Author Topic: A quick trip to the High Sierra...  (Read 403 times)

Offline acatta

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A quick trip to the High Sierra...
« on: August 25, 2007, 09:14:46 pm »


My wife, daughter & I arrive in Las Vegas, friday Aug. 10th. and make the long hot drive thru Death Valley, where at 8:30pm, the temp has risen on our descent, to 110*..(On our return a wk. later, at 3:30pm it was 120*+) Then to Lone Pine where my sister lives. We pack the next day and head into the Palisades area. Up the north fork of Big Pine Creek to the Third Lake, about six miles. This is a totally awesome area, Temple Crag looms big above our camp spot.

  Early the next morning, after a breakfast of hot E-mergen-c, I head out for the Venusian Blind Arete on Temple.
The climbing is easy and absolutely beautiful, knife edge ridges run from tower to tower and the mountain saves the best for last, for the ridge to the summit has brilliant exposure to a cool top. The mental crux for me was leaving such a wild summit and the technical crux was on the descent to Contact Pass with the down climb of Contact Crack (5.4). We spent another day hiking about the other lakes then return to my sisters.

 I take a rest day and prepare my pack for Whitney. My plan is a one day climb of the East Buttress and if all goes well, do the East Face as well. I go as light as I can, helmet, rock shoes, chalk bag, pants, long-sleeved undershirt, wind jacket, hat, 2qts. cytomax, two Balance bars, two E-mergen-c packets and five cliffshots. I'll hike in shorts and wicking tee shirt.

 I leave the parking at the Portal at 4:25am on the short cut at the very end of the drive road thru some big boulders and am alone in my 3' bluish beam. The trail goes by fast, by Lower Boy Scout Lake I can see well enough to pack the light. I try to find a short cut that Croft's guide describes to get to the bench above Lower BS. I think I see were to go but decide to back track and continue on the N Fork trail. I set a pace that works good for me, one of many advantages of being alone, and am at Iceberg Lake in no time. A pause, take one photo, then get up to the notch between the first and second towers. I eat one Balance bar and after about twenty mins I'm ready. I fire in a cliffshot and head out.

 The climbing is wonderful with route finding quite easy. I stop every now and then to take a pic. not so much for the photo as so not to climb without looking about. When the climbing turns to 4th. class, I loose the helmet, shoes & chalk bag. There are three people on the summit, the day is mint, I feel great and it's 9:30am.. After 1/2 hr., more humans are showing up so it's time to go. As I looked around from the summit I could not take my eyes off of Mt. Russell. As I'm descending the Mountaineers Route I try to think of the South Ridge route description but all that really matters is it's 5.7 and a ridge. The East Face of Whitney if off...Shit... A sweet looking 5.7 ridge and a class 3 ridge for a descent that Croft says is one of the best class 3 climbs he's done anywhere...Mt. Russell is on...

 To get to Russell one has to go over the Whitney-Russell Pass. At 13,000' I don't want to descend anymore than is needed to get over to it. On the passes west side the grade is easy for a little, slightly down and traversing, so I start to jog. After a taste of 5.7 on Whitney and feeling as the 5.10 sneakers would have been fine, I leave the shoes in the pack. The climbing is fun and granite mint. I top out on the East Peak, dump the pack and run over to the higher west summit. The views are beyond words. It's just afternoon so I eat a Balance bar and start down the classic East Ridge route. At the Russell-Carillon Pass I have another Cliffshot and the last of my water.

 The route down to the bench between the BS Lakes is loose and sandy. After one more quick cleaning of the socks and shoes I'm on the N. Fork trail down. I find some safe water and mix the two packs of E-mergen-c in about 1qt. and sip it as my mind wonders from the days events to the beer and fries awaiting at the Portal store..

Nothin' better...
"steal your face right off your head"

Offline cwoodman

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Re: A quick trip to the High Sierra...
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 09:46:00 pm »
Told you you'd love it. Nothin' better than a day spent craggin' in the High Sierra. It's an awesome range. Glad you had a good trip.