Mt. Neva 12,814 ft
class 4-5.0 , ~8 miles, ~3200 ft, May 2007
(Jared and Dave Pneuman)
(pictures courtesy of Dave Pneuman)
The plan for Memorial Day weekend of 2007 was originally going to include a trip to the San Juans. I have only a handful of 14ers left and they are all in that range. Unfortunately recent snowfall and rockfall made it likely that several of the access roads would remain closed and I didn't fancy the idea of driving hours, at $3.50 per gallon, only to turn around, so the plans changed.
On Friday the 25th Dave Pneuman and I climbed McGregor slab via some 5.7 route and kicked around the idea of doing something in the Indian Peaks. Dave and I have been knocking off classic climbs in this range and thought that the North Ridge on Mt. Neva looked interesting. Dave wasn't sure if he would be coming or not but I decided to give it a go with Jen and my friend Brian Morsony. On Saturday Dave called me and informed me he would be coming as well. The plans were set.
The four of us met at my house around 7:00 on May 28th. We packed up the Tacoma and headed out. Between stopping for gas, food, and avoiding the Boulder-Boulder race detours we didn't really get going until around 8:00 but the weather was forecast to be good and none of us cared. We arrived at the end of the 4th of July trailhead around 9:30 and set off. Along the way we were joined by a fellow named Robbie who was planning on doing one of Neva's couloirs.
We made decent time to Arapahoe pass as the trail was either melted out or consolidated snow. I offered to have Robbie come along with us and told Brian I'd short rope him the whole way if he wanted to come but I could tell that there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm on their parts.
The North Ridge
Dave and I headed out along the ridge which turned out to be quite a good bit of fun. We moved quickly on it but occasionally encountered stretches that had to be bypassed or were a bit snowy. For the most part the climbing was fun 3rd class punctuated by the occasional 4th class with good rock. The route finding was also straightforward as it was obvious when something had to be bypassed. The climbing was fun and solid and the weather and snow made it more interesting. After descending and ascending a few walls rock bands and notches we found ourselves at the base of 40 or so feet of icy, snowy ledges which lead up to a slot separating the Ridge from the huge colored wall on Neva. This was the crux of the day for me as it was very icy and a fall would have stunk. We made our way (carefully) to the top of this section then climbed into the slot.
Once in the slot I headed up to the left and Dave headed to the right. The climbing was a bit loose and a fall would have resulted in a tumble down several hundred feet to the snowfield below so we took our time with at. At the top our paths diverged and I found myself on a slightly tricky (but dry) downclimb into another little notch. Dave found himself about 20 feet to my left on some ice and snow. I headed up a decent little bit of class 4(5.0?) which was pretty fun in boots. As I was climbing I noticed Dave was on a section that was probably 4th class but was very icy. Since neither of us feel that taking stupid chances is a good idea I told him to hold on for a minute. I climbed up to the ledge above and set up a quick belay using a rock as an anchor. I then lowered the 20 meter rope Dave had brought along to him along with a carabiner and sling. Dave made himself a quick diaper sling and I belayed him past the annoying section. All of this took about 5 minutes and I'd recommend people bring a small assortment of gear, even on 4th class routes for situations just like this one.
Our Impromptu Belay
Looking Back At Our Route
The Final Snowy Stretch
CLICK HERE FOR A PANORAMA OF THE COULOIRS AND SNOWFIELD ON NEVAWe kick stepped and plunge stepped to a point below a rock band then started a long glissade out. The glissade was a ton of fun and dropped us about 600 or so vertical feet (and a whole lot more horizontal distance) in a short time. The other option would have been to descend towards the connecting ridge with Jasper and take a much longer way out.
Our Entire Route
A Cool Waterfall
Back To My Other Mountains Page