Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mt. Williwaw Northwest Ridge/The Ramp from Glen Alps

Mt. Williwaw Northwest Ridge/The Ramp from Glen Alps - 5:46:27

   This was Plan B of the day.  The original plan was to finally go and conquer Eagle Peak, but when the forecast called for rain, well, such a long day didn't sound fun at all.  So I opted to try and summit Williwaw via one of the more difficult routes.

Walking across the Ballfield
Black Lake hidden below the north face of O'Malley
   I knew that the chance for rain was supposed to increase toward noon, so I set a brisk pace up Little O'Malley, across the ballfield, and up again to the west buttress of Williwaw.  Those rocks wouldn't be fun in the rain!

The Williwaw "pyramid" as seen from the west buttress.  The Northwest ridge is on the left of the pyramid.

At the bottom of the route.  Nice scrambling ahead!  Just make sure to hit it in the dry!
  Having literally just been here a little while ago with my cousin, I knew exactly where to go and how to do it quickly, so pretty soon I was where we had turned back just a few days ago.
Lots of exposure to be had, but on stable-ish rock.  Tread carefully!

Confident in the dry.  Just don't look down.
   Conditions were dry.  And warm.  I kept my gloves off, and having the extra confidence of bare fingers was welcoming.  Since I was by myself and without gear, I did skirt around two of the more imposing gendarmes.  This made the ascent a lot easier than I was expecting!  I reached the top of the ridge and the summit of Williwaw in under 3 hours.

OK fine, I admit it.  I'm a sucker for fast summit times.
   Once on the summit, I decided that instead of going back the traditional way up the Ballfield, I'd rather have a pleasant traverse toward the ramp and descend that way.  Much nicer!

Typical travel on the ridge to The Ramp
Looking back towards Williwaw
   So I took it easy on the way back, and had quite a nice return journey via the hidden lake trail.
Overall, it was an AWESOME alternative to the much further off Eagle, but the weather remained so nice that I almost regret my decision to forego it...
Down down down to the powerline

Heading down towards Hidden Lake.  I admit I drank some of this.  
Told you I drank some of this!
Williwaw NW Ridge Route Info
   As Bill Finley has mentioned, the rock is stable for Chugach choss.  That being said - it is also very exposed and stability is a relative term.  If you're not familiar with this type rock, I would travel slow and DEFINITELY bring some gear.  Heck, even if you are confident and experienced in the Chugach, I would suggest gear, especially if it's wet (BTW I'm pretty stupid for not doing so).  The hardest parts are avoidable, but if it gets moist, the mossy rock is not friendly.  All of that aside: I highly recommend this way up Williwaw - it may be the fastest way!

60fps chest cam footage - feel that exposure!!

The full loop.  Downloadable route info below.

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