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Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Ingalls Peak/South Ridge

A successful climb of the South Ridge. The snow level is significantly lower than past years with nearly no snow on the approach.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow levels were significantly lower for this time of year.  The route was nearly snow free with only a few, easily avoidable snow patches on the approach from Lake Ingalls to the notch.  We had brought ice axes but did not need them. There were a few small trickles of water on the way up to the pass, but nothing significant.

Our team of six met at the Esmeralda Trailhead at 5:30 AM on Saturday July 15.  Everyone had arrived Friday night and camped on the forest road leading to the trailhead.  After a quick chat and handing out our three ropes (two 60m and a 70m), we steadily hiked towards Lake Ingalls. The hike up was pretty uneventful taking around 2 hours 20 minutes to reach the lake.  We took a quick break to grab some food and water at the lake and then headed up to the notch on the south ridge to start the climb.  


The bugs on some aspects of the lake were terrible, but thankfully after a few 100 yards of travel the breeze seemed to help keep them away.  We scrambled up a mostly snow free path (maybe 15 feet of easy snow travel that likely could have been avoided) to the notch reaching the start of the climb around 9:15 AM, approximately 3.5 hours after starting the hike.  Here we broke into three rope teams of two and ditched some unneeded gear (ice axes, poles, a few backpacks) and put on our harness and climbing shoes. 


We scrambled up a little further to a nice ledge and then began to pitch out the climb.  We were able to link pitches 1 and 2 with a 60m rope, but it would have been a stretch if we did not initially scramble up a little.  One party who climbed the east ridge route was rappelling the route just as our first team finished the first pitches. We were able to work with them to keep our team moving while not holding them up.


For the third pitch we opted for the 5.6 variation and ended at the two bolt anchor (note there was one piton there but it was loose).  Everyone did a great job ascending this section even with the occasional serpentine rock in the crack.  We pitched out the last pitch and used the three bolt anchor at the top.  Once the entire team had ascended the route we unroped, stashed our backpacks, and hiked/scrambled over to the summit.  We hooked around from the north where there was a little bit of exposure, but easily made it to the summit a little after 12 PM. There we grabbed a quick team photo, filled out the summit register, and quickly left due to a large swarm of bugs.  We traced our steps back to the top of the South Ridge and began to set up our rappel. 

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Another party of two was just finishing the climb and asked if we could work together to do the descent.  We all discussed the plan and agreed.  We ended up doing 3 rappels to reach the base of the climb.  The first was a short, sit and spin rappel off the 3 bolt anchor using a 60m rope back to the two bolt anchor at the top of pitch 3.  Here we used our 70m rope and were just able to reach the ledge below the pitch. Finally, the party of two had two 70m half ropes so we did one large double rope rappel to the base of the climb.  Each rope pulled nicely including the two half ropes.  All in all the rappel took a little over 2 hours.


We returned to the lake to grab some water and take a quick dip, and then made good time back down the trail. We reached the trailhead around 6 PM, had a quick debrief, and headed out to go get some food in Snoqualmie Pass.