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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> East Ridge Esmeralda, West Esmeralda - 9/11/10
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:07 am   
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Probably one of my favorite daytrips this year. Esmeralda starts off quickly and provides full on Class 3 scrambling from almost the start of the day until you reach the top of the peak. Only one short step of Class 4 required.

To get started: Park at the Ingalls Lake trailhead and immediately drop down to the creek and find an easy place to cross. We headed up the valley maybe 1/8th of a mile before heading left up onto the lower slopes of the peak, but it might be just as easy to head up immediately and traverse north on the open talus.

I was really surprised to find old switchbacks heading up through the talus here. Faint remnants of old trail. I have no idea where the route was heading as they appeared to be heading straight up to the base of the cliff and there really isn't anywhere else to be heading. Anyone know what this was or where it was going?

I noted a bit of a bench that appeared to wrap around the ridgeline to the right (north) and seemed to be a good way to get onto the rock of the ridge, so we headed straight up for that. The bench turned into a bit of a ramp that dead ended, but traversing underneath it on grassy/dirty ledges proved to be the way to get past it and onto our first solid rock of the day.

From there it was just up, up, up. Follow the path of least resistance, zig zagging back and forth as necessary all the way to the top.

As mentioned, the crux of the trip was one short step that required a 4th class move, but really wasn't much to be troubled with. One person in the party was able to scramble up rock and mantle up onto the bench, while I and another used easier handholds provided by an old snag to get past it.

The rock wasn't bad, but it's dirty enough that I'd recommend taking a helmet, especially for larger groups.

After summiting the east peak, we ran the ridgeline to reach West Esmerelda, the "true" summit as indicated on the map. This involved a lot of tedious sidehilling and several descents as we repeatedly found that there was yet another cliffband between us and the rest of the route. Ultimately, the route worked out and we made the west summit. Woohoo!

Descent was via easier ground, following the old shepherd's path toward De Roux campground for a bit, and then back up trail to reach the Ingall's Lake parking lot. A really great day out.

If you're interested in a fun, quick scramble, I'd wholeheartedly recommend East Esmeralda. It offers huge bang for the buck, great views of the area, and really fun sustained scrambling almost from the parking lot.

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Highwalker's Daughter
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:37 pm   
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Brings back memories of when you led the charge up the snow to look over at Lake Ann a year and a half ago!
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veronica
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:01 pm   
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Oh man... that sounds like some fun you had!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Take risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping.

"Stalking" is such a strong word. I prefer "Intense research of an individual".
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:25 pm   
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It was a great day and some really fun scrambling. Maybe 1500 feet of sustained Class 3 rock... Like I said, I'll definitely be doing it again.  up.gif  up.gif

FWIW -- I've been wanting to write up something -- anything -- about this trip since I did it because there really wasn't any information out there detailing it. There was a paragraph or so in Beckey's CAG, but it didn't really give me a good idea of where to begin heading up.

I still wish I had taken a few more pictures at the very beginning, really to document the start of the route because that's really the crux. Once you're on the ridgeline, you pretty much just need to follow your nose and head towards the sky.

Here are the few pictures I took while we were heading up.


--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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veronica
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:28 pm   
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Dayhike Mike wrote:

Love it!

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Take risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping.

"Stalking" is such a strong word. I prefer "Intense research of an individual".
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:59 pm   
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Thanks for writing it up Mike.  I never expected this.  up.gif  up.gif
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Post Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:02 pm   
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You bet! Hoping that it may encourage someone else to try it next year. It was definitely a fun trip up. wink.gif

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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John Morrow
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Post Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:15 am   
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How'd I miss this TR?  Great looking trip Mike.  Psyhed to try it this summer.  Thanks for the report.  Always looking for something new to do in the "backyard".
J

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Redwic
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009
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Location: Taking A Hobo Shower At Walmart
Post Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:20 am   
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I somehow missed this TR, too. Very nice trip!
If you ever plan to return to Esmeralda, let me know!
up.gif  hockeygrin.gif  up.gif

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"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." -Atticus Finch
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Dayhike Mike
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:12 pm   
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Thinking about heading back for a repeat this Sunday.

Anyone want to join? I have a couple spots in the rig at the moment.

Probably won't run the ridgeline out to West Emeralda. I kinda found it to be a wasted effort -- a lot of sidehilling and mileage for little real gain.

My plan is to drop back down the south side after summiting East Esmeralda via the ridgeline direct and, if we're still feeling like we need more elevation, heading up the other side of the valley toward Teanaway.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Fletcher
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:45 pm   
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I was telling my buddy about this TR when we were in the area last week. On the list for this summer. Did west E. last fall but timed out and missed East which is the true summit as far as I understand.
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:50 pm   
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West Esmeralda is actually the high point. East Esmeralda is probably 300 feet lower than the westernmost mounds.

That being said, when you arrive at the westermost summits, there are two mounds. Last time we were up there, we went to the eastern bump -- the one with the elevation marked on it on the map -- and called it good, even though the western bump appears to be slightly higher. I don't feel any inclination to go back.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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JimK
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:21 pm   
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The west bump of the west peak just above Gallagher Head Lake has the summit register and I think it is a little higher. Not much difference though.

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Hiking Northwest
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Fletcher
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:09 pm   
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In retrospect that comment was kinda dumb because I remember signing the register. Still want to do the east point though.
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Post Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:48 pm   
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Bump! We had a good time on Sunday. I'll post pictures and a rough trip report probably sometime tonight.

I will say that the river is definitely running higher than the first time we went up. The cool temps and slow melting snow pack means that there's just a lot of additional melt coming down even now. If you go, plan to either pull off your boots and wade the river or walk upsteam a bit til you can find a good crossing.

One other note, I felt a little more sensitive to exposure this time around. There's at least one good stretch of what I'd call solid Class 4 climbing about 300 feet up the route. It only lasts for 50-75 feet, but it was definitely something I took more note of this time around.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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