|Peak:||Mears Peak (13er)|
|Route:||West Ridge Out and Back from \"S 7\"|
|Date of Info:||08/12/2020|
A somewhat enjoyable route on Mears! There are two constants on this entire ridge: exposure and loose rock, sometimes very loose. Test everything because absolutely everything on this ridge is guilty and cannot be proven innocent.
From "S 7"'s summit go east on the ridge. On our way to Mears we dropped down below the ridge crest and traversed on crappy, gravel covered ledges and slabs. This worked but wasn't super wonderful. Once the ridge narrows and towers began blocking the path we again stayed below the ridge crest, usually on talus (sometimes with faint trail segments) and sometimes scrambling on loose rock. The scrambles were usually short lived. It wasn't until probably half way or farther that we returned to the ridge crest, staying there until a square-ish block appeared. There's a large, obvious gully leading up this block which we took at loose Class 3, then a second gully that was Class 3 dirt. On top of the block we continued along a short catwalk, dropping below a boulder we couldn't climb over and didn't want to scramble around, then back to the catwalk. The catwalk is exceptionally loose corn flake rock and leads to a short cliff at the end which we down climbed at a slightly overhanging but ledgy Class 4. This was the only Class 4 we encountered on the ridge. From there a few more small, rotten towers were in the way but it was all hiking terrain from there. Once at the saddle where the garbage red rock begins simply hike (tediously, I might add) and/or scramble to the summit of Mears. This is the worst rock on the ridge so take your time with it. We returned over the ridge back to "S 7", which went much faster on the return trip, and we stayed on the ridge crest for the final ascent to "S 7" instead of on the junky ledges below. If you're planning on descending Mears itself KNOW YOUR DESCENT ROUTE. Exceptionally dangerous, loose, and exposed scree, talus, hardpan, rotting slabs, and cliffs litter the south side of Mears that could get you in trouble. Photos after the summit photo(s) were taken on the return trip and give a different perspective of some of the same stuff.
Photos (click for slideshow):