There's already been many reports on the area, and the Tower Mountain climb of late. So this will serve mostly as an update on conditions.
Surprisingly, the larches passed their peak quite quickly. The coming Monday holiday may be the last opportunity to view larches in decent weather near WA Pass.
Tuesday I hiked in and set up camp at Cutthroat Pass in the shelter of a cluster of subalpine firs and larches. There is good water only a couple hundred yards off the pass to the west. In the evening I walked up Point 7552' for great 360 degree views. Though few entries have been logged into the register, there were lots of boot tracks on top. It is worth the extra effort from the pass.
On Thursday I enjoyed a pleasant sunrise and waited for donb and his son Scott to arrive for a scramble of Tower Mountain 8444'. Such a beautiful morning for a Crest Trail scamper to the base of the climb.
Only thing I'll add to the abundance of reports is:
1. climb scree to the big (left to right) ledge that passes the big cave.
2. take the ledge to the unmistakable west gully.
3. climb enjoyable water polished downsloping granite in the gully to the base of the white wall (obvious and froms a big "V" of white rock)
4. at its base leave the white wall on well cairned ledges all the way right to a SW ridge.
5. One move onto a solid fin on the ridge and scramble to the top
Mostly class 3 with maybe a couple unexposed 4th class moves. Most the looseness is on the various ledges. The main gully is solid with occassional pebbles and ball bearings on holds and ledges.
On the descent, when back at the main gully work skiers left to avoid any tricky downclimbing. Skiers left of the gully is a long series of treads, ledges, and short downclimbs. It is easy to follow intuitively, even when a route appears hidden from a distance.
Back at Granite Pass on the PCT, I said goodbye to Don and Scott and walked up Point 6820'. Not a big destination, an insignificant bump with prominence only a lowly peakbagger could truly appreciate. But, as always, good views on top.
Then it was back to camp to watch the incoming storm.
Unfortunately, I woke to rain, fog, and wind so I gave up on a scramble of Porcupine Peak on the way out. Instead it was Huevos Ranceheros breakfast at the Duck in Winthrop.
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