Date November 13, 2012
Time 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
3921 E. Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA
Program Climbing In Bolivia
Presenter Sandra Hao
Join us for an amazing slideshow as Sandra Hao describes her recent trip to Bolivia. Her climbing trip started with a Death Road Downhill bike ride (from 15,700 ft to 3,000ft), followed by Paqueno Alpamayo (17,619 ft), Ancohuma (21,095 ft) and Illampu (20,932 ft, with a 1000 ft 55- 60 degree ice wall from 19,000 ft to 20,000 ft, considered the most technically challenging mountain at Cordillera Real/Bolivan Andes.) Wow! "Remoteness, beauty and route quality make the Ancohuma/Illampu expedition my favorite climb," says Sandra.
Directions from 101
Exit at San Antonio Road, go east to the first traffic light, turn left and follow Bayshore Rd to the PCC on the corner of Corporation Way. A sign marking the PCC is out front. Park and enter in the back of the building.
Thank you so much for all those great trip reports! However, I am going to request a couple of favors:
1) Please keep the word count to under 800 words (there may be exceptions) and focus on telling Scree readers what they might be interested in.
2) Send the photos, with captions, separately from your report.
After going south-of-the-border and then to the Sierra and north over the past two months, our next monthly meeting will feature Sandra Hao's show on climbing among the gorgeous Andes of Bolivia. At this meeting, we will hold the elections for the 2013 set of three PCS officers: Chairman, Vice-Chair/Trip-Scheduler, and Treasurer. There will also be time for a good set of refreshments, along with a few upcoming trip announcements and some trip reports -- did anyone else get hit by the recent storms in the Sierra?
PCS Trip Calendar
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Note: CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
Note: All Sierra Club trips require you to sign a Liability Waiver.
November 10 - 11 - Kern Peak
Leader: Lisa Barboza
PCS Trip Details
Goal: Kern Peak (11,510')
Location: Kennedy Meadows, Southern Sierra
Dates: November 10 - 11
Leader: Lisa Barboza
Difficulty: Class 1
Join us for this fun beginner climb of Kern Peak in the Southern Sierra. Visit the other
Kennedy Meadow, off of Hwy 14 north of Mohave. This area has surprisingly warm days in November owing to the southern latitude. Daytime is pleasant, nighttime can dip into the low 40s. It is a great time of year to hike.
Start Saturday morning, November 10th, at the BlackRock Trailhead (8900 feet) out of Kennedy Meadow in the Southern Sierra. Hike in 8 miles, 2000 gain, to camp in RedRocks Meadows (8700 feet) near springs Enjoy Happy Hour.
Sunday morning, November 11th, climb Kern peak (11,510’), 4.25 miles, 2800 gain. Enjoy beautiful views, hike back to camp and hike out.
Qualifications: Much of this climb is on trail, all but the last 2.5 miles to the peak. The peak itself is rated as Class 1, meaning easy ground to cover to the peak itself. Participants must be in good physical condition, have hiking and backpacking abilities.
For more details, please contact lisa.barbozaATgmail.com
Private Trip Calendar
Important: Private trips are not insured, sponsored, or supervised by the Sierra Club. They are listed here because they may be of interest to PCS members. Private trips may be submitted directly to the Scree editor.
Goals: Telescope Peak
Location: Death Valley
Date: November 10
Leader: George van Gorden
Difficulty: Class 1
The walk is along a high ridge overlooking Death Valley over 11000 feet below. It is a beautiful walk that just fits into a late fall day. The weather should be cool or even cold while just below in the valley it is probably in the 80's. The hike is 14 miles roundtrip. The last 2 miles to the trailhead take four wheel drive but we can always ferry people. The Friday before the hike is a holiday for many people. Camp at
trailhead or at motel in Ridgecrest less than two hours away. Location - West of Death Valley at 11000 ft. Class 1 a good trail Leader George Van Gorden - firstname.lastname@example.org
July 1 - 30
By Linda Sun
Peru has always been on the top of my list of countries to visit. The season to climb in the Cordillera Blanca is June to August. Since I
also wanted to hike Inca trail, I had to reserve the permits six months in advance. Finally this year everything lined up correctly,
and we bought the air tickets and booked the tour.
Day 0: Leave USA. Arrive in Lima at midnight.
Day 1: 5am flight from Lima to Cuzco. Cuzco is high at 11,000'. We went on a city tour in the afternoon, and Harry fainted. Apparently this is very common due to altitude sickness, but I was scared. We had not slept the previous night during the layover at the airport, and landing in a plane at 11k is different from slowly hiking up to it. So we went back to the hotel and slept.
Day 2: Instead of an all day Sacred Valley tour, we opted for the half-day city tour in the afternoon. We visited a few places including
Qoricancha and Saqsayhuaman.
Day 3: We took a bus up to KM82, the starting point of the Inca Trail. Guides are required on this Trail, and porters carry all the cooking
gear, food, and tents. You can also hire porters to carry your own gear.
We opted for a half load (7kg) of personal gear, since we weren’t quite sure that Harry had adjusted to the altitude. We were in a
group of nine hikers, two from Switzerland, and five from Australia.There were lots of other groups too. This is NOT the trail for
solitude. We spent the night camping in some villager’s backyard in Wayllabamba.
Day 4: Wayllabamba - Warmiwuańusca pass (4200 m) - Pacaymayu. This was supposed to be the hardest hiking day on the Inca Trail.
But for regular hikers, it was not hard at all. We were hiking about twice as fast as indicated by the booklet, but we had to wait for some of our group members. It rained a few hours in the afternoon.
Day 5: Pacaymayu – Wińaywayna. We visited many archaeological sites
this day, including Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, and Puyupatamarca. It showered a bit too.
Day 6: Wińaywayna - Machupicchu. After waking up at 3:30am, we had to wait over an hour in the dark for the park to open. I finally
figured out the reason we were up so early was that all the porters with our cooking gear
and tents needed to leave and catch the 5:30am train. We had a one-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu. Then Harry and I also climbed Wayna Picchu. (It’s an option for which you have to pay extra to book
at the time when you book the Inca Trail trek.) After the hike, we took the bus to Agua Caliente before catching the train and bus back to Cuzco.
Day 7: Flight Cuxco – Lima and then 8-hour bus ride to Huaraz. The bus from Lima to Huaraz had very comfortable sofa seats, and we were served simple lunch and dinner. However, the last part of the journey was over narrow, winding mountain roads in the dark. I got a bit dizzy and wished I had taken a motion sickness pill.
Day 8: Our program called for 8 hours of acclimatization trek for this day. Because I caught a viral infection on the last day in Cuzco, I had a sore throat and was coughing. So we decided to have a rest day. We didn’t plan many rest days in our program since our vacation days are scarce, but I needed a break.
Day 9: Start of the 4-day Santa Cruz trek plus 2 days for climbing Pisco. Well I thought my allergy was firing up, and city air was dirty, and maybe getting up to the mountains would cure me. So we rode to the trailhead and started hiking as planned. But now I had a
mild temperature and bone aches. I was
coughing so hard I had trouble breathing. The five-hour easy hike to the camp exhausted me. Even with Harry carrying all my stuff, I still had to sit and rest every 20 minutes. I coughed nonstop over night.
Day 10: It was obvious to Harry that I was in no condition to trek or climb. What I needed was rest, not conditioning. It took him a while
to persuade me. We hiked out and went back to Huaraz.
Days 11-13: Resting in hotel. Very very
frustrated. I came to Peru to climb; now I had no idea where I was at, or whether I would be able to do anything. Air is not thick at this altitude, and my lungs were inflamed. I mostly stayed in bed. I could see mountains including Huscaran from our balcony. Sigh.
Day 14: Most of my symptoms cleared, although the cough didn’t completely go away. I was itching to try again. So we did a short hike to Churup Lake. I did fine despite the cough. So we decided to continue our
Day 15: An hour van ride to Pashpa (3,400m). Donkeys took most of the equipment to the base camp, our home for the next seven days. The hike to the beautiful Ishinca valley
4,350m) took us four hours.
Day 16: Rest day.
Day 17: Short hike to a lake and back. My guide Octavio joined me. From this day on, he helped me with all the climbs.
Day 18: Octavio and I left camp at 2:00am to climb Ishinca (5,530m). We went up the northwest slope and came down the southwest ridge. We roped up after Lake ishinca at the start of the glacier. Only one
regular ice axe was needed. Initially the snow slope was steep. It then eased off to a long gradual traverse. When light came, we could
see the summit pyramid. I was tired during the last 200 meters; it was hard to breathe.
But we had a wonderful view of Ranrapalca from the top. It took about 5 hours up, and 3-1/2 hours down. It wasn’t cold at all. Harry hiked by himself to Ishinca Lake on this day.
Day 19: Rest day.
Day 20: After breakfast all three of us hiked up to the moraine camp of
Tocllaraju, at 4950m. Harry felt the altitude here. He had a headache, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. He couldn’t sleep well.
Day 21: Octavio took me up Tocllaraju (6,032m). We left camp at 1:00am. It took us about 6 hours up, and 3 hours down. There were two ice climbing sections on the route. The first one was in the middle of the route, where I used one ice tool. The second one was just before topping out to the summit ridge, about 55 degrees and 100 meters long. I used both ice tools. The snow conditions were very favorable: firm but not icy. It was sunny and clear and we had an incredible view from the top. We hiked down to base camp.
Day 22: Hike out and back to Huaraz.
Day 23: Rest day.
Day 24: After four hours of van ride to Chopicalqui trailhead, I hiked half an hour to camp. Harry stayed in Huaraz during my climb to Chopicalqui. His stomach was still upset, and he wouldn’t enjoy the hike since we were going to move camp every day.
Day 25: The hike to the moraine camp (4,950m) took about three hours.
In addition to Octavio, I also had Elmo as my cook and porter. Theamount of stuff that he carried I couldn’t even lift off the ground.
We had a great view of Pisco, Chacraraju, and the back side of Huscaran Norte.
Day 26: Hike to camp 1 (5200m). We had to
rope up to go over crevasse terrain. We got to camp in about three hours.
Day 27: We started at 1:00am to climb Chopicalqui (6,345m). For the first time it was windy and cold. We got below the ice wall at
5:00am. It was still dark, and it was cloudy. We waited there for an hour, hoping it would clear by the time the sun came up. But more
clouds rolled in, and we could see no more than five meters away. I was afraid Octavio would tell me to turn around because of the
poor conditions, but he just started climbing the wall. The start move was hard, with rotten snow (not much purchase for the tools) and icy steep bottom (poor feet), but it was all
good afterwards. We did two pitches
of ice climbing. Then we were supposedly traversing this summit mushroom, but I couldn’t see a thing.
My summit picture is me sitting in a whiteout, with rime ice all over me. We were the only two people climbing Chopicalqui on that day. We came down and hiked back to the moraine camp.
Day 28: Hike out and back to Huaraz.
Day 29: Bus ride to Lima
Day 30: Flight to USA
By Jim Ramaker
Nine of us participated in this late-August trip to the central Palisades, with four peaks on the agenda and everyone free to focus only on those peaks they "needed."
Participants came from both the PCS and SPS, and included Lisa Barboza (trip leader), Daryn Dodge, Greg Gerlach, Sandra Hao, Corrine Livingston, Kathy Rich, Shane Smith,
Bob Wyka, and myself (Jim Ramaker).
We met Friday morning at the Glacier Lodge trailhead for the short hike up to Willow Lake, followed by a brushy cross-country battle up the creek that runs due west. We were
aiming for Lake 12,250 southeast of Mt. Gayley, but found a nice camp short of there
in a split-level meadow, with a sandy upper meadow for camping, and a lush lower meadow with a creek for water. Late-afternoon happy hour was impressive, with brie, cheddar, and goat cheeses, assorted crackers, heirloom tomatoes from Lisa's garden, mozzarella with fresh basil leaves, and of course a choice of wine.
On Saturday we were up at 5 and rolling at 6, heading southwest up the talus and moraine basin toward Mt. Sill (14,160'). A broken cliff rings this basin about halfway up, and
we climbed it via a rubble-filled class-3 slot that was a bit dodgy for a group of nine, especially at 7 a.m. Above that the
scenery was amazing, with the Palisade giants of Norman Clyde, Pal Crest, Jepson, Sill, Gayley, and Temple Crag stretching from left to right in a vast semicircle.
Our route up Sill was the L-Shaped Glacier (LSG), which we hoped to climb via class-2 boulders on its right, avoiding the downsloping class-3 slabs on the left. But getting to
the class-2 rocks required crossing the lower arm of the L, and after much pre-trip discussion about conditions in this low snow
year, we had decided not to bring ice axes
and crampons. Lisa and I clawed our way halfway across the icy lower arm of the glacier using ski pole tips (her) and a sharp rock (me), then realized that the entire group would not be into this and so gave up and went over to the left-side route. Some care and routefinding was required here, as a fall would send you sliding down the slabs and onto the glacier, but it wasn't really hard or unsafe. The LSG is a shadow of its former self, with the
upper arm of the L now just a few feet wide. A few more years of global warming and the upper arm will probably disappear completely in the summer.
Above the LSG, we found the class-4 section up to the saddle with Apex Peak to be overrated -- the "Variation" shown in Bob Burd's photo
(http://www.summitpost.org/two-options-are-shown-for-the/39820/c-150410) is all class-3, while the lower "Normal Route" has a couple of class-4 moves near the end. After reaching the saddle, we climbed up and left on solid class-3 boulders to the summit, where we arrived at 10 a.m. The mysterious scorched-earth campaign against Sierra summit registers has now reached Mt. Sill -- not only were all of the register booklets gone, but so was the classic aluminum box placed by the Sierra Club in 1935 and photographed by Bob Burd in 2000: (http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_photos/sill_1/cl_summit_register.html)
Back down at the Apex saddle, five members of the team headed for Polemonium (14,080'). Here is Daryn's report:
Greg, Sandra, Kathy, Shane, and I crossed the ridge between Sill and Polemonium with no difficulty until the last 100' or so, where a chasm separated us from the peak. We could not downclimb it, so we dropped a little off to the left (south) and found a narrow chute. We descended the chute for about 20', where we were able to climb out of the chute towards the peak via a tight class-3 chimney. Ducks
marked the top of the chimney. From there we climbed to the base of the summit pinnacle,
and about 15' of class 3-4 climbing got us onto the narrow ridge below the steep, short knife-edge leading to the top. At that point we roped up, and I led a short pitch of exposed class 3-4, going left around a small gendarme and on up to the summit, then set a fixed line for the others to join me.
An aluminum register box placed in 1991 was bolted to the summit rocks, but nothing was inside it. The traverse from the Apex saddle to Polemonium and back took about 3.5 hours.
After Daryn's party headed for Polemonium, Bob, Corrine, Lisa, and I descended the LSG and headed for the nearby "Yellow Brick Road" route on Mt. Gayley (13,510).
On the way down, we chatted with a group of five young weight-lifter types storming upwards in tank tops. Bob didn't "need" Gayley, so he napped on the slabs at Glacier Notch, while Corrine, Lisa, and I headed up. We stayed well to the right of the ridge until we were about 3/4 of the way up, then eased onto the ridge crest to finish up -- a very short and pleasant climb on solid class-3 rock.
At the summit, we had one of those Sierra mountaineering moments -- we could clearly see our five friends a mile away on the summit of Polemonium, while the muscle-man team waved to us from the summit of Sill. We could also see climbers on the crest of the U-Notch, and a solo climber ascending the Palisade Glacier.
After a long rest on the summit, Lisa, Corrine, and I started down about 1:30. We made a rookie mistake on the way down, staying on the ridge crest because it had nice rock,
but failing to lose any significant elevation. We soon got cliffed out and had to reclimb about 100', drop down to the left (looking down), and get back on the correct route.
After picking up Bob Wyka, we meandered our way back to camp enjoying the scenery, then washed up and took naps. Kathy
returned around 6 p.m., and the remainder of the Polemonium team wandered in about an hour later, with Daryn having climbed Gayley on the way back to make it a three-peak day for him.
On Sunday, Lisa, Sandra, Bob, and I needed Temple Crag (12,976'), and we again got up at 5 and got moving by 6, while the others slept in. The east-facing gully mentioned in
Secor does not seem to exist, so we climbed an obvious short gully with a chockstone near the southeast base of the peak. From the top of this gully, we crossed a second gully, then crossed a class-3 rib into a third gully, where there was a cliff just below us. We climbed up this gully for 100' of class-3 until it steepened,
crossed yet another rib, and finally arrived on the broad low-angle scree slope on the upper east side of Temple Crag.
We walked up this slope to the apparent high point, where we suddenly encountered some really big air, with the summit 40' away along a narrow, exposed ridge. Some parties have roped up here, but the rock seemed solid, so we proceeded. Halfway across, I looked down about 50' and the ridge seemed to be no more 10' wide at that point, and dropping away into oblivion below. While the holds are good in this section, I would not call it class-3 -- if you slip or if a hold breaks off, you're done for.
We topped out at 8 a.m., called down to our friends in camp, and then reversed our route. Hiking out to Willow Lake, we decided to stay on the south side of the creek as much
as possible, which turned out to be a mistake. At times we found a good use trail, but it always ended quickly and gave way to nasty brush, often combined with big boulders
and/or steep slopes. I think the deal here is just to stay on the large talus blocks on the north side of the creek. Strenuous, but at least you can see where you're going, plan
a route, and for the most part, avoid the dreaded brush. At 2 p.m. we stumbled onto the South Fork trail with great relief, and by 3:30 we were at the cars.
The team approaching Mt. Sill (14,160). The route goes up the rocks on the left side of the snow to the prominent notch, then around to the
left and up to the summit. (Photo by Kathy Rich)
September 14 - 15
By Aaron Schuman
Photos by Linda Sun
Tehipite is the tallest dome in the Sierra Nevada, standing higher by far over the Middle Fork of the Kings River than its famous sibling Half Dome stands over the Merced River. Tehipite would be a California landmark if only it were not so painfully inaccessible.
On Friday, September 14, 2012, we set out to climb it: Lisa Barboza, Linda Sun, Chris Franchuk, Eddie Sudol, Jim Ramaker and myself. From the Rancheria trailhead, south of Wishon Reservoir (6800') in Sierra National Forest, we trekked over 12 miles of up down up down trail, across Crown Creek (7881') to a flat campsite near a muddy spring in Kings Canyon National Park. On Saturday morning, we hiked a couple more miles up the trail and then traveled 2 miles cross country through forest and brush down to the beginning of the climb (7500').
At the base of the rock, we met members of the “Pull Harder” climbing team: Brad Wilson, Scotty Nelson, and Shaun Reed, working on a month-long project to put up a new route on the southeast buttress. They shared a fixed line with us and I wasn’t ashamed to use it.
There is one improbable move, a long step up from a toehold ledge to a friction slab. It isn’t difficult, but the climber who gets it wrong, ends up on the TV news. That move is worse on the down climb, because the ledge is unseen from above. When ascending, make a point to memorize how it goes.
A brief class 3 scramble took us to the summit. We peered down thousands of feet to the river below, and gazed across the enormous expanse to the Monarch Divide.
Returning the way we came, we broke camp, with the intention of moving part of the way to the trailhead and shortening our walk on Sunday. But with a hot breeze at our backs, we kept on hiking and reached the cars at nightfall. Some of us camped at the reservoir and drove home in the morning.
September 15 - 16
By Matt Blum
We were originally planning to have 4 people on this trip, but it turned out to be just me and Christophe Vivensang.
Cloud's Rest seemed to make a good "warm-up" hike - at an elevation just below 10,000 feet, it was high enough to get some decent acclimatization but wasn't too high and strenuous to cause altitude sickness the first
day. Our big goal for the weekend was Mt. Wallace, which overlooks the Evolution basin. At a height of over 13,000 feet, it would be a decent climb. I had read Bob Burd's trip report of doing Haeckel and Wallace the same day in about 10 hours, so I figured even if we were 50% slower and were doing just one of the peaks, it would still be about 10 hours for us.
Christophe met me at my place at 6 am and we were soon on our way in his van.
As we made our way through the foothills just east of Oakdale, I noticed a smoky plume in the distance - a wildfire. It was hard to judge the distance and size and location of the fire as were driving the windy roads in the mountains - at first it looked small and that we would soon be past it, but many miles later it was still looming in front of us. The plume of smoke would disappear for a while, but then re-emerge closer a minute later. We were soon in the park entrance, and they had a notice about the fire - it was called the Cascade fire and it was caused naturally by lightning in late June and had burned slowly over several months to about 1000 acres.
Firefighters were just monitoring the fire, allowing it to burn naturally in the way fires had burned for thousands of years. This fire, which was just mostly a creeping ground fire, was burning small brush and debris on the forest floor, revitalizing nutrients in the soil for the red fir forest to continue to thrive. I was relieved to realize what had originally appeared as a threat was actually something beneficial and would not affect our plans.
We made it to the Sunrise trailhead, grabbed the last parking spot, and hit the trail by about 11:00 am. Tuolumne Meadows was visible through the trees and the views expanded to include the domes and peaks of the high country.
Just before reaching the summit of Cloud's Rest, I wandered over to the edge where you could look down the frightening slope into
Tenaya canyon - a wall of naked granite dropping down at about a 45 degree angle for 5000 vertical feet. I hunkered down behind a large boulder - not risking getting too close, since a slip there could start a very long slide and tumble down the glacier-polished rock.
Dizzying look into Tenaya Canyon
The rocks near the summit ridge looked like stacks of pancakes. Once on this ridge it was an easy walk up granite slabs and steps right to the summit - the rock formed an 8-foot wide sidewalk all the way up. From many angles,
Cloud's Rest looks impossibly steep, and I was thankful that there existed this easy route.
The summit was one of the most impressive views I've had in quite some time. I hadn't expected as much from Cloud's Rest knowing it was just a warm-up, an acclimatization day for tomorrow's big hike. But upon reaching there, I thought it could rival the view of many other Sierra peaks. Half Dome stood unmistakably in profile view in front of us - the sheer face on the right beckons rock climbers from around the world. The cable route was facing us, and a view through the binoculars revealed maybe 100 people slowly meandering up the metal ropes. The view behind us extended to the Sierra crest, including Mt Conness, Matterhorn, Mt Dana, Lyell/Maclure, Cathedral, Echo Peaks, Matthes Crest and countless peaks to the south.
Matt and Christophe at the summit
We decided to take a short side-trip to the Sunrise lakes on our way down. Back on the trail, it was a pretty quick downhill stretch back to the trailhead. We passed dozens of people on the trail - apparently these folks either hadn't been scared by the hantavirus in the valley or were opting for the high country instead. We enjoyed a short swim in nearby Tenaya lake after the hike - the cool clear water was quite refreshing and cleansing as well - it was wonderful to get the rest of the dust and grime off my body after many dusty miles on the trail.
Heading back east on 120, we continued over the Tioga Pass and down 395 south toward Bishop. Since we decided to forego the hot spring, we instead opted for a nice dinner at the Bishop Burger Barn. Reaching the Sabrina campground in the dark around 8:00, we were pleasantly surprised to find a couple spots still open.
My alarm chimed the next morning at 5:30. Looking at the map and judging the distance to Mt Wallace (and Mt Haeckel via the class 3 traverse as a stretch-goal), it appeared to be about 8 miles R/T as the crow flies, but remembering the unevenness of the terrain, I estimated it as being more like 12-14 mi, and maybe 10-12 hrs.
Sunrise over Sabrina Lake
It was about 7:00 by the time we hit the trail - the tops of the peaks over Lake Sabrina were bathed in a golden light. It wasn't until we got past Blue Lake that the sun finally crested the mountains to the east giving us the warming rays to break the morning chill. Around Blue Lake are a bunch of granite slabs - fortunately marked by ducks for a mile or so. I knew the next lake to be Dingleberry Lake.
This is an interesting name - maybe named that way since it's an area where horses often like to do their business on the trail? It was in any event a beautiful setting. We were near the junction where the trail split into 3 forks -
toward Midnight Lake, Hungry Packer and Moonlight Lake. Christophe had on his map an illustration of 2 different routes up to Mt Wallace - a high route over a bunch of slabs and a low route that followed the lake shoreline over all the boulders. I must have taken the low route last time and was glad to try the high route - something different.
The slab route started just past the next lake - Sailor Lake, where we headed on the ridge between Moonlight and Hungry Packer Lake - I imagined this ridge cleaving the glaciers flowing off the high mountains above - one glacier flowing to the left, creating the basin for Moonlight lake and the one to the right forming Hungry Packer Lake. The granite ridge was fun - the angle wasn't too steep and often it formed nice steps to work our way up.
We had been moving for about 4 hours now and I knew we still had far to. We got a nice break where the slabs ended and joined the talus aprons coming off the backside of Picture Peak. Echo Lake was a brilliant deep blue far below at this point. The rest of the route was clearly visible - turn right and follow the valley up to where the slopes of Mt Wallace get easier, turning into easy class 2.
I stuck to a similar route I had taken last year - following the base of the drainage upward. It was quite different this year though, being devoid of snow, but fortunately the rock wasn't too loose or difficult. Christophe took a different route, traversing high and to the right of the drainage, hoping to save some elevation loss.
It was near 1:30 now and we had been going for almost 7 hours now. I was relieved to find that near the top the rock was a lot more solid and stable, even though the climbing turned from class 2 to solid class 3 for the last section.
Summit of Mt. Wallace
At the summit, the view to the west stretched down the south fork of the San Joaquin river from the Evolution basin to the tree-filled valley downstream, eventually ending up in Florence Lake just barely visible far away.
We saw that we could make a traverse in the
other direction to the south, following the Sierra crest down to Wallace Col (a route to enable access to the upper Evolution basin without needing to go over the longer route over Lamarck col). From Wallace Col we could continue south to the next peak, which promised another great view and didn't look much harder than class 2. The peak to the south was roughly on our way back, requiring a lot less back-tracking than Haeckel, and the weather was still holding pretty nicely, so we decided to go for it.
The next peak, which was un-named, was actually the triple-divide point of the Owens valley to the east, the Kings river drainage to the SW and the San Joaquin drainage to the NW. This is where the Goddard Divide meets the Sierra crest. After carefully down climbing the class 3 blocks just below the summit, we started traversing over toward the south ridge, following the Sierra crest down.
On our way back down the ridge, I could see the top of the chute that appeared to lead all the way down and we started making hasty progress down. I was eager to get down at
this point and looked forward to getting back to known territory. The chute had quite a bit of sand and loose rock, making the going rather treacherous. I didn't want to risk a sprained ankle late in the day still at this high elevation and far from the trailhead and neither did Christophe so we took it very slowly. Unfortunately instead of getting easier, the chute seemed to steepen and the rock got even looser.
Traversing a ridge to the right fortunately led us to a slightly easier chute, taking us further down. A rocky cliff further to the right formed an impenetrable boundary so we were counting on the chute "going". However, it steepened yet a bit further giving us pause. Traversing to the left would probably be a sandy class 3/4 at best, and the cliff on the
right was probably 5th class, so the only other option would be to climb 300 feet back up the
chute and find a whole different way. We sat and assessed the situation for a few minutes and decided to risk going for it and pushing
forward down the chute.
Luck was with us, however, as we carefully butt-scooted down a sandy class 3 section, which led to an easy class 2 apron and the top of a small glacier. I knew the glacier would take us all the way to easier terrain, so we would be home free after that. Without crampons, I slipped on the ice a couple times but at least the angle wasn't too steep, and we weren't slipping on a steep rocky slope where a fall would be dangerous.
We finished the slabs and traversed in front of Sailor Lake where my eyes caught the sight of something truly wonderful - the trail! Fortunately, it was a rather uneventful romp along the trail as we hopped the stones across Bishop Creek and made our way back down into scattered trees. Just as we were coming up to Dingleberry Lake in the dusky light, a deer peacefully tromped off to our right.. We made it back to the car right at 10 pm - whew, 15 hours! Thanks Christophe for driving the many hours back to the Bay Area - we made it back at about 3:30 am.
Joining the PCS is easy. Go to http://www.peakclimbing.org/join
PCS Announcement Listserv
If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use the http://lists.sierraclub.org/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?A0=LOMAP-PCS-ANNOUNCE&X=&Y= web page.
following trip classifications are to assist you in choosing trips for which
you are qualified. No simple rating system can anticipate all possible
Class 1: Walking on a trail.
Class 2: Climbing using hands for balance.
Class 3: Climbing requires the use of hands, maybe a rope.
Class 4: Requires rope belays.
Class 5: Technical rock climbing.
Trips may also be rated by level of exertion: easy, moderate, strenuous, or extreme.
Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday, November 25. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.