January 29th, 2011 - Nice walls & aretes on Ruby Pk (planning photo - route lines best guesses, but are not quite accurate)
(Video) Sometimes resting just isn't worth the effort. Nic rest recovery #1
Nic on the Mono Pass Trail with Ruby Wall behind
(Video) Sometimes resting just isn't worth the effort. Nic rest recovery #2
Time to decide . . . I think Ruby Lake, and beyond!
Warmup cracks above Ruby Lake. These are typical of what we'd find on Ruby Wall, but more 'splitter' and continuous here.
Nearing the first Ruby Wall
First Ruby Wall
Nic on slopes below the main Ruby Wall. We passed the moraine on gentle snow slopes on the right.
Sweaty Mark Above Ruby Lake. The lake started out frozen in the morning, but as the sun came out the larger ice shards freed up and drifted towards the outlet, where they re-froze. By the time we left, all of the lake ice had melted away. (by Nic Risser)
Looking back on Ruby Lake. The lake started out frozen in the morning, but as the sun came out the larger ice shards freed up and drifted towards the outlet, where they re-froze. By the time we left, all of the lake ice had melted away. (by Nic Risser)
Are we there yet? (by Nic Risser)
Ruby Wall Middle & Right
Ruby Wall Left, Middle & Right.
Ruby Wall Right and 'The Thumb'.
'The Thumb' on Ruby Wall Right.
Ruby Wall Right, detail.
Ruby Wall Middle & Right High Res Panorama.
Ruby Wall Middle & Right Portion
Ruby Wall Middle High Res Panorama
Approaching Ruby Wall Left
Looking Back at Ruby Wall Right
Ruby Wall Middle, detail
Ruby Wall Middle & Right high-res panorama.
Ruby Wall Left & Middle, high-res panorama
Ruby Wall Middle & Right, high-res panorama.
Nearing Camp at 12,200 ft. (by Nic Risser)
Ruby Wall Left, high-res panorama.
Nic looking back at the aretes on Ruby Wall as we near camp at 12,200'.
Ruby Wall Left, high-res panorama
Approaching the base of the East Aretes
Reaching the ledges for starting the East Aretes Routes. We had to climb up these a little ways to reach a spot where we could change from boots to climbing shoes.
Starting up P1, which leads to both of the East Aretes. There are a few ways to go here!
Wide crux on P1. Halfway up you can escape the corner a bit and stem. This was annoying with a pack on.
Nic finishing the wide crux on P1, on the stemming part.
Interesting rapp anchor. Seems OK purely for a downward pull, but not 100% confidence inspiring.
Our revised natural anchor. This one is a bit shattered, but it seems to be in very solid (cemented fracture lines, dirt & vegetation, good thump & kick test). We hooked this to back up the other anchor since the webbing was higher above us and less likely to slip off.
Looking up the P2 chimney, the way we should have gone . . .
Looking at the way we went for P2. It looks nicer, but it gets nasty & off-route.
P2 flaring cracks & hummock crux. This has been one of the few times that I had to mantle a hummock. Above this is a 15-20 ft friction traverse, with very flaky granite.
P2 crux. Seeing as this was taking us off route, and was more dangerous than I felt comfortable leading, I stopped short and belayed Nic up to get through this part and find a way back right.
Nick leading above the crux on P3. Climbing through this next 30 ft required some strange balance & friction moves.
Looking over to the East Arete.
This is where we went wrong. We had a key photo showing that the next pitch for the Left East Arete went up and left from here, but we were focused enough on the nice big ledge above that we overlooked it. Nic stopped short (where he should have belayed for the next pitch of the Left East Arete), and suggested I run up to the better ledge. I tried this corner, which was a lot worse than it looked! More hummocks, dirt, grit, & flaring cracks with iffy jams & pro. On rappel I saw that it is better to take the right side of this wall even though it looks steeped & thinner.
Left East Arete seen behind Nic. Oops. Oh well, we still were undecided on whether to climb it or the East Arete anyways, and we couldn't definitively tell where either one started, either. It looked like we were at the first reasonable spot to get onto the crest of the East Arete, so we changed plans and headed that way.
Left East Arete. Once we were in the shade the temperature immediately plummeted to the low 40s or high 30s. It was harder to keep climbing! As this wall faces east, that meant that on the next two days we'd want to get as high as possible by about 1-2pm before the cold slowed us down.
Alcove between the East Aretes
A way onto the East Arete. You can traverse up and left on a low 5th class slab, then back right on ledges to traverse around the crest midway up the wall. Or, on the ledge, you can then climb directly up the vertical cracks at about 5.8-5.9. It is loose than it looks though!
Nic stemming his way onto the East Arete.
Nic Stemming his way onto the East Arete. Funky rope is from the big traverse he did from the left.
East Ridge impasse. It is hard to see here, but the flake in front of us is about 12' high, and the narrow face is vertical to overhanging, and leaning hard to the side (overhanging to the left). The crack might not take good pro, climbing would be very tough, ending with a wild a-cheval. Climbing the face on the right would be 5.10ish on flaky, gritty rock, traversing about 20 ft or more with no pro, so basically R for leader & follower. A bit too much for today . . .
Gold Wall from the East Ridge impasse.
Main Wall from the East Ridge impasse
Looking Down from the East Ridge impasse.
Nic rappelling from the East Arete. You can see the fin that stopped him to his left on the skyline. I recommend climbing this right corner (beneath the ropes) to access the arete, rather than the left corner.
Nic rappelling from the East Arete. You can see the fin that stopped him to his left on the skyline.
East Aretes tough start. Maybe a bit cleaner and more splitter. That left corner contains some interesting wide climbing.
Center Route start.
Looking up the Left Ruby Wall.
Daphne start. This chimney is huuuuge!
Ruby Wall Left, high-res panorama, with Nic Returning