East Partner (Peak V) from Pitkin TH
September 3, 2011 in Central
3:30am alarm. 4:30 Pitkin TH. I opted for the gaiters at the TH. It might not have been raining, but I had a feeling the flora was going to be dumping the moisture on me. I was opting for rain pants and Gore-tex before I cleared tree line. I split from the Pitkin lake trail a little before 11k’. I like the western side of the east fork of Pitkin Creek. The snow had gone to water since Peak X. Gosh it was a great early summer for snow travel. I contoured north then west as I rounded the east side of East Partner. Grass, boulders and scree were served up, but mostly the former 2 as I made my way up to “Volkswagen Ridge.” The clouds were not doing what I wanted. I began to wonder how fast I could exit the ridges if things got electric. Nice view of Q, R, S and Peak L is starting to taunt. A bit of reflecting on the Peak X trip and the Peak W-12,710′ Ridge and I was off. To the west there was a huge high pressure cell moving in. This was going to be good. Bluebird for lunch today. The ridge was some of the best rock I’ve been on this summer. I agree with previous climbers, excellent class 3-4 rock. The only blip on the radar on VW Ridge was a snow field that was melting out on some steep terrain. My crampons were at home and my ice axe went to Capital Peak. The steep wet dirt route worked just fine. I didn’t consider the rock on climber’s left. I’ll say it was class 5, possibly dirty, that was none of my business this day. There was a wee saddle at the top of the snow field. Back on the rock. Fun stuff. Lots of views of West Partner and the connecting ridge. The summit was the perfect size. The weather’s turn allowed a lingery first lunch. I spent a decent amount of time working the east side of the south ridge from the summit. I hit most of the high points and tried to stay on the main ridge as much as possible. Man that lake looked good as things started to heat up. I really wanted to look for the mine site on the lower south ridge, but the lake won out and I followed the grassy western slopes of the south ridge to a lovely location on the banks of Pitkin Lake. Ciesta. The hike out was pleasant. I milked the day for 12+ hours. Quality.