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[TR] Sherpa Peak - Northeast Couloir + East Ridge 6/16/2012

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Trip: Sherpa Peak - Northeast Couloir + East Ridge


Date: 6/16/2012


Trip Report:

Aaron, Evelyne, Sasha, and myself headed over to Sherpa Peak for Boealps intermediate class Alpine 2 outing. We settled on the Northeast Couloir to the East Ridge route due to questionable weather.


We hit intermediate snow around the 5k ft level. We made the mistake of starting to head up a tad too soon and did more boulder hopping/alder thrashing/huge snow hole avoiding than we needed to. Best approach is to try and follow the Mountaineers creek as closely as possible and try not to get suckered in by another stream. Ascend on the left of the creek towards the Sherpa/Argonaut col.


Camp was at 5600' on some large boulders with plenty of liquid water around. We enjoyed plenty of dinner time rain and high winds. Luckily the winds died down after the rain stopped by 7pm and we were able to tucker into our bivies without getting soaked.


Camp Site:



There's a few really good TR's on cascadeclimbers and nwhikers that go into a lot of detail about this route (most notably on nwhikers. look for an East Ridge report). So I'll try and be brief...


The couloir was in excellent shape and we made quick work of it. We did rope up and were prepared to set snow pro, but never felt like we needed to. Crampons were used in the morning (probably didnt need them, but there was a firm layer under some soft stuff).


Couloir Beta:



Once on the ridge there's a few hundred feet of class 2/3 sandy benches and a dirty gully with a chock stone, we came to the typical rock wall and easily found the class 4/low 5th pitch up (less than 30m). From here the typical route traverses on the North side of Sherpa ~100ft beneath the balance rock. Instead we did a "variation" and followed another pitch (class 4/low 5) to a visible rap sling that takes you to the base of the balanced rock.


Pitch to the base of balance rock:



From here Sasha and Evelyne simul'ed the ridge into oblivion and I wuss'ed out and pitched the ridge with Aaron with him leading most of it...It's very airy and requires a few moves of faith. Overall it was easy-ish climbing, but I wouldn't want to fall...Made worse with strong wind gusts.


We completed the traverse in 2 30m pitches. Came to a rock buttress than required us to descend a couple steps down to the typical route, traverse some soft snow, and then we found ourselves at the base of the class 4 dirty gully. From here to the summit was snow free. Summit slabs offer nice exposure. We left the summit just as a large cloud surrounded us and started making things wet. Not sure if that decent can be made when the snow melts out.


North side traverse. Easier than it looks. Aaron is just setting an anchor:



Summit slabs with Sasha on top with his Upward Full Foot Plant summit pose.



Approach back to the couloir was still more fun. With 2 ropes we were able to set fixed lines all the way to the rap station at the balance rock. This helped us speed things up and to protect us from a lot of pendulum.


Typical class 2 terrain before the gully with chock stone.



We Plunge stepped down the couloir and enjoyed a fun glissade most of the way back to camp. Then we slogged out as fast as possible.


Below our our times:


7am Monroe PnR

9:40 am Trailhead (3400)

11am Stuart Trail Junc (4500)

11:30 am off trail (4630)

3:30 pm Camp (5600)

6 pm Dinner

7 pm Bed



3:45 am Alarm

4:30 am Hiking

5:30 am Rope up (6600)

6:40 am Ridge Crest (8050)

10:30 am Summit! (8605)

10:45 am All on summit

11 am All off summit

2:45 pm Back at Col (8050)

3:30 pm Back at Camp (5600)

6 pm Back at trail

7:20 pm Trailhead




Gear Notes:

between 2 teams of 2:

2 60m 7.7mm twin ropes (we half roped it. made 2 30m ropes with double strands)

2 smallish racks (set of nuts, 2 link cams, 1 medium size cam (#1 C4), and a tri-cam or two for the heck of it, 4 singles, 8 doubles)

5 pickets. Didn't need any...

1 ice tool for couloir leads ... again, training weight...


Approach Notes:

Follow Mountaineer's Creek closely. Don't get suckered into the boulders. There's an intermediate trail on the S side of the creek. If you find it than travel is much nicer.


Bushwhack wasn't bad, but will be horrible in a couple weeks when things bloom.

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Nice work getting the climb done on such a interesting weather day! I'm glad that you were protected from the winds we were encountering on Argonaut.


Glad to hear you figured out the easy way through the schwack, it's easy to get suckered into that boulder field.

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That's a great climb that deserves more attention. Thanks for the report!

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