Matterhorn Peak, Whorl Mountain


By: Bill T Russell

The 29th annual Russell Family mountaineering trip started Wed afternoon at Twin Lakes and ascended Horse Creek. We camped that night at a good spot on the trail at 9400' (222202). Our party was smaller than usual; wife Pat, son David, niece Leslie and me.

On Thu, we continued on thru the pass and made camp at a fine big sandy spot with a nearby stream at 10680'(919180). It is about 200m NE of the small lake at the head of Spiller Creek. We climbed Matterhorn that pm. The route goes up the obvious broad, shallow chute directly toward the summit. At about 11900' the route veers to the left and goes up a wall onto the south ridge and then up it to the top.

On Fri we did Whorl. The route description below is from memory after the climb so it may be somewhat off but still useful. The route goes south for 1.5 km past the small lake at 10500' and then traverses upward to about 10900' at a point generally south of the summit rocks. From here the big summit pinnacles are visible and to their left is a pinnacle with a squarish top that is bigger than its supporting base. To the left of this square top is a rock that has a domed or round top. The route goes up to the left of this round top over cl 2 and easy cl 3. At perhaps 11500', find a narrow, sandy short, lateral chute that goes up the rib on the right. Ascend this and pass thru a notch in the rib and down, or across, a 6 " ledge to the neighboring chute. Ascend this chute with moderately exposed 2nd class for perhaps 250' elev and find another narrow little lateral chute leading to the top of the rib on the right. Go up this chute to the top and then make a few moves up the rib and discover a narrow pathway between vertical rocks that leads upward to the base of a wall with a large ( 10' dia ?) chockstone. There is a cave under the chockstone and at its back is a 20' vertical, corkscrew like passage with easy climbing that brings one out at the top of the chockstone. If the cave is full of snow, as it was the first time I did Whorl, one can go up the rock to the left of the chockstone; it has a cl 4 move near the bottom. From the top of the chockstone, the route upward is nice cl 2, then an improbable cl 1 "sidewalk" followed by more cl 2 to the nearby summit.

We were surprised and pleased to meet Dave Dykeman, Nancy Gordon and party at the top of the chockstone as they were descending. After going to the summit, we descended to our camp and the next morning, Sat, we hiked out and drove home. It was a very good outing.

SPS Trip Report Index | Sierra Peaks Section