Monday, November 11, 2019

Indianhouse Mountain Northwest Ridge - 11/9/19

Ridge conditions November 2018.  Point 3920 on left, Indianhouse NW ridge on right.
   I'd attempted this ridge last November, but a late start and general unpreparedness saw me turning back at the first gendarme.  I vowed to return, and almost exactly a year later, I found myself parked at Fall's Creek and hiking up point 3920.  This time, it was 8am, and I had ice tools and a rope.

Top of 3920, looking towards Indianhouse.  First gendarme is center left.
   Reaching the top of point 3920, I clipped on crampons and took out the tools.  After descending to the ridge proper, I quickly made my way to the top of that first gendarme, encountering light mixed climbing on the way up.  At the top, I surveyed the options.  A rappel was pretty much mandatory from here - downclimbing would have been nutty and I had, after all, lugged 60m of 9.4 all this way...  Maybe I need to invest in a lighter rope ;)

Using the tools, cause I had 'em and hooking around was fun.
More hooking fun.  It's like having an extra long robot arm.

Rappel off the first gendarme.

Coiling the rope after my second rappel.
   After rappelling 50-60ft, I set off on the rest of the ridge, encountering similar basic mixed climbing.  Eventually I reached another, much shorter rappel, which proved to be the last rappel needed.  It was getting close to noon at this point, and snow conditions had been taking a gradual turn for the mushy.  I became aware of how short November days are, opting to traverse around the last few gendarmes before reaching the actual mountain.

Typical travel between gendarmes.
Steep snow.  I used a lot of knee work to avoid plunging deep with every step.  
  Once I attained the side of the peak, it was a simple climb up steep, variable snow all the way to the summit.  I spent a few moments, then proceeded down the standard main couloir route, where I traversed back down to Fall's Creek.  Yay for a new way up a familiar peak!  

Summit selfie.  You can see my footprints in the center.  A bit shocked to see no other prints up there!

A nice day above the fog!

Looking back toward the Suicides and point 3920

Indianhouse West Face in late afternoon light.  NW ridge on the left.

The HDR Pro app works pretty well for harsh lighting conditions.  Indianhouse west face.
Descending into the fog.  It's only 3pmish and the sun is already bye bye :'(.  More HDR Pro app.


   Light mixed climbing in the snow conditions I encountered, 4th/easy 5th class in summer conditions as described here by Bill Finley.  Be prepared for several rappels and spending a generous amount of time on the ridge itself.

Helmet cam video

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