Correction to Secor, Whorl Mountain

by Steve Eckert
Sunday morning we stomped off down the "causeway" we had read about in Langsdorf's route description. Jim and Dot were ahead of us and headed for the same peak, but turned and kicked steps straight uphill unexpectedly. We were all certain that we had to go much further before entering the right couloir... but later we began to doubt that. None of the route descriptions are written with a June snowpack in mind, so identifiers such as "sandy" or "scree" were useless to us. (Jim later confirmed that they turned uphill too soon, dead-ending in snow and rock that could not be traversed in the time available. The correct chute is just around the corner, after the Twin Peak / Matterhorn saddle is out of view, where the slope lessens.)

When the south summit of the Whorl triplet came into view, we turned up toward the saddle between the south summit and the middle summit (the high point). It became clear somewhere just before the saddle that none of the route descriptions were matching where we were. To be honest, most of the descriptions halfway matched no matter which direction we faced!

We followed the ridgeline north for a bump or two, until it was clear that we would have to descend to go on. It was at this point that Elmer and Dan turned back, believing that we would not make it or that it would turn into 4th class. Some hunting around led us to a 4 foot wide sandy ledge that dropped gently as it traversed the west side of the ridge to the north. The ledge we used is not visible from the low point of the saddle, but others are (which may work, but will not lead to our route).

Following this sidewalk to just before a sharp chute&rib combination that looked impassable, we easily walked under all of the class 5 cliffs and found decomposing granite blocks that formed a zigzag 3rd class route upward and eastward. The blocks terminate in a huge slab with granite intrusions (bumps). This was the most exposed portion of the climb, very high 3rd class (reasonable holds, but nothing to catch you if you slip). The sustained exposure had us wondering if we should go on, so we sent one sacrificial climber up while the others picked more or less secure waiting spots. Exiting the slab on the upper right corner, a rest break turned into an epiphany when a slot through the ridge was spotted. This was not the chockstone or slab mentioned in other route descriptions (or those descriptions exaggerate the size), but there was a 4 foot chimney to pop up The information provided 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 their own knowledge, experience and observations.


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.