Porcupine Ridge

Running parallel to the much longer and more popular Wasootch Ridge to the north is a short scramble ridge with one amazing viewpoint. Apart from the couple of scramble steps, there’s a trail  all the way.

Park at Porcupine Creek on Hwy. 40. A track leaves the north side of the highway and descends to the creek. Park here.

Walk flat trail along the north bank of Porcupine Creek to the t-junction with the trail between Wasootch parking lot and BaldyPass trail. Go right. At the next T-junction  keep left, continuing  along the left bank of the creek. (To your right a bridge crosses Porcupine Creek.)

On the next section  to the forks, people generally stay on the left bank. On coming to the crag Hyperion, the trail is forced into a scrambly traverse. The next crag, Blind Man’s Bluff, you can walk below. Continue to just past the forks and cross on rocks to the base of the treed ridge between the forks. This left-hand fork carries less water than the right fork, something to know about if you’ve crossed to the right bank before Hyperion.

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Passing below Hyperion. The bypass trail can be seen higher up.

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Usually you can walk below Blind Man’s Bluff on the cobbles. Lower section of Porcupine Ridge in view ahead.

Climb  the ridge between the forks on a trail. The initial climb is steep to the right of a line of crags. After an easing  comes a longer second step up scree which requires vigilance on the descent because of underlying slabs. After this, the ridge gradually loses definition, the going much easier with the odd small step. Descend past a cairn.  Shortly after resuming the uphill, turn sharp left and follow flagging onto the grassy ridge crest. Then follows a long pull up predominantly grassy ridge to the base of the rock ridge.

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Starting up the ridge from the forks.

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On the second step.

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The grassy ridge rising to the rock ridge.

Unaccountably, some people go right here, thinking to find an easier way up onto the ridge crest. But as they find out, the farther right you go the steeper and higher the crags. It’s far, far better to scramble up the solid groove on the left edge which is safe and easy. Walk right, then climb a slab to a ledge. Walk left along the ledge to easier ground that accesses the ridge crest. It may not look it from afar, but the crest is easy going and offers  a view of your objective ahead, the leftmost pinnacle of the spectacular pinnacled side ridge marching down the south slope.

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The wrong way up onto the rock ridge. Higher up is much loose rock.

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The correct line goes up this easy groove on the left edge.

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Looking down the slab from the ledge above.

Drop easily off the far end of the rock ridge  to a col. The trail continues climbing through open forest to a junction on open ground just to the left of the pinnacled ridge. Keeping left leads to the high point of the ridge in the trees. I prefer to go right and follow an easy trail in shale and scree winding around rocky bumps to the top of the first pinnacle. You have to go to the very top to get the amazing view of the second pinnacle. Looking in the other direction gives you  almost the same view across to Midnight Peak and connecting ridge to Tiara Peak as the high point does.

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On the trail to the first pinnacle. Treed ridge to left is the actual summit.

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Looking back down the trail, the rock ridge in the background.

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Close up of the rock ridge.

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Last bit to the top of the first pinnacle. It’s only on reaching the top that you get this fabulous view of the second pinnacle.

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Second pinnacle.

 

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