Correction to Secor

Mt LeConte

by Steve Eckert, George Sinclair, Dave Underwood, John Bees

Mitch Miller asks: For those of you who have climbed the northwest chute on Mt. LeConte, and the Waterfall Pitch, I have recently been advised this is low class 4. R.J.'s book rates it class 3. What do you think? Any opinions/advice

Steve Eckert replies:

Don't forget the trip report archive: http://www.climber.org/TripReports/1997/leconte.html I noted a number of route details that weren't in Secor's first edition or seemed wrong to me. Haven't checked it against the second edition.

We used a rope mostly because there was ice on the waterfall in late July. It's a very short pitch and otherwise simply third class for a couple hundred feet.

> If you've traversed from LeConte to Irvine via Mallory, how long did 
> it take from Meysan Lake and back to Meysan Lake?

We started from above Meysan, and finished LeConte and Corcoran by mid afternoon. We also knocked off Irvine on the way up. Jeff did Mallory on the way down, while I scooted over to do Lone Pine instead (and then we packed out!). If you do the route right and don't need to pack out, you can get all four in a day.

George Sinclair adds

I believe that LeConte should be considered a class 4 mountain. Although most experienced mountaineers will most likely not feel a need for a rope, the exposure and fall potential make it class 4, albeit easy class 4.

David Underwood adds

Bobby Dubeau and I climbed the north face route some years ago. As I recall it took us about three hours or more from Meysan Lake to the notch. It was in July as I recall and there was still a lot of snow on the slope above the lake. We then walked out on the ledge and climbed the crack to the summit. Rated fourth but it is well protected and can be easily climbed in mountaineering boots. We went down the gully and had to rappel the waterfall as we did not see any good down climb. It only took about 45 minutes to mallory and then about two hours back to the lake. We actually camped at the small lake a bit below Meysan lake itself as the campsites are much better there. I believe you will find the gully route to have a short difficult section and will probably have to belay some there. However if these same people are uncomfortable on fourth do not try the face route.

John Bees adds

I've climbed Leconte several times over the years and have ascended and descended the waterfall route and I would rate it as class 3.8, not quite class 4, a fall probably won't kill you, but the climbing to get over the crux section is smooth and requires a bit of a stretch with an interesting move (it reminded me of the crux move up the LeConte route on North Pal). In early to mid season it's wet or icy but in late season (Labor day) it's usually dry and a bit easier.

I've found that the north face route from the Mallory-LeConte plateau to be an easier route. From the base of the north face traverse to the left (east)until you find an interesting class 3 route that heads up to the summit. I didn't think that I was on route until I relatively easily arrived on the summit. I didn't think that Roper had properly described the route in his guide (before RJ's guide)but I doubt that I found a new route since it was very straight forward and easy. I would recommend this route. The descent down the waterfall crux is easier than the ascent up this route and if you're going to do the Corcoran traverse you need to go this way.


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