Tyndall Gorge and Chaos Canyon

(Part II)

For Part I of this report, you should probably click here.

I know, sometimes I make really crazy decisions in the mountains. But, the gully leading from Emerald Lake up to the east ridge of Hallett Peak looked *way* too inviting. I knew that Rossiter claimed the east ridge is class 4 (with only short stretches being technical), and I did have some climbing gear with me (enough to rig a self-belay if need be), so I decided... what the hell? If things got too bad I could just glissade back down the gully (there were several glissade tracks going down it) and return home.

So up the gully I went. One forth of the way up I stopped to put on crampons (which I probably didn't need, because the snow was soft enough for great step-kicking), grab an ice axe, and take some photos. Below is the south face of Flattop. From left to right you have the Dragon's Tooth, followed by Dragon's Tooth Coulior, followed by the Dragon's Tail, followed by Dragon's Tail Coulior (which two people were climbing this day).

Of course, I also had some great views of the first and second buttress on Hallett's north face. Notice the climber heading up in the picture below (there were 3 of them, looking ready to do some hard-core climbing on the north face).

As I climbed another brief flurry came in, hence the darkened pictures. I took a quick shot up the gully I was climbing. All the "avalanche debris" you see is really the debris from people glissading down the chute. The gully got deceptively steep towards the top...

One of the smaller couliors angling into the gully I was climbing...

The north face of Hallett from inside the gully, with the Dragon's Tooth spire across the gorge:

As I reached the top of the gully, it split into several directions. I headed up the least steep-looking fork, which turned out to the the western-most. It was still steeper then hell (probably hitting around 60-70 degree in angle) for the last few feet. I slipped once, about 10 feet, but was able to quickly self-arrest. Looking down I could see a lot of really unhappy rocks below my fall line -- though, in the event of another fall, I would have plenty of space to self- arrest, the prospect of smacking into the rocks below was not a happy one. I made my way to some rocks melting through the snow slope and climbed those, instead. Below is a picture of the col at the top of the gully (taken from the fork I climbed). The bump on the left is point 11,120+, on top of the ridge.

And the cliche view of Longs Peak from the col:

Finally reaching the ridge top, just above the col, I took this picture looking towards point 11,120+.

And a shot the other direction -- looking into Chaos Canyon for the first time that day, this shot is of Otis Peak (on the left) with a buttress on the right foreground.

From here I could looking longingly up the east ridge of Hallett...

For the next part of this trip/photo report, click here.

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