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[TR] Mount Terror - West Ridge 07/25/2020


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Trip: Mount Terror - West Ridge

Trip Date: 07/25/2020

Trip Report:


Mount Terror 8151’ Trip Report


I did a solo 3-day climb of the West Ridge of Mount Terror over the weekend.  The weather was perfect all weekend and hot (80’s).  Very few people do this climb in a given year.  I was the first person on the summit registry this year.  This is a climb you earn through suffering but the payoff is worth it.  This climb tests your navigation skills, fitness, and your overall mountaineering skills.  I was thinking about not bring a rope for the climb since I had heard there is a 4th class route up the steep start of the ridge climb.  I was glad that I brought the rope.  The supposed 4th class route looked like dog shit in my opinion, and I climb some loose, nasty rock on a regular basis.  The low 5th class route up the middle looked pretty good, so I climbed that instead.  I would not want to climb down that section, one slip and you are FUBAR.  I brought a 30 meter glacier rope for rappelling and it worked perfectly for this trip. 

Some Tips and Notes:

1.       Bring full gaiters for the extensive bushwhacking required for the approach.  I brought half gaiters and wore shorts to start because it was hot and it saved some weight.  My legs now look like hamburger.

2.       The 30 meter glacier rope worked great for me but a longer rope would give you more options.  There are plenty of anchors already established.  I brought anchor material but didn’t need it.    

3.       DO NOT LOSE THE TRAIL.  If you lose the trail go back and find it.  The terrain in the Pickets does not suffer fools.  You can wander for days out there and still not get anywhere.

4.       Crossing Terror Creek sucked!  The water is high right now and moving fast.  The only place I found to cross was about 15 minutes downstream of the trail on the nice side.  It was a log that goes about 2/3 of the way across the creek to some rocks that you can jump on to get across.  It takes twice as long on the nasty side to get back to the trail that goes straight up the ridge.  Falling in the creek at that spot would be bad. 

5.       Water on the ridge up to camp is non-existent.  Get all the water you will need at Terror Creek before you start up the trail going up the ridge.  There is no water from 2200’ to 5600’.

6.       The trail heading up to the ridge is one of the steepest climber’s  trails I have ever climbed up.  I tapped out at 5600’ on day 1.     

7.       There is a sharp turn in the trail at around 3800’ that puts you on the ridge in a nice spot.  It is marked well with a dead tree that has a stick across it and flagging tape.

8.       There is still a lot of snow above 5600’.  I was on snow until the very top of the Terror Col on summit day.  The snow in the gully to Terror Col is steep, and when it is soft it is nerve-racking.

Travel Time for reference:  Day 1 (approach), 9 hours – Day 2 (summit), 11.5 hours – Day 3 (back to car), 6.5 hours.

Gear used:  Ice Axe, Trekking Poles, Crampons, Helmet, 30 meter Rope & Harness.

5f211196d05b0_RockyTentPlatform.thumb.jpg.e33a755300beb616357d4570e451404a.jpgRocky tent platform at Terror Creek.  If you don't come across this spot, you are off route.

5f2111ad9a99d_OthersideofCreekwheretrailupbegins.thumb.jpg.45043a12f1129631d962fe26f2f6a69d.jpgTrail start on the other side of the Terror Creek for the death march up the ridge to bliss.  Remember this spot, it is very important.

5f2111b5addba_Creekcrossinglocation.thumb.jpg.4565c8304b87de3e5e98a80ddf0ef074.jpgTerror Creek crossing location.  It is not as nice as it looks.

5f2111c538ed4_Viewfrom6400ColCamparea.thumb.jpg.aaabeeba3f9f853007ef78615d877384.jpgView of the route to Mount Terror gully from the 6400' camp at the Barrier Col


Base of Terror gully (full of snow).  Yes, it is that steep.

5f2111e4d4396_5thClasssection3.thumb.jpg.50fc72e6d5e6e349b80277d586104863.jpgPotential 4th Class section up to West Ridge?  I call bullshit.

5f2111dfe50d3_5thClasssection4.thumb.jpg.9ef7d4302741dec21835041e415eb0d8.jpgSide view of lower part of 5th Class up ridge.



Straight on view of wall you will be climbing.  It doesn't look quite that steep in person.


View looking down the 5th class sections.


Heather goat trail that leads to the actual summit block.

Summit.thumb.jpg.2d46bcc9e36fd75e5285db1a90ace9f9.jpgAiry summit.


Summit Registry, Thanks Fay Pullen!


Is the effort worth it? 

The pictures do no justice to the beauty of the area.  

Gear Notes:
Ice Axe, Trekking Poles, Crampons, Helmet, 30 meter Rope & Harness, Bring Full Gaiters for the bushwhacking.

Approach Notes:
Terror Creek crossing sucked, See Tip #4. Limited water on approach, See Tip #5

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Cool, good work solo.  My partner dropped a microwave on me on the first pitch there, landed right on my belay spot but fortunately I jumped quick.  I found Terror terrifying for the rock, even compared to the other pickets.  Beautiful view though!  Right on with that trail, it works as long as you follow it!

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Spectacular trip!.  I like the bullet point details.  Do climbers know where the registry book is hidden?  Waterproof paper, but still I assume it has to be protected somewhat from winter elements.Spectacular trip!.  I like the bullet point details.  Do climbers know where the registry book is hidden?  Waterproof paper, but still I assume it has to be protected somewhat from winter elements.

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Fabulous beta and photos. Thanks.

I still vividly remember my trips to the Pickets, including being scared by a midnight crossing of Terror Creek on our hike out.

Look forward to reading about your next adventure 

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Solid effort and solo to boot!  Wow.  I've never been in that way.  You talk about the importance of sticking to the trail on an approach to the pickets.  It took a partner and me two full days in a driving rain to get to the southern pickets in mid-July 1987.  We were 24 with heavy packs and it worked us hard.  Unlike now, there really was no trail back then but we did encounter a few faded pieces of surveyor's tape, which was somewhat comforting.  Like maybe five or six pieces in two days.  Once the skies cleared and we could see the peaks up close we were dumbstruck.  So yeah, the effort's worth it.  Keep up the great work and reports.

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There should be a law that all summit registers must be made from waterproof paper.  I love to open summit registers that look like used toilet paper inside with a dried up ink pen for writing.  I guess they can't use brass weatherproof Mountaineers cases for all the summits, they'd go broke.  One of the nicest registers I have even seen is on the top of Boston Peak, you would never guess the age of the register inside.  

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On 6/25/2021 at 12:16 AM, Kuato said:

I guess they can't use brass weatherproof Mountaineers cases for all the summits, they'd go broke.

A lot of them have been stolen or thrown off the mountains over the years.  I'd say a good proportion of the prominent summits had them in the 80's and 90's, but many have since disappeared.  It is a shame.  For a lot of those summits there was a good deal of history in the old registers, sometimes going back to the FA!

Alpinist did a good story on the Mountaineers summit registers awhile back, but it isn't available online.

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