Ascent of Manly Peak on 2014-01-06

Climber: Dan Baxter

Others in Party:Dennis Poulin
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, January 6, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Manly Peak
    Elevation:7195 ft / 2193 m

Ascent Trip Report

Dennis Poulin and I drove up Butte valley Rd from the east, and parked literally in the Russell Camp Cabin's driveway and garage, as it was flat and a good place to sleep after the tiring jeep road. The cabin, BTW, is in poorer shape than described in the DPS guidebook. I certainly would never sleep in there. Hanta virus warnings posted as well.

Dennis had attempted Manly Peak before, but wisely chose not to attempt the 20 feet of high class 4 on the summit rock on that solo attempt. He lead, using his previous route, and we carried a lightweight rope, harnesses, climbing shoes and some miscellaneous slingware and hardware.

We started at 4390' at the cabin and headed up the gully southwestward to the saddle. Going up we used the mule trails in the gully bed itself. On the return we found a good trail down from the saddle which was likely made by the miner. This trail basically goes fairly parallel to the dry creek bed on its NW side, but doesnt drop down as quickly as the creek bed itself. It ultimately goes past and to the west of the cabin. We left this trail when it hit the next gully just west of the cabin, and easily returned to the cabin. I think this trail would be hard to find going up, but was nice for the return.

From the saddle we went NW up the ridgeline, following footsteps of a New Years eve climber, and mule paths whenever feasible. Manly Peak itself becomes visible off to the left (west), and just shy of Point 2165M we traversed west to the peak's summit block.

The block itself is higher and vertical and overhanging on the east and south sides. The route that is easiest is from the west side. The "crack" used by some is on the right as you face the summit, but it was wider than the 3 small cams I had. It is about a foot wide in fact at the bottom, and the right side overhangs nastily, and it no longer has rocks wedged into it, nor the "high sling anchor" above. If you fell here you could also bounce thru a hole and end up falling much more that the 20 foot summit block itself. There is a long mangled pipe there which was undoubtedly used by others in the past.

We also looked at the left face where a secondary slab is easily ascended, but this route would require a "leap of faith" onto the summit slab, where there are no great knobs or ledges, and a fall once again would be more than the 20 feet of the summit slab, down into a crevice.

We thus opted for the middle, where one steps from the smaller secondary rock onto the summit block, sloped about 45 degrees. The first few steps are quite airy, and stymied us enough to not want to do it unprotected. Our solution was to tie the end of the rope onto a rock, which I heaved over the "saddle", with Dennis on the other side to grab the rock. Well, I got it over on the first attempt, but just barely over, and swinging waves of rope upward only gained a few feet of rope descent on the other side.Dennis could see this from the other side. Pulling the rope back, however, wedged the rock and rope into a crack. It was solid and we would have had to leave the rope if we did not climb up to dislodge it. So I tested it with my body weight and then with Dennis securing the lower end of the rope I ascended the slab using a Prussic cord. Once at the "saddle" I placed a new sling well secured around and under a large wedge rock with a rappel ring, and I left it for future climbers. There was a ragged old sling decaying where I placed a new anchor.
From there its an easy 8-10 ft climb up to touch the true summit and benchmark. I would not stand there, however, as to the right is a n overhanging drop of probably 40 feet.

Our ascent took just under 3 hours up to the summit block, which then took us another hour and a half to figure it all out and finally ascend! Well, at least we made it! The DPS register sits below the summit block, and I know that many DPS'ers count that for an ascent. Not good enough for a true peakbagger. For me it was my 138th ascent of the Calif P2K list of 164 peaks.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2805 ft / 854 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.4 mi / 16.7 km
    Route:DPS route A
    Trailhead:Russell Camp Cabin  4390 ft / 1338 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1&2, brief Cla
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Rock Climb, Aid Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 

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