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Trip Advice: Mount Emerson Summit

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Trip Advice: Mount Emerson Summit

Postby shan1203 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:48 am

Hello HST,

We are going to attempt a Mount Emerson summit this weekend via the Southeast Face. We will approach by leaving the Piute Pass Trail below Loch Leven. We were planning to descend via the West Ridge, but have noticed that most seem to descend via the South Chute.

Has anyone done this route recently or do you have any advice for a successful summit attempt?

A little background on us...we've spent the summer trad climbing several low grade domes in the Sierra Nevada (mostly 5.6). We are comfortable on Class 3/4 terrain, but prefer to be on rope. We plan to pitch out the route and are planning on a long day with an early start.

Happy Hiking,
Shannon



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Re: Trip Advice: Mount Emerson Summit

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:58 pm

There are previous reports on Emerson here via the SE if you search this forum. I can only say something about the approach from the west seeing as my attempt to finish this was probably my 2nd worst route finding error. The last part of the W ridge below the summit is not class 3 right on spine of the ridge (ie class 4+). As far as I can tell, one needs to drop down a bit on the south side (if heading west from the summit on descent) in order to find a passable route to the west (see viewpoint from a headed east perspective below). The reason I'm pretty sure of this comes from my post mortem of my failure to a climb from Piute L. from the south (in 1987). The route I took was a steep class 2 scree and talus chute all the way to the crest of the west ridge, but as I headed east toward the peak, I found that the summit tower would not be class 3 if I stayed on the ridge. It is here that I made by big error in thinking that I spotted a ledge system on the North face that I could finish the climb with. The north face is to be avoided for it is dangerously loose class 4 (a particularly bad experience for me as I was solo and unroped)--I was within one last mantle move of finishing the steep stuff when I decided I couldn't trust the hold I was going to mantle on so I turned back. What this means is that to keep the climb at class 3 coming from the west would have to drop down a fair bit below the ridge crest on the south (not sure how far--100'?) from the crest in order to cross chutes to get a to a class 3 route that gets around the cliffs of the summit tower that block progress coming from the west (there are some reports to this effect on various climbing sites, too, which I read after the fact). I very much regret not figuring that out when I was up there (or doing Emerson from the SE instead) because Emerson is a very fine summit.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Trip Advice: Mount Emerson Summit

Postby shan1203 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:05 pm

giantbrookie,

Thanks for the info! From the trip reports I've read, it seems like people have one of two experiences with Mount Emerson - it's a quick, easy, awesome Sierra summit or something went painfully awry. I haven't seen many in between :)

I did try to search the forum and only came up with one trip report!
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2061&hilit=mount+emerson
Unfortunately, the smugmug link from this post to their photos no longer works...

We have found several trip reports online as well as info from the standard places: summit post, supertopo, etc...

I hope you've had a chance to go back and reach the summit of Emerson!

Happy Hiking,
Shannon
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