Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall, Winter, and back to Fall. Photos and more.

Thursday was summer with 90+ degrees and hot sun, Friday was fall with some clouds and a cold breeze, and Saturday was winter(ish). I went out with a bunch of other photographers Sat morning to take pics of the fall color. There were lots of other photographers out, especially at N. Lake. Then we got together to look at some of the pics we had taken.  Here are some of the pics from that.

N Lake

ground with dusting of snow
creek below S. Lake
the Everest challenge was Sat - lots of bikes on the roads

Mt Humphreys Sat. morning
That afternoon I went bouldering at the Buttermilks. It was cold and there was definitely better friction. There were also lots of non-locals there. Sunday was also winter. I went bouldering at the Happys. It sprinkled a bit, but the real action was up in the mountains and to the north.

looking up towards Mt Tom from the Owens Valley on Sunday

It rained in town a bunch that night but was clear the next morning and the surrounding mountains had a fresh coat of snow.

Mt Humphreys Monday morning

Soon it was back to fall again and I went out to take some bird photos... It might even be back to summer by the end of the week.

American coot

yellow bird hiding among yellow flowers

Mt Humphreys from a distance - note how much snow has melted by Tuesday morning

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mount Clarence King and Gardiner Peak

Originally Jonathan and I planned a longer trip to the Great Western Divide, but a number of factors including the weather changed our plans to a more modest trip. We delayed another day for weather (wisely it appears) and then hiked in over Kearsarge and Glen passes and into 60 Lakes Basin where we set up camp. The next day we climbed Clarence King and then headed over towards Gardiner but walked past the base in Gardiner Basin opting to head back to camp to swim in the lake before it got too cold and climb it the next day. So, the next day we headed back and climbed it including a most excellent summit ridge. J headed back to camp and I traversed along the ridge passing a number of un-named peaks along the way before dropping down and back to camp for another swim. The last day we hiked out up towards Dragon lake and then south cross country and over the ridge west of Gould and back down. There was a lot of frosty dew - especially the first night. I took heaps of pictures of the lovely scenery. As usual there will probably be a more extensive trip report with more pics to come - I'll post a link here to it if I remember.

Jonathan on the summit of Clarence King

Jonathan picked up mylar balloon litter - it made a nice Thomas the Tank Engine doormat

some of the most excellent summit ridge on Mount Gardiner

Milky Way reflected in a lake

here I am relaxing on a summit

Rae Lake and Painted Lady Peak - quite scenic really

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bouldering and Boating

It is finally cooling off a bit here, so that means bouldering season is beginning... or at least that time of the year when you fall off your old warm-ups and re-realize that bouldering is hard and your fingertips are soft. In any case I have been out a few evenings and mornings and it is starting to get good.
Julie tops out the Green Boulder

Andrea climbs the Hero Roof

Andrea on the Tut Boulder

bonus for evening bouldering = sunset

Julie got a new boat, so we went down the Owens River from Pleasant Valley CG. Unfortunately the water was running pretty fast and the willows had grown a bunch since the last time I went down so the current really wanted to take you into the willows. I was able to mostly avoid this with more experience with swiftwater and avoiding willow entrapment. Julie wasn't prepared for this and got swept into the overhanging branches a number of times. After a few swims we swapped boats which helped, but not enough. Despite traveling down river for a while Julie had a pretty short walk back to the put in because of all of the meanders. I continued on to the take out with my pack raft. I saw a Great Blue Heron, lots of ducks, a coot, a kingfisher, some fish, and lots of yellowish warblers and swifts.

Julie paddles

Julie paddles her boat "Supernova"
Sorry I didn't get any pictures of the heinous willow tunnels - I was too busy trying to not get trapped myself.

another Buttermilks sunset pic

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hurd Peak

Yesterday I hiked and scrambled up Hurd Peak. I started from S Lake and hiked up to Long Lake. From there I cut cross country and started scrambling. I went up the rocky part on the NE slope up a ridge and a gully. The way I went probably up to hard 4th class but I could have made it a bit easier w/ some downclimbing and more careful route finding. From the top of the N ridge I had to traverse quite a bit to get to the true summit. After spending a good bit of time on the summit enjoying the view, eating lunch, and taking some pictures I headed back to the N and then cut down to the west down to some little lakes that were chock full of sierra yellow-legged frogs and tadpoles. It looked like 2 sizes of tadpoles - some that were bigger and sprouting legs and some that were pretty small. They certainly weren't endangered in these little lakes unless they were endangered by overcrowding.

Then I went down to Treasure Lakes (no frogs here) and back down the trail. Back at S. Lake I met a guy who had just finished the N Lake to S Lake loop so I gave him a ride back to his vehicle at N Lake.

Hurd Pk from Long Lake. I went up just right of the rock spire in the center

view from part way up - long lake, chocolate pk, cloudripper, Bishop Pass, etc.

it is always nice to see some friends in the summit register

gratuitous summit selfie

no shortage of tadpoles here

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Climbing

This labor day weekend Skip and Craig came up from LA and SD to climb in the Bishop area. Saturday we went to the dike wall by Mammoth and did a number of most excellent climbs there - a few new ones and a few repeats for me. A good time was had by all despite some humbling by the rock gods. Sunday we went to Cardinal Pinnacle and did the west face. What an awesome fun route and great rock. The mostly spacious belay ledges were appreciated as we were a party of 3. I sort of bungled the raps, but we got down ok. Then we wanted to go to the demolition derby at the fair. By the time we had eaten and headed over there it was sold out. Monday we had originally planned on heading to Pine Creek, but a tightening of schedules had us heading to the Sad boulders for some fun bouldering in the shade before they had to go.

Sometimes it takes a visit from people from out of town to make me re-appreciate just how nice things can be here on the east side, thanks for coming up guys.

Skip leading "Cro Magnon" at the Dike Wall

Craig leads "Black Lassie" at the Dike Wall

I sit on a little ledge at the top of P2 of West Crack on Cardinal Pinnacle

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sierra Challenge 2014 finish - Success?

The 2014 Sierra Challenge is over. It ended with a wimper for me in that I was wimpering. The last day proved especially painful with a bout of gut wrenching vomiting and weakness about 12 miles out from the trailhead. I sure was glad for the Leki treking poles that helped me keep moving and also make great support when puking. In some ways it was a success though as I did manage to summit the challenge peaks all 10 days as well as 6 bonus peaks (and a bonus 1/2 point for the "bat pinnacle"). Unfortunately some others were also felled or pained by stomach issues. I ended up tied for third in the polka dot "king of the mountain" race and was in a distant fourth for the yellow jersey (I was one of only 4 that did all 10 challenge peaks, but my time was much longer than the others). Eric dominated easily winning the yellow, white, and polka dot jerseys - impressive. I felt pretty lousy on days 1,2, and 10. The other days I was tired, but didn't feel so lousy too. As usual we visited some spectacular country and covered a lot of ground and a lot of vertical. I'll make a trip report at some point, but I wanted to get this up in a relatively timely manner. For more details see the links on the previous blog posts about this...

Thanks Bob for organizing this and I am sorry you were unable to make the last day.

also here is a link to an article in the San Jose Mercury News


Mason on the summit of Langille - day 4

Mason on the slabs next to the waterfall coming out of Dusy Basin day 4

Mason, Luke, and Nick on Piute Pass - day 5 

people heading down from Striped S. I followed Eric along the ridge to Striped (day 6)

Jonathan heading up towards Courte-Echelle (day 7)

zoomed in on previous pic - Bob tries to shoulder stand on Eric to get to the summit

here I am on the top - maybe 5.6 up the side, but a whole lot of exposure
Matt, Nick, Jonathan, Eric, and I on top of Anna Mills - day 10

I am not feeling so good - day 10

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Sierra Challenge days 1-3

I certainly can't say that I am feeling particularly fit or strong so far. I have managed to get up the challenge peak and a bonus peak each day, but I just don't feel like I have any pep in my step and my times are pretty bad. Still, I haven't had to use the headlamp yet, although with a 14:25 time on day 1 I was pushing that pretty hard. Thanks to the ability to keep on plodding and my Leki trekking poles I can keep moving, I just can't always keep up with others that are going faster. This has always been the case for downhill trail running, but this year it feels like it for the uphills too. In fact the only time I can really keep up is if the terrain is really technical.

This is a brief trip report. I have more pictures and stories for later...

Day 1 Slide Mtn plus bonus Matterhorn Peak 14:25

there was lots of scenic scenery all over

attempting to revitalize my legs - Matterhorn in the middle left

there were some old m&ms in the register - thanks

Day 2 Mt Andrea Lawrence plus bonus Donohue 14:10

Donohue on the left, Andrea Lawrence on the right

Day 3 Patricia Peak (tribute to Pat Hadley) plus bonus Pointless Peak no times - but about 6 hrs

It took a while for most people to get together, then we had a nice tribute to Pat. Laura even hiked up earlier and left some beer and a poem for the group.

group on Patricia Peak in memory of Pat Hadley. 
ridge on the right to Pointless Peak

Tomorrow is going to be a big day. hopefully I am up for it.

There are some other pics and info on the links in the previous sierra challenge 2014 starts blog post