East Arete, Mt. Humphreys 5.5

 
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High Sierra, California USA

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Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
Aug 17, 2014 - 09:27am
 
We did the East Arete in two days from a very nice camp at Lake 10960. The route is long and the times stated in Supertopo assume you will (mostly) solo.

The first day we were late completing the lower ridge, and took the SE descent gully back to camp, making liberal use of "scree surfing" techniques. Not too bad. Not wishing to repeat the lower ridge, we later reascended the SE gully (following the path of Norman Clyde's 1st ascent) and completed the route. In the prevailing dry conditions we found the gully a sandy treadmill. I believe the first ascent was on snow which might offer easier upward passage. We have paid our tribute to Norman Clyde and will never ascend the SE gully again. But I digress...

We carried a single 60m twin which was mostly used for rappels; one short rappel on the ascent and two on the descent. We only pitched a handful of easy 5th class sections, the longest about 30m, for which the doubled twin was ideal. We also tried some simulclimbing but did not find it particularly efficient, nor did it add much to safety, due to the nature of the ridge.

The summit looked distant from the viewing notch (before Married Mans notch) and, contemplating the long descent, we were tempted to turn back. The Supertopo shows the route going all the way to Married Mans notch and up from there but that's not the way we went. We summitted from our notch in about 45 min by dropping down and traversing talus to the West. We then ascended the summit block from climbers left, angling right on mid 5th class for 30m to a slung block/fixed nut rappel station. The rappel station made us feel we were on the customary route. A little 3rd class led to the summit.

The rappel from the summit block was set for a 50m+ rope. The station is difficult to find from above as it is down a steep 3rd class scramble and around a corner. Although we happened to pass it on the way up, you might not (as there are several ways to go here).
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Mt. Humphreys - East Arete 5.5 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Overview of Mount Emerson, Mount Humphreys and Basin Mountain.
Photo: Luke Lydiard
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