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[TR] LITTLE JOHANNESBURG (7945') - East Col / South Face Traverse 09/10/2022

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Trip: LITTLE JOHANNESBURG (7945') - East Col / South Face Traverse

Trip Date: 09/10/2022

Trip Report:

LITTLE JOHANNESBURG (7945')– Fisher Creek Basin Approach  - SEPT. 10-11, 2022

I’ve been eyeballing this peak for years from all the other peaks I’ve climbed around the area.  From Easy Pass it just stares at you looking steep and nasty.  On maps it doesn’t have a name, like a forgotten step child.  Climbers refer to it as Little Johannesburg.  There’s not much information about this climb, if you can find anything at all.  I’ve taken pictures of this peak from almost all sides over the years.  From my pictures, it looked like the east side of the mountain would offer the least difficult summit route.  Since this area seemed to have the least amount of smoke from the various fires burning around the region, I decided this weekend was the time to make the attempt on Little Johannesburg.

Saturday: I started from the Easy Pass Trailhead at 9:00am.  I arrived at Easy Pass at 11:00am.  I followed Fisher Creek trail down to the base of the switchbacks to the beaten up sign post (5140’) and turned left heading up the Fisher Creek Basin.  The climbers trail is in pretty good shape at the start but disappears and reappears as you travel up the basin.  I reached the camp on the bluff at the top of the Fisher Creek Basin at 1:45pm.  I setup camp and heemed and hawed whether I should go for the summit or wait for the next day.  The weather was looking good and the smoke was light so I decided to go for the summit and left at 2:50pm.

                From camp I could see directly up the talus and heather shelves to the East Col at the top that was to the left of the spire.  I figured it would take me about 3 hours up and 2 down which would put me back at camp at dark.  Most of the route up to the East Col was loose talus side hilling.  There was two or three heather and rock plateaus separated by loose talus sections.  I climbed on solid rock as much as possible heading up as the talus was not too fun.  Most of the rock was Class 2 with a few sections of Class 3 depending on route.  The final ramp to the East Col looked pretty steep from a distance, but the closer I got the less steep the ramp appeared.  I reached the East Col (7500’) at 4:10pm.  From the col I traveled across and diagonal on a rising traverse across the South Face.  There was a pretty good shelf system that would work around the several gullies on the way.  All the rock was loose so I made sure of all holds before moving through.  I aimed for what appeared to be the highest peak from the col, which was the farthest away peak that I could see.  Once I made it to the final peak ridge I climbed up on decent rock (Class 3) to the summit arriving at 5:10pm.

                The summit registry was in an old aluminum can with a screw top lid.  The registry was the original from 1968 and was in good shape considering its age.  I looked over the summit entries and was surprised how few entries there were.  The first entry was 1968 and the second was 1974.  There are several years between entries.  The more recent entries average about 2 parties per year.  I was the second this year.   The views were excellent even with the smoke.  I started back down at 5:30pm and reached camp at 7:25pm.   It was nice to have the summit knocked out on day 1 so I could sleep in the next day. 

Sunday:  It got pretty windy overnight.  I woke to a fair amount of smoke in the valley, it had finally caught up to me.  I was very happy that I had summited on day 1 as the views on day 2 would not have been that great.  I broke down camp and was on my way back at 9:00am.  I was back at Easy Pass at 11:15am and I was back at the trailhead at 1:00pm.  Overall this was a good climb that has seen very little attention over the years.  A hidden gem in plain sight.  


Some Tips and Notes:

1.       Easy Pass Trail is pretty dry right now.  The best place for water is the creek crossing with the small logs placed side by side for crossing around 4400’.  The next water supply is at the Fisher Creek Basin.     

2.       The bluff camp (5960’) at the top of the Fisher Creek Basin has lots of water and two defined camp spots. 

3.       Be ready for extended time on loose rock for this summit.  There is not much traffic to clean the route.    


Travel Time for reference:

Saturday:  Trailhead (3700’) to Camp (5960’) to Summit (7945’) to Camp – 10:30 hours.

Sunday:  Camp to Trailhead – 4:00 hours.


Total Mileage:   around 19.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: around 7200’


Gear used:   Trekking Poles, Helmet.


Little Johannesburg (Front) Arriva (Behind) taken from Katsuk Camp in late July.


Little Johannesburg from Easy Pass.


Looking up the talus and heather plateaus to the East Col from upper Fisher Creek Basin.


Looking down and toward camp on my way back from the East Col.


Looking up to East Col.


View across the South Face from the East Col, the summit is the farthest peak in the back.  


Summit Registry.


Summit View straight to Easy Pass.


Summit View looking back over route traveled.  Mount Arriva, Fisher Peak and Black Peak views.  


Gear Notes:
Trekking Poles, Helmet.

Approach Notes:
Easy Pass to Fisher Creek Trail to Fisher Creek Basin
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That is the cleanest summit registry I've ever seen...or at least the driest.  

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