The last time I was here, I was solo and there was no one else around, so I didn't do the climb up to the top. This time, I had a personal guide. Having already done this climb several times, johnr1 was kind enough to accompany me.
We took my open Jeep for 'maximum appreciation' of FR143 (you take that however you want).
A rough ride, for sure, but if your vehicle is more like an ATV than a car, it can be (somewhat)
fun... OK, that's a bit of a stretch, but the alternate route on El Oso Rd takes me 50 miles out of my way, so we made the best of it. Soon into our wild ride, we noticed a fire ring off to the side of the road. It was still smoking and there was nobody in sight. Though it didn't seem likely that it would ignite anything else, we stopped and put it out just the same (well, John put it out while I took pictures )
The climb up the chute turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected, although down was a bit more challenging. It's definitely not for everyone, though... especially if you have any fear of heights. I would say a good portion of it falls between Class 3 and Class 4 climbing - great fun if you have an affinity for that sort of thing, but possibly terrifying if you don't. Your mindset can make or break this one for you. My mind is always set on "Go for it!"
, so I had a blast.
From the saddle looking up at the peak, it would seem that route finding wouldn't be an issue. At a distance, the chute looks pretty well defined. But, once you get into it, there are a lot of choices you can make and it goes without saying that some are much better than others. There are no cairns, ribbons or paint spots to guide you here. You are on your own to find a way to the top. I had no concern for this, as I simply followed John, but I could see just how easy it would be to make poor choices along the route, which would suck up a lot of time and energy with possibly dire consequences. I would strongly recommend for most people on their first attempt, to go with someone who is familiar with the climb. Even if you're not concerned about the physical demands of it, you will certainly enjoy it more if you don't have the additional worry of staying on track.