7360+ east col = 320' Prominence.
With: Russ and Silas, via the east ridge and gullies, NTD.
FA: 9/ /61, 20 years before, by Joe and Joan Firey, Ed Cooper, George Whitmore, and Glenn Denny after Himmelgeisterhorn.
This summit from most angles appears as a rounded peak and not too spectacular.
It looks the best and most peaky from the NE and E. See shot from Singultus.
Silas has now done this three times, including a new route in July 1981
up the south gully.
The hardest part about climbing Ottohorn is making it up to the Otto-Himmel
Col. From the south the couloir has somewhat steep snow which is a bit
of an exercise later in the summer. Near the top, the couloir is choked
with multiple chockstones, requiring a delicate step or two on the left
to bypass. From the 7360+-foot col, the east ridge and gullies were pretty
easy. There is one point where you wonder how it is going to stay Class
3, but a quick move to the right and it's solved. This and West Peak
(Strandberg) are the only SP peaks climbed from the east on their easiest
The Otto-Himmel Couloir has given us a couple of gray hairs. When Reed,
Stuart, Peter, and I were descending this in the fog in 1980 with our
crampons on, I slipped down on my butt on a plunge step because my crampons
were balled up with snow. Instead of turning over and self-arresting
immediately, which I should have done, I tried to regain control by popping
back up on my feet and plunging to a stop. The balled up crampons had
not cleared and I was back on my butt again, all the time gaining speed
with a full pack on. I finally rolled into a self-arrest but was going
so fast it took about 150 feet to come to a stop as I whizzed past two
of my surprised companions.
In 1984, at the chockstone rappel, a tired Silas was descending after
tying the webbing anchor. Ten feet into the decent, and too late to do
anything about it, the knot began slipping. He made it down OK, but just
as the knot was coming undone. In his fatigue, he had tied an overhand
knot and not a water knot. Russ gave him a scolding and reworked the
Ottohorn cradles a small glacier on its north side, the only ice that
flows north off the SP into Goodell Creek.
The N Ridge from the Frenzel-Otto Col needs to be done, but isn't a
Copyright 2004, John W. Roper.
All Rights Reserved.