Well, it took me seven attempts to climb the Madera County (CA) highpoint, Mt. Ritter.
Now, I will admit a certain obsession with it since it is my eponymous peak and once I get started on something, I do not like to give up. Still, if I had succeeded earlier or given up in disgust, I might have tallied more than 42 of the state highpoints so far. However, the feeling of finally standing atop "my" mountain and looking about 15 miles northwest and seeing the back side of Half Dome made it all worthwhile.
As far as state highpoints, it took two tries on Humphreys Peak (stormed off the first time). We need to make a second attempt at Kings and Borah (stormed off both) and Boundary (car broke down, never got there).
Back before I considered myself a highpointer and was hiking all the Northeast 4,000 foot peaks, I got caught in a white-out (microburst) above treeline on Mansfield during the winter of 1995. Went back four or six weeks later and tagged the summit.
Fast forward 11-plus years to my first high altitude highpoint - Wheeler, NM. Had some altitude related issues about 12K and turned around. Hung out in Taos, got acclimated and hit the summit two days later.
My other 41 HPs were completed on my first try although I've had some peaks on other lists that gave me fits. Redington, Maine and Southwest Hunter in the Catskills were bushwhack peaks that both took me three tries.
Of course, I've got some tough HPs left so I anticipate at least a couple of turn-arounds in the years ahead.
It took two attempts to reach the summit of Mount Rainier because I was caught in a blizzard during the first attempt.
It took two (or three, depending on how one counts) attempts to reach the summit of Gannett Peak. A lightning storm chased us from the summit ridge shortly after crossing the bergschrund. A few years later I returned and set out from camp in the Upper Titcomb Basin early one morning. Realizing I was still tired from insufficient sleep, I turned back before reaching the base of Dinwoody Pass. I tried again the next morning and reached the summit.
And I didn't reach the summit of Mount McKinley on my first attempt. I haven't yet made a second attempt. Hopefully that peak won't require more than two attempts for me; it's the only one I have left.
Re: What are the most attempts you have made on a HP?
August 10 2009, 5:33 PM
Been to Granite twice. Maybe next year she'll smile on me. Not a highpoint but a local 4,000 footer in Maine took four consecutive weekend winter attempts before reaching the summit. Routefinding, bushwacking, trailbreaking deep snow, exposure with whiteout conditions, minus 20s and howling winds can sure add to the adventure.
Same as Urbanski, it took me 3 tries to summit Gannett. Exact same years as him even.
I'd say late June to early July is best, depending on the year's late snowpack. While the more snow on the upper mountain the better (and for fewer mosquitos), the approach can be a beast in typical early June snow. Ideally you hit it just as the snow is melted out to around 10,800 feet. In 2005 that was the week straddling June and July. In 2006, that was late June, and 2007 i think was an exceptionally dry year which was melted to that level by mid June. This year i haven't followed the snowpack carefully, but i read somewhere that the approach was still snowy into July.
Congratulations "Ditto" guy! It is comforting to hear someone else struggled with this bastard of a mountain. By far, the toughest of the 48.
As for this year, my brother Bill showed me a picture from summitpost from early July, 2009, about the same time we summitted in 2007. The snow pack was considerably greater than 2007. We could only have wished for such a snow pack back then. Snow is good!
We had some really bad luck with the weather in August 1992 and it took us three tries to get to the summit of Elbert without being stormed off. The first time so scared my wife that we were hypercautious the second time and turned around well before the storms rolled in. So then it took a third day.
We also turned around on Mt. Hood in August 1999 because it was melting out and a lot of rocks were falling on the mountain. I figured it would still be there for the taking someday but we've never made it back.