East Ridge
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Climbing is dangerous! Every year many climbers are broken, maimed, and killed. Don't be so foolish as to trust your life to what you see here. I'm not a guide and neither is this web site. If you don't know what you are doing or where you are going, please take a course or hire a guide!

Ingalls Peak, East Ridge

June 29, 2002

I waited too long to write this TR, the times and some of the details have already faded...

Ingalls East Ridge: Approximate ascent in red, descent in blue.

In the face of marginal weather, Dave and I cancelled our overnight plans for a one-day trip to Ingalls Peak in the sunny east slope of the Cascades.

Before we reach the trailhead, I have an encounter with Johnny Law outside Cle Elum and score a $105 ticket. The dude was driving toward me at a high rate of speed and claimed I was doing 66 in a 55. I wasn't, and he wasn't willing to reduce the speed- so off to court I go.

At the trailhead we find a light crowd, including a group of three bemoaning the overcast skies.

We depart quickly, after making a deposit in the nearby facility, and make good time up in our tennis shoes and light packs. Given the moderate rating, we'd opted for Dave's new 8mm x 30m rope, planning to simulclimb the route.

Following the waypaths of Beckey, we reach Ingalls Pass in 65 minutes, where we discover that most of Ingalls Peak is obscured by clouds. This is slightly disconcerting, since we're not entirely sure where the route begins.

Dave at Ingalls Pass.

We take a short break, then, chilled by the wind, make tracks for the route. The ground is all snow-covered, but the snow is firm and I'm doing just fine in my shoes, while Dave is enjoying dry, though heavy feet in his mountaineering boots.

The clouds part ever so briefly, allowing us to see the correct approach gully. We make tracks for it, and Dave takes over kicking steps as it steepens up toward forty degrees. Without an axe, I collapsed a ski pole, removed the basket, and used it like an axe.

Dave kicking steps near the top of the approach gully.

At the top of the gully, we are greeted by a deep moat. After a few ponderous moments I discover a shelf on the back side that provides access to the rock. We clamber onto a dirty shelf and get ready to climb. A couple ratty slings on a horn provide a belay as I lead out.

Me doing a little dance as I start the first pitch. Photo by Dave Burdick.

The first few moves toward the chimney are easy, but it gets harder, looser, and a bit overhanging. Protection isn't great and I'm out twenty feet out from my last piece when I reach the crux. I make a few tentative moves, then look down at the moat below. If I fall I'll need to jump to avoid falling into it. Then I remember that I need to be looking at and thinking about where I want to go, not where I don't want to go. So I look up, suck it up, and pull through. Some nice stemming makes clearing the chockstone easier, and then I'm on easier ground: A loose gully leading to the notch. Stretching the rope, I'm just able to clip the belay slings at the notch and bring Dave up. We agree that we were likely off route.

Me reaching for the stem after my thought-provoking moment. Photo by Dave Burdick.

Dave scoping the route at the notch. We ended up climbing through to the other side..

Dave squeezes through the jumble of boulders on the notch onto the north side. I join him at a comfortable, safe stance where I hand over the rack and we double up the rope. Dave leads out and I follow when the 13 meters of rope between us runs out.

Dave leading on an edgy slab. Fun stuff.

Now that we are on route, the climbing is moderate and pleasant, and the rock is solid. Dave does a nice job of keeping a piece between us at all times and we stop only to swap gear. Dave is on a roll and keeps the lead all the way to the final crux pitch. The 5.7 section is reputed to be short, but poorly protected. Dave zips right through it and I follow, pausing only to liberate a 'fixed' nut. The crux is short and the gear is actually pretty good.

Dave nearing the base of the crux 5.7 pitch.

Dave starts up the last pitch.

Two hours after I started the first pitch, we're on the summit, and we have it to ourselves. We relax for a while then scramble down toward the South Ridge. I have a bit more clothing on, and the wind is biting, so Dave starts our simul-downclimb, placing gear sparingly, but appropriately. I follow, and soon we're at the bottom swapping rock shoes for boots. I look at the thermometer on my watch. Forty-three degrees. But the sun is out now, so it feels much warmer.

Dave on the summit.

Me downclimbing the South Ridge. Look! No Mountaineers!!

The trip back to Ingalls Pass is quick. We pause to talk to a few climbers headed for the South Ridge, and to shout encouragement to a pair of climbers soloing the East Ridge. They are wandering about the ledges left of the pitch I led, on-route, but unaware until we holler to them.

Climbers soloing low on the East Ridge route.

Then we glissade down and walk back to the Pass. Stuart is coming out, and Sherpa is out. I snap a few pics before we start down. In well under an hour we're back at the car, for a seven hour round trip.

We detour to Roslyn on the way home for a huge pizza. I'm the master of the Trivial Pursuit cards on our table, but only because they are from "The 80s" edition.

A great day, just what I needed. Thanks Dave!

Flowers below Dog Tooth Crag.

Mt. Stuart from Upper Headlight Basin.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, August 30, 2005
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