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[TR] Southern Pickets - WR, West McMillan and East Ridge, Inspiration 9/2/2009

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Trip: Southern Pickets - WR, West McMillan and East Ridge, Inspiration


Date: 9/2/2009


Trip Report:

My buddy Clint was in town from California and the weather in the Bugaboos looked a little menacing so we changed plans and headed to the Southern Pickets with a week’s worth of food and a bunch of gear.


We made short work of the approach in 7.5 hours with 55+ lb packs and setup camp Monday evening. The next day we scrambled up West McMillan Spire to get a lay of the land and scope the approach to Inspiration. We reconn’d a route that looked like it’d go up the glacier to the approach to inspiration and found a good way between camp and the glacier for the approach.



Inspiration from W Mac, you can see the crux pitch below the false summit


That evening we met up with another party that had come in to do the E.R. of Inspiration as well. We got started at 4:30a and led the way through the approach over wet slabs and through the darkness and fog (this added some excitement to the morning for sure).


Pretty soon we broke out over a sea of clouds and headed up to the glacier. A little bit of bare glacier ice and a narrow ramp got us up to the upper glacier where we weaved through crevasses to the base of the rock.



The moat was most easily passable on the right side of the gulley and I took the first lead weaving around and finding the easiest terrain to a large ledge (I made full use of double-rope technique here). After gaining the ledge it was easy scrambling on grassy ledges, loose rock and scree for ~2.5 pitches. There was almost no pro available here so we simuled on a full 60 meters. The gulley comes to a head below a large chockstone and we set the belay 50 feet below that.


Clint led an airy 5.8+ pitch left and up to the ridge proper. The next pitch was 5.7 and blocky, but had some stout moves in it to reach a ledge below the crux. From here the crux pitch looks magnificent! I continuous 5.9 handcrack bisects a steep (85 degress per Beckey) face leading to the false summit. Clint took this lead and did a magnificent job. I followed with the heavy pack full of boots and ice gear on my back which certainly made the pitch more strenuous.



From the top of the crux a full pitch on easy ground leads around to the right of the belay and up to base of the false summit, another wildly exposed pitch goes around the South side of the false summit. From here we simuled along the ridge (easier if you stay to the right a little off of the ridge proper) to the summit.

Despite the summitpost beta, the descent is straightforward (double ropes almost certainly required) with good anchors. 5-7 double rope rappels (plus a few short sections of easy scrambling) got us back to the glacier.


We heard the weather was coming in Thursday so we bailed on a longer stay in the range and hiked out to spend the next few days in sunny Central Oregon at Smith Rock. East Ridge of Inspiration is a stellar route!




Gear Notes:

Double Ropes

Single rack to #3 with doubles of #1 and #2 (could have used a double of #3 too if you want)


Approach Notes:


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One of my fav places! in Aug 5 2005 that no name lake below west mac was ice free.




I see the ice stuck around a bit longer this year in your pic. COOL! If I remember right 2005 was a low snow year...?


How was the snow finger up to the West Mac scramble?


It was more like a very long, thin, nasty snow bridge when we did it. Then a 20'-30' section collapsed about 15' to the ground with in a minute of us getting off of it. That made for a much more entertaining, very muddy, and slick descent to say the least.



great pics and tr. Good work on Inspiration! :tup:



Edited by tazz

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Yep there were a couple of sizable icebergs in the lake down there. The snow finger to West Mac was in okay shape - didn't go up too high, but it's easy to move onto the rock when the snow peters out.


Big fan of the new Cilogear 60L pack too, carried great up to camp and stripped down well for the climb :).

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Nice report and cool photos.


(There's more than two Clints from California? non-Eastwood?

Good thing; I coulda never made it up there with those big packs!)

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