Northeast Couloir AI 2 4th Class

 
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North Peak


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
North Peak Couloir scouting pictures
Monday September 5, 2016 9:27am
This is a quick report of ice conditions on the North Peak couloir (right). I was hiking in the "20 Lakes Basin" over the week-end and decided to hike up the couloir's approach to investigate the ice condition as I will be climbing it in a month.
I didn't get a chance to touch the ice, only took pictures. So judge by yourself, and please leave comments with your impressions if you've been on this ice before.

First view of the couloirs from far.
First view of the couloirs from far.
Credit: sleparc

The most right couloir has some blue ice, but I don't know how hard th...
The most right couloir has some blue ice, but I don't know how hard the white sections are...
Credit: sleparc

And now zoomed in pics from top to bottom:

Credit: sleparc
Credit: sleparc
Credit: sleparc

Quick look at the left most couloir:
Credit: sleparc

Parting pictures ;)
Credit: sleparc
Credit: sleparc

  Trip Report Views: 5,036
sleparc
About the Author
sleparc is a trad climber from San Carlos.

Comments
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Sep 5, 2016 - 04:47pm PT
Climb it now before it's gone! I did that once in full-on bare ice conditions and found it a bit tedious. A little bit of step kicking and/or hard neve, if possible, would be nice. My favorite time of year to do Mendel is in late June when the lower angled stuff is still snow/neve and the steep part is bare ice--best of both worlds.

BAd
Mur of Opotrepus

climber
  Sep 5, 2016 - 07:54pm PT
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 6, 2016 - 01:14pm PT
There's actually more snow and ice than I was expecting, given what I saw last year. It's probably too late for much in the way of frozen neve now, though.

John
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 6, 2016 - 02:56pm PT
There is a lot less snow/ice in the right couloir than when I climbed it. That snow is probably neve. The left couloir looks like a possible death trap.
sleparc

Trad climber
San Carlos
Author's Reply  Sep 6, 2016 - 05:44pm PT
10b4me: Yeah, I'm hoping these patches of snow/neve transform into ice in the next 30 days. What are your thoughts on that?
I am also thinking there might be ice underneath that white stuff. I am not sure how the process of snow to neve to ice transformation works... Does it the ice progress (transforms) from inside-out or outside-in?

Not sure how I will protect the climb if it's neve and not ice...
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 6, 2016 - 05:56pm PT
That neve needs to melt, and refreeze You need melt water to form ice.
It hasn't snowed since last winter so I doubt that there is ice underneath.
When I climbed the right couloir it was in mid October, several years ago.
The problem, in recent years, is that the warm temps have tended to melt the snow, or ice.
Hope it goes for you. Good luck, and be safe.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Draperderr, by Bangerter, Utah
  Sep 6, 2016 - 06:43pm PT
For a comparison to conditions around now before the meltout, after a normal winter:

Sept 27, 2010

:-(


BTW, for those wondering about the U-Notch & V-Notch, or Sill:

Sept. 3, 2016
Stewart Johnson

Gym climber
top lake
  Sep 6, 2016 - 07:18pm PT
Looks way better than last year this time
The snow is rock hard if you make it there
Before 10 am
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
  Sep 6, 2016 - 08:02pm PT
Go up there about four days after a full moon. That way a good size moon will still be up as the first light from the sun starts. Plan your start time (3 or 4 AM?) so your on the upper section in the early morning light.
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 6, 2016 - 08:56pm PT
I don't recall seeing the L-shaped couloir with so little snow.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Draperderr, by Bangerter, Utah
  Sep 6, 2016 - 09:48pm PT
More of an ellipsis-shaped snowfield now ...
sleparc

Trad climber
San Carlos
Author's Reply  Sep 6, 2016 - 10:31pm PT
Looking at the temperatures right now and it is 50 at night and next week around 40... These temps are for Tuolumne Meadows of course, but still quite warm. Would you say it's too warm to get solid ice screw the ice?
Also, any tips on protecting the neve sections (especially the upper part)?

Tadman

Mountain climber
CA
  Sep 6, 2016 - 11:04pm PT
If you have a bit of alpine ice experience, you really don't need pro. This was the second couloir that i had climbed. I had just got done watching Jeff Lowe's VHS tape on climbing alpine ice. Was totally fired up! I used a combo of screws and pickets to bring my second up. I have been on the right hand couloir a few times. The first two times there was a snow bridge leading directly from the apron to the couloir. The last time i went up I was glad I went with a climber that was really comfortable on ice. No bridge...I bit of a challenge at the start. If you are going to protect this climb, 4 screws, a couple of pickets, some runners, 6 quickdraws. I have used both alpine axes (old Charlet Moser alpine axes) and bent shaft Black Prophets. I preferred the latter.

Have fun,
Tad
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
  Sep 11, 2016 - 12:09am PT
A friend of mine just did it. Sounds like the conditions are fine, with 150 ft or so of neve up at the top.
Nanobody

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
  Sep 12, 2016 - 12:15pm PT
We climbed it on Sunday. Great conditions, about 2 pitches of ice, the rest neve. Still, a great time.
http://fresnoclimber.blogspot.com/2016/09/ice-climbing-in-september-north-peak.html
sleparc

Trad climber
San Carlos
Author's Reply  Sep 13, 2016 - 01:12pm PT
Thanks for the update @nanobody! Great post.
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 13, 2016 - 01:24pm PT
Probably getting some snow today.
Stewart Johnson

Gym climber
top lake
  Sep 15, 2016 - 01:46pm PT
Aye it's in good nick this morning

Stewart Johnson

Gym climber
top lake
  Sep 18, 2016 - 07:57am PT
sleparc

Trad climber
San Carlos
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2016 - 01:44pm PT
Here is an update found on Instragram from a couple of days ago:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BKi53o8gnex/
Still looks good.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Sep 24, 2016 - 04:19pm PT
That is a great shot of Mt. Sill above. Hard to believe that the Swiss Arete is only 5.5 from that shot, and if anything, it is barely that.
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North Peak - Northeast Couloir AI 2 4th Class - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Northeast Couloir of North Peak.
Photo: Dan Mingori