Ski Mountaineering

Humphreys and Emerson

Sep 8-10, 1995

Reiner Stenzel

This was a summer peak climb of an SPS emblem peak. The SMS often skis in the vicinity of Mt Humphreys, for example on Basin Mtn, Mt. Tom, Mt Locke and in Humphreys Basin, the French Canyon, etc. Mt Humphreys called to be climbed. We were a small group of three climbers, Matthias Selke, his wife Xin and myself. Since this was our first attempt of this class 4 peak we chose the standard route via the southwest slope and northwest face, as described by R. J. Secor.

We started at North Lake, ascended to Piute Pass and camped at Summit Lake in the upper Humphreys Basin. We had a full moon. In the morning the lake was calm and the reflections of mountains, moon and blue-red morning sky were very pretty.

We hiked toward the Humphrey Lakes and ascended a cl 3 ledge to the left (north), which led to a wide gully ending in a notch. A 100' section of class 4 was climbed with belay. A bit higher another short cl 4 section with good handholds was climbed free. After that it was an easy scramble to the summit (13,986'). The climb following the route description worked out perfectly.

Other climbers also arrived on this popular peak. We had our lunch, took pictures, signed the summit register and enjoyed the views. After an hour we descended via the same route we came up. We rapelled on the short class 4 section, otherwise it was a fun class 3 climb. In the late afternoon we were back in camp and relaxed after a successful and exciting peak climb.

The next morning, Mathias and Xin hiked out while I made a detour to climb Mt Emerson. I started from Piute Pass trail near Loch Leven and ascended gullies straight to the summit (13,225'). From there one has a fine view of Mt Humphreys, the Glacier Divide, Emerson Crags and the Bishop Creek drainage.

From then on it was all downhill, first XC, then trail and road to sea level. It was a fine weekend of climbing two new peaks with two new friends.

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