Bizarre Route to Charleston (NV) & back

pics by Harlan W.S.
Oct 14, 2010

 

This was my 24th time on Charleston, and probably my 12th route.It’s getting hard to find new routes; I wanted something that would put me on established trails to Charleston as little as possible; I also wanted at least 5000’ elevation gain for the day.

 

I looked at Branch Whitney’s “East Face” route, and for some bizarre reason, decided to try the arÍte just north of his waypoints 1 and 2.This was certainly a memorable experience, but not one that I am likely to repeat.The 600’ vertical that I gained on the arÍte was extremely tiring; in part because I was solo and rehearsed every move, and in part because I did a lot of high-stepping to avoid loose rock. The arÍte was definitely class 4 or worse in places.At one point I found cairns, which led… to a bivy site, and then ended.

 

chaze

The red trace is my strange route; the blue is the conventional route (Trail Canyon – NLT – SLT) over Charleston.

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View S as I start off down the trail to Mary Jane Falls.

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Now I’m heading WNW through the wash.

 

 

 

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I will eventually climb that cliffy lump ahead, exiting by the arrow.

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There is much avalanche debris from the 2005 season, but I found it was easy to walk across the logs (though I would hate to try this in rain).

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I originally intended to try Branch Whitney’s East Face route, which wound up this neat canyon.

 

 

 

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There were a few odd foods left near the western dryfall; BW describes this dryfall as class 5, and urges one to ascend the earlier S wall. I could see where logs had been leaned against the dryfall in an attempt to climb.

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This section of the dryfall is about 15’, from the horizontal line to the notch. With heady overconfidence, I assume I could mantle up.Alas, the final band was at least 6’, and the rock was worn smooth by water and sediment.

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So rather than follow BW’s good advice to try the S wall, I retreated back and started up the arÍte to the N.Soon I saw an over-hanging wall, which I must find a route past.

 

 

 

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OK, view N as I climb past the wall.

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I’m actually above the wall; this view down doesn’t look creepy here, but trust me, it was.

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I traversed and went on the R side of this pinnacle.

 

 

 

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Now I look back S over the arÍte that I ascended.

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I’m slogging up through steep forests, and get this “different” view of Chaz.

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Finally I hit the NLT, and get this 1st view over into Lee Canyon.

 

 

 

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I went over Lee Peak to avoid the trail as much as possible.

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View of Mummy from Lee Pk.

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I briefly used the NLT to get to Devil’s Thumb.

 

 

 

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I’m looking up at the conventional route up the cliffs in back of Devil’s Thumb.But I recall that someone had asked me if the next chute S “goes”… so I guess I’ll try it!

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The arrows show the normal way up the Devil’s Thumb shortcut. Alas, I am on a chossy chute to the S.

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OK, at the top of the ridge, viewing Chaz, with a bit of remnant snow.

 

 

 

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On top of Chaz.

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I took the ridge to avoid the trail some more. View back at Chaz from ridge.

 

 

 

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View ESE on ridge.

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Now I start down the Cathedral Rock herdpath; I first heard about the route from Richard N.

 

 

 

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View bac of my route from Kyle Canyon to the ridge.

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More Mummy.

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This is the vies E from the S end of Cathedral Rock.

 

 

 

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What the…?There were carrots spread along the Cathedral Rock trail.

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Cathedral Rock at ~3:30PM.Though the sum won’t set for nearly 2.5 hours, it is dark in the shadows.

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Cathedral rock and yellow (avalanche-favored) aspens.

 

 

 

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Cathedral Rock (L) and Mummy.

Then there was a long boring trek back to my car… and 8.5 hour day, much longer than I expected. 5300’+ elevation gain, but only 13 miles.