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Trip Report    

Buck Mountain/Southwest Route

We drove to Trinity on Saturday morning and started up the trail to Buck Pass at about 9:15 am. It took about 5 hours to get to the pass which has a small spring water source. There is water all along the trail before there as well. We continued on the trail to High Pass which took 3 additional hours. We camped near a small tarn below the pass.

From camp we found the notch/exit overlooking steep slopes and a drainage on the SW of Buck. We traversed at 6800' until the third gully and headed up. We should have headed up the second gully, and descended it on the way out. The gully hits cliffs and you must bear climber's left to a notch at about 7600'. From here we dropped down 100' and traversed pumice scree left. Below are cliffs that you can not see from above. Eventually we reached terrain that can be downclimbed. WE dropped a total of 1000' staying atop higher ground on the left until we crossed a small stream (great camping option). From here ascended to 7400' and contoured to climber's right until we approached a drainage from the snow fields above, which are below the summit. We began ascending in this area, picking a suitable gully. We crossed the snowfield (bullet proof) and scrambled rock (class 2-3) to the right of the obvious white scar on the middle summit. Camp to summit took 5 hours.

After a break on the summit, we retraced our steps to camp, modifying a couple gullies on descent. Summit to camp was about 3 or 3.5 hours. We broke camp and moved to Buck Creek Pass, and set up camp again. This took about 2.5 hours.

On the third day, Colleen hiked out, and the remaining three of us packed full packs and headed to the drainage below Fortress. There is an obvious climber's trail up. We took this and dumped overnight gear about 50' up the trail and continued to the basin below Pass No Pass (water here and good camping in a grove of trees and in meadows too). We continued to Pass No Pass then headed up climber's right up very steep game trails on Heather until we reached the head of a drainage at about 7000'. We then traversed up and right 1000' to a snow patch in a talus bowl. We went straight up a very loose gully directly above the snowfield for a few hundred feet (Svet opted to not continue at this point and dropped to the snow to wait for us). We then scrambled up and left to the summit (class 2-3) following cairns and obvious boot path/trail. From the summit we retraced steps to just skiers right of the gully. I found a better way down by scrambling blocky terrain (class 3) to the right side of the talus along the snow patch. We then retraced our steps to Pass No Pass, our packs and the trail, and then hiked out. Camp to summit was 4.5 hours. Summit to cars was 6.5 hours.

 

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