Evolution Traverse | Tom Grundy | Part 2

Evolution Traverse – Tom Grundy – Part 2

panorama climbing up on the Darwin summit block

The traverse to Darwin had a number of teeth along the way. We were able to skirt around some of them but others required climbing up and over or down and then back up. After the last deep notch we began to follow a series of cairns that took us on the west side of the ridge up to the Darwin Plateau. We crossed that to the final summit blocks around 11:15. That was the end of the terrain I had been on before except for the summit of Mt Wallace. The ridge dropping off to the south was a scary looking maze of spires and loose chossy rocks.

Robert down climbs along the ridge

panorama climbing up on the Darwin summit block

Robert on the summit of Darwin

looking down the ridge from Darwin

We worked our way down the ridge to a rappel anchor where we started down-climbing. We took turns climbing so that any dislodged rocks wouldn’t hit the climber below. This did slow things down a bit. We climbed down past 3 anchors and then traversed up and over to a section that looked particularly steep and sketchy. I looked around a corner and saw another anchor there and we were able to get to it by squeezing through a chimney. Robert rapped down on a single strand of our about 80 ft. rope. Then I doubled it over and he said it was still barely long enough so I came down. That was the only rappel I did all day although Robert did one more later when we were separated on the ridge.

From there we were able to traverse back up to the ridge proper and then drop down a little on the east side and drop down to the so called Golden Triangle. This was a steep and blessedly solid section of rock and we took a few pictures climbing over it. That was the end of the worst of the choss although we still had a lot of scrambling up and over and down and around to get to Peak 13,332. At one point I dropped down too low on the east side and had to do some climbing back up to the ridge. Robert didn’t like the look of where I went up and chose another path behind me. He slipped and dropped a few feet slightly injuring his ankle but that didn’t seem to slow him down much. We didn’t make it to 13,332 until around 3:30. This didn’t bode well for our hope to finish Huxley before sunset, but I was still relieved to get through the part I was most concerned about. It seemed like we were both suffering from a bit of adrenaline poisoning and the easier terrain ahead would be a welcome change.

Robert climbing down

Robert coming through the chimney

climbing on the “golden triangle” – Robert photo the dark peak with 2 snow patches behind me is Wallace to the right of Wallace is the lighter Haeckel with a higher right summit the dark sawtooth ridge to the right is the ridge to the Fiske east summit

Robert climbing on the “golden triangle”

Robert climbing “au cheval” below me on the ridge

view with shoes looking south towards Haeckel on the left with Wallace on the far left behind it and Fiske on the right and Warlow just clearing the horizon on the far right

Stay tuned for Part 3 next week!