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[TR] Spickard - NW Ridge 7/27/2009

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Trip: Spickard - NW Ridge


Date: 7/27/2009


Trip Report:

Well, it sounded good . . .but turned out to be quite loose, and a bit on the sketchy side. The route traverses the right skyline in the photo below-




We were up in Depot Creek for an extended trip during the infamous heat wave of 2009, and a loop over the top of Spickard sounded better than going up and down the regular route (the glacier was in poor shape with lots of exposed ice). In hindsight we would have had more fun if we stuck with the standard way . . .Oh well. It was quite spectacular though . . .




The first problem we found is that the route description is just plain wrong. Beckey talks about staying on the south side of the ridge, but that clearly wasn't going to happen. Very steep, loose, and a lot of 5th class. The north side wasn't any more solid, but it was a little less exposed, and easier to traverse (still some low-mid 5th). We had many gendarmes to traverse and one spot where we had to do a single rappel. At times, we used the old growth lichen to our advantage, and full body frictioned across some exposed blank bits. Good times! We never saw any evidence of passage, so I don't think this route gets done much.




Good views, though, so I really shouldn't be such a whiner. It took us quite awhile to work up the ridge (~5 hrs), much longer than we thought it would given the description. I think there is a semi-epic sounding TR from the 80's on Bivouac.com, so I doubt we are the first to underestimate it.






Anyway, I'm probably making this sound worse that it actually was. I'm certainly no hardman! :wave:


Gear Notes:

Brought 60m half rope, slings, tat, small rack (not much pro). Crampons and axe handy for lower snow slopes.


Approach Notes:

Thanks to whomever cleared out the trail this past year. Would you please keep that up? Don't listen to the park service rangers!

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That's gotta be the most photogenic drainage in the state!!


Looks like a fun climb to talk and laugh about AFTER you're back at camp. Just another tick mark during your "summer of obscure routes", eh? Nice work!

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