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UN13,702 (South Gravel Mtn., previously measured at 13,688) is the second peak of a three-summit sequence that also includes a soft-rank summit as well. One-way mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of Wood Mountain. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assume completion of the circuit. The route description described below is basically that proposed in G&M and followed by us.
From the summit of Wood Mountain, walk west along the ridge crest on larger, broken rock. In a quarter mile you will come to where the connecting ridge to UN13,702 breaks off at 13,540 ft. The view of the ridge is rather intimidating with all kinds of cliffs on either side and rock spires. The suggested route will be on the west side of that ridge, so continue your westward descent to a saddle at 13,300 ft. Before beginning the traverse, see if you can identify a third couloir that will bring you back up to the ridge just beyond the last major difficulty. That couloir is what to aim for, however, identifying it from below is more difficult. By now, we suspect the route is fairly well established and cairn-marked. On the west side of the ridge, all of the cliffs tend to terminate at about the same level. We found the easiest going to be right at the base of those cliffs, rather than descend farther down into the talus which is very loose and unstable. The upper bowl of Hurricane Basin is nothing more than an unstable talus field. Descend north from the 13,300 foot saddle into the head of Hurricane Basin losing as much as 200 feet, then begin contouring north at the base of the cliffs passing the first two main couloirs. In about 15 minutes you should arrive at the base of the third couloir. The earlier you are in the season, the more likely you will find a large snowfield in the upper basin that can expedite the traverse. Bring an ice axe. Clamber up the steep rock covered with a lot of small gravel, broken rock and sand. It's moderately exposed and my feel 4th class to some, but you should be able to navigate the re-ascent of nearly 200 feet back up to the ridge in 10 minutes or so. If climbing earlier in the season, this will likely be snow-filled and would require ice-axe and crampons. Even though we were climbing this around Labor Day, there were still evidences of snow and ice.
Once back on the main ridge, it's a more simple walk to the summit on much more stable rock. When you arrive, you may want to consider going an additional third of a mile north to the named summit of Gravel Mountain. The round trip will take about 20 minutes each way. Either summit offers nice views of the Engineer Pass road far below at Rose Cabin and the American Flats area to the NW. To continue on with the sequence, basically retrace your route over as best you can, descending that same 3rd couloir, traversing below the cliffs at the head of the talus, then scamper back up to the saddle at 13,300 ft. Head for UN13,708. Brian Kalet has a good report on this peak with a useful photo showing the location of the 3rd couloir. Follow this link: https://www.sites.google.com/s...