Peak:  Star Peak A (13er)
 Route:  Northeast Basin and North Ridge from Taylor Peak A
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  11/06/2020
 Date Posted:  11/06/2020

From the summit of Taylor Peak A descend the ridge and talus into the basin below the ridge. You could probably traverse the early part of the ridge but I doubt it's worth the trouble, just drop below it all and begin a lengthy and extremely tedious sidehill on very loose talus towards Star. There are some ups and downs along minor ribs but the difficulty never exceeds Class 2. Once in the upper northeast basin you'll find yourself below a great gully. There's a big ugly block of rock in the middle and either side of the gully around the block can be ascended or descended. Neither is really better than the other and both are steep and extremely loose. Ascend to the ridge, then head south, at first on the east side of the ridge (the west side is almost vertical) and gain the ridge as soon as it makes sense. The east side of the ridge is very steep, very loose, and covered in up to knee deep sugar snow, disguising all the garbage rock below. The ridge is narrow but a little better than making an ascending traverse on the dangerous rock/snow combo. Difficulty is somewhere in the Class 2+ range but the risk and consequences are very, very high on this part in current conditions. It's only a few hundred vertical feet but requires great care. Don't blindly grab rock as most of it is ready to slide. To descend retrace your steps, being very careful as you go. At the top of the gully descend back into the basin then head south, picking your way around cliffs and such, until you're in the forest, continuing until you find the trail. Take it back to the trailhead. I would consider boots or some kind of warm, waterproof footwear mandatory in current conditions. I didn't use an ice axe or traction despite the snow but traction would probably have been a smart move - bring it and if you don't use it no problem, but I suspect most will want it.

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) Star Peak A from Taylor Peak A.#2) The suck.#3#4) From near the top of the gully. Lots of steep, super loose, snowy rock.#5) On the ridge crest, which is generally easier and most definitely safer than traversing the ridge flank.

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