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[TR] Mount Thomson- West Ridge-Direct 6/24/2006

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Climb: Mount Thomson-West Ridge-Direct


Date of Climb: 6/24/2006


Trip Report:

On Saturday, Erick Johnson and I chose to usher in the Summer season with a repeat climb of Mt. Thomson's West Ridge. We knew we were "jumping the gun" a bit with this one, but we had no idea what a battle we were to face. If we had, we'd probably have left the trailhead a tad earlier than our 10 a.m. start. What was planned as a moderate, relaxed day climb on a familiar route would eventually become a physically and psychologically taxing mini-epic. It wasn't just the brutal heat, the endless side-hilling on early Summer "snice" patches, or even the massive volley of rockfall that cut our rope on the very exposed third pitch--it was the combination of these and other unforseen factors that eventually reduced our party to a pair stumbling, wet-booted zombies.

Actually, considering all we went through, we both felt pretty good all day, and even enjoyed the last couple hours of headlamp hiking on the pretty but needlessly circuitous PCT section.


First glimpse of Thomson...



The 600-foot West Ridge is the left-hand skyline...



Pretty little Ridge Lake is still a giant no-salt Margarita...



Distant Chickamin Peak from the interior of a melting "snice" cave on the trail just before Bumblebee Pass.



Once on route, I started us off with the awkward first pitch, then Erick--shown here--ran out the next one...



At the top of the Great Slabs...



Eejay makes short work of the terminal rock step...



On top, Erick demonstrates superlative rope coiling technique...:)



Johnson shops around for the East Ridge rap anchors...



The peak casts a big shadow over frozen Edds Lake, with frosty Joe lake beyond...



Gear Notes:

Stick, extra food, extreme patience, headlamp...oh, and bring a HELMET!


Approach Notes:

Not really in shape yet, unless you have a big, red "S" on your chest.

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You probably already know this, but if you take the old trail out (which is the branch off of the PCT) its easy to follow and saves a full mile of hiking. The more people that use it, the better shape it will stay in.

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That is a classic climb, a much better alt than the tooth. Approaching via Kendall Peak Lakes trail was the option we used a few years back, but not sure if it's gated anymore. Certainly saved us about 1-2 miles from what I heard.


Standing glissades down the scree on the descent were pretty fun. I was lucky enought to get the 2nd pitch (cherry IMO).


Erics Base Camp

Edited by scot'teryx

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I believe that's the Iceberg Lake drainage--we got a good view of it last year from te summit of one of the Lemahs.


As far as approach alternatives go, yes, we used the Commonwealth Basin shortcut on the way in, but felt that with snow tracks so hard to follow this time of year, and with the C.W. Basin still buried under firn, the best thing to do when it's dark out and you've only got one headlamp between two, is to stick with the "freeway" route.... cantfocus.gif



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