Tom_Sjolseth Posted June 24, 2010 Share Posted June 24, 2010 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. Wayne 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: Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.