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Ascent of Big Horn on 2018-09-01

Climber: Lou Hibbard

Date:Saturday, September 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Horn
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8000 ft / 2438 m

Ascent Trip Report

Dayhiked this. Got back to car a little after dark.

Have to admit this was one of the more dangerous mountains I've done, and I've done a lot. At least - that is - in the dry conditions that I found it. Many holds are loose - the more dangerous sections have loose scree over rock with widely space good holds. In other words you can't always necessarily trust your hands or your feet. I tested every hold prior to use.

Because of rockfall potential this mountain may be most safe done solo - especially if you are a competent rock climber. A rope would be worthless in the more dangerous lower section - there is no gear to be found. Any rock dislodged goes bounding the slope with no chance of stopping. The upper, steeper but better rock is much safer than the lower loose "rock".

As others have described from the 6900 foot pass traversing right I started up the 3rd gully (counting from the left) just left of the 4th gully with the stream. Then I cut right a little to the rib between the 3rd and 4th gully. Above that I crossed the stream and the next 100 feet going up and right was the psychological crux with widely spaced holds between slippery scree. All of this is the natural line of least resistance. Then it's better rock to a talus slope to the snowfield. I brought boots and two axes (in case it was icy) along with steel crampons. Didn't need them as just climbed rock left of the snowfield. The rock here was much better and actually fun to climb. One odd thing - a summit "marker" on a pole well below the summit (maybe 100 feet below).
I actually self belayed the top 10 foot crack with a 30 ft section of very skinny rope(onsight lead). I placed a red alien (1") piece high from the ground. Used clove hitch and fed myself enough slack ahead of time to get me through the crux. I would have decked - the rope was just to keep me from going all the way down if I fell.
Still no summit register.
I downclimbed the crack and all of the good upper rock section. Did one rappel with a static 6 mm rope (cut resistant sheath) down to the crux scree slope. Found no more anchors so downclimbed the crap rock. A relief to get down.
Cispus Basin very scenic. Lots of PCT trail through hikers.
Wouldn't repeat this one but it was an adventure.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4858 ft / 1479 m
    Extra Gain:754 ft / 229 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16.2 mi / 26 km
    Route:South face 5.4
    Trailhead:Snowgrass Flat TH   4650 ft / 1417 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope
    Weather:Perfect blue sky- low wind



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