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R. Ding

[TR] Mt. Thomson - West Ridge 6/6/2015

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Trip: Mt. Thomson - West Ridge


Date: 6/6/2015


Trip Report:

I'm heading off to Europe this summer and Val finished her dissertation (woohoo!) so we set off to spend some time in the mountains!


We planned to leave my house at 5 am to beat the heat. The crux of the day came at about 4:45 am when I received a call from Val saying that her pack (with all of her gear inside it) and keys were now locked in the trunk of her Buick Century. By the way, those things are built like a tank. A nice locksmith saved the day, and we reached the trailhead at about 7:30 am.


We still managed to most of the elevation gain out of the way before it got too hot! routefinding is straightforward, the climber's trail up and over Bumblebee Pass is fairly obvious. We ditched our packs in the basin. Aim for the second notch from the right on the approach.


Pitches were fun, though rock wasn't exactly what one would call solid. Second pitch was the most steep and exposed. Surprisingly good gear on the slab pitch. We were able to get to the false summit in 4 pitches and then scrambled down to the base of the last short pitch to the summit.


Val and I both agreed that the descent was more pleasant than expected! Scramble down from the summit towards the east for the first rap station. Second rap station is easy to find, then walk down and left for the third (we thought the raps were worth it). After that, we followed climber's trail down and right back into the basin.


Overall, 14.5 hours car-to-car at an enjoyable pace. The long but mellow approach/de-proach made for good conversation time!



West Ridge on the left skyline. Base of the climb is the first big notch from the right side of the picture, aim for the second notch from the right on the approach.



Val and our anchor at the top of the second pitch.



This climb had pretty belays! Val at the top of the third (slab) pitch.



We love alpine lakes.



Overexposed, but Val loves descending down gullies with rope backpacks!


Gear Notes:

60 m rope and 0.3" - 3" rack with 0.5" - 1" doubles and a set of nuts. Probably could've gotten away with just a single rack but between anchor building and having to get a bit creative with placements, we were happy with what we had.


Approach Notes:

Few patches of snow but definitely not ice axe worthy. There is currently running water in the basin right underneath the climb, which saved us from having to carry too much water on that hot of a day.


We did the full 8 miles in and out on the PCT and did not take any shortcuts -- the grade was super mellow and the PCT is huge and easy to follow. However, as per SummitPost and Val's first attempt at this peak, you can definitely knock off a couple miles each way by taking the Commonwealth trail in (less windy than the PCT) and shortcutting two big switchbacks.

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