Ascent of Lowell Peak on 2015-06-14
|Date:||Sunday, June 14, 2015|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||4728 ft / 1441 m|
Ascent Trip ReportSteve Gruhn, Ross Noffsinger, David Stchyrba and I were on the 7:30am tunnel from Portage to Whittier. Parked at the gravel pit northeast of the old oil tank farm, where the local shooting range is. Left the car at 8am under sunny skies. Easy hiking northup the Leonard Glacier valley on the west side of the creek. Fortunately an avalanche snow bridge allowed us to cross to the east side 15 minutes from the car. Then another 1/4 mile up the valley following the path of least resistance until cliffed out. Turn right up a scree slope topped by a 50-foot class 3/4 cliff band. Easy scrambling up this leads to a narrow left leaning gulley that takes one up to the southwest ridge of Lowell Peak at approx. 1000'? Easy scrambling and hiking leads to a nice bench at 3,000' From here it gets more interesting. We had lots of snow which made it easier than a later in the fall trip with lots of rock scrambling. We took snow most of the rest of the way to the summit following exactly the ridge along the path of least resistance. We roped up for a short glacier pitch at around 4,000' then scrambled to the summit. The summit ridge was a huge cornice for the last several hundred feet. The summit itself was a massive cornice, hard to tell where rock stopped and snow began. Super soft snow made for interesting down-climbing. We were on top by 2:30pm, and back at 4,000' by 3:30pm.
Steve decided to head straight down the ridge we climbed up. Ross, David and I headed for Learnard Peak 1.5 miles northeast of Lowell. We dropped down to 3400' on the Learnard Glacier bypassing the west face of Lowell. Easy glacier travel brought us to the 4,000' saddle due west of Learnard Peak by 5:00pm. Lots of crevasses and bergshrunds on the south and west face of Learnard. Ross found a ramp through the crevasses leading to an easy snow climb along the west right to the summit. We topped out by 5:30pm, and headed down at 5:45. Another 1:15 glacier traverse brought us to the ascent ridge at 3,000', effectively bypassing some of the trickiest ascent ridge. Very nice. We unroped and descended snow quickly to 1,200' elevation where we met steve taking a nap waiting for us. We continued down to the 50-foot cliff band above the river and set up a quick rappel. We were back at the van at 9:40pm. We caught the 10pm tunnel back to Anchorage. 18 hours house to house.
13:40 hours car to car time, ~6,000' elevation gain, ~10 miles.
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