Trip Report    

Sherpa Peak/West Ridge

2 night ascent of the West Ridge

  • Mon, Jun 25, 2018
  • Sherpa Peak/West Ridge
  • Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road rough but passable
  • Barely any snow on the route. The rock was very cold in the morning, but warmed considerably by mid day. Trekking poles are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for the descent of the approach scramble.

Successful ascent of the West Ridge (5.4-5ish)

We hiked to an Ingalls creek camp via Longs Pass Friday night (7pm to 10pm). Had a 3:45 rise and 5:00 set off for the climb. It took 4 hours from camp to reach the col.

Very little snow on the ground. We crossed two patches on the approach and did not need the ice axes or crampons we took. The axes could have been used to descend the steeper snow on the way back, but there is a route over rock that we found to avoid it.

From the col, we ascended towards climbers left, and made the first pitch anchor in the "Cave" feature (A big old dihedral looking cut in the rock that 4 - 5 climbers can stand in, off belay, comfortably. There is gravel on the ground, and a difficult step down to this platform, which is also a great way of recognizing it). Rope drag and communication was very hard on this pitch, but was managed by setting up a "rope tug" communication style with my partners. From the cave, we kept ascending climbers left (do not go straight upwards from the cave as it cliffs out), and made the pitch 2 anchor on a platform next to a rappel station. From here, we scrambled down to a melting snow gully, and re-roped up before pitching up to the low point on the ridge leading to the summit. After this, it is a quick 4th class scramble to the summit block, where you can either make an anchor on the rappel station, and lead over slab terrain to the true summit, or be sure with your feet over the super 4th class terrain. 

From the summit, it was 6 rappels to the col. We sheared one of our two ropes to the core on the second rappel (after the summit block). The rope was jammed into a crack on the last rappel and was cut when we flicked it out. It slowed us down, but not by much. Climb time col to col was 10 hours. We had pulled the final rope by 7pm, and started our decent at 7:45ish (grumbling about how much our feet hurt from being in sticky shoes all day. Bringing approach shoes next time for the scrambling and rappel on the summit....)

It took another 3 hours from there to descend to camp. It was not an easy route, and we all fell a lot on choss. Navigation in the dark past the meadows is also quite difficult, but its just a race to the creek trail in the end!

Walked out the next day via Beverly Turnpike trail and grabbed the car we had pre parked at the Bean creek TH

2 nights out, 15.3 Miles, 7,400 ft of gain for the whole trip.

As a note, camping high in the gully before the climb would be really nice. There is a bolder for bivouac up there, and would really help prepare the knees before the descent. It's not a pleasant trek down, and it really wiped our party out.