Nevahbe Ridge on Mt Morgan (N) 13,005 ft.
23 Jun 2001 - by Arun Mahajan
Moynier and Fiddler describe this airy ridge (100 Best Climbs
in the High Sierra) and say that you start by crossing McGee
Creek just before the pack station and get onto the ridge via
a steep cuoloir. Well, I parked at the McGee Creek trailhead
and by 7.15am, Saturday, 23rd June was walking back towards
the pack station, looking for a place to get onto the ridge. I had
seen no cuoloir and so had left the axe and crampons in the car.
Through a soggy meadow and trees, wading the creek and on
the steep, low-brush covered slope towards the ridge and soon
I was at the top of the first bump, looking at a small dip and then
a sharp ridge (ridge-A) consisting of many towers and gendarmes
and this ridge itself seemed to hit an east-west ridge, which, I now
assume, is the actual Nevahbe Ridge. There were class-2 options
on both sides of ridge-A but I choose to climb it head on and was
soon rewarded by some beautiful class-3 and maybe mild class-4
climbing on friable rock. "But, that is the beauty of this climb",
Kai Weidman, had told me when I had asked him for beta. After this,
I was on the ridge and followed it as it snaked southwest and then
southwards. There are numerous ups and downs and I was tempted to
skirt them to avoid them but followed Kai's advice to stick
to the ridge and to not be discouraged by the many towers.
The ridge looks deceptively short from the road but it is long and
winding and it took me about seven hours to reach the dark top
(point 12553 on the Morrison 15 min) and much to my chagrin, the
long summit ridge of Morgan seemed even further away, seperated
from this point by a saddle. I was very tempted to bail out as the
sandy slopes on my right looked very tempting but I plodded on,
down to the saddle and then up again on the white blocky ridge.
From my assessment and reading of the topo, the summit appears to
be a bump on a long curving ridge. I came upto a high point and
then another high point on the south. Looking back, the north
point seemed slightly higher. I saw no register but I also did not
look long and hard. My GPS-altimeter registered 13015 and Morgan
is 13005, so I decided that this was it and also, all this blocky
stuff was getting tiring so I headed back. It was 3 pm. Some easy
walking down the sandy plain and then a dropoff on the left on
red coloured rock dropped me into Esha Canyon. This is a most
enjoyable hike down and the canyon is spectacular. It has a high
tarn that drains into another below via a series of small waterfalls.
The wildflowers were in bloom. A sketchy trail sometimes showed
up on the sandy sections but for the most part it was hard on the knees
to decend this but the cool breeze and the beautiful canyon walls
took my tiredness away. 2 coyotes came running up the canyon, saw me
and veered away. I was in thrall! Kai had said that it had took him
and his team a whole day. Yes, count on it. I was back to my car at
7 pm, a twelve hour day.
It maybe that the real start of the ridge from the toe is harder.
I still got a lot of class-3 and some class-4 on my variation of the start.
This is a very enjoyable climb but remember to not trust any
handhold and make sure that before pulling yourself up, you
are secure. Many thanks to PCS climber, Kai Weidman, for the
information and advice provided to me.
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