April 27, 2010
After a couple of failed solo attempts, I was thrilled to finally reach the summit of The Sinking Ship this morning with Jed Dryer. It was just our second outing together, after hiking the Tanner Trail in January.
Jed spent some time playing around (or maybe showing off, lol) by scaling some cliffs on the west face before making an earnest effort to get to the top.
If memory serves, I think what happened here was that I began the climb from the easy southeast face, while Jed eyeballed the “fun” wall on the west face. After I popped out above him, he insisted on following through with this direct route to my location.
My opinion is that the climb has 2 cruxes.
The first is a loose, steep chimney with a slightly problematic chockstone obstacle. It would be simple if not for the poor footing in the floor of the chimney. I had an easy time going up it, but getting back down can be little daunting without a spot.
The second crux is the last leg up to the summit, but I discovered that it can be bypassed. A skilled climber can get up or down it without much trouble, as Jed did in this case.
As I watched him go up, I wondered if there was a better way. I made a belly-crawl below a ledge to the ledge that I thought was worth a shot, and it went through. I think it’s more comfortable and safe than the direct route.
The summit register in 2010 was just a rusty old can.
We spent a little more time exploring the area, but Jed had a deadline to get work that evening as a bellman at Yavapai Lodge. I had the day off, and spent the afternoon on a short hike down the New Hance Trail.
You’ll have to excuse the aged look of the photos. They were shot with an crummy old pocket camera, as I wasn’t comfortable hauling my DSLR to the summit.
Jed was prepared with plenty of gear, but it wasn’t needed.