This track was taken on a Labor Day 2010 climb of Mount Conness. The approach via class 2 pass between Conness and White. Descent via ... more »convoluted 2nd-3rd class east ridge route.
This route starts from the Sawmill walk-in campground. If you walk through the campground you’ll eventually find yourself of a well-worn single track trail. It passes the Carnegie Institute Experimental Station (I believe they study high-altitude plants and ecosystems) and continues through beautiful high alpine meadows. As you hike higher up the drainage the trail fades away as people disperse to the different routes up the face of Conness.
You will eventually find a 'ramp' that leads you to the pass. I remember staring at a big wall of rock in front of us and wondering where the heck this ‘ramp’ was, but as we got closer the route became clear. At the head of the drainage leading into the meadow we found a steep talus slope hiding behind a ridge. This north-facing slope led straight up to a low point on the ridge between White and Conness. There was still a snowfield along this slope and I imagine it would be a far more complicated climb earlier in the season, requiring ice axe and crampons. On Labor Day weekend, however, it was a talus hop most of the way.
Towards the top there are several likely looking chutes for the final 100 feet or so to the ridge, and we took the most obvious one. It was sandy and steep and difficult to keep our feet under us, but it was short and we quickly found ourselves on the ridge with a view towards Ragged Peak to the west. The summit of Conness was still not visible, hiding behind the ridge to the north.
From here the hike is quite easy, following a use trail along the ridge to gain another 1000 feet until it gets to the foot of the exposed ridge that leads the final 200 feet to the summit. A few words on this ridge: this is the crux of the climb because of the exposure. The rock is sturdy and hand/foot holds are clear. It’s a bit scrambly but for the most part it’s simple one-foot-in-front-of-another terrain. However, if you are not comfortable with exposure you may have problems with this section. Your ability to pass this section really depends on your skills and comfort level.
The descent on this track follows a convoluted variation on the slightly more difficult east ridge route. There is a use trail from the upper ridge near Conness but it fades and disperses after the initial drop off the ridge. The track shows our 2nd-3rd class 'best-guess' of the route, however it would be easier to simply descend the ascent route. less «