Citadel
(Unnamed - Point 13,294)

9 Jun 2001 - by Doug Cook

Our BMS class planned a route up Dry Creek rather than the standard Hermann Gulch trail. The hike in was primarily on a well defined trail until we started the steep climb up the slopes to the saddle on the ridge which connects with the trail coming up from Hermann Gulch. From the TH to the ridge it was dry except for several wet, boggy drainages carrying snowmelt and a large snowfield across the flats below the ridge. The ridge run to the summits was mostly dry on the lower sections and then snowcovered where we traversed above several huge cornices. As we traversed above the cornices, there were cracks developing as the cornice snow gradually weakened under the pull of gravity. Within the next few weeks, there will be some spectacular pieces of cornice breaking loose.

On the North side below the summits, we carefully traversed the steep snowfield below the summit blocks. We pulled out our ice axes before crossing the steep snow, but the snow was already soft enough that a self arrest would have had to be accomplished by hands and feet, since the ice axe picks easily pulled through the loose snow. The couloirs to the summit were in great shape with plenty of snow. We axcended the widest, third couloir. We easily kick stepped our way to the saddle between the twin summits. We dropped our packs at the saddle and climbed the short 4th class rock section and traversed across to the West summit arriving around 11:15 AM. After a brief rest, with threatening storms and rain far to the North, we downclimbed to the saddle and made the easy hike up to the East summit block. The East summit is an airy perch big enough for only one butt at a time. We tried to compare the two summits to see which was actually higher. Visually, they look about the same elevation. With an analog Thommen altimeter graduated into 20 foot divisions and a Suunto Altimeter watch, we were unable to determine which point was highest. They must be within about 10 feet of each other. Next time, I'll try a GPS. We did not bring snowshoes on the trip, which were never needed, and crampons weren't necessary on the steeper sections due to the soft snow.


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