Hawksbeak, Tower and Ehrnbeck Trip

19-26 Aug 2007 - by Rick Thaler

We hiked into the high valley that is circled by Hawksbeak, Ehrnbeck and Tower. There is no marked trail into this area and we did a nice bit of bushwhacking/map reading to find our way in. We camped low in the valley the first night and then moved to the upper falls (marked on the map) to one of the nicest camp spots I've found. We kicked stepped up the snowfield on Ehrnbeck to have a look that afternoon. The next day we climbed Hawksbeak by the southwest ridge and hiked down the north side around Kirkwood Lake and back to camp via beautiful granite ramps and gullies. We found a perfect obsidian point in the scree up very high.

Next day we climbed Tower, approaching from the east. We encountered a large healthy male black bear with three legs - he got around just fine but appeared to be very unfamiliar with humans. We got to see him run away full speed up a slope that would have taken us an hour to climb. Tower was beautiful, very exposed but easy rock climbing at the top.

The following day we set off up the snowfield to climb Ehrnbeck but I got sick about halfway up and turned back. David and Tom had a minor epic finding the route but summitted and were back in camp by 2 PM.

I would like to know if anyone else has been to this area in the seventies or eighties. I was there in 1971 as a student in California Outward Bound. I distinctly remember the upper falls as shooting out of a hole in the face of the cliff. The falls now shoot out of a slot in the rock but they fall on a huge stationwagon sized boulder that looks very much as though it slipped out of the slot. If it were in place in the slot my memory would be correct. If anyone remembers seeing this please let me know.

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