Ascent of Gannett Peak on 2003-08-21

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:JHMG guide Evan Howe
Julia and Josh
Date:Thursday, August 21, 2003
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gannett Peak
    Elevation:13804 ft / 4207 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had contracted JHMG for a 6 day group climb to Gannett Peak, from the SW approach at the Elkhart Park TH to the Titcombs Lakes and over Continental Divide at Dinwoody Pass, Bridger Wilderness in the Wind River District. The group of 3 climbers, Julia, Josh and me was led by guide Evan Howe.

We met/left the Elkhart Park TH (elev 9400') 3 days ago on the 18th of August, after dropping off our personal/camp gear at the Outfitters pack horse corral. They would carry the gear to our first camp at Island lake and bring it back on the last day of our trip.
We arrived here at our Dinwoody Pass camp elev 12800', located on the Continental Divide, yesterday after 3 days of back packing. The walk/climb in from the TH has some outstanding scenery. The Pass, a field of rocks and boulders, has 5 tent sites with rock wall windbreaks, awesome panorama and a spectacular view of today's challenge, Gannett Peak.

This morning Evan had us up at 3h30 hrs for a 5 oclock departure. We carried day packs with the necessary climbing/weather gear and our water/food. With headlamps, he led us down the rocky/snowfield slope to the Dinwoody glacier, a loss of 1200' in elevation. Traversed the Dinwoody glacier, over the Gooseneck Pinnacle ridge and onto the mid part of the Gooseneck glacier. We climbed up the snow covered glacier to the bergschrund, crossed it and ice climbed the upper part of the Gooseneck glacier to the rocky Gooseneck ridge on the right side of the glacier. From here it is a rock scramble to the summit, negotiating some class 3 moves on the way.

At the bergschrund we put on our climbing gear, harness and crampons, this would be the most technical section of our climb. Evan identified a snowbridge to the right side of the crevasse as being safe to cross, I belayed him as he safely walked across to a solid ice ledge. He then climbed a 10 foot vertical wall of ice, followed by a 40 degree ice slope to a rock ledge, 50-75 feet above the bergschrund, on the right side of the glacier where he set up an anchor/belay.
It was our turn, Evan called out for me to go first, belaying me thruout. This was only my second time ice climbing a vertical wall, so I had to really work to get up the 10 foot wall, but I safely made it, the sloped section was much easier. After we were up and anchored on the rock ledge, Evan repeated the procedure 2 more times.We were above the glacier with 3 belays and onto the rocky Gooseneck ridge.

We summitted Gannett Peak, elev 13804',at 12h30 hrs, for my 42nd highpoint after a 7 1/2 hour climb. Josh proposes to Julia as the sat on the summit ! ! she accepts.

Our day was far from over, after a 30 minute break we started the descent, retracing our route. We down-climbed the upper Gooseneck glacier with 3 belay stations, once across the bergschrund we continued down the glacier and onto the lower part of the Gooseneck ridge. Had a lunch break, the time was 16h00 hrs.
We descended the ridge, unfortunately exiting much lower than this morning's entry. We were in a hollow besides the Dinwoody glacier so we had to climb the jumble of ice/rock in order to get back on top of the partly snow-covered glacier. Here we picked up this morning track and followed it back up to Dinwoody camp site. There were a number of crevasses in the glacier that we had to negotiate, places had rivers of water from the melting surface.

The 1200 foot climb back up to the Pass seemed to go on forever, we took numerous granny breaks, all very tired. Finally got back to camp at 19h30 hrs after a physically demanding 14 1/2 hour day, we kept moving most of the day. Josh was dead tired and went straight to his bag, didn't come out the rest of the night, Julia had to bring him his dinner. The weather turned for the worse as we prepared dinner, windy and cold.
I helped Evan with dinner and left the dishes for tomorrow , a strenuous day. We had an excellent safe climb thanks to Evan and the good weather.

During the night we had extremely strong winds and rain, the Pass was completely fogged-in. I got up to pee 3 times (I had forgotten my pee bottle), the first time I went out without my headlamp and had a hard time finding/getting back to the tent - a complete white-out. Evan got up to check on the tent ties.

Tommorow we hiked down to the site of camp one in 6 hours, wind/rain off and on all day, it was a slow lousy day. The following day, Aug 23, we would continue with the rest of the 6 1/2 hour descent to the Elkhart Park TH, followed by drinks and dinner at a Pinedale restaurant.

The Wind River District with its white rock appearance, glaciers and snowfields and its huge expansive awesome scenery is hard to beat. A beautifull place. I was very satisfied with Evan and JHMG's services.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3404 ft / 1036 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3404 ft / 1036 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2204 ft / 671 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1004 ft / 306 m; Extra: 1200 ft / 365m
    Loss on way in:1200 ft / 365 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:dinwoody and gooseneck glacier/ridge scramble, #42
    Start Trailhead:camp at dinwoody pass,continental divide  12800 ft / 3901 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2204 ft / 671 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1004 ft / 306 m; Extra: 1200 ft / 365m
    Gain on way out:1200 ft / 365 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:dinwoody glacier/gooseneck glacier/ridge scramble
    End Trailhead:camp at dinwoody pass,continental divide  12800 ft / 3901 m

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