October 18, 2016
Fall was having a slower start than usual in the high country. Winter was nowhere in sight and warm temperatures seemed to keep everyone’s minds on summer activities. The East Ridge Direct route of the 13,250 ft. Mt. Bancroft had been on my list for a while. Justin Ibarra and Pat “Perry” Johnson were interested in the idea so we decided to give it a go. After a bit of research to gain the necessary knowledge of the route, we figured out the gear we would need and set off early from Summit County.
We were greeted with excellent weather as we approached the ridge. Once we made it to the start of the actual climbing, we geared up and began traversing the ridge. The conditions that day were fantastic, and we encountered very little snow and mostly dry rock; however, the combination of wind and cold temperatures kept us in gloves and heavier layers.
After some fun climbing, we arrived at a large notch in the ridge that requires a rappel that we bought two 30 meter, 8.4 mm ropes for. The current anchor was in perfect condition and had multiple redundancies, allowing us to save some gear and setup our rappel in its current state. I rappelled first and managed any tangles in the rope which made for smooth and efficient rappels for Justin and Perry.
After pulling the rope and packing it away, we started up the second crux of the climb: a short 5.2 crack out of the notch and back on the ridge. We were all comfortable tackling this section without the need to belay or place any protection. It was a very enjoyable section of climbing that kept us focused until we made our way out of the notch.
Once out of the notch, we were greeted with excellent class 3/4 climbing on the remainder of the ridge to the summit of Mt. Bancroft.
After a brief rest at the summit, we noticed some unfavorable weather in the distance, indicating it was time to descend and get out of the alpine. We found the descent down the other east ridge pleasantly easy and made it below treeline quickly. Back at the car, we reflected on a great climb and looked forward to enjoying a few beers after making it home.