Ascent of Whorl Mountain on 2018-09-01

Climber: Rafee Memon

Others in Party:Dan Cervelli
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Whorl Mountain
    Elevation:12033 ft / 3667 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was Memorial Day weekend, and I was planning on attempting a day hike of Mount Brewer from Road's End on Monday. Considering my options for a warmup hike on Saturday, I decided it would be too painful to drive to the far east, and I opted to pass on another long and steep ascent out of Road's End -- we would get more than our fair share on Monday. I decided on Whorl Mountain and convinced Dan to come with me for what would be a redemption attempt for him. We met up just before midnight at Sonora Pass where I got three and a half hours of surprisingly restful sleep in the passenger seat of my car.

We were on our way to Twin Lakes at 3:50am, and we started up the Horse Creek Trail at 5:13am. I had only been up the trail once before when I hiked Matterhorn Peak several years earlier, a time when I didn't quite understand hiking yet. The reality of the trail was much better than my memory, at least until we reached the first meadows, the trail became faint, and the talus slogging and boulder hopping began. We reached the pass just before 9:00am, where we took a break to have a snack and enjoy the views into Yosemite, including our first views of Whorl.

We headed to the sandy ramp below Whorl and sidehilled through the brush down and under each of the chutes -- a pretty tedious task. We began the ascent somewhere between chutes zero and one (chute one-half?) and slowly made our way up a mix of slabs, shrubs, and scree. The climbing was fairly sustained class 3 and required a great deal of care, but it was very enjoyable. Nearing the top of a rock rib, we glanced across chute one to our right and spotted the obvious crack leading into chute two. We entered the chute and continued upward past the finger rock, and shortly thereafter we reached the scary ledge traverse across chute three. From there, we instead climbed higher up the rock rib, through a skinny passageway, and across a sand sidewalk to the base of the chockstone.

At the chockstone, we quickly discovered that we would not be able to climb through with our packs on, so we carefully climbed through the rocks in tandem and passed our packs up. I was certainly glad to have a buddy for this climb. We followed the daylight and topped out of the chockstone, the difficult part of the climb now complete. We climbed to the top of the ridge, walked across the remarkable sidewalk, and summited at 12:22pm. The summit views were great all around, but perhaps the most striking view was of the south summit. From this angle, we were thankful that it wasn't the true summit.

On the descent, we stopped at the tarn near the sandy ramp to have lunch and fill up on water. On our way up to Horse Creek Pass, we passed a dayhiking couple on their way to Matterhorn Peak; they had walked right past it and it was now nearly 3:30pm, which seemed like a recipe for a disaster. Hopefully they didn't mind making the descent in the dark, which was plenty annoying enough for us in the light. We reached our cars at 6:21pm -- a much longer outing than we had anticipated, but we were happy with what we accomplished. After eating at the Whoa Nellie Deli, Dan stuck around in the east to catch the sunrise before driving home, and I made the long, long drive through Yosemite to Fresno, where I would spend the night at a motel before heading to Road's End the following afternoon.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4941 ft / 1506 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4941 ft / 1506 m
    Route:SE Face
    Start Trailhead:Horse Creek TH  7092 ft / 2161 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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