Dumbell and Greenwood Mountains

Dumbell (8,421ft) and Greenwood (8,415ft)

Looking across at Dumbell from the summit of Greenwood

September 13-14, 2017

Eric Gilbertson

I had just come down from Mt Fernow and retrieved my bivy gear in Leroy Meadows in the afternoon on September 13. I still had an extra day of food, so decided to climb two more mountains before returning to the car. Dumbell and Greenwood were farther up Phelps Creek, so pretty easily accessible.

I hiked back down Leroy creek, surprisingly passing several other groups coming up. If it was that popular on a wednesday, I imagine the area is quite crowded on a weekend. At Phelps Creek I turned right, and eventually hiked into Spider Meadows, and then into upper Phelps Basin.

Hiking to upper Phelps Basin

The basin still had a patch of snow in the middle of the meadow, apparently from huge avalanche debris that still hadn’t melted. At the end of the trail I continued hiking higher, to a level spot at the last patch of trees around 5800ft. The trees sheltered my from the wind, and I found a nice level spot next to a stream to lay out my bivy sack. After a dinner of ramen noodles and lots of blueberries I went to sleep at sunset.

In the morning I left my bivy gear and started hiking up the basin, aiming for a large right-trending gully at the head of the basin. I actually passed a black bear eating blueberries on the way!

In the gully I picked up a climbers path, and followed it up to the talus slopes beneath Dumbell. I decided to climb Greenwood first, since it was farther away, so soon scrambled to the edge of the southeast ridge of Dumbell, to the start of an improbable ledge.

This very narrow and exposed ledge wraps around the east face of Dumbell, and eventually pops out on the edge of a

The narrow ledge

snow and talus field at the Dumbell-Greenwood col. The ledge is a little scary, but not technically difficult. You just have to be careful and deliberate on it.

At the snowfield I put on crampons and descended to the col, then walked up easy talus slopes to the top of Greenwood. There’s some debate if the south or north summit of Greenwood is taller, and as far as I could tell they are close enough in height that one would need some legitimate surveying gear to determine which one is taller. Basically everyone assumes the south is taller since this is the only one actually surveyed, and it has the summit register, so I signed in there and then headed back.

The ledge was just as sketchy returning, but I made it back safely. Back on the other side I turned right and started heading up Dumbell. I scrambled up a class 2 ledge next to a snow patch, then found a 3rd-class gully through the upper cliff band. At the top of this gully I traversed right on class 2 ledges to reach the notch just below the summit. From the notch I scrambled up easy 3rd class ramps and ledges to the summit.

A scenic bivy site

Luckily the area was not too smokey from all the forest fires, so I had a pretty good view. I signed in, then headed back down, retracing my route back to my bivy sack. I briefly considered rationing my food and hiking up to spider pass, to try to drop down to the next basin and hit Chiwawa Mountain that day. However, my map didn’t show a trail there, and the contours looked like I could get cliffed out. Also, I was kind of tired and really was low on food. Maybe most important, though, my hiking boots were torn up enough that my toe was almost sticking out, and I wanted to repair them with some shoe-goo in the car.

So, I hiked back to the car over the next few hours. I took a decent rest there to eat some food, drink some water, and repair my shoes before starting that evening on the next mountain – Chiwawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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