Correction to Secor, Mt Conness

by John Wakabayashi

Mt. Conness East Ridge route. The east ridge is the easiest route up Conness for peak baggers who want to climb this peak on a short day hike. Most folks climbing from Saddlebag Lake try to contour around the south side of the peak just northwest of the Saddlebag Lake dam or they climb from lower down passing the Carnegie Institute Station. Contouring around the peak SW of Saddlebag is somewhat tedious as is the general rule for going sideways across talus slopes, especially those composed of netamorphic rocks such as these. I think it is faster to climb directly over the top of the peak just west of Saddlebag (peak 11239 on the 15') cross the flat saddle between this peak and the Conness east ridge, then ascend a series of broad benches to the talus slopes mantling the south side of the east ridge. These slopes are followed to the final step on the ridge which is easily climbed to the plateau south of the Conness summit massif. I did this route twice in the early 70's. The east ridge route is listed as class 3, but this route seemed to me to be class 2 all the way to the crest. The steepest part is the upper part of the east ridge, but this is fairly comparable or perhaps even less steep than the top of the east ridge of Mt. Brewer which is rated as class 2 and, so far as I know, pretty much universally thought of as such.

An additional comment on Conness is that the final approach to the summit via the standard route is rated class 2 and it truly is, thanks to the some folks that did a lot of engineering up there and built a high ridge equivalent of the High Sierra trail to the top. Even though this is class 2, there are still some places with a fair amount of exposure. This should probably be noted in the guidebook so as to warn walk up hikers who won't be expecting that level of exposure. In any case, if one rates the final approach as class 2, the east ridge which has neither difficulty nor exposure (unless one religiously stayed on the top of the ridge) should certainly be class 2 as well.


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