Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Ingalls Peak/South Ridge

First step off the couch.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • No snow until the pass. Beyond the pass, snow is melting out quickly, making it more tedious to meander between the boulders, and with thin snow bridges  in places becoming a hazard. Moat at the base of the climb about 1.5-feet wide. Scramble about 15-20 feet above the moat to the belay.

The way off the couch is long and twisted, and COVID-19 has done some profound damages to our level of conditioning. For most of us, this was the first conditioner of the season, and for some, the first hike in almost 4 months. but we made it to the summit and back. Physically shredded, but mentally recharged, and happy to have broken out of the inertia.

Started from the Esmeralda TH shortly after 6am,  took about 2 hours to get to the pass, where we took a 15-minute break to apply sunscreen and admired in envy a beautiful strong large goat poop mid-flight within just a couple dozen feet from where we were standing. Hopefully one day, I might be able to do that, too! Fortunately, we weren't followed.


Beyond the pass, the basin is still covered by snow, but the snow cover is getting thin, and melting out at lightning speed. In many places, there are snow bridges. I punched through one. Fortunately, I escaped unscathed.


Navigating between the boulders to the base of the climb was a bit slow-going, and we stepped off the route once or twice. It was super nice to have had an abundance of running water, though, to fill up our water bottles before the climb.


It took us about 2 hours to clear this section, we made it to the base of the climb by about 10:25am.

At the very last-minute, we got over-passed by a party right behind us, and as we arrived, there had already been one party topping out, and about to begin their rappel, so we were the third group at the base of the climb, and we had to wait for about an hour before we could start climbing. While this was mildly unfortunate, we needed the time to rest after the hike, gear up, eat, drink, and admire the beautiful views that we hadn't seen in months, anyway, so the time passed by very quickly.

Started climbing about 11:15am. We had 2 teams of two. We split the climb into 4 pitches to allow the second team to get to the belay, a short scamble about 15-20 feet above the moat, which was otherwise not large enough for 4 of us to maintain adequate level social distancing.

Waiting to set up the belay at the bottom of the first pitch:


Melanie topping out the first pitch:


After the first pitch, it got a little wind gusty, as expected. We were mildly worried about the clouds over the Olympics on the horizon. But, the forecast was bone dry, and we decided that a little bit of wind makes for a more organic climbing experience. It didn't seem severe enough to turn around yet, so we decided to proceed with caution, and revisit the decision in a pitch or two.

At the top of the second pitch:


A look down at Krystal topping out the first pitch:


Fortunately, the wind gusts died down as we moved up. Finished up the climbing section in 3 hours, and rushed to devour the sandwich waiting in my summit pack.


I was happy to have brought a double rack, 0.3 cams and offsets, as the nasty slippery green stuff and the feeling of being rusty on rock after such a long break made me want to lace it up, so I placed in total I think 10 or so pieces on the third pitch. There's a bit of a dangerous runout on the last pitch right before the corner topout.

At the top, we had to take turns with the party ahead of us rappelling, so it took a bit of extra time for the second rope team to top out.

EJ feeling victorious after topping out the last pitch:


With the team back together, we took a short scramble to the summit for the obligatory group selfie.


Started rappelling about 2:30pm. Pro tip: there's a foothold on the left.

Starting the first (single) rappel:


Look up at the second (double) rappel:


Watch out for rappel slings sliding off the slung boulder at the base of the good (third) pitch. Super sketchy!

Look up at the third (single) rappel:


Started the hike back down 5pm. The space was definitely warped, as the way down felt considerably longer than the way up.


We made it back to the parking lot shredded, but happy by 7:45pm.

Carried and used 70m rope, doubles of BD cams from 0.3 to 1 and singles of 2, 3, a small set of DMM offsets, and an ice axe. Carried, but did not use crampons (there was no ice anywhere in sight).