Ascent of Luahna Peak on 2022-07-10

Climber: Claire Jaja

Others in Party:Mickie Centrone
Ian Lauder -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Rodica Manole
Date:Sunday, July 10, 2022
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Luahna Peak
    Elevation:8400 ft / 2560 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mountaineers trip with 6 people total. Slept in the car at the TH Friday night, then got started at about 5:15am Saturday morning. Mosquitoes were starting to come out and there are some very overgrown brushy sections of trail, so be prepared for both. A few blowdowns requiring some annoying navigating around, between the turn off onto the Boulder Pass trail and the creek crossing at 4100 feet (6 miles in). The creek was definitely flowing fast and not quite up to my (short person) knees. I was wearing trail runners for the approach and that worked great, definitely anticipate getting your feet cold and wet. Patchy snow started not long after the crossing, we put on mountaineering boots around 5000 feet (though probably could've waited until a little higher, most of the trail switchbacks up from there were melted out). Last easily accessed running water was along the switchbacks up, probably at about 5700 feet.

Reached Boulder Pass (10 miles in) a little before 12:30pm (just over 7 hours from starting). Totally snow covered at the pass. Had to do a steep down climb from there, while avoiding some moats / rock voids, this may have been the sketchiest snow section of the trip. Then traversed over and up onto the ridge to the toe of the Walrus Glacier, reaching there around 1:30pm. We had considered camping here but decided to continue on and camp higher up on the glacier, so we roped up, put on crampons (though ended up not feeling strictly necessary for this section - snow was soft enough and there was already some boot path) and pressed onwards to a basin at 8000 feet where we set up camp. About 12 miles and 6k gain for the day, in 11.5 hours. Saw two climbers heading down around 6pm who said they had summited Luahna - we had seen some tents at and below Boulder Pass, so assume that's where they were camping.

Overnight the winds really picked up and there was some icy drizzle, and when we got up to get started Sunday, we were pretty thoroughly socked in within a cloud. Roped up, put on crampons, and left camp around 4:30am for our summit bid. We traversed across the glacier on the north side of Clark (some of us wanted to make a bid for it, but ultimately the group decision was there wasn't enough time and energy for it either day of the trip) - the first bit from camp was steep sidehilling with a bad runout (placed a couple pickets for protection for this section on the way back, since everyone was a bit tired), then under some spots with potential rockfall.

Unroped once off the glacier, then had to do a little route finding on the snow (made trickier by near white out conditions at this point) to get around some rocks and moats and get safely to the saddle at 7700 feet. From there, it was alternating snow and scree / choss patches. Took off crampons shortly after, and stuck to the rock along the west side of the ridge. All very loose stuff, with occasional parts that look like a path but nothing that can really be easily followed. Tried to stay out of each other's fall lines as a lot was getting kicked down, wouldn't want to be here with a larger or inexperienced group. Had to navigate occasional snow patches and a few annoying moats as well. Visibility was getting slightly better at this point, though we were still in and out of the clouds, and the wind was really going.

At some point we made our way up some crumbly loose rock to the south ridge. This section got very sketchy quickly. I don't think we were exactly on route, probably the correct gully onto the ridge was obscured / made impassable by snow. There was about 250 feet of highly exposed class 4 moves, some went au cheval on a particularly exposed section, then we were hugging the right (east) side of the ridge with narrow footholds and some tricky moves (parts really felt low 5th class to me, but the exposure was really contributing). At least the rock was a bit more solid here. Then the last little push to the summit was on a nice, relatively tame dirt ramp. Summited at 8:30am. According to the summit register, we were only the second group to summit this year, with the first being the two we had seen the previous day. Wind was really blowing so we took a couple photos and immediately headed back down.

Shortly after we were off the sketchy ridge section, we noticed a boot path lower down on the snow to the east and decided to connect with that and avoid some of the loose choss for the descent. Getting over to the snow on that side required a bit of sketchy down climbing on really crumbly rock - I was feeling really mentally tired at this point and struggled a little here. Followed the snow down and back up, for a little more choss before we were solidly back on snow. Roped back up for the glacier back to camp. Reached camp at noon.

Packed up camp and started heading down. There were a couple good glissade opportunities below the glacier. The steep snow back up to Boulder Pass required careful attention, soft enough to not be totally secure steps. We were back at the pass around 2:30pm. Snow was very slushy and slippery heading down from here, making the descent a bit tedious, especially as we got back to going on and off snow around the switchbacks. I put my trail runners back on around where I'd taken them off before (about 5k feet) much to the relief of my feet. Trail felt endless, creek crossing (reached at about 5pm) was higher and faster flowing than on the way in, mosquitoes were biting like crazy (ended up with 50+ bites, mostly through my shirt, despite moving consistently). So ready to be done, I practically ran out the last 4 miles of flat trail. Back to TH at 8:30pm. 15 miles, 1100 feet ascent, 6800 feet descent (all felt way harder than those stats though), just over 16 hours.

Track is for Sunday, from camp to summit then all the way back to TH.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:257 ft / 78 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:257 ft / 78 m
    Distance:16.3 mi / 26.3 km
    Start Trailhead:8143 ft / 2481 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Claire Jaja
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