Mount Degenhardt in the Picket Range / 尖樁山脈裏的德根哈特山

Mount Degenhardt was another unranking high point on the T200 list. But I didn’t realize it when I climbed Mount Terror. Otherwise, I would have also included the peak. It was my third and final trip to the Pickets this season after last week.

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
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

Logistics Overview

July 7-9, 2020

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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

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

Day 3 – Sunday, July 9
Mount Degenhardt + Exit


Day 1

Approach to Crescent Creek Basin

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Mount Degenhardt

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

The only difference was that I had a approach partner this time. They had reached out through my blog back in April. But their goal was photography. Then they would either hang out or exit depending on the weather.

Snail
Snail

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Goodell Creek Trail

It was my third time going into the Picket Range via this way. The first time was the West McMillan Spire trip. Then it was climbing Mount Terror in 2018. From what I could see, nothing had changed on this trail. The down trees were all still intact.

It had rained the night before. So the brushy parts of the trail were still very damp. My partner regretted not bringing rain pants. But I, on the other hand, waited for the cloudy weather to improve. So everything would dry off eventually.

A walk in the park
A walk in the park

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Terror Creek Plus Steep Terrain

We made our way down to Terror Creek using cairns and flagging. Later we crossed the water on a big log at 500′ upstream. We dove right back into the devils club on the other side. Then we went downstream and took a water break.

Soon, we followed the steep trail and went straight up the steep slope. While standing still and chatting, I felt my right calf snap. Then I realized that I had torn a muscle. I was still able to walk without much pain. So we continued.

Terror Creek
Terror Creek

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The Barrier South Ridge

Later we rested on the ridge crest at 3640′. So I checked out my leg. But I still couldn’t tell whether it was just a strain on the muscle. I had become used to walking on my toes to lessen the discomfort. Though, the walking had slowed down a bit.

Now leading the way, my partner did an excellent job in following the faint trail. They even learned to look for flagging. Right below the tree line was a brushier section. But we stayed on the ridgeline until we broke out into the open.

On the south ridge
On the south ridge

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South Basin

Once we went out of the trees, we began to move northwest. Then there was the constant view of Pinnacle Peak (aka Chopping Block). This time, many of the gorgeous slabs in the basin were under the snow. But we bypassed most of it until we got closer to the ridge.

Eventually, we needed to walk through a few snowfields. But they were all moderate enough to traverse without traction device. We both brought crampons just in case things became spicy. Though, the gear would come in handy on the way down.

Aiming for the notch
Aiming for the notch

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Chopper Block Camp @ 6400′

The sun came out for a short while when we rested down on the ridge. But it quickly went back to cloudy for the rest of the afternoon. By the time we reached the bivy site, the clouds had obscured the Southern Pickets entirely. In other words, the forecast had worsened since a couple of days ago.

Later we set up camp and then hung out. Then after dinner, more clouds moved into the area. It was also windier than I would’ve liked. So we were a bit concerned about the next day’s weather outlook. We both went into our bivy sacks just before dark.

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 set my alarm for 5 AM. Later I took a peek outside, and the entire area had submerged in a sea of clouds. The visibility was just a few yards. “Damn!” I thought to myself. So that meant there would possibly be no climbing today.

After sleeping for another couple of hours, I awoke to find the same weather condition. But I kept my fingers crossed for the mist to dissipate in the late morning. If the weather wouldn’t clear up by noon, then I would have to alter my climbing plans.

Mount Despair in the mist
Mount Despair in the mist

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Hanging Out at Camp

Today’s weather reminded me of the Fourth of July weekend. The clouds seemed like they hadn’t moved an inch! Later we decided that we would hang out at camp. There wasn’t a whole lot to do or views to photograph. But a few marmots came to visit us throughout the day.

When 5 PM rolled around, the sky had let out some sun rays. But the Southern Pickets remained misty. I went up to the bump west of our camp and watched the shifting clouds. Then my partner joined me later for spotty views of Mount Despair before sunset.

Day two's visitor
Day two’s visitor

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Day 3

Mount Degenhardt

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Mount Degenhardt Climb

We woke up to a blue sky with a temperature inversion in the Goodell Creek Valley below. The plan for the morning was for me to climb Mount Degenhard. Then my partner would make their exit shortly. They needed to be back home at a reasonable hour.

Soon, we bid farewell to each other. Then I took off for the rocky Crescent Basin. Like before, I avoided the snow slopes below the ridge. Later I traversed the basin and put on crampons when I encountered more snow.

Southern panoramic view
Southern panoramic view

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Mount Degenhardt Northwest Ridge

I moved through the moderately inclined snowfields. Then I made my way up 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 was able to bypass it to get up to the rocks.

Later I moved through class 3 and 4 terrains without any issues. My only concern was the tiny streams dripping over the rocks. So I was extra mindful of my foot placement to avoid any slipping. Soon, I reached the ridge and checked out the other side.

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

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Summit Ridge Traverse

I enjoyed the sight of Mount Fury from last weekend. Then I continued southeast toward the summit block. I wasn’t sure whether the tower above me was the real summit. But along the way, I tested out a few notches. My goal was to go around the eastside using Beckey’s descriptions.

Then at the final notch below the top, I went around the tower with class 4 moves. I knew I was on the right track when I spotted the rappel anchor on the other side. From there, I climbed up from the south side and went straight up to the summit.

Summit tower
Summit tower

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Mount Degenhardt Summit

Glad after a day of waiting, there was excellent weather on the last day. But I wish my partner was able to enjoy the views on the way down, at least. After orienting myself, I began to identify the nearby peaks. Mount Terror was practically in my face!

Ther were even more familiar peaks farther out. But I couldn’t take my eyes off the Northern Pickets, especially Mount Fury. I still couldn’t believe we had climbed the gnarly looking massif!

Eastern panoramic view
Eastern panoramic view

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Outro

Like on any summit, when the weather was fantastic, I didn’t want to leave. Though, I must have taken panoramic photos in every direction. Later I looked over at West McMillan Spire and saw people on top. A group of three were walking on Terror Glacier.

Even though I had brought a rope, I downclimbed instead. Soon, I made my way back down to the snow. Then I made the arduous traverse through Crescent Basin and up to the ridge camp. Later by the trail junction, I met the 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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