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[TR] Guye Peak - A slightly more improbable than usual ascent of the Improbable Traverse 07/22/2022

Michael Telstad

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Trip: Guye Peak - A slightly more improbable than usual ascent of the Improbable Traverse

Trip Date: 07/22/2022

Trip Report:

Late last Thursday Joe and I made the questionable decision to try and dawn patrol the Improbable Traverse. Neither of us had climbed the route before, nor did we do much research, which in hindsight may have saved us a headache or two. 

At the time we were blissfully unaware of the massive rockfall event that happened last November. A quick search here would have informed us. However lately CC isn't the place I go for up to date condition reports, being that i'm often one of three users logged on at any time O.o. A quick mountain project browse provided no info other than it hadn't been climbed this year.

Long story short the route has been obliterated, and it would take a heroic amount of trundling and sweeping to revive it. 


All the pitches up to the traverse got bombed and are absolutely plastered in dirt and loose rock. We'd heard it the route was loose, but this seemed a little extreme. 

The flexing pin at the start of the traverse is still there, and the only reason I knew where to go. The pictures and beta I had weren't quite lining up. It was at this point that I realized what had happened, and made the decision to try and top out rather than bail with our short 40m rope.

Traversing out I came across a large 40x40ft rock scar where the routes 5.8R crux used to be. Already 20ft out, I snaked my way over and down some insecure sloping edges which provided the routes new crux at somewhere around 5.9+ downclimbing. Once on a larger foot ledge I was able to keep traversing to the end of the rock scar and onto the original route. All told it was somewhere around a 50+ foot mandatory runout off the old tied off flexing pin. If it was R before, it's likely X now.



The worst part by far was the top of the left trending ramp that exits the main face. This section cuts straight through the middle of the main rockfall zone and is now composed of the loosest unstable blocks held in by dirt I have ever climbed. It's hard to state exactly how nasty it was without sounding terribly dramatic, but It was bad. I was worried the entire slope was going to fall away around me. This pitch had no acceptable protection. 



Basically what I'm trying to say here is don't be dumb and climb this like we did. The lower pitches are right beneath an active rockfall zone and we are lucky we didn't get taken out. 

We were both late for work. 

Gear Notes:
Just don't. But if you do, a few KB's might be useful on the new traverse.

Approach Notes:
Same as is ever was
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Reminds me of a foray up the East face of Gunsight years ago.   The route just wasn't there and nothing lined up in terms of the topo.   Death blocks and sharp granite shards everywhere with intermittent rockfall.   Glad you made it up and out!

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Wow. Too bad, as that was a fun route with one tough pitch and a boatload of class 4ish type stuff. But the increasing access issues kinda sucked. When we climbed it we parked at the top of the road in the talus fan (edit to add: right where that giant boulder of death stopped), hiked up, and went at it. Then hitched back to the car from the main parking lot at Alpental.

Where's Burdo when we need a truckload of thankless cleaning done? I heard about a Leland sighting recently...

Edited by CascadeClimber
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