Ascent of Bells Cleaver on 1999-06-17

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Keith Stevens
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, June 17, 1999
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bells Cleaver
    Elevation:10488 ft / 3196 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day 3: On the third day of our Upper Bells trip, we headed up to the summit of South Thunder with full packs. The ridge to North Thunder would make an awesome traverse, just not with full packs. From the 3 way intersection on the ridge connecting North Thunder, South Thunder, and Bells Cleaver, we headed down towards Bells Cleaver. This 3 way intersection is where Dan and I made it to in October, 1998 and turned towards North Thunder instead of taking the 15 minutes to top out on South Thunder. We ditched our packs at the col leading into Thunder Bowl below Bells Cleaver and made our way across Thunder Bowl to North Thunder Mountain. As I approached the summit, I saw a Golden Eagle on the summit block. When I reached for my camera to take a picture, it pooped and flew away. Oh well.

Following the ascent of North Thunder, we headed back across Thunder Bowl to the Col where our packs were. After lunch at the col, we made our way up Bells Cleaver for some great photos of the peaks we had already climbed. Bells Cleaver was easy.

From the col, we descended to Upper Bells Reservoir with our packs. For future hikers, do NOT take the drainage straight down. You will cliff out and have to hike back up. Traverse out of the drainage about halfway down to the lake and head northwest to get on less steep slopes that put you right on the dam at the reservoir outlet. The terrain here is not very flat, so we did a no-no and pitched the tent on a flat dirt spot on the dam. We made sure to go well away from camp to answer nature's call. After some bouldering near camp, we made dinner and called it a day.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:288 ft / 87 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:288 ft / 87 m
    Route:Via Thunder Bowl
    Start Trailhead:10200 ft / 3108 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Bells '99 (3 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Big Horn1999-06-16 a5577 ft / 1700 m
2Lone Peak1999-06-16 b813 ft / 248 m
3South Thunder Mountain1999-06-17 a1234 ft / 376 m
4North Thunder Mountain1999-06-17 b1050 ft / 320 m
5Bells Cleaver1999-06-17 c288 ft / 88 m
6Rocky Mouth Canyon Peak1999-06-181052 ft / 321 m
Total Trip Gain: 10014 ft / 3053 m    Total Trip Loss: 180 ft / 54 m

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