Ascent of Mount Humphreys on 2012-09-23

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Others in Party:Kathy Rich
Keith Christensen
Date:Sunday, September 23, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Humphreys
    Elevation:13986 ft / 4262 m

Ascent Trip Report

One of the most enjoyable climbs I've done in the Sierras. The drive approach was via 10+ miles of dirt road leading to upper McGee Creek. The last 0.5 mile was helpful to have 4WD, but otherwise a high-clearance vehicle was fine. We hiked in 3 miles to the last reasonable place to camp, a sandy area at 11,250 ft about 1/2 mile SE of the pocket glacier below Mt. Humphreys.

Started hiking a 7 am the next morning passing just to the right of the pocket glacier. Then up class 2 scree and talus to the hidden notch on the East Arete route, which is left of the obvious notch at the top of the chute.

The East Arete route starts with a couple hundred feet of solid class 3 climbing. The first obstacle is a wall, which can be overcome by going around an exposed corner to the left and up a 50 foot long vertical crack that leads to a belay station. This part was rated 5.2. Immediately after this, we dropped a few feet into an alcove and climbed up an easy class 4 vertical crack 15 feet to the ridge top. More class 3 climbing leads to a gendarme and an awkward class 4 move to the left on a slanted ledge around a corner. This gave us the most difficulty because the rock bulges out giving the sensation that one could fall off this barest of ledges.

Above this was a nice class 3 knife edge ridge run on the arete, eventually leading to a sandy slope with a use trail zig-zagging its was up. Rocky class 2 side-hilling leads to the notch called Married Men's Point. This is the crux of the climb at class 5.4, but overall felt easier than the 5.2 pitch far below. The first 20 feet up was the tough part. Then traverse left across class 3-4 rock to easier footing that leads up to the summit. We arrived at the summit at 2 pm, left at 2:15 pm, and were back down at camp by 5 pm. We rapped down the two class 5 pitches but otherwise downclimbed everything else.

If you enjoy a little low class 5 climbing, this is the fastest and best way to climb Mt. Humphreys.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5036 ft / 1534 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Route:East Arete
    Trailhead:Upper McGee Creek  9050 ft / 2758 m
    Grade/Class:Class 5.4
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Tent Camp

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