I joined forces with Fletcher and Dustin to do Bridge Mountain, a peak I have wanted to do for years, but did not want to solo. As it turned out, the weather changed and we were forced to do it a day earlier than planned. But at the last minute, Craig Barlow contacted me and he was planning to do the same peak at the same time with his friends Mark and Dan. So we would be a nice big group of 6.
La Madre group
view toward Rainbow and Wilson
checking the Bridge standard route
We drove in from the south so as to avoid the permit and locked gate nonsense. The hike up to the pass was uneventful and brisk chilly. We started with the unofficially named Divide Peak and from there we could see the intimidating standard scramble route on the west ridge of Bridge.
chimney and rib visible at left, on edge of shadow
coming down to the saddle
below chimney and rib
We descended trail to the sandstone and then down some class 3 to the narrow ridge. On the far side of the long saddle we scrambled up the right hand rib just south of the obvious chimney. This is considered the crux because it is steep and exposed and a tumble on the rib would likely result in death.
starting the rib
Above the crux area we came to the namesake arch. The easiest way to proceed is to cross the arch. Some more scrambling followed and then we were at the "hidden forest" in a depression. Many parties do this peak in 2 days and camp here.
Above the hidden forest we scrambled some ledges and down-sloping slabs with exposure. I thought this area was more committing than the other crux, but then on the way down we came a slightly different way which was easier. All but Mark opted to descend the chimney back at the first crux.
On the summit Craig and Mark got one step closer to finishing the DPS list. They both have 3 left now. Nice going guys! I must say, this was the most enjoyable route I have done in a very long time. If you like scrambling and you like sandstone, then give Bridge a try.
down the chimney
up the far side
After Bridge we parted ways with Craig's group and went off to tag a couple more peaks before descending. This was Dustin's idea and I told him before the trip that I didn't think we would have time, but it turned out he was totally right. We did the Rainbow Mountains highpoint and then Ladybug Peak for a nice 4 peak day, before descending a brushy ridge back to my car.
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