Mt Harrington

7 Jun 1998 - by David Harris

Laurie Price and David Harris attempted to climb Mt. Harrington from Cedar Grove this weekend (June 6-7). We were turned back at the north end of the summit ridge because the ridge had overhanging cornices and significant snow cover at what appeared would be difficult, exposed 3rd class moves. It is possible to bypass the snow on rock, but I would recommend that any party attempting the ridge in the near future carry proper gear for technical rock.

The snow level in the area is nearly continuous above Frypan Meadow at 7800', though camping in the meadow is good. The trail from Frypan to Grizzly Lakes is long unmaintained and appears to be non-existent in places; it is also mostly covered in snow. We had a challenging four mile navigation exercise from Frypan to the summit ridge in fog restricting visibility to about 100 yards. It was complicated by what appears to be a software bug in my Avocet altimeter; the altimeter started to read 400 feet high during the first 2000 feet of climb in the morning, causing navigation confusion that was only fully resolved by pressing the mode buttons in the altimeter until I discovered it was reading the correct altitude again. I intend to purchase a GPS after this experience.

For those contemplating Mt. Harrington in the future, the south ridge looks like very appealing 4th class climbing, though the approach is awfully long for the amount of climbing available. Harrington and Kennedy can both be climbed from a base camp at Frypan Meadow (about 4 miles to each camp); making the approach and doing a summit the same day in current conditions would be extremely strenuous. There is a bear box at the meadow.

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