TR: Mt. Bancroft East Ridge 7/11/2009
I tried to motivate people to join me but failed... which is a shame because this was one of the best, easy access, semi-technical climb I've done! I woke up early and headed up to Mt. Bancroft (13,250') near St. Mary's Glacier to climb the East Ridge route, which is short but sweet scramble with a mandatory 70ft rappel and a very short, 30ft pitch of 5.2 climbing, plus lots of class 3 scrambling and a spot or two of class 4 on very solid rock (as alpine rock goes, anyway!). Great weather combined with excellent views and a fun 4wd road to access and virtually no other people on the peak made for a excellent Colorado Saturday morning.
Early morning scenery along the 4wd road. The road was still gated about 3/4-1 mi below Loch Lomond, so there was a bit of extra hiking involved.
More roadside beauty.
This is the snowdrift that, apparently, justifies keeping the road closed.
Early sun on Loch Lomond (not a natural lake).
The west end of Loch Lomond.
A closer look at the waterfall dropping into the lake from the basin between James Peak and Mt. Bancroft.
Lake Caroline from the base of Bancroft's east face. I climbed the rocky ridge on the right.
Looking out over the bench below Lake Caroline towards Denver.
Cool ice features on Lake Caroline, far below.
Loch Lomond, Steuart Lake, and Reynolds Lake. There appears to be a trail that leads up here from Loch Lomond, which I would think would be a beautiful easy hike (there is another lake not visible in this photo as well).
Ice Lake at the base of James Peak's south face. Apparently, despite the sunny exposure, Bancroft's east ridge shades this area enough to hold snow a long time.
Self portrait on the summit.
A panorama from the Grays/Torreys area to the SW to St. Mary's area in the NE.
James Peak to the N and Parry Peak to the W.
Looking down on Lake Caroline and the ridge I climbed.
This random face just south of Bancroft looks to hold a couple excellent N facing couloirs, if they hold snow.
Mt Bancroft. Ascent route follows ridge on the right, descent follows the gentle ridge on the left.
A really fun route, very close to Denver. I'll be back to repeat this one for sure.