Jump to content

[TR] Southern Pickets - Inspiration Peak - South Face 6/23/2010


Recommended Posts

Trip: Southern Pickets - Inspiration Peak - South Face


Date: 6/23/2010


Trip Report:

Inspiration Peak – South Face - June 22-23, 2010


You know it’s not going to be a dull trip when your backup plan is the South Face of Inspiration Peak.


Wayne Wallace and I linked up for a great trip into the Southern Pickets on Tuesday.


The approach to Terror Cirque was fairly straightforward, thanks to recent work on the trail. We hit solid snow at about 4800’. Snow conditions varied from consolidated down low, to 8-12” of mush over aging spring snowpack up high. Recent fresh snows followed by warm days have made the snowpack very water-logged. Postholing was a nuisance and our boots were soaked by the time we got into camp below Pt. 6484 (6.5 hours, 6200' gain, 8.5 miles). The weather was pleasant in the afternoon, with mostly sunny skies and moderate temps. We lounged around camp taking photos and eating, then headed to bed fairly early.



Clouds blowing over the Southern Pickets.



Mt. Triumph from camp.


The next morning, we awoke to warm temperatures and soft snow. Our initial objective was out of the question, so we went to plan B – the South Face of Inspiration Peak.



The imposing South Face of Inspiration Peak.



Views from the Terror Glacier.



Approaching Inspiration Peak.



It took about 2 hours to get to the base of the route, after a late start from camp. We were able to take a rather direct line up to the start of the route thanks to a class 4 cliffband. Otherwise, we would have had to make a long end run around crevasses.



Drips coming down the center portion of Inspiration Peak’s South Face.



Once at the base of the face, we got off the snow via a fairly sketchy snowbridge (the moat is deep here), onto slabby rock. We went up here, then left to gain a ramp system. We followed the ramp for about 2 pitches before the final chimney. We pitched out the chimney in 2 pitches and encountered serious, loose and exposed climbing on broken, often wet rock with marginal pro (to ~5.9). In total we pitched out 6 pitches, of which Wayne led 5. We were both wearing mountaineering boots and packs which added to the difficulty of the route. Wayne did a solid job leading the wet crux pitches. Thanks, Wayne.



The ramp system up the lower portion of the face.



Looking E from midway up the face.



Wayne getting ready to belay me up the next pitch.



Me leading one of the ramp pitches.



Wayne coming up the final bit of ramp to the belay.



More ramp climbing.



Views from the route.



Me in the lower chimney.



Wayne framed in the chimney, just before the last chimney pitch.



Looking down from the belay in the chimney.



Why do they call this a 'squeeze chimney'?



W McMillan Spire.


IMG_2398_resize.JPGWayne approaching the summit of Inspiration Peak.



Me on the summit of Inspiration Peak.



Degenhardt, Pyramid, and Terror Peaks from the summit of Inspiration Peak.



We topped out at about 1:15PM, and made 12 single rope rappels (one of which was entirely free-hanging) down the W Ridge. Huge chunks of hanging blocks of snow were bombarding the W Ridge gully as we descended, so we obviously chose to avoid it.



Wayne rappeling down the W Ridge.



These huge blocks of snow kept collapsing as we descended. We were safely out of their path.



W McMillan Spire from the descent.



Free-hanging rappel.



One last look at the face.



A parting shot.



Back to the tent to grab our things around 5:30, then packed up and headed out by 6:30. We got back to the car at 11pm after 17 hours on the move. Rather than drive home in our condition, we decided to bivy at the TH and drive out this morning.


This was a serious climb on a large, steep face with challenging routefinding and exhilarating, exposed climbing. Definitely a worthwhile plan B!


Thanks to Wayne for being a solid partner. :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 13
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Nice work there! Glad to see someone was able to download pictures aplenty for their TR. Sounds like similar snow to what I had over the weekend...my boots were pretty wet at the end of the trip over Snowfield way. Nice TR and great pictures...thanks for sharing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



It looks like you can ski West McMillan right now. Hah!


That pic you took looking down on the first raps, where those huge broken blocks of snow are..WOW. That's all seasonal snow. This goes to prove that the gully is utter nonsense for descending. It's a wet, chossy bowling alley all year long.


That free-hanging rap is pretty fun. I had a pair of 60m ropes for all that descending and it seemed to make it go a bit quicker.


IMO, that trail is pretty nice before the brush starts going nuts in the Summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice TR and photos.


Bummer that the rock quality is not great. Based on your pics, I've now moved that route lower on my list.


I'm sure Wayne could climb soaking wet 5.9 in roller skates and oven mitts, so you were in good hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I'm sure Wayne could climb soaking wet 5.9 in roller skates and oven mitts, so you were in good hands.


It's true. I only wish I hadn't forgotten my camera the same day he forgot his boots and gloves and had to buy roller skates and oven mitts from a travelling gypsy on the way to the trailhead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gr8 t.r. and incredible shots! Can you comment on the extent of the work that's been done on the approach trail? On a day trip to W. Mac a few years ago, we lost the trail a couple of times--it was quite rough.


Congrats on the climb, and THANX!


The Trail is in great shape compared to last year. It has some tree debris halfway up the big steep hill but the lower trail is manicured great. Thanks to who ever is doing that service for us all. Last year the trail was hammered in many places. There is snow at the top of the steep hill too, so make sure you stay on the trail on the way down. It is a bit muddy too right now, so take it easy on it.

Up high, It will take a while for the snow to pack down, and it will have a bunch of "Holes" as it melts off, so watch for those bastards too. Also, up high, expect wet slide and snow block calving conditions for the next few weeks too.

Edited by wayne1112
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...