South Ridge from Fancy PassPosted On:
2019-08-13, By: cloudkickerInfo:
The road is clear to Fancy Lake / Missouri Lakes Trailhead. There is a sign at the trailhead saying the creek crossing 1 mile up is "dangerous and difficult". The water has receded since this sign was posted and it was very easy for us to cross. Route clear (summer conditions) to Fancy Lake and above.
However, there is a lingering snowfield leading up to Fancy Pass that was the crux on our ascent. According to my strava, the snowfield begins at about 12,000ft and lasts all the way to the pass at 12,400ft.
We decided we'd rather add some scrambling instead of ascending this snowfield, so we picked a route on a series of ledges above some cliff bands, climbers right of the snowfield. It was class 3 at worst, albeit with some exposure. Super fun!
The pass is clear and the other side was as well, all the way over to Treasurevault Lake. The rest of the route up Fancy Peak (ridge direct and grassy bypass) was clear of snow.
Note: I highly recommend taking ridge direct the first couple hundred feet up from Fancy Pass. Really fun slightly airy class 3 on solid rock.
The last signature on the peak was from 7/16/19.
On our descent we glissaded/skated down the snowfield and found the snow quality was surprisingly good. No post holing at all or plunge stepping into sharp rocks. The snowfield is low angle enough to control your slide but steep enough to actually get going a bit. Normally I wouldn't glissade without an ice axe but upon assessing the risk I determined there was hardly any danger to it, given the quality of the snow.
Glissading in August was an unforgettable experience.