East Ball Mountain Trip Report
Since I drag Dave on a lot more snow climbs than he might otherwise be
inclined to do I figured I owed him a good few climbs of his choosing.
Unfortunately these tend to be long and involved and require more time
out in winter suffering than I personally care for but que sera sera.
Dave had his eyes set on Mt. Dyer's West Ridge. Gerry Roach
describes it as 3rd class but this requires a good bit of skirting
around things and we wanted to tackle it head on. Since neither
of us were really sure what this would entail but knew we would
encounter icy 4th class and maybe low 5th class we geared up with
harnesses, rope, and a modicum of protection.
- From the East, Class 1, ~6.0 Miles, ~ 2100 ft, January 20th 2007
(Jared & Dave Pneuman)
The basic plan was as follows: We would head up the road from the
ASARCO mine until we reached the slopes leading to East Ball Mt.
From there we would contour over to West Dyer and then head back
to Dyer Mountain's West Ridge. Once past the Ridge we would
either find an avalanche free slope to scramble down and hike the road
out or simply reverse our route. The extra peaks were added by
examining topographic maps and choosing the most avalanche safe routes.
As luck would have it our plans changed a good bit. Perhaps in
hindsight the signs all pointed to this. At first our group was
to consists of Dave, myself, my wife, my friend Brian , and his cousin.
Due to various circumstances everyone ended up bailing except for Dave.
We figured, what the hell, it will go faster with just the two of
us and, geared for winter with all the extra weight taken up by
survival gear and technical gear, we headed out.
We arrived at the trailhead around 9:00 in the morning where I
discovered that I was missing the hip-belt to my pack. I had sent
my Osprey in to the company to reinforce the bottom and they had
forgotten to return the hip-belt. Most of my recent trips had
only needed a 30 liter bag so I failed to notice this. I figured
I would suck it up and go anyway. It was amazing how much it
sucked to carry a winter pack entirely on my shoulders but winter
climbing is all about suffering so what was a little more?
We headed up the trail and made decent time to the turn off for
East Ball Mountain. As usual we had left our snowshoes in the car and
commenced to postholing across willows and fields before arriving at
the windblown slopes. At times we found ourselves chest deep in
powder but plowed on. Snowshoes are essentially useless in this
stuff so I was glad we weren't carrying them.
Once we began heading up I started feeling pretty badly. I had
practically skipped up Quandary a week or so ago but was bonking pretty
badly on this day. Dave, who most likely has the beginnings of a flu or
cold was bonking much worse. Our pace continued to slow and by
the time we summited East Ball Mt. it was clear we weren't going to
meet our objective.
We headed on a bit farther to get a good look at the ridge. It
was an impressive (albeit short) piece of work and I was a bit sad we
had to bail but Dave had a headache coming on and the last thing we
needed was him getting dizzy on icy technical terrain. We spent a short
while enjoying the views and the very cool ridge line between East Ball
and West Dyer and then headed back. The walk out was miserable.
Dave was feeling terrible and my shoulders were killing me. After
a time we found ourselves back at the car. The major perk of
stopping early was that we mostly beat the ski traffic back to Boulder.
The route looked pretty reasonable and hopefully we'll head back to it.
While we did not get our objective we did get to spend a day up
high with beautiful weather and I learned the names and locations of
six or so new peaks. A few years ago failing would have bothered
me but now I figure any day in the high country where everyone goes
home safely is a success
In two weeks Dave and I will be heading for another of his planned traverses. I'm looking forward to it.
Starting Out From Asarco Mine
Heading to East Ball Mountain
Dyer and Iowa Amphitheaters
Heading Up The Steep Slopes
- East Ball Mountain And Dyer Mountain
- Just Past East Ball Mountain With West Dyer, Mt Evans B and Mt. Dyer's West Ridge in Sight