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Approach to Sherpa Peak?


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I did ths last fall in two days. I'm pretty sure it could be done in a helluva long day though. Take Longs Pass trail over Longs Pass, and drop down to Ingalls Creek. Cross creek to Ingalls Creek Trail and go right about a mile to the Beverly-Turnpike Trail junction, 4,700’. Leave the trail and ascend rightward across the meadow to where the slope begins to steepen at about 5,000’. Cross the stream and ascend the ridge, staying left of the crest. Around 5,800' traverse right, cross over the ridge and contour into the basin. Great camp available at 6,200’. From 6,200', ascend talus/snow to Sherpa/Stuart col and aim for the notch nearst Sherpa.

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I agree. If you leave the trailhead early, early morning, you could be back before dark. My guess is 15 hours roundtrip.

As I recall the route, the first two pitches are nothing much. Then a long traverse on a ledge.

The last two pitches are short, but fun.

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Yes, it can be done in a long day, and I think it is probably best to do it that way (why hump all that overnight gear up and over Longs Pass-twice). Below is a copy of my TR from my trip last fall on a cold October day. The day we did it the route featured an ample peppering of verglas in the shady sections. If your interested email me and I'll send you the whole trip report including pictures.


DATE: 10/01/00


The approach –

Up and over Longs pass and then east to the junction with the Beverly Turnpike trail. Find the way trail on the left margin of the meadow there and follow it up through the meadow. Towards the top of the meadow the way trail takes a left into the woods. Continue through the woods on the way trail until things open up and the way trail drops into a gully towards the right with a stream bed. Ascend the gully to approx. 6’200 feet, then climb up and over the rib to your right and find a descent into the boulder field basin. 2000 feet of boulder hopping will get you to the Stuart/Sherpa col and the start of the route.

The bivy -

We bivied in the parking lot. You would be a fool to bivy any higher than the bottom of the Ingalls creek valley. You should be able to do the route in a day from there. But if you don’t mind humping your gear higher and you just like a good bivy experience, I did notice a bivy site right in the Stuart/ Sherpa col that looked like a cool place to spend the night.


The route -

From the col, climb up steep 4th/low 5th class terrain on the N. side of the ridge, for about 2 rope lengths, to end up on the ridge.

Scramble a fairly easy ledge system from there over to the bottom of the crux pitch, which is actually on a subsidiary ridge that runs north/south and intersects with the west ridge. The belay for the crux pitch is over a small cave like thing.

Climb the crux pitch to the top of the subsidiary ridge and a nest of old slings where you can belay. The crux is a pair of cracks that transition rightward into a chimney move.

The last pitch leads back to the west ridge and then over 2 step across moves and up a slab with a shallow ledge on it to the summit.

The descent –

Climb back across one of the step across moves to a nest of old slings, from here rap down the chimney (be careful of stuck ropes, better to rap toward the west and not directly down chimney). Scramble along the north side of the ridge until well past the obelisk (the obelisk will not be visible), then look to cut to the south side of the ridge. We protected one rope length here, there is some exposure (it was icy the day we did it). Continue to the south gully, where a “Cascadian couloir” like section can be descended back to the boulder basin.

The alternative is to down climb and rap the route.

The rack –

One 50 meter rope is sufficient. Light rack, we took 5 cams from 2 inches down to the blue tcu, #8 and #7 hexes and 5 medium to small size stoppers.

The time: Approach 5 hours from parking lot to Stuart Sherpa col.

3 hours on route.

2 hours rappeling and down climbing the south face route.

Another 3.5 hours from top of S. face gully to the car

[This message has been edited by mark (edited 06-21-2001).]

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Just a note about the Sherpa approach from Esmerelda Basin...

agreed, totally doable in a long day.

there is little water on the approach, so make sure you tank up before you leave the valley floor. You may or may not get meltwater higher up, but dont count on it.

Trail is easy to follow to stuart-sherpa col, but once there you have to traverse some slabs. If wet or snow covered, these slabs are very dangerous! Forced us to turn around in October 98...

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Thanks for all the beta, folks. We bivyed in the basin below the col. There WAS running water, but when the temps got down, the well went dry. There is a few snow patches still left on route causing us some confusion as to the actual route. Needless to say, going up black lichen/moss means you're definitely off route!!

We had to bail on Sunday due to that A1 start and the weather, but a fun trip nonetheless and great directions provided by you all to boot. This trip is, as has been said, totally do-able as a day trip. Light and fast.

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