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Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

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Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby Ska-T » Wed May 30, 2012 11:23 pm

I once read a post where a guy said he hiked Mt Langley from the cirque holding Cottonwood Lake #5. The pass is one col north of (old) Army Pass as roughly show on the map below. IIRC, the original poster said it was straightforward and a faster route than going over AP or NAP. Anyone do that route? I'm guessing it might have a cornice and one should wait for that route to melt out.
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby cgundersen » Thu May 31, 2012 9:29 am

ska-t,
I went over that ridge with another guy in early June 1984 and it was pretty much the boulder hopping climb you'd expect with broad snow patches till the top. At that point, there was about a 15 ft wall of snow with a small cornice. We dropped packs and took turns kicking holds into the compliant snow and then busting off bits of the cornice. After probably 30 min, I finally pulled myself over and my pal tied the packs to ropes and I dragged them up. Then he followed and we were pretty tickled that we did not have to turn around. It was a fun alternative to NAP. But, it might be a little dicier alone, or better if you have crampons/ice axe.
cg

PS. If I do some serious digging, I might be able to find photos, but I can't guarantee it. I'll have a look.
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby Mradford » Thu May 31, 2012 9:35 am

I went to Lake 5 a few years back and remember a ridiculous looking scree hill on the backside of the lake. I don't know about being easier as from the looks of things it would seem to be a huge pain in the butt. But looking at topos of the area it seems like it wouldn't be too bad.

-Mike
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby sparky » Thu May 31, 2012 4:17 pm

I can't imagine it being faster than new or old army passes....they are a snap.....but I am not doubting it. Depends entirely on your abilities.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: Way NOT to climb Langley

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 31, 2012 5:28 pm

I climbed Langly many years ago. It was a trip to do Langly and Mt Corcoran from Tuttle Creek. Getting up Tuttle Creek is a challenge in itself! RJ Secor was with us. He had to leave after the climb of Corcoran, but he wanted us to "check out" the NW Gully route for the update of his guidebook. We were game to try. It definitely is NOT a good way to climb Langly. Everything was fine as we started up until the sun hit the ridge and melted the top. Bowling ball size rocks came down the gully richocheeting off the rock walls as we literally had to dodge the rocks. We were about 2/3 of the way up and decided we would have less time in the gully going up than coming down. The top was snowy- lots of post-holing. We decided to try to descend the north ridge. Fine until we stayed on the ridge too long and ened up with about 100 feet of class 4-5 rock climbing (we had no rope) to get off the actual ridge. Although the map implies that there is a "trail" that descends the ridge, there is NO trail that stays on the ridge. Other excitment on this trip was running into eight mountain sheep near our camp and blowing up a stove while watching 4th of July fireworks down in the valley in the distance!


BAD ROUTE ON MT LANGLY
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby BrianF » Thu May 31, 2012 7:51 pm

Check out Bob Burd's trip report at this link - it may help http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/langley_1.html
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby Ska-T » Thu May 31, 2012 11:44 pm

Thanks for the direct information, stories, observations, and links guys. CG, sounds like you had an excellent adventure back in '84. I was interested in the route because on the topo it made sense, and observing it in late Fall from Lake #5 I didn't see any particular obstacles, and I figured it it would be more interesting than hiking up a trail I'm familiar with.
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby Ska-T » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:28 am

Here is what the Lake #5 route looks like vs Army Pass in late Oct 2005. In the absence of any other information except lakeside observation I would choose the Lake #5 route over Army Pass.

Army Pass
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Lake #5 Cirque
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby BrianF » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:47 am

From your pics it certainly does look reasonable. Be sure to give us a TR and some pics
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby calipidder » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:14 pm

My friends have informally been calling that Navy Pass. I've never been up it but here is a photo of it that I took in late July 2010:

Image

Still a pretty hefty cornice.
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Re: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5?

Postby Mradford » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:30 am

From both photos it looks reasonable
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TR: Langley from Cottonwood Lake #5

Postby Ska-T » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:06 am

I finally got around to climbing Mt Langley via the pass above Cottonwood Lake #5. The pass goes by the unofficial name of "Winter Pass" according to SummitPost.
http://www.summitpost.org/winter-pass/290498

I arrived at the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead parking lot near dusk this past Sunday, Nov 4th. I hiked in about 6 mi, the last hour or so by flashlight, and made camp in some trees short of the mostly dry lake east of Cottonwood Lake #3.

In the morning I hiked up to Cottonwood Lakes #4 and #5. Army Pass looked dicey with snow coverage, especially at the potentially dangerous top.
Army Pass.jpg
Army Pass, 5 Nov 2012


Since I was wearing trail runners and didn't bring crampons or ice axe I quickly looked over at Winter Pass, which is the route I wanted to do anyway. From below it looked essentially snow-free. According to SummitPost, the pass is class 3/4 in the lower talus field. At this time of year I found it to be standard class 2. Lots of talus to negotiate, some big, but nothing technical. There was no cornice to negotiate and the near vertical rock at the top was easily bypassed by traversing south for 30 yd to the low point.
Winter Pass.jpg
Winter Pass, 5 Nov 2012



After Winter Pass there was a sandy hike over to the Mt Langley headwall that is usually bypassed on the far left for a class 1-2 approach. I wanted something more fun and direct, so I headed toward the east ridge and picked a route up that became a challenging class 3+ climb. On the summit the clear, sunny day provided excellent views.

For the descent, I hoped that the snow on Army Pass would soften during the day, but it was icy at the top and after a brief attempt I chose not to tempt fate. In a sight-seeing mood, I chose to come out the long way over New Army Pass and back to my backpack at Cottonwood #5. With the day quickly ending I headed over to Sunday night's camp site where the pine cones were already picked out of my sleeping area.

Tues morning I packed up and headed over to visit South Fork Lakes, down the South Fork use trail and back to the deserted parking lot.

In summary, Winter Pass (I agree that Navy Pass has a nice ring to it) without snow is a fun and safe way to access Mt Langley. It deposits you higher up and closer to the peak than Army Pass.
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