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University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

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University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

Postby B.Kruger » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:44 am

Anybody tried/done it? Looks like it could be a fun way to loop Dragon/Gould/University, but it also seems like there are a few questionable gendarmes to surpass. I've read of folks looping these three peaks by dropping down from Kearsarge Pass and cutting over to Bench Lake only to re-ascend to the ridge line and continue on to University- is that detour because the full ridge line is poor?

Photo of the ridge borrowed from the Peaks for Freaks website () with line added by me:

P1090613_2.jpg
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Re: University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:42 pm

B.Kruger wrote:Anybody tried/done it? Looks like it could be a fun way to loop Dragon/Gould/University, but it also seems like there are a few questionable gendarmes to surpass. I've read of folks looping these three peaks by dropping down from Kearsarge Pass and cutting over to Bench Lake only to re-ascend to the ridge line and continue on to University- is that detour because the full ridge line is poor?

I have not done this, but I know this view well and I've climbed the last part of the route from Bench Lake (which is the easiest route on University). The question is: what do you consider "fun" which is the flip side of what you consider "questionable"? I could be very wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are two pretty long sections of that ridge that will have moves that will exceed class 3: the first on these will be the very first section south of Kearsarge Paa, the second and likely more difficult section will be the very long section btw Snow Crown and the main University Peak massif that is mostly hidden from view in this photo. The class 2 route from Bench Lake ascends the scree and talus chute to the large snow patch just below the crest of what you'd call the "right shoulder" of University Pk in this view. Then you can follow the ridge to the summit. The final ridge is class 3 near the summit, but that last class 3 part can be avoided by swinging southward on the west side of the ridge to reach class 2 ground.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

Postby B.Kruger » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:03 am

giantbrookie wrote:
B.Kruger wrote:Anybody tried/done it? Looks like it could be a fun way to loop Dragon/Gould/University, but it also seems like there are a few questionable gendarmes to surpass. I've read of folks looping these three peaks by dropping down from Kearsarge Pass and cutting over to Bench Lake only to re-ascend to the ridge line and continue on to University- is that detour because the full ridge line is poor?

I have not done this, but I know this view well and I've climbed the last part of the route from Bench Lake (which is the easiest route on University). The question is: what do you consider "fun" which is the flip side of what you consider "questionable"? I could be very wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are two pretty long sections of that ridge that will have moves that will exceed class 3: the first on these will be the very first section south of Kearsarge Paa, the second and likely more difficult section will be the very long section btw Snow Crown and the main University Peak massif that is mostly hidden from view in this photo. The class 2 route from Bench Lake ascends the scree and talus chute to the large snow patch just below the crest of what you'd call the "right shoulder" of University Pk in this view. Then you can follow the ridge to the summit. The final ridge is class 3 near the summit, but that last class 3 part can be avoided by swinging southward on the west side of the ridge to reach class 2 ground.


Thanks for the thoughts, Brookie. I should have included some more personal info. Rock climbing is my primary hobby, and high country ridge traverses are something that excite me to no end, no matter the class. I'm very comfortable with exposed class 4 moves, etc., and have the knowledge to navigate class 5 via rope/gear as needed. I made a day trip to the area yesterday to pop up Mt. Gould and scout a little, and I think you're very right about the steep sections, particularly just south of Kearsarge. Looks like it might higher class scrambling at the least, potentially into 5th class. Which is also great! :D
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Re: University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:25 am

OK, looks like you've found a potentially enjoyable traverse. After finishing the fun stuff and reaching the summit you can then quickly descend the class 2 chute to Bench Lake and then Onion Valley if you want to (ie minimum amount of time after the real climbing). Best wishes for a fun climb.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: University Peak via Ridge Traverse from Kearsarge Pass?

Postby srb » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:47 am

I realize this may be too late, but in case it helps anyone else:

From the direction of Kearsarge Pass, here's the ridge leading up to Nameless Pyramid (with Snow Crown in the background): https://goo.gl/photos/M68H7N3P6FHPb8h99

Here's some more of the ridge after Snow Crown, I think from Bench Lake: https://goo.gl/photos/m67GJgHcvZhSqqoQ6

And finally, here's Snow Crown from the other side taken a bit of the way up the 'North Face' route to University Peak: https://goo.gl/photos/gzR4dncbFCTAmtXv8
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