Correction to Secor, LeConte and Corcoran

by Steve Eckert
From the saddle at the base of LeConte's north face, Secor properly corrects Roper's description of a "northwest ridge" to indicate it's a "northwest chute". Hey, between friends, what's the difference between a ridge and a chute? Then Secor says to drop 200 feet when in fact it's only 100 feet (by visual assessment and by altimeter readings)... but neglects to say which side of the saddle to drop down (it's obviously the west side). Going 200' down will seriously disappoint you!

Rounding the corner southward (into the chute), you immediately see a waterfall. Secor says there is a "15-foot class 3 pitch is encountered just below the summit", when it fact it is 80 feet up a 300 foot chute and almost 400 feet from the summit. It's slightly lower in elevation than the start of the route (at the base of the north face)! Basically, it's at the bottom of the chute, not near the top. This is in fact what he calls the Waterfall Pitch, because it's the only obstacle in the chute and because it's the place where you start the traverse to Corcoran. (We removed two faded slings and a worn locking biner from the top of the Waterfall Pitch, but left one good sling in place. Oops, that's a fixed anchor... but at least there's less junk there than before!) Even in late July there was ice on the rock here, so be careful.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Secor's description of the traverse from LeConte to Corcoran says to start at the top of the Waterfall Pitch. Well, not really. The obvious ledge to traverse on is 50 feet above the top of the Waterfall, and is now marked by a better duck than the one we found. From there on, the route description is perfect (including the warning about staying too high, which we did in one chute). Secor says it requires skilled route finding, but I don't think it's all that hard to find. Most of it is second class, with an occasional third class move here and there. Leave your rope behind.


The information in these pages is provided by interested volunteers and has not been field checked. R.J. Secor, The Mountaineers and the Sierra Club are in no way responsible for the accuracy of any route advice on this web site. Safe climbers must be able to understand the terrain and topography of the area they travel in, and they must make wise route finding choices based on their own knowledge, experience and observations.