Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mt. Wilson via Cleaver Crack

Today (5-3), I led seven hikers to the summit of Mt. Wilson via Cleaver Crack route. This route was founded by Howard Booth back in the sixties. Davis and I found it again in 2002, almost 40 years later. This is the shortest route to the summit and probably the best.

The route follows the trail into the canyon and then heads up the south fork of Oak Creek Canyon. It ascends 150+ feet via a narrow crack before entering Cleaver Crack, a five foot wide crack with towering hundred foot walls.
The route then get serious with a traverse along a very narrow ledge about 100 feet above the ground. One fall, that's all! From there it's easy going to the summit.

Indeed a tough and scary route for most. Now it's hard to believe it was only the fourth scrambling hike Kathy has ever done! Talk about being a natural. She handled all the climbing without any problem. Here's a photo of us at the summit. And, no, I had not been drinking milk! Milk is for babies!

Notes: The route is in decent shape. Some cairns are down due to high winds. There's a nice work around a tricky traverse a little past the rope. Coming back down we avoid a different tricky down climb by going into the canyon to the south. We then descend a very narrow moss covered ledge. Well all you have to do is get on the ledge and jump about three feet down. It's much easier.