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[TR] Dumbell and Greenwood Mountains - Southwest S


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Trip: Dumbell and Greenwood Mountains - Southwest Scramble Route


Date: 8/30/2009


Trip Report:

ScottK and I headed off to scramble Dumbell and Greenwood mountains over the weekend.




This trip is actually doable in a long day but we opted to make an overnighter of it. We got a late start on Saturday, heading up from the Phelps Creek TH to Upper Phelps Basin. There's one campsite at the bottom of the Phelps Basin at present. There may have been others but a slide from last winter has left a lot of debris which might have taken them out. With a group already camped in the one site, we headed up to about 5,900 ft in the upper basin and set up camp on a heather bench, about 3 hours after leaving our car.


We got an early start the next morning, getting moving around 6:15AM. The route from the upper basin towards the peak is straightforward, as you follow the obvious drainage that leads all the way to a basin below the summit. If you stick to the north side of the drainage, there's a climbers trail that leads up through the heather, granite benches and talus. Earlier in the season, this may be a bit wetand slippery in spots. From the basin, you do not want to head straight up to the prominence seen in the first photo above... that is not the true summit. You need to follow the drainage as it moves to the southeast of that prominence all the way up to the talus or snow-filled basin where you will see the true summit at the east end of the ridge line. We read many reports of people who climbed or attempted the wrong summit.




The views in the early morning were really nice including this view of Red, Chiwawa and Fortress:




Up high in the basin, we found minimal snow and mostly talus. Approaching the top, the rest of the route becomes apparent. Looking at the summit above the head of the basin, there are two sets of cliff bands on the left that need to be surmounted. The lower one is easily passed on one of several shelves.




For the upper cliff band, there are several options. There is a steep, loose gully, described elsewhere as Class 2-3, off to the left. We opted instead to follow a gully on the right side of the cliff band that was less loose. It's mostly class 2-3 with one or two Class 4 moves and maybe some exposure depending how you opt to do those moves. It looks steep from down in the basin but that was due to foreshortening and is not bad once on the route. Lots of solid hand and foot holds for the harder spots.






We followed this to an obvious notch on the ridgeline where we turned right and climbed the Class 2-3 ridge up to the summit. Phenomenal views looking toward the Dakobed Range, Glacier, Dome and Bonanza (which is just staring you in the face). From camp in the upper basin to the summit took about 2 hours








We then retraced our ascent route back to the upper talus basin to head over to Greenwood. To get there, we ascended from the talus basin to an obvious notch in the ridge south of the Dumbell summit. From there, you cross over the notch onto a series of ledges (photo below) that lead around Dumbell towards the Dumbell-Greenwood saddle. They're a bit narrow with some loose rock but plenty of space to move except in one spot where you need to get around a rock prominence. A fall in here would not be pleasant and this might be tricky with lingering snow or ice.




From the ledges, we crossed a snowfield that took us to the saddle. It was pretty firm with ice in spots and we found our crampons useful.




Once at the saddle, it was easy Class 2 scrambling up the southwest ridge of Greenwood to the summit:




Looking towards the northeast from the summit, there's another prominence on the ridgeline that we spent a lot of time looking at to decide if it was higher and, therefore, the true summit. (beyond Scott in the photo below) We couldn't find any reasonable way over there even if it was the true summit so we decided to declare victory where we were and took in more great views. Dumbell summit to Greenwood summit took about 1.5 hours.




From there, we retraced our steps to camp, arriving back just under 6 hours after leaving in the morning. Less than 3 hours later we were back at the cars heading for some burgers with a few interruptions on the way down the road to earn kharma by giving lifts to several groups of backpackers needing to get back to their cars or to the trailhead.

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Andy, thanks for the great climb. I enjoyed this climb with its pleasant approach, nice scenary, and 300 feet of Class 3/4 scrambling on decent rock.


Klenke, thanks for your helpful analysis regarding which summit is higher. I would like to propose another piece of evidence based on comparison of the north summit with the mountain in the background. As you can see in the photo below, there's a prominate mountain in the background (just right of the north summit) that is approximately 500 ft higher than a straight line between the south and north summits of Greenwood. If someone can identify the summit in the background (which appears to be somewhere in the Pasaten, or maybe the north end of the Sawtooths) we can compare the elevation of this mountain with Greenwood's elevation of 8415. If the mountain is less than about 8,500 feet tall then I think this is more proof that the north summit is lower than the south summit.








BTW, I'd like to compliment dsweld on his excellant route description at: http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/379457/dumbell-mountain.html


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Thanks for the TR. I'm heading up there this month to tag Greenwood, so this is timely.


A couple of years back I camped at the saddle between the two; a few minutes from Greenwood's summit, to climb both but an icy wind drove me into my sleeping bag instead. Why not tag it in the morning?


The following morning snow flurries drove me off the mountain. Now I have to go back.


Slothfulness: not a time saver.

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Which ridge is visible behind the climber? Is that the N Ridge? It just doesn't look correct- it doesn't fit my recollection is why I ask.





I think you're looking at the south facing aspects of Black Peak. The north ridge is likely not visible. I did Black a week before we did Dumbell-Greenwood and remember being able to look south towards Bonanza quite easily from the summit This would have put Greenwood a little off to the east from that vantage point, which, would correspond to what you're seeing in the photo from the Greenwood summit.

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