Attempt 1. Summer 1992
My first try was a naive attempt to scramble up the South Arete from Little Diamond Head in the middle of summer. The initial stretch was an easy, level, rooftop ridge, but most of the mountain was free of snow, exposing the loose volcanic rock. Every footstep created a rock avalanche on both sides but everything felt OK until the path was blocked by several boulders precariously balanced on top of the ridge. I was forced to crawl around the boulders, which was psychologically disturbing as the ensuing rock slides were undermining the very boulders under which I was crawling. Eventually realizing that the whole thing was madness, I retreated before reaching the steep part of the ridge.
Attempt 2. February 1997 To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)
Moe Lamothe invited me to join him on another attempt of the South Arete. We skied to the Elfin Shelter on a beautiful day in late February, slept there for the night, and arrived at Little Diamond Head just as the sun's first rays glanced over the horizon. There were tracks from another party on the corniced South Arete. The snow was turning mushy as we moved upward and we soon encountered a retreating two-man team who decided the snow was too soft to continue. On the way up one of the climbers had sheared off a cornice, knocking the cornice down the slope while he fell into the rapidly expanding crack line. Luckily he landed on a tiny platform that stopped him from sliding under the cornice and riding down the mountain underneath the cornice. We continued up the ridge and managed to climb around a section of steep rock by moving onto the southeast face, eventually reaching a small flat spot just below the summit...
To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)