Ingalls Peak - East Ridge

Who: Loren and Dave
When: June 29th, 2002

Loren and I decided to get an early start Saturday so as to give us plenty of time to deal with the inclement weather that was forecasted. When we arrived at the Esmerelda trail head, there were a few cars and hand fulls of people milling around. This was a far cry from last Saturday at 9 a.m. when the parking lot was already full!

The parking lot mood was rather somber over the windy and cloudy weather, but luckily there was a small hole of blue sky right above us. Loren and I changed shoes and headed up the trail at a fast pace. Taking the path of Beckey we arrived at Ingalls pass an hour or so later. There is still a ton of snow up there, so we decided to take the "high" route that bypasses the lake.

The moment of truth! The clouds lift just enough that we see the notch! (look closely!)

We stopped to put on more clothes when the clouds parted enough to allow us a view of where we needed to go. The notch at the base of the East Ridge had a steep looking snow finger leading to steep looking rock below it. Hmmm...

Loren, still in tennis shoes and with only ski poles, relinquishes the lead to me up the gully. The gully slowly ramps up and I try to kick good steps for Loren as we pass a moated constriction and the angle reaches 40 degrees. I get to the top and see a rap sling on the rock 10 feet away across a 30ft. chasm of moat. The snow has thinned out into razor sharp fins, and Loren and I ponder how the heck to get across.

Luckily, Loren finds a small platform on the rock side of the snow, and makes the scary step across. I follow up and we suit up in a very small and dirty cleft.

The way ahead looks grim. Loose, broken rock, and a wet looking chimney. Should we cut out right up the crack? No. Loren racked up and headed up the gully.

Loren climbs off the "belay"

We had decided to climb on my 30 meter twin rope, planning on doing running belays with the rope doubled. However, due to the long nature of the pitch, we singled the rope, and Loren lead a heroic 30m pitch. Easy face moves leads to a traverse on the overhanging wall of the gully/chimney. Climbing through the crux bulge had us both cursing our packs, but soon after a nice stem was gained that lead to easier ground. Loren had to pull through the crux and into the stem before he could protect it!

Pro, finally! Loren on the crux of our approach pitch.

The crux was pretty awkward (especially with my frozen fingers) and surely off route. Maybe we should have taken a look at that route description again before we left the car. :)

I climbed through a key-hole of chockstones and into the notch. On the North side now, It appeared that one could climb snow all the way up to the notch! We doubled the rope over and I lead off up nice solid Ingall's peak rock. Seeing as Loren was only 15 meters behind me, communication was easy. We climbed along the crest, occasionally passing gendarmes on the right.

Climbing out of one of many notches.

Loren emerges out of the fog.

We simuclimbed up to the base of the crux of the ridge, which is on the tower before the summit. A nice lyeback crack leads to a ledge and then a 5.7 move around a corner under a small roof. At 15 meters Loren simuclimbed through the crux and soon we were both on the summit. There didn't seem to be any special gear needed for this route other than a hand-crack sized piece and some medium sized chocks.

We ate lunch and hung out on the summit for a while. It had taken us 2 hours from where we had racked up. The clouds were just trying to lift, and if we were 500 ft. higher I bet we would have been in full sunshine.

We had the mountain all to ourselves, and so we began a running belay down the standard South Ridge route. This went smoothly and actually added more "rock" to the route.

Downclimbing the south face.

At the base we checked the temperature: 43 degrees! We briefly considered climbing one of the Dog's teeth towers, but it looked wet from all the moisture coming over the pass. Pizza and beer in Rosyln were calling so we booked it back to the truck!

Ingall's peak East ridge starts at the right most notch and climbs all the way across the ridge.

The trip took us 7 hours car to car. Overall a very pleasant and mellow climb/traverse on edgy rock with good protection.

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