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Hooked up with Josh K this weekend for a romp up the NE ridge of Black Peak 8970 feet. I had done this summit last October but from the easier south side gully. I vowed to return and do the NE ridge as this is a really nice area. No permits needed and the crowds are usually left behind at lake anne/heather pass area. |
Finding rainy pass TH parking area still under a foot or so of snow we loaded up and split up the gear. We decided on a 30 Meter rope to save weight, a set of nuts, a few cams up to 2 inches, a couple aliens, and I suggested that large red hex as well. A decent set of alpine draws rounded out the rack. Snowshoes,ice axe,crampons,tent were all left behind as well and turned out to be a good call. Bivvy sacks and ski poles ruled as light is right. We were off.
Josh had just done dome peak twice, glacier peak, and the ptarmigan traverse in about the last 2 months. So he was elated to say the least on the quality of the lake anne trail up to heather pass. It is in great shape from the past winter and melting out rapidly with long stretches of dry trail. Once at heather pass and the traverse over to lewis then wing lake it is deeply buried. However, snow is perfectly consolidated for great travel. Made it up to wing lake in 3 hours and settled in around 8 p.m. for a wake up at 6. My alarm went off at 6 and quite frigid out so we ducked back in for a couple more hours of sleep hehe and the snow to soften was our excuse.
But laying in the bivvy gazing up at the summit we got rocking and while having breakfast this lethargic, scrawny, marmot just walked right into our camp. I then remembered Nates TR of the gnawing of his gear up on forbidden. That prompted us to hang everything in the larch tree's as we were not quite sure if marmots can climb trees (it worked). About 1500 ft of a snow climb brought us up to the notch to start the ridge climb.
Started out soloing as the bottom part is mostly 3rd and 4th class rock and a bit loose but enjoyable. Up towards the center it got progressively more exposed and a bit of 5th class moves and we roped up here for a pitch mostly cause damn it we brought the gear lets play with it. I lead the first pitch, josh led the 2nd, we had lunch and soloed the rest of the ridge to the summit to save time. The climbing is easy and rated low to mid 5th class but we didn't find that. I think the rating is more towards the exposure of the knife ridge.
On the summit it was a perfect day with zero wind and views of Goode, storm king and Logan were every bit as good as last October. Descend the south choss route and back down to camp and the slog out. Times were 3 hrs rainy pass to wing lake, 4 hrs to the summit, 2.5 hrs back to rainey pass and car which when started up was running very rough. It did so all the way home and still awaiting the details there. We are thinking a rodent got up in the engine and gnawed on a wire or something. Outstanding weekend,partner, and good times.