Ingall's Peaks: Traverse of North and East Peaks (July, 1994)

Note: This report is still in progress. It was a long time ago and I'm still working out the details of which routes we actually climbed, but haven't had a chance to check the guides/maps, so don't take this as gospel.

I first visited Ingall's Peak in May of 1994, to climb the South face/ridge of the North Peak, but was turned back by bad weather at Ingall's pass. At this point there was a lot of snow between the pass and the climb. Returned in June to splendid (hot) weather and almost no snow. Car to Ingall's lake took us about 3 hours, where we crashed on some boulders above the lake, under the beautiful clear sky. We got a not-too-early-start and headed up to the climb. It turned out that we were lucky to have come up the night before, because as we were starting the climb, we saw two parties coming accross the basin from Ingall's pass towards the climb. By the time we were near the top, we counted over 8 parties climbing or approaching the climb. The South face itself is technically very easy, three pitches of sub 5.5 climbing on weird rock (I think it's called Serpentine, which is old oceanic crust). We summitted, and hung out in the sun for some time.

At this point we decided to traverse over to the East peak. This traverse was technically a little ugly on pretty bad rock, so we rapelled down a ways to a large bench on the south side of the peaks. We traversed along the large bench to a gully splitting the North and East peaks. We scrambled up this gully, which is 4th class intitially and the final piece to the large chockstone is 5th class. We anchored in the cave underneath the huge chockstone and climbed around three pitches along the SW ridge to the summit. The last pitch is an airy traverse along a crumbly ridge. Looking at the summit register, we saw that the last party that had been up there (and registered) had been over 9 months before. The slings at the top seemed to agree with this time estimate.

Rapelling down from the summit turned out to be a real chore, because there was nothing good to anchor to, except a mound of slings wrapped around a crumbling, shifting pile of rocks. Two of our party downclimbed with belay from above and crossed the crumbly ridge, where we set up an anchor and belayed the third as he downclimbed the final step. From then on, it was a pretty straightforward rappel down to just above the chockstone. Our rope got caught up on the final rappel into the gully, which necessitated climbing most of the way back up to work the rope loose. This made for a frustrating end to an otherwise excellent (if hot, with not enough water) day. The traverse is a great experience and a real eye opener to Cascade climbing (less than perfect rock, brilliant views, poor rappel anchors).


One rope is all that is needed for the standard Ingall's (South Face, North Peak) climb, but two are probably necessary for the traverse. Small rack (medium-small nuts) and alot of slings is probably all that is needed.


8 hours from Ingall's lake and return, at a pretty leisurly pace. However, we were a party of three, so this time could probably be cut in half.