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Ascent of China Cap on 2007-08-21

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:China Cap
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:8656 ft / 2638 m

Ascent Trip Report

The first half of this trail can be very dusty when dry. Some places the powder was over an inch thick. As you approach the southwest face, you meet the China Ridge Trail that runs from the northwest ridge, along the southwest base, then south toward Burger Pass. I turned right (south) and then left the trail at the first saddle to pick up China Cap's south ridge. It was a scramble some of the way with a little bushwacking. Navigating around the clusters of whitebark pines was more difficult than the footing.

From the summit, nice views were had of the higher Wallowas to the east and the La Grande basin to the west. The whole north face is a sheer drop. On this August day, there must have been thousands of ladybugs on the summit rocks. I'd heard of bears being attracted to this phenomenon, but had never seen it before.

To return, I descended along the west ridge. My guess is that this would have been a little easier to scramble up than the south ridge. At the saddle, I turned left (southeast) on the China Ridge Trail back to the Elk Creek Trail. A nice scramble workout on an interesting shaped mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3176 ft / 968 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3176 ft / 968 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.9 mi / 14.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3176 ft / 968 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:Elk Creek Trail 1944A & 1944
    Start Trailhead:Buck Creek Trailhead  5480 ft / 1670 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3176 ft / 968 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:China Ridge Trail 1906 - Elk Creek Trail 1944 & 19
    End Trailhead:Buck Creek Trailhead  5480 ft / 1670 m



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