I completed a link up I have been wanting to do for some time. Taking the afternoon off after all my meetings fell through, I decided today was my day. I left my car at the West Slabs trail head. It would be a solo day so I had no one to talk to but good to relieve some stress. The snow in the couloir up to the Slabs was slushy, making travel a little slower than I would have liked. The crux move had a bit of water in the dihedral which added to the excitement. The rest of the slabs was was excellent with a hanging snowfield on the last shelf. On top of the ridge I eyed Geurt's Ridge. That steep west facing ridgeline with two large towers. This ridge is the right ridge when looking at the west side of Olympus. Mountain Project gives it a 5.5 rating with a couple rappels.
I descended off the Slabs ridge, headed due southwest into Tolcat and had to negotiate cliffs, nasty bushwhacking and a super close call with a rattle snake that just about got me. It freaked me out. I'm not a rattlesnake fan.
I worked my way to the base of the Geurt's Direct Route and then moved up excellent, stable, steep rock where I joined the ridge proper. It is a great climb, with some good exposure, mixture of 4th class and shots of 5th class climbing along the way. In keeping with the alpine spirit I donned my 7 mm cord and rappelled off the first 50' overhanging rappel. The crux seemed to follow that rappel, going 5.5/5.6. The second rappel I down climbed. The entire ridge was really enjoyable and I think it had several great climbing sections making things interesting. All told, it was a great link up and a fun solo trip on excellent rock. I don't know that I would go back into Tolcat for fear of snakes. I then dropped down the standard trail and looped back via Bonneville to my car.
-Left car at 12:50 PM
-Top of West Slabs 1:45 PM
-Top of South Summit via Geurt's Ridge 3:25 PM
|Geurt's ridge as seen from top of West Slabs- my line of ascent in red|
|Lower part of the ridge and Direct Line I took from Tolcat|
|The "cat walk" and looking at top of 1st major tower|
|Looking down Geurt's Ridge and my approximate line of descent off West Slabs|