with a fixed line and continued to the summit with more 3-4 class scrambling. Decended by way of the east couloir. The views from the top are most certainly worth the effort.
Original plan was to dayhike the East Couloir, but were tempted by the much more interesting West Couloir. The east was melted out and rocky, the west was filled with good snow--though quite icy at the top. Problem: we lacked any beta on getting to the summit from the top of the couloir, not to mention rope or pro. We tried various options but kept climbing into 5th class. Time was getting late so we down-climbed the West Couloir as our only option, which got a little spicey. Disappointing not to summit, but a fun day nonetheless.
West couloir is preferred route for fun, easy mixed climbing that finishes almost on the summit. SMG took the right hand side of the couloir to the notch and descended as described. After looking at available gullies, we choose the first one and ascended first 3rd, then 4th class rock and some steep snow through interesting and varied climbing, using fixed lines. Descended East Couloir. Awesome traverse!
Summited with Ann and Mathew. Perfect weather and conditions! Camped at the tarn just under 10,000ft, which was only beginning to melt out. Lots of snow coverage for this time of year.
The West couloir is in great shape with largely consolidated snow and good coverage. 42 degrees on average, with some short slightly steeper sections. The ascent was straightforward, so Some sections were soft and deep - obviously this year's snowfall hasn't fully settled yet! It's going to be an awesome season.
From the notch, we dropped a few feet and ascended the obvious gully up and to the left. The climbing is 3rd-4th class, until you get to the top of the gully. The clibming then becomes spicy 4th class with the odd 5th class move thrown in. Of the available options there (1. Continue up and left on a steep, leaning slab with broken and loose granite "rods"; 2. Traverse over the right arete of the gully to unknown ground; 3. Traverse right over a steep tongue of hard snow into a very narrow sub-gully), we chose option 3. The snow won't be there later on in the year, obviously - the slope was steep but easily protected from rock on both ends. From the top of that sub-gully, we traversed right again under thin flakes, around a block (with a stunning, exposed right foot step move) and onto 3rd class ground and a small plateau just below the summit. There could well be an easier alternative to this, but it made for an exciting finish. We climbed a lot of the rock still in boots and crampons, using running belays on a 30m rope and slings, a cordelette and a small rack of cams and nuts. There is a LOT of loose and rotten rock here - be very careful what you pull and step on, and test it beforehand. The rock is also very sharp - shredded hands and gloves.
From the summit, we dropped down to the notch of the East couloir following 2nd class scree trails with some 3rd class sections - a straightforward affair. The East couloir was half melted out, so we descended on scree and snow. The angle was 35 degrees on average - an easy descent.
A stunning peak with a spectacular summit in a breathtaking setting - highly recommended.
Snowcamped near the tarn @ 9800', which was still frozen over. Couloir was in fine shape, about 40-ish degrees. Nice rock scrambling up the SW face. Descended East Couloir, which was about half melted out.
My first of many solo trips in the Sierra