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Ascent of Tempest Mountain on 2016-08-09

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Mike Waltz
Josh Carlson
Date:Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tempest Mountain
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:12469 ft / 3800 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mike and I finally met up with Sjaak and Liede Van Schie (spelling??) and Josh at their camp 1 site and hiked up to camp 2 at around 11400 feet. The lowest saddle on the way was around elevation 11,200. Only Josh, Mike and I elected to set up camp at the higher camp on the plateau and finding a site was difficult as it was a busy weekend with the state HP convention in town. Mike and I had been backpacking for 2 days now but felt good and strong and anxious to see Covill and his team come down and other teams were already down saying they were dong fine and would be down soon. But soon it went from 2 PM to 5 PM and we became worried. I had said i would not climb Tempest to conserve my energy for the final climb of Granite the next morning but as 6 PM approached I hiked on up to see if I could see the party. At the pass I thought i saw some movement way over at the ice bridge but that was too far away for his team so I hiked up Tempest to get a close view.

Sure enough it was Covill's team and they were moving very slow and still hours away from returning. Not good for me and Mike as we knew that the likelihood of being guided at 4 AM the next morning by a worn out preceding party was dampening our odds of climbing and Mike and I do not have the skills to self guide a long class 4 that if you make poor route choices you are class 5 in a hurry. For us it was go with an experienced guide or not at all.

The hike up Tempest is very easy surprisingly. After all that knee pounding rock hopping in the plateau, the eastern cliff edge of Tempest is simply a class 1 easy to follow route up the edge with amazing views of Granite. For a subpeak along the cirque's rim it delivers a surprisingly nice dip in the saddle giving it nearly a thousand feet of prominence. Cool.

I met Mike and Josh on my way down and told them the good and bad news. good news was I saw Covill's team and they all appeared to be safe and moving. Bad news was they would not likely make it back till 8 PM or later. The last party member came in at dark after 8:30 PM.As it turned out, Dave had guided more than his team one party but, ended up taking on another group of inexperienced climbers that did not know how to rappel and climb and had inadequate equipment so he ended up being a nice guy and took on double guide duty. The result was a combined team of over 10 climbers of all ages and all ability levels and a route that started at 4 AM and ended at 8 PM (16 hours) where other smaller teams with similar skilled climbers that day had left as late as 8 AM and returned by 2 PM (6 hours).

Josh waited up at the saddle to greet the team coming in while Mike ran up Tempest as well and I was sent back to get water for the team one coming back thus, I climbed up to the saddle twice and it added a bunch of climbers gain for the day. I would wake up and climb it again in the morning as a consolation prize.

Back at camp around 10 PM once the Team 1 group had hydrated and eaten Dave discussed whether he could have another day to recover before trying it with our Team 2. By now Josh had said he was not going to try it so our team of 5 was down to just me and Mike that still wanted to get up 4 AM and the the peak too.The weather was to be good for one more day and that was our window. Dave was willing to try it but was not confident that he would have the energy to guide a second trip that quickly after the hard effort he had today. A route finding guide is an essential part of the following day and without him in fully recovered and confident, Mike and I agreed we would abandon the attempt. All of us were disappointed of course, but Mike and I knew that was best for all as the mountain will always be there and safety in this hobby is always the most important thing.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1909 ft / 581 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1709 ft / 520 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Grade/Class:1,2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Windy, Clear
45 to 60F 25mph winds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1329 ft / 405 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1269 ft / 387 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Loss on way in:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:scamper rocks up to high saddle then along cliff e
    Start Trailhead:Base Camp 2  11200 ft / 3413 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1649 ft / 502 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1069 ft / 326 m; Extra: 580 ft / 176m
    Gain on way out:580 ft / 176 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:same
    End Trailhead:same  11400 ft / 3474 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Granite

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Froze to Death Plateau2016-08-09 a5702 ft / 1738 m
2Tempest Mountain2016-08-09 b1909 ft / 582 m
3(Attempt) Granite Peak2016-08-10 a 
4Tempest Mountain2016-08-10 b1099 ft / 335 m
5Froze to Death Plateau2016-08-10 c1002 ft / 305 m
Total Trip Gain: 9712 ft / 2960 m    Total Trip Loss: 9712 ft / 2961 m



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