Mount Degenhardt by Mount Terror in Picket Range / 德根哈特山

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Mount Degenhardt by Mount Terror in the Picket Range stands at 8000′ as the 10th tallest peak here. It rests at the north end of The Barrier, Southern Pickets’ midpoint. The ridge, in turn, divides Terror Creek and Crescent Creek.

Mount Degenhardt on day three
Mount Degenhardt on day three

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Mount Degenhardt at a Glance

Access: Goodell Creek Cross-Country Zone Access Trailhead
Round Trip: 18.7 miles
Elevation Range: 600′-8000′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons
Route Info: Relic, Matt Burton, Steph Abegg
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

August 7-9, 2020

Day 1 – Friday, August 7
Approach to Crescent Creek Basin
Night 1 – Chopping Block Camp at 6400′

Day 2 – Saturday, August 8
Staying Put
Night 2 – Chopping Block Camp at 6400′

Day 3 – Sunday, August 9
Mount Degenhardt + Exit


Day 1

Approach to Crescent Creek Basin

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

The Preface on Mount Degenhardt

The trip up Mount Degenhardt involved the exact logistics as before. First, I looked for a decent weather window. Then it was obtaining a permit from the only ranger station in operation this season.

The only difference was that I had a camp partner who had reached out via my blog in April. Their main goal was photography. So they would either hang out or leave while I climbed, depending on the weather.

Snail
Snail

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Goodell Creek Trail

It’s my third time going into the Picket Range this way. The first time was the West McMillan Spire trip, followed by Mount Terror in 2018. Nothing much had changed on this trail as the down trees were still intact from what I saw.

It had rained the night before, so the brushy trail was still damp. My partner regretted not bringing rain pants. On the other hand, I waited for the cloudy weather to improve for things to dry off later.

A walk in the park
A walk in the park

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Terror Creek Plus Steep Terrain

We went to Terror Creek using markers with minor issues. Then we crossed the water 500′ upstream on a big log and dove back into devils club. Later we went downstream and took a water break by the cairn.

After getting water, we took the steep trail up the hillside. While standing and chatting, I suddenly felt a snap in my right calf. Soon, I realized I had torn a muscle. Since I was still able to walk without much pain, we continued.

Terror Creek
Terror Creek

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The Barrier South Ridge

Afterward, we rested on the ridge at 3640′ and checked my leg. But I couldn’t tell if it were only a strain on the muscle. I’ve learned to walk on my toes to reduce irritation. But the walking had slowed down a bit.

Now leading the way, my partner did a terrific job staying on track and even learned to look for flagging. Right below the tree line was a brushier section. But we stayed on the ridge until we broke out into the open.

Aiming for the notch
Aiming for the notch

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South Basin

We began to move northwest above the trees with the constant view of Pinnacle Peak, aka Chopping Block. This time, many of the gorgeous slabs in the basin were still under the snow. But we could bypass most of it lower down.

Soon, we walked through a few snowfields, moderate enough to traverse without traction devices. We brought crampons but didn’t need them going up. However, they would come in handy going in reverse.

Pinnacle Peak (Chopping Block)
Pinnacle Peak (Chopping Block)

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Chopper Block Camp @ 6400′

The sun came out when we rested earlier but went back to cloudy the rest of the afternoon. By the time we reached the bivvy spot, clouds had obscured the Southern Pickets entirely. So much for the sunny forecast from a few days ago.

Afterward, we set up camp and hung out. Then after dinner, more clouds had moved into the area and became increasingly windy. Though we worried about the next day, for now, we hunkered down inside our bivvy sacks and waited.

No signs of Mount Degenhardt
No signs of Mount Degenhardt

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Day 2

Staying Put

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

No Mount Degenhardt Today

I woke up to the alarm at 5 AM, then I quickly looked outside but couldn’t believe what I saw. The whole area had submerged in a sea of clouds with a few yards of view. “Damn!” I thought, “I guess no climbing today!”

After sleeping for two more hours, I awoke to find the same condition. But I kept my fingers crossed for the mists to fade soon. But if none of it had cleared clear up by noon, I would change my plans.

Mount Despair in the mist
Mount Despair in the mist

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Hanging Out at Camp

The thick clouds reminded me of the Fourth of July weekend, which didn’t move an inch. Afterward, we decided to chill at camp. Other than the few visiting marmots during the day, the place felt lifeless.

The sky had let out some rays around 5 PM, but the Southern Pickets stayed misty. I went up the bump west of our camp to watch the shifting clouds. Then my partner joined me before sunset to see the grand Mount Despair.

Day two's visitor
Day two’s visitor

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Day 3

Mount Degenhardt + Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Mount Degenhardt Climb

We awoke to a blue sky with the inversion over Goodell Creek Valley. The plan today was for me to climb Mount Degenhardt. But my partner would soon take off to be home to his family at a reasonable hour.

After we bid farewell to each other, I left for the rocky Crescent Basin. Like before, I avoided the snow below the north of the camp. Soon, I traversed the basin and later put on crampons when more snow showed up.

Southern panoramic view
Southern panoramic view

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Mount Degenhardt Northwest Ridge

I moved through the moderate terrain over snowfields toward the ridge between Mount Degenhardt and Mount Terror. It was surprising to find a small glacier at the top of the snow. But I bypassed it to go on the rocks.

I had no issues on the exposed class 3 terrain. But the trickling water over the rocks had me pay extra attention to my foot placement to avoid slipping. Soon, I reached the ridge after going through the giant boulders.

Mount Fury from the northwest ridge
Mount Fury from the northwest ridge

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Northwest Ridge Traverse

I briefly enjoyed the sight of Mount Fury before going toward the summit. En route, I tested out a few notches to go around to the eastside somehow. The tower overhead looked like the actual high point but hard to tell.

At last, I found a way around the tower at the final notch with a few class 4 moves. Soon, I was on track when I spotted a rappel anchor on the south side. From there, I climbed straight up to the top.

Summit tower
Summit tower

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Mount Degenhardt Summit

Glad after a dreary day two, the final day was gorgeous. I wish my partner could’ve enjoyed the views also. After orienting myself, I began to identify the peaks, including Mount Terror, which was right in my face!

Despite seeing other peaks, I couldn’t take my eyes off Mount Fury. I still couldn’t believe we had gone up to the gnarly-looking massif! The sight of West McMillan Spire and Inspiration Peak couldn’t have been more surreal.

Eastern panoramic view
Eastern panoramic view

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Outro

The weather was so fantastic that I must’ve taken panoramic shots in every direction. Later I saw people on top of West McMillan Spire, plus a group of three on Terror Glacier. Glad to see others out seizing the day.

Even though I had a rope, I downclimbed instead and made my way back to the snow. Then I made the long traverse through Crescent Basin to the ridge camp. Down by the trail junction, I met a group that had climbed West McMillan Spire.

Panoramic view by the tree line
Panoramic view by the tree line

See more trip photos here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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