Sheep Hole Traverse day 2: Bilandko Mountain to Poll Peak

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December 30, 2015
Day 2 found us starting at a leisurely time: shortly after 9am, 2 hours after sunrise. From camp, we immediately started down Bilandko's loose and cruddy class 2 southeast ridge and then up Bilander's northwest ridge which was slightly better. Just before reaching Bilanders' summit, we dropped our packs and headed west for an out-and-back on a spur ridge containing Sheep Benchmark. From afar, Sheep Benchmark looked to be class 4, but the multitude of weaknesses in the rock made it no more than class 3. Some of the rocks were somewhat loose, requiring that we thoroughly test our holds before each dedicated move.

Wakey wakey

traverse hobo camp

views of the Coxcomb Mountains from camp

looking ahead at the field of ankle smashers and knee bonkers

Sheep Benchmark

30 minutes after dropping our packs, we had arrived at a highpoint. According to the topo, the actual benchmark was a few hundred feet to the south and 2 feet lower. Some easy class 2-3 scrambling brought us to this lower summit which contained a register and two physical benchmarks (the third one was nowhere to be found).

looking towards Sheep Benchmark from the higher northern summit

looking southeast



register & benchmark

We headed back to the packs, taking mostly the same route we had used to get there. Back at the packs, we ate lunch and then continued a short distance to Bilanders Mountain, which contained a Smatko register and was....surprise!- named by Andy Smatko after himself. We signed the register and continued southeast along the tedious class 2 ridge to Pastern Peak.

looking south from Bilanders


between Bilanders and Pastern

looking northwest from Pastern


From Pastern Peak, we were to drop almost 2,000 net feet of elevation to the north side of Coffin Peak. We could soon see the drop in front of us along with its many ups and downs. The terrain was nothing more than class 2, but it was slow and tedious, much like the terrain behind us. It was 3:45pm by the time we had reached Coffin Peak, and the sun was already casting its golden late afternoon rays on the surrounding terrain.

dropping down

Coffin Peak dead ahead

views from Coffin Peak

To the southeast was Poll Peak, which we wouldn't be able to summit before sunset. We settled on camping at one of several small saddles north of Poll Peak, finding the terrain nice, flat, and clean as opposed to the previous camp with its rocky and slanted terrain. We were off to bed by 8pm-ish, setting alarms for 6:30am the next morning.

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