Although the first ascent was done in a blitz, ahead of it's time for its vision and tactics, most parties climb the East Ridge of Inspiration in a three day weekend. One day for the approach, one day for the climb, and one day to lick your wounds...I mean descend.
Over the last few years the standard approach into the southern part of the Picket Range has become more established. Most of the year there is a fairly well defined climber's track into the Terror Basin which is where most parties camp for the East Ridge. From Terror Basin, the final approach is across glacier scoured slabs and eventually onto the Terror Glacier below the South Face of Inspiration.
Basin with the southern Pickets in the distance.
The route actually starts at the base of the south face before you gain a col and the start of the East Ridge proper. Once you are established on the ridge, the exposure is breathtaking, and the climbing is on incredibly sound rock. There are two highlights to the route: a perfect 5.9 handcrack and the final traverse across the summit ridge.
From the tiny summit, you can see the entire Pickett Range and most of the North Cascades with immense drops on every side of your airy perch. The descent is made mostly by rappelling down the West Ridge, a much lower quality route.
For climbers looking for a less technical objective deep in the heart of the Cascades, West McMillan Spire is right next door and it's West Ridge is a classic class 4 scramble.
If remote adventures in wild settings and sharp summits interest you, consider joining us for a technical route route or scramble in the Pickett Range this summer.
Program Coordinator and Guide, AAI