Ascent of Howell Peak South Summit on 2020-06-08

Climber: Otto De Groff

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, June 8, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Howell Peak South Summit
    Elevation:8320 ft / 2535 m

Ascent Trip Report

This ascent was part of my hike to determine whether bristlecone pines were present in the Middle Range of the House Range. I ascended the south canyon from where I parked at 6600 feet. The upper canyon was difficult to navigate, as deadfall lay in the bottom. I stopped by the lookout point southwest of the summit before summitting first Howell, and then the South Summit.

Until this point I hadn't seen any bristlecone to the southwest of the peak, so I walked out to the overlook northwest of the summit. There, directly below me among cliffs, I saw a few bristlecones mixed in with doug fir. I was determined to reach the stand of trees, which I did by dropping to the east of the point, and then skirting around below the cliffs in a dense forest of doug fir on the north side of the point. This involved scrambling on steep terrain and around fallen trees, with cliffs above and below me. After this section, I came out of the forest and walked to the small point 8040+. From there I was able to verify that there were bristlecones growing on the northwest side of what I'll call Howell Point, on two ledges in between cliff walls. I was able to reach the upper bristlecones by walking on a steep slope, with massive cliffs above me, and a lower set of cliffs just below me. This wasn't too difficult, but a slip could have put me at the bottom of the cliffs. I counted around 10 to 15 bristlecones on the ledge.

I returned via the same route to Howell Peak. From there I walked on the ridgeline back to my truck. This hike took a full day, mostly because of my time spent looking at bristlecones and navigating around steep cliffs.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1720 ft / 524 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1720 ft / 524 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1 and 2
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Unusually cold, windy day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1720 ft / 524 m
    Route:South Canyon
    Start Trailhead:South Canyon  6600 ft / 2011 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1720 ft / 524 m
    End Trailhead:South Canyon  6600 ft / 2011 m

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