Peak 9367

We get rebuffed (twice!) by a very cool but little known Peak 9367.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Sean made the call, and he, Dave, and I all escaped on a Wednesday.

A quick list and time frame was discussed, and Peak 9367 floated to the top. This was our view from the speeding car. 22°

View from the car

I suggested it might be useful to get a better look at our proposed route, so we drove to the Galena overlook. The preview wasn't terribly reassuring: the mountain appeared far more complex than we anticipated. Plus we could not see the shallow gully that showed on the map (the gully we were planning to climb). Did it even exist?

View from the Galena overlook

No matter. It was going to be a great day with great friends. So we drove down to the parking spot at the Frenchman's Creek parking area. After a quick clothing change, we cruised the two-mile approach without even donning our slowshoes.

Well, there is the summit. Where's that confounded gully? (Led Zeppelin reference for Sean)

View from the approach

When we started up the hillside, the snow went rotten in spots with knee- and crotch-deep postholes. On went the slowshoes, even thought the hillside was quite steep. But as we prepared to traverse from the forested hillside into the gully, we had to take off the slowshoes- now it was too steep.

But in the gully, the snow was firmer. It was still a little soft on top, though- Sean wore crampons, but Dave and I did without.

Bottom of the gully

From the position of the last picture, this is looking up.

Yep, it's a gully.

Anyone see the summit?

Are we in the right gully?

Looking up

We paused on this rock island to get a drink and add more sunscreen.

The gully here was really cool: winding around, even splitting and rejoining in places. Big cliffs hanging over us. Ice on the cliffs in spots. We enjoyed the scenery and each took different lines.

Upper gully
Then we could finally see the summit, with big cornices hanging over our route. We were in the right gully after all. From here, the ridge to the cornices appeared mellow. Things were looking good! Cornices

There was still a couple hundred feet of elevation remaining. We climbed a bit more and could see the saddle. Here's Sean near the top of the gully, right below the saddle.

Top of the gully

But at the saddle, the perspective changed and we got an eyeful. The final summit was only about 30 feet higher than us, but it was the wrong 30 feet. Note the knife-edge nature, the steep plunge off the right side. What you can't see is that the left side consists of three huge cornices. And yes, that is also a cornice on the right side.

After a brief discussion, it was decided that this last bit required a rope. For Seinfeld fans: No summit for you!

Summit

So we plunged back down the gully.

I saw the chance of serious wallowing going up by the minute because it was now quite warm, but my compadres wanted to try the southeast ridge.

Wallowers, start your engines!

Wallowing in snow

We wallowed our way in knee-deep and sometimes crotch-deep postholes, and finally wallowed all the way across the mountain and then wallowed up to the ridge. After a brief snack on dry ground, we were off for some rotten and goat-poop besmirched scrambling.

SE ridge

But our ridge was not going to let us summit, either. A narrow ridge led to a sheer face. Time to head home.

After more wallowing and some super-fun glissading (including a Super-G slalom course), we wallowed (now back on slowshoes) down onto the road and then (finally on solid snow) back to the car. Great adventure.

But unfortunately, we were left yearning for a summit. Once again.

 

 

Ridgetop

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