Ascent of Stepladder Mountains on 2013-02-09

Climber: BMS 914

Others in Party:Collin Kamholz
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, February 9, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Stepladder Mountains
    Elevation:2940 ft / 896 m

Ascent Trip Report

Fun peak with a great view. The southern dirt road came recommended. It was longer and very sandy in places, Collin's Subaru Forester was squirming all over on me during this phase, and it was just bumpy enough at the beginning to keep speeds slow, though it did get better. The secondary road is pretty rutted and Collin drove it, bumping us around and complaining most of the way to the "wilderness boundary" stakes. Some wash then open desert, then up the flank of the peak. A little scrambling here and there on excellent rock until the very end, then it gets a bit loose and unreliable. The final summit block is maybe 12-15 feet high and Class 3, just check the holds. Register is near the base of this rock and a great place to sit and soak up the scenery. Beers made the road back down the wash much more tolerable, and come highly recommended!

While up there, I tried the North (false) summit, and it lived up to Bob Burd's grim description. I gave up and went back after getting to within 15-20 vertical feet from the top after climbing a hideously exposed aréte on crappy rock. The holds are abundant - smooth stones surrounded by what was once probably mud - but often loose and unreliable. One more move and I was up, but it was going to be semi-dynamic and on to an untested handhold. Collin was waiting impatiently at the saddle between the two peaks, watching and probably planning the speech for my wake, so when a final hand hold came out on me I took it as a sign to bail. With more time and patience, a way up could be worked out I suspect. I didn't include the stats for the North summit in the data.

On the way back, Collin tried to find the vehicle without the aid of GPS. He ended up making a very good attempt, coming in 0.3 miles to the Northwest of the trailhead, thinking the car was to our left (NW) when it was to our right (SE). His route finding skills are outstanding, and this illustrates just how difficult it is to find one's car in the middle of this desert, so a GPS waypoint is highly recommended!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1400 ft / 426 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1400 ft / 426 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.4 mi / 15.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
Some clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1285 ft / 391 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1170 ft / 357 m; Extra: 115 ft / 35m
    Loss on way in:115 ft / 35 m
    Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route:Northeast Face
    Start Trailhead:Wilderness Boundary in desert  1770 ft / 539 m
    Time:1 Hours 46 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1285 ft / 391 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1170 ft / 357 m; Extra: 115 ft / 35m
    Gain on way out:115 ft / 35 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Northeast Face
    End Trailhead:Wilderness Boundary in desert  1770 ft / 539 m
    Time:1 Hours 43 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by BMS 914
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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