Ascent to Red Peak-ridge line ESE of summit on 2014-08-12

Climber: Dan Baxter

Others in Party:Samantha Baxter
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Red Peak - ridge line ESE of summit
    Elevation:11440 ft / 3486 m
    Remaining Elevation:259 ft / 79 m (13% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Trip report for both 8/12 and 8/13/14.Both days were hampered by weather - i.e. thunderstorms, rain & lightening. Both attempts were with my daughter visiting from New York, during a one week backpack around the Clark Range.

The first attempt was from just south of Red Peak Pass using Beta available on this site or SummitPost. We hiked on the trail from our camp at Lower Ottoway Lake to the beginning of the switchbacks just south of the pass, then headed up mildly loose scree (medium sized sharp rocks) NW up around (just south) of the couple of crags to a lightly treed minor ridge, then up a shallow chute northward in similar mildly loose rock scree up to the ridge SE of the summit.

As in virtually every day that week, by mid morning the cloud cover was complete, the sky darkening, the summit itself intermittently lost in the clouds, and the distant lightening began. We headed down and had no rain until we reached camp, where it was raining pretty much most of the afternoon and evening.

The next day we reattempted, this time using a route which I have not found previously described. We headed up the creek which pretty much flows due south into the north end of the lake, heady first N then NE into the broad valley WSW of the peak. Here we crossed a moraine, then headed east to the peak's SW ridge. Once on the ridge the gendarmes above us looked difficult, so we altered our plan and headed pretty much due north. Thankfully this did not require any significant loss of elevation. Once back in the broad valley we headed NE up toward a visible shallow chute. Once again, however, weather became a significant factor, which combined with some lazyness on my part led us to abort the climb. I think the major problem is that all week the storms were earlier in the day. I suspect this was some monsoonal aftermath of a tropical storm off Baja as it was not the more typical afternoon brief thunderstorms so common in the Sierra Nevada.

I cannot comment as to the ease and quality of this route as one approaches the summit itself, as we never reached that height, but I suspect this is a very viable option, particularly for those who are camped at Lower Ottoway Lake. There are some brief sections of sandy/gravelly scree in the SW basin - a little irritating on the ascent, but fun on the heel plunging descent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1787 ft / 544 m
    Route:SE Ridge from just below Red Peak Pass
    Trailhead:Lower Ottoway Lake  9653 ft / 2942 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Overcast

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