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High Hike-to-Climb Ratio: South Ridge of Ingalls Peak # 9511

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Date: 2006.10.18
Vantage Point: From Ingalls Pass

Caption: North and South Ingalls Peak from Ingalls Pass

PhotoDescr: While climbing Mt Tupper out of Hermit Meadows we met up with a couple of friendly Americans who recommended the S ridge of Ingalls Peak as a similar objective in Washington. So, when passing through in October 2006, we thought we'd give it a shot. We were camped a fair distance away at one of Washington's excellent State Parks (why can't BC do the same?), so got up very early in the morning to drive up the Teanaway River Road (driving US forest service roads is like driving West Kootenay Highways) to the trailhead for various trails into the Wenatchee Mountains. US trails are like US forest service roads, wide, well-graded, maintained, and signed. We took an excellent trail that climbed northwards eventually crossing Ingalls Pass. From Ingalls Pass we could see down to a smattering of golden larch trees, meadows and Lake Ingalls, a surprisingly deep body of water in what appears a fairly dry area - at least by Interior BC standards.

From the pass, there are two trails across to Lake Ingalls, one higher and one lower, we took the lower, and ended up having to regain about 100 metres of elevation. The bowl below Ingalls Peak is a big ugly talus and scree basin. We started off to the left of this chossy basin on class 2 to 3 red slabs and meadow gullies, but as we got higher, we were not completely sure we wouldn't get cliffed out by a big gendarme feature on the left side of the gully, so we ended up traversing right and into the maw of the choss basin. Of and on, we had a scrappy trail, but mostly we clawed upwards. At the col between N and S Ingalls Peak we traversed around another gendarme on the west side, and scrambled class 3 to 4 up a gully to the base of the S ridge.

The first pitch is short if you do it according to the guidebook and use the big boulder for belay, perhaps only 15 metres long, so I led past it to a small ledge where I fashioned a mediocre belay station. The climbing itself was easy, a series of big cracks runs up the slabs and provide good hand and foot jams and holds. Doug led the next two pitches, another short pitch of perhaps 15 m, in easy cracks, and a very meandering pitch that was more 4th than 5th class except for the exit move up slippery slabs. The final bit to the top is a scramble, surprisingly reminiscent of many Rockies scrambles, up ledgy terrain with ball bearings over slabs.

We descended the route by rappelling, except for the last station (big boulder) the other (two) stations are bolted. On the way back to Lake Ingalls we stuck to the south side of the chossy gully and found a good route down slabs and meadow avoiding the nastiness in the middle of the gully. From Lake Ingalls, it was a long, dusty, and dry walk out. We had drained the last drops from our water bottles at Lake Ingalls, and, although we crossed a small trickle of water, we didn't feel good about drinking the water without treating it.

A pleasant enough route, but I'm not sure the high hike-to-climb ratio (8 hours hiking for 80 vertical metres of climbing) is worth the long walk in and out. However, great place to go hiking with lots of excellent trails and pleasant scenery.

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