|Looking out to the Shard from Little Tin Cup peak.|
|Smooth sailing up and out of Chaffin creek.|
|Little Tin Cup creek and point from the peak.|
|Looking up at the technical easy 5th bits on the Shard.|
I climbed the broken ledges just looker's right of the skylined trees well left of the crest.
From the main summit, I made the traverse to the West summit. I was not sure this would go, but there is one solitary ledge system approximately 400 vertical feet below the summit that links the two peaks. The whole connection was a bit loose and ugly, but it goes, and it is a good connection to know about. From the West summit, I boulder hopped along, hitting a few unnamed bumps on the ridge and West Chaffin. I had planned on ending the traverse here, but it seemed like the craggy peak further south is actually higher, so I made my way over to it. I think I have heard this peak described as the Tusk and South Chaffin, but I would be interested if anyone knows of another common name. It is a major Bitterroot peak. The only weakness was on the west ridge, so I climbed it, negotiating two easy 5th class steps and considerable exposure along the way. I was pleased to find the climbing enjoyable, and it was a treat to stumble upon a technical peak since there are so few in the Bitterroot.
|Looking back to West Shard from West Chaffin.|
|West ridge of South Chaffin. Easy 5th. Don't fall.|
|Happy to be back in the snow on South Chaffin.|
Also, glad to haul out a LOT of super sketchy tat.
|Moment of reflection at Tamarack lake.|
The evening before, I ran the Palisades loop, shortcutting the road switchbacks to tighten it up to a sub 15 mile affair. I caught the sunset on the crest of the range, and was back to the car only a few minutes after turning on the headlamp. It was fantastic. The day after Chaffin, I did a 30-mile loop around the head of Piquett creek. Unfortunately, the trail was washed out and choked with downfall much of the way, so it was a poor outing overall. Aside from checking out a new area and enjoying another great fall day, the only real highlight was climbing Piquett mountain. Also, it was good to end the three day block of playing and training fully whopped. In the future, it would be much more expedient and enjoyable to climb Piquett from Little Boulder Creek, further up the West fork.
Beta: Shard Main/West summit connecting ledge, Cl3
There is a narrow ledge which connects the Main and West summits. From about 400 vertical feet below the summit, rougly half way up the face, traverse straight west on the broadest ledge. It will be obvious if you are on the wrong ledge, because it will cliff out. The ledge continues into the deep couloir between the two summits. It is vey dirty and loose in the cleft, and might seem fairly desperate for Class 3. From the cleft, 3rd class ledges lead to the West summit. I think it might be easier to find this ledge from the West summit.
|South face of the Shard. Main/West summit connecting ledge rougly takes |
the orange ledge mid-face and wraps into the gully on the left margin of the photo.
Photo: Michael Hoyt.
|This is the ledge I took to get from the main Shard summit to the West summit.|
|Ugly/steep/loose dirt between the summits. |
This would be covered in snow most of the year.