Mount Irvine, Mount Mallory
By: Barbee Tidball
I like this kind of trip, a leisurely hike in with lots and lots of time to look up. attempt to identify and just enjoy the wild flowers. Needless to say, my co-leader and most of the trip participants were fast bored with my happy wanderings and hiked quickly by me and into camp. Oh well they did not get to see the flowers, at least not close enough to count the stamen!
Once Suzanne Mamedalin (yes there was one other wildflower enthusiast along to encourage my pursuits) and I wandered into camp the sky decided it was time for a short thunder shower. Just wet enough for everyone to retreat to their tents and for me to have time to pull out my books and look up two more flowers. Then we joined the other climbers for a relaxed happy hour and time to study the map for the next days climb.
Larry had assured me that the easiest route was up the ridge to Irvine and then a traverse over to Mallory, and since Larry said so, we were almost ready to believe him and go that way except his description included something about big rocks on the way to Mallory and we couldn't see any big rock even when Igor Mamedalin climbed up to the nearest high point for a look and the Bruley's were there telling us the ridge up Irvine was a real pain. So in the end I followed the adage of never listen to your husband and we climbed Mallory first via the chute just South of the East ridge on Sunday.
This route goes pretty much just like described in the guide books. It was a nice clean snow chute, requiring crampons early in the day, but turning soft near the top as the sun warmed the route. The snow route was made even easier by Eric Siering, Nile Sorenson. and Jim Fujimoto's great kick steps when the snow became softer.
After Mallory I decided to check out the traverse and head directly over to Irvine. The route off the summit of Mallory is good class 3 rock with a couple squeezes down a short chimney and through a key hole. The route doesn't look like much but if you just work it along it goes very smoothly. The group, including Larry Hook, Joan Andrew, Eric, Jim, Igor, Suzanne, Nile and Barbara nicely trusted me a couple times when I yelled back "come-on" and they couldn't see that the route was getting easier. We actually climbed North to North/West over the rock ridge and down to a saddle where we turned back over to the East face and headed down a wonderful snow chute and out for a glissade into the bowl between Irvine and Mallory. Once in the bowl it is just North and on up Irvine.
By then the sun was bright and hot! I believe that the temperature raised at least 5 degrees when we stepped off the snow and onto the scree and rock for the ascent up Irvine. By the time we summited Irvine, afternoon storm clouds were gathering again so we signed in fast and headed North home. The North ridge was long and arduous, but the storm never caught us and everyone returned to camp safely.
Thank you to Barbara Cohen for a great co-lead! Thanks to everyone else for a GREAT TRIP!
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