Ascent of Mount Agassiz on 1947-08-06

Climber: Frederick Johnson

Others in Party:Oliver Kehrlein
Bob Thompson
Ian Mackinlay
Cricket (Ann) Strong
Dick Kauffman
Clarence Brewster
Doug&Viv Douglas
Adolph Pabst
Norman&Mary Roth
John Irwin
Fritz Gerstacker
Alan Brooks
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, August 6, 1947
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Agassiz
    Elevation:13893 ft / 4234 m

Ascent Trip Report

15 eager souls left the Sierra Club Base Camp on Fifth Lake headed for Sam Mack Lake and, thanks to Bob Thompson'e shortcut were standing on the high cliff above this gem within an hour and a half.
Directly across the lake, to the west, rises the first buttress of Mt. Agassiz. After 700 feet of climbing over the big glaciated rocks, this buttress opens out into a large, semi-circular bowl, where we paused to assess the route. Bob Thompson suggested a new route to the right, up the north face of the mountain. After following this course for several hundred yards, Oliver, now in the lead and scouting ahead, found that our way was blocked by a succession of cliffs. Somewhat discouraged, we picked our way back on a fairly high traverse to the south. This finally brought us to the base of the Winchell Glacier, in a deeply cut pocket lying between Mt. Winchell and Mt. Agassiz.

Our apparent route, on the SE face and S ridge, now lay in one of two slide chutes, both heavily choked with sand, scree, and loose rock. Because of a leg injury last week, Bob turned back, while Oliver continued to urge us up the unforgiving loose terrain until at last he let out a whoop to signal his arrival at the top of the ridge. The rest of the party quickly joined him and gazed longingly up the large, solid rocks toward the summit. Fifteen minutes later we were all seated at the top, drinking Cool-aid, munching snow "ice cream," and feasting our eyes on the Palisades to the south. It was something of a feat for all of us to make it safely up Agassiz, considering our numbers and varied experience. We were all tired, both from yesterday's climb of Cloudripper and today's arduous shale/rock scramble (accomplished without rope). Consequently, we decided to climb down via the Agassiz Col rather than take the longer traverse to Bishop Pass and climb back over Jigsaw Pass, which we had contemplated earlier. The return journey was uneventful but tedious. We were happy to find hot food still awaiting us in camp despite being an hour late.
(Thanks to Ian for the TR)
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3106 ft / 946 m
    Route:SE Face, S Ridge
    Trailhead:Fifth Lake  10787 ft / 3287 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble

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