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Colin

best of cc.com [TR] Mt. Index - Index Peak Traverse 2/2/2007

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Trip: Mt. Index - Index Peak Traverse

 

Date: 2/2/2007

 

Trip Report:

Mark Bunker and I climbed the Index Peak Traverse yesterday, leaving the car at 4:30am, and returning very worn out at 3:30am this morning.

 

Conditions were generally excellent, and we worth both amazed by how much ice there was all along the traverse. The first pitch on the North Face of the North Peak was almost bare rock, but conditions got consistently more wintery as we went, with the North Face of the Main Peak holding the most snow and rime.

 

On the North Face of the North Peak, we climbed one ice pitch above the bowl, and then traversed right to climb the upper North Rib. There was a second ice pitch above the bowl that looked like very nice WI3, but we didn't take it because we weren't sure where it went. In retrospect, I think it would have been a much better route - more direct and faster climbing.

 

On the North Face of the Middle Peak we climbed a gully system about 50m to the left of the standard summer rib, which had a nice section of WI3 and was I think a much better option for winter.

 

On the North Face of the Main Peak we roughly followed the summer route until the traverse across the gully on the NW Face. Once in the gully we decided to climb directly up it to the summit ridge rather than traverse to the W Ridge as in summer.

 

The descent was straightforward but long and tedious. The chockstone in the gully is completely covered, so no rappels are necessary.

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Forgive me if my math is incorrect, but this would be a one day (<24hr) traverse of the Index peaks in winter, correct? Wow!

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Forgive me if my math is incorrect, but this would be a one day (<24hr) traverse of the Index peaks in winter, correct?

 

Yup. Basically I just tried not to slow the Haley Machine down too much. He pretty much led the whole thing and kicked all the steps. (This was an 'off the couch' climb for me...)

 

Conditions were pretty damn good. Probably the most neve I've ever run across on a single climb, and the full moon didn't hurt either. There was a fair bit of climbing/traversing on breakable crust covering loose snow but still the best conditions I've ever seen on Index.

 

(There has been at least 2 other winter ascents of the traverse.)

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wow - very jealous - think i'd much rather do the traverse in winter then in the broiling heat of august! i'd imagine the suck-ass talus of the descent would be nicer if nothing else....which season did you prefer?

 

 

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goddamnit colin, will you please get shut down by something?!?! you're making everyone else look terrible.

nice work and i'm happy to hear you were able to escape school just in time to play in the hills before the poopy weather dropped in.

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Hey Colin, nice climb! Bet the full moon assisted the descent, sweet. That's a double bonus for Index, to get conditions and a clear full moon.

 

Do us a big favor. Give us a gear list sort of like the gear vids House did on the Rupal face. Doesn't have to be a vid, just a written list, just like what you took and maybe why you picked what you did. That would be way cool.

 

Next linkup on the Index peaks would be the EDM and then finish with the traverse.

 

Or hey, what about the Southern Pickets traverse in winter? I guess the Northern ones would be first, a little easier?

 

Sometimes maybe a winter climb is easier if the conditions are right, but just in some ways. Like Alberta, the line they took is very direct unlike in the summer when it's very circuitous.

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Yeah boyZ!!!! Awesome.

 

Hey, the first picture of Mark--what's behind and above him? The middle peak? Is that the gulley system you climbed?

 

So I guess you climbed the North Face of the North Peak in the dark...Friggin badass. And probably warmer than catnapping up on that shoulder...brrrr.

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8.5mm x 60m Sharp

6 cams to 2"

8-10 nuts to #8

2 KBs

1 Ti KB

1 Ti LA size

3 Ti screws

6 singles

3 rabbit runners

Too many 'biners (>20 maybe, would of been fine with ~4 fewer)

(Colin, correct me if I'm wrong on any of this.)

 

Nope, no Tricams. I wasn't sure a climb could even be considered a true winter ascent if you didn't bring Tricams, but Colin convinced me that SLCDs would be more versatile in the long run. We used every piece except for one of the screws. (For the record Colin wanted to bring only 2.)

 

Something I tried for the second time, and am now totally sold on for alpine climbing, is going leashed on the adze tool and leashless with a tether on the hammer. This allows for no pinky rest on the adze for good plunging, and quick dexterity and gear access on the dominant hand.

 

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Something I tried for the second time, and am now totally sold on for alpine climbing, is going leashed on the adze tool and leashless with a tether on the hammer. This allows for no pinky rest on the adze for good plunging, and quick dexterity and gear access on the dominant hand.

 

That sounds really smart. You guys must have been literaly flying to cover all that ground in sub-24. Nice piece of work. That full moon sure was beautiful.

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