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University Peak??

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University Peak??

Postby rams » Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:31 pm

Does anyone know if it's possible to climb the north face of university peak near onion valley and reach the summit without the class 3 traverse at the top? In other words, once I reach the point where the red line in the photo below turns a sharp right, can I avoid the exposure on the rest of the route by whimping out on the south side of the peak instead? Or is it just as exposed (or even worse)? Thanks in advance for any info!!

Image

photo from summitpost.org



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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:01 am

As far as I've heard or read, I don't think you can avoid class 3 going that way. However, it is possible to do an all class 2 route up the north side of University from Onion Valley further west, going up from Bench Lake. I don't have my topos and my own photos with me, but I believe (I will check this when I get home this evening and edit this post if necessary) the route (not listed in Secor or Roper) heads to the crest right of the edge of your photo, then works up the ridge (class 2) until you get to the final summit rise where talus gives way to low class 3 rock. At this point one can sidehill (class 2) around to easier (class 2) slopes on the west and south to surmount the summit area. In my opinion, this is hands down the most efficient class 2 dayhike route up University from Onion Valley. I worked out this route with my dad in 1976 after looking at it from the summit of Mt. Gould. I believe a detailed description of this route is given in my entry of corrections to Secor on the Climber.org site for University Peak.
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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Postby wingding » Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:36 pm

I've gone over University Pass and also up the North Face of of University. I started too late on the trip over University Pass - I got over the pass, but didn't get to the summit of University. University Pass is a very steep loose route without snow and then there's the moraine at the bottom - it was tough getting up it and if there had been anyone behind me I would have been knocking rocks down on them all the way up. It would be better as a snow climb.

The north face was a better route. The class 3 section isn't difficult, but it was a long day getting up there. At first I thought I got on top, but I guess I didn't actually get on the highest bump because I didn't see the register. I fell in the icy snow and got a bit nervous when I went to go look for the register, so I headed back down without finding it.

I would definately recommend going up the north face versus going over University Pass.

University Pass:

http://community.webshots.com/album/186810930okzyvJ


North Face:

http://community.webshots.com/album/397283054sNhjgV
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Postby wingding » Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:06 am

Actually, the 3rd class section is just before you take the sharp turn at the top. I don't remember exposure being too bad.
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Postby rams » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:20 pm

Thanks giantbrookie and wingding for the info!
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:13 pm

Photo of University from last weekend:

http://community.webshots.com/photo/552 ... 7782uYOYLU
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby pcase » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:49 pm

I did the route as outlined a few years ago...I don't remember any traverse being a problem...I do remember snow covered slabs 200 feet below the summit being a problem in tennis shoes. It's pretty straight forward climb....I d on't think there's any real fall potential at the top and I'm not aware of any major or minor accidents there either.
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Postby Trekker » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:18 am

pcase;
I'll quote from Secor's 'The High Sierra'...."North Face. Class 3. ....climb a steep talus slope to the eastern end of a knife-edged ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit."
I think that most of us who have gone by Secor's ratings would probably agree that he doesn't tend to overestimate a route's classification; if anything, he might underestimate it. The term knife-edged, by it's very definition to my understanding, indicates steep drop-offs on either side. The fact that you did it in tennis shoes indicates to me that you are either a very good climber or fairly non-chalant about the risks. I think it would be instructive to describe your climbing experience and skill level so that your reply may be put into the proper context. Thanks in advance.
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Postby pcase » Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:56 am

Trekker:
You are quoting Secor 1st Ed. However Secor 2nd Ed. omits refernce to the "knife edge"...I assume that's for a reason...He states "A short traverse along the northern side of the ridge leads to the summit block"
I think my original post was on target for the average peak bagger looking for beta...in that the only tricky section was the steep lower slabs which hold snow and thin morning ice most of the year rather than any reported concerns with the traverse. At the end of the day it's a straightforward class 3 route, it's not rocket surgery. (sic)
There's not that much terrain up there so any climber who should get spooked by the traverse (which seems unlikely to me) can always go down a few 100 feet and select a more appropriate route....and if there are no safe options then just retreat....
As for tenny's...I don't think they indicate anything other than personal preference, and on that particular occasion, bad evaluation of the conditions on the upper 10th of the route. There are many good reasons to wear lighter shoes with stickier rubber on the average Sierra Pk that have nothing to do with climbing ability or some poorly reasoned association with "risk", so I think you're way off base there......but that's a different post altogether
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Postby wingding » Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:36 am

pcase - I also had problems along the summit ridge do to hard icy snow in July last year. I got up on the ridge, but fill on the icy snow and got a littel cut up trying to get over to the high point along the ridge, so I settled for one of the other bumps along the ridge for my the day. I probably could have looked around for a better route, but it was getting late and I was tired and a bit spooked after falling.

The north ridge route is pretty straight forward and you don't encounter any difficult class 3. The talus slope before the class 3 section is a lot less fun than the short class 3 section.

Eventually, I'll go back and touch the top but I got so close and got pretty much the same view as from the top, so I'm not in a big hurry to go back.
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Postby Trekker » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:26 pm

It was certainly not my intention to step on anyone's toes (booted or not! :) ). Rather, to avoid the kind of discourse regarding what is risky or difficult and what is not that occured earlier this summer on the Whitney Portal board in regards to the Mountaineer's Route. I would certainly not have posted a comment if this was Climber.org or Summitpost.com, but the fact is that not everyone on this board is an experienced peakbagger, yours truly included. Maybe the original poster is a peakbagger, maybe they are not. I do know that a number of us may be considering climbing University later this month, if the weather holds, so this is an interesting topic to us.

My experience with tennis shoes is that they are not as sticky as a good pair of boots, trail runners, or approach shoes, but I'm not going to say I am familiar with all the tennis shoes out there, and like you said, that is another discussion anyway, to be undertaken by people much more experienced at climbing than me. Regardless, I figured you to be a more experienced climber, as evidenced by your nice explanation of the difference between class 2 and 3 on the "Technical" thread. Unfortunately, I have the old Secor edition, and I'm sure you are right as to the reason that was changed.

Here is part of a trip report on the same climb by Bob Burd, who is well known among the Sierra peakbagging community as a fairly accomplished peakbagger:

After our break we began climbing up again, spreading out as we went, myself in front, Michael second, David further behind. The route turned out to be surprisingly fun and challenging the whole way. Lower down, huge blocks of granite overlay the more solid rock below, mixed with some smaller blocks. This made for a steep class 2+ scramble rising half the height of the North Face. At this point a blocky arete pushed us futher right towards the center of the face. Traversing on some narrowing ledges, I made my way over towards the center which looked to offer the easiest way up. Michael was just visible behind me, David out of my view behind him. As the route grew progressively more difficult, I knew from last year that David would likely turn back - somewhere between class 2 and class 3 was where he exceeds his comfort zone. With about a hundred yards to the summit ridge, the boulders gave way to blocky face climbing - steep granite slabs punctuated with large cracks which kept the climbing to class 3 - just barely.

Once at the ridge, I found it to be a broken line of huge, off-setting blocks that made it impossible to follow on the ridge. I stayed 10-20 yards low on the north face as I traversed west towards where I expected the summit to be. It was 10:20a when I finally gained the highest block, finding the register tucked in a crack. The summit block was a bit tricky to get to, but the top is nearly flat and quite large. One could have quite a party up here. Though not high by the standards of the High Sierra in this region, the views were some of the best I'd seen. I could see north to Goddard and the Palisades, west to Brewer and the Great Western Divide, south to Williamson and Tyndall, and not a cloud in the sky. About ten minutes later I heard Michael's voice and helped direct him around to northwest side to get to the summit block. He confirmed what I had suspected, that David had turned back at the face climbing a few hundred yards from the summit ridge. Michael was a bit winded, but climbed impressively given his lack of acclimatization. He would continue hiking strong the next three days as well - clearly he was used to this type of abuse. We sat about the summit 20 minutes longer while Michael had his lunch and I took some more pictures. (Summitpost.com)

I guess my point is that, for those of us who are more like David than Bob Burd, a description more in line with our abilities is what we are looking for. And once again, I think your post on the "Technical" thread explains the differences nicely. :nod:

Anyway, sorry if I offended you.
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Postby pcase » Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:38 pm

Hi Trekker,

lol no need to apologize. I gotta watch my tone and ethos more carefully. Just wanted to follow up regarding your last post.

I'm not aware of the Whitney Mountaineer's Route dialog to which you refer...what was the deabate?

I read your summitpost "post" from Bob Burd....and his report gels well with my memory in that he says "With about a hundred yards to the summit ridge, the boulders gave way to blocky face climbing - steep granite slabs punctuated with large cracks which kept the climbing to class 3 - just barely."

Like I said yesterday the tricky part for me was a few hundred feet below the summit on slabs covered with snow and ice....In all honesty I was relieved to reach the ridge....as it represented a bit more security than I had enjoyed previously. I'll check my pics tonight to see if I have a good shot of the area in question...I'm guessing that I do.

I Google Imaged some pictures looking for a better summit area shot and these were the best I could find...the 3rd being the best...pretty straightforward all the way up.....the last few 100 feet will give you pause and reflection

Image

Image

Image


As for going to University later this month???? Better be good on patchy snow and thin ice, because the objective dangers just tripled in the last 48 hours. and I think the kind of verglas you're likely to encounter for the next 10 days or more would make this peak a real challenge on the North/ northeast route. The southern approach should clean up a lot faster at this time of year.

Good luck
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