| Cooper‘s Traverse- Part Two-The summit and over
Steve and Cooper finish the last 50' to the north saddle. Cooper used a figure "8" on a bite and a prussic behind him to clip in for the final 150'.
While our party rested and changed gears at this saddle, as we hoped, the Gaskill party arrives as well. Our group took off first behind the north ridge to find easy access to the belay station 400' above the base of the rock band. The Gaskill rope teams reconfigured.
Unfortunately, the simple 5.0 gullies that Steve Gaskill remembered are filled with hard snow and verglas-covered rock. A more difficult route closer to the ridge proper will be necessary. The teams worked together, searching around and over every corner to find a route to easier terrain.
Usually, Cooper found the easiest moves first and the teams followed. I gave each climber two belays to reach the rappel station above the rock band. Cooper needed one boost.
Georgia takes Steve's photo just below the belay point. On a more difficult parallel line, Georgia was waiting for her chance to be belayed to easier ground. In 10 minutes, our party had all reached the rappel station. The Gaskills came up immediately afterward.
The first Gaskill rope team is putting on warmer clothes at what will be the critical rappel station on their return.
Our team returns to crampon/rope mode for the 150' to snow ridge to the summit.
Steve, Linda, Georgia, Cooper, and Tom on the apex of Wyoming.
The team was a bit anxious about the return over the North Ridge route. I was figuring the best way to belay Cooper's descent. Several teams were on the summit from the Gooseneck Pinnacle route. They indicated that the open bergshrund report Steve Gaskill had received was greatly over-stated. A walk over to a viewpoint revealed the route around the open portion of the shrund. I threw out the idea of a Gooseneck descent; things looked MUCH easier than our ascent. Georgia suggested Cooper might complete the first doggie traverse and pronounces the route "Cooper's Traverse". The decision was made. Immediately afterward, Craig Gaskill arrived leading the first Gaskill rope team. Our decision already made, I hoped he could help out. I asked how they planned to descend and he said that there were murmurings in favor of both routes. I asked that if they rapped the North Ridge, would he mind retrieving our two pickets and one ski pole? He made no promises, but said they'd try if their group agreed. In the end, they were able to return our stashed goods!
Georgia suggested the initial descent of the summit ridge on the Gooseneck route was reminiscent of Denali's summit ridge. We all agreed it was magnificent.
The route around the Gooseneck shrund (and the route used earlier in the week!) are both evident in the enlarged version of this photo.
Hey, it does look like a gooseneck!
An overview of the route through the Gooseneck area
Once through the Gooseneck area, one can choose to descend either to drop south over the climber's-right side of Gooseneck ridge to the Dinwoody Glacier or stay climber's left of the Gooseneck Ridge to finish on the lower Gooseneck Glacier. Our party descended the Lower Gooseneck Glacier which itself has a ridge dividing it into two parts.
Finally, time to un-rope. Now, we're as free as Cooper!
Linda is pleased to be off the glacier!
A pleasant two-mile hike down Dinwoody Creek ALMOST brings us directly to camp at the confluence of Dinwoody and Gannet creeks. One last obstacle: we have to cross Gannet Creek. I forded the creek in my socks while stretching the rope as a handline. A quick 100-yard sock flop back to camp allowed me to retrieve everyone's creek sandals. In a few minutes, we were all back in camp. However, I had a wet dog that wanted in the tent! Sorry Cooper, you'll have to dry out first.
Day 4- Advanced Camp to Scenic Pass
Not in need of our back-up summit day, we begin our trek out. We're hopeful that Tonia will be bringing in a climbing team on Thursday so that we can catch a ride out one day early. We know she will be picking up a guided group an that day, but we also knew that truck will be full. Maybe she'll make an extra trip for us?
To make it work, we'll have to pick up Dennis and the dogs at Upper Echo Lake and climb to Scenic Pass for the night. We'll easily make any early drop-offs Tonia might be doing on Thursday. By 9AM, we were on the trail.
A bend in Dinwoody Creek viewed near the junction with the Glacier Creek trail.
We hooked up with Dennis at 1PM and were back on the trail at 2PM.
Our Scenic Pass camp was a bit windy but had nice water and awesome views! We were settled in and enjoying the vistas at 5PM.
Molly in meditation
The Old Man of the Mountain bids us "goodbye" from our Scenic Pass camp.
We arrived at our pick-up spot at 9AM and Tonia brought in a couple of guys at 11AM. We were starting to load up when Tonia realized we were not the party she expected. She explained that she'd need to wait for the guided party (due at 12PM), then she'd return for us. At 12:30, she hiked up the trail to see if she could find them and they all rolled in at 1:00PM. She ran them into town and was back to get us at 3:30. We managed to hike a little 10,500' peak for some final views while we waited.
Cooper and Molly are ready for a beer and a motel. They were joined by a very happy party of like-minded humans!
Some Final Route Notes
A full summit day overview (compare to the first photo in Part One)
Tom created this picture using the tracking feature on his GPS
Here's a panorama photo taken by 14erworld member Rex Headd on his Summit Day.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):