Monday, August 27, 2012

Panos from Mt. Conness

To check out these pics in detail, click on them.
Sunrise!  Got a 5:30 am start after snoozing our 4:20 am alarm...
North Peak in the morning alpenglow... Conness is to the left.  At Greenstone Lake. 
Start of the North Ridge.  Lots of 3rd class in the beginning... we didn't rope up until the 5.6 (optional) down climb at the second tower.  
The summit plateau of Conness from the summit.  Conness is quite a confusing mountain with multiple ridges shooting out from it... the approach to the SW Face and West Ridge are quite arduous because of this.  
From the plateau.  The summit of Conness is to the left with the N. Ridge flowing to the middle of the frame toward N. Peak.  Conness Lakes, Greenstone Lake, and Saddlebag Lake appear below.  
The SW face of Conness... I think the famous line is on the right side of the pic.  The exposed side of the West Ridge...
Looking up the West Ridge of Conness with the SW face to the right... check out those clouds... 
Summit #2.  
From the summit. Looking down to Conness Lakes.
The crux of the 2nd class approach/descent trail off of Mt. Conness... quite exposed!  Just ask Smitty about it.
On the way down towards the defunct Carnegie Institute.

Friday, August 24, 2012

TR: Doubling Down on Mt. Conness (N. Ridge & W. Ridge)

The night before... after a fun mtn bike ride in the morning, we headed down to Travertine to loosen our muscles and get mentally prepared for our day ahead...
Nick... mentally preppin' 
The time-lapse set up... and the resulting time-lapse below...

The route for our adventure the next morning... 

Still dark in the mornin'... 5 am.  On the trail at 5:30 am... split a nice Beef Stew for brekky
North Peak reflection
Miley with Greenstone Lake and Saddlebag Lake in the background
The highest one of the Conness Lakes and the bluest.  
Approaching the ridge... starts out 2nd class, then 3rd class, then 4th class...
and the ridge to the summit.  We roped up after the second tower (this pic is from the first tower).  
Looking towards the Valley from the second tower.  Fairview Dome, Tenaya Peak, Tioga Lake, Half Dome and Clouds Rest.

Looking down the bowling alley to Roosevelt Lake from the North Ridge.
Typical climbing on the N. Ridge... the "crux" of the N. Ridge is the downclimb, which many folks choose to rappel.  The downclimb is pretty easy, and much faster... don't rap folks.  
Summit Pic #1: 9 am.  
Remnants of an old research station at the summit plateau
Pink Flowers... dicot... 4 petals... not sure what it is. EDIT: Rock Fringe (Epilobium obcordatum) Heart Willowweed,  in the Evening Primrose family.  
Clouds looking darker at the start of the west ridge.  Around 10:30 am... I felt a few drop on the ridge, but nothing significant fell on us...
Looking down the west ridge.  I led the first half, and when I ran out of gear (here) we swapped leads.  
Nick working his way up to the summit... the West Ridge is supposed to be more classic... and it is a bit more technical & longer, but as you can see in this pic, the exposure isn't on both sides of the ridge like it is on the North Ridge for the whole length.  Yeah the down climbing isn't as aesthetic... but I'd say both ridges are equally good.  Do both.  
The further up you get on West Ridge the easier the climbing gets.  This was mostly 4th class and felt like I was just on a StairMaster huffing and puffing... 
Summit Pic #2: 12:30 pm.  
Time to head down.  Cool alien looking rocks on the plateau.  
Looking back at the summit from the plateau.  Conness is a peak that looks quite different from every angle.  
Carnegie Institute... now defunct
Once you reach this bridge you are basically back at Sawmill Campground... time for some beers!  Back at the car at 3 pm, I made it home by 8:30 pm to pick up my folks at the airport.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lover's Leap = Fun

Nick cruising up Haystack... 
After feeling a bit under the weather the night before, I decided to sleep in rather than waking up early and trying to beat out the bay area traffic.

So after a late start, we decided to meet up at Lover's Leap at 1 pm.  We started climbing at 2 pm, and decided to climb as many routes as possible.  I won the roshambo and started leading up Haystack (5.8)... after pulling the crux, I set up a belay and the 70 meter rope was long enough to do the route in 2 pitches.

After scrambling down the shoulder we saw that no one was on The Line (5.9), so we decided to cruise up that classic.  I think I've probably climbed the Line everytime I've been to the Leap and might be my most climbed route... who knows... but it's such a great line.  Nick led the first pitch, and with the 70 m, we could do this one in 2 pitches as well... so I got to pull the roof at the top.  

Pinedrop (Pterospora) on the decent trail.
This whole time, there were dark clouds looming over the Tahoe basin.  Nick actually drove through rain on the way to the Leap.  And every time we got to the base, we asked ourselves... "should we wait up for 15 min?... see what the storm does?"... and just kept on hopping on routes.  

mean while... Truckee was experiencing a hail storm... (courtesy of KCRA)
Looking back down at Nick after topping out on Hogsback
When we got to the base and looked up we were hoping to hop on Bear's Reach, but there was a party already on it... so we decided to go to Hogsback and simul up Deception Direct (5.9)  

The view of the East Wall of Lover's Leap from the top of Hogsback
The Line, with folks midway up it... as seen from Hogsback
When we got to the base of Bear's Reach it was getting dark-er.  
7:45 pm... starting up Bear's Reach.  Nick & I simul-ed up the whole thing in 40 min.  Just in time to enjoy the sunset.
Solo-ist cruising up Fantasia and his dog looking up worried...
Check out these Dykes!  One of the many reasons why this place is so special.
Summit shot... Awesome clouds... should've just left a camera doing a time-lapse at the top. 
Got down just in time... and didn't need headlamps... good thing as we didn't have any.  
So we did 3 routes on the east wall, and one on Hogsback for a total of 1300 ft or so of climbing.  Not bad for a half a day of climbing.  One of these days I'd love to start in the morning and just climb all day and go for a personal vert record.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Pano: Bear's Reach

This is quite hard to see... so you'll have to click on the pic... and even then it may not be big enough.    But in the middle of the pic is Nick starting up Bear's Reach at Lover's Leap.  Off to his left, you can see a solo-ist climbing Fantasia (5.9R).  We started up at 7:30 pm, and simul-climbed all the way and did it in one pitch, topping out at 8:15 pm...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sawtooths Crest Traverse (the one in CA) - Part 4: Final Thoughts... and a vid.

"Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb."    -- Greg Child

Part 1part 2, and part 3

There were definitely times (e.g. when I had to down mantle off a block then fall 2 ft on to a small 2x2 ledge surrounded by void... or when I had to tower jump onto a small column maybe 1x4 ft) when the fun factor was type II.  But for the most part this climb was Type I, and I just wished I was in better climbing/ scrambling shape.

Beta/thing to note:
  • Secor; Croft's Guidebook; the 1952 guide -  "A Climber's Guide to the High Sierra, by Hervery H. Voge"
  • The sawblade has a huge notch in the middle (we rapped)... no you aren't at the Three Teeth yet... you are just half way across the blade...
  • The three teeth are actually more like 5 teeth... 3 big ones, and two smaller ones... 
  • The crux for us was the Sawblade and the three teeth.  That traverse is a mental drain, and takes all you got...
  • Get ready to get lost... it's all part of the game. 
A final list of broken/torn/bruised items:
My hands... the rock is SO sharp for my city hands.  This traverse really kicked my butt.  

My middle finger after near disaster down climbing.  Good thing we were minutes away from the last summit.  

My approach shoe got stuck in a crack.  Seriously stuck.  I had to untie my shoe, remove my feet then tug at it to remove it.  The stitching came out on the side due to the process.  

My beloved Z-pack... :(  I thought I was being clever by using my ultralight bag, but I'd take the most durable items you have on this traverse.  Carharts, foam pads, etc..

Speaking of foam pads... don't take the neoair.  Anywhere.  When these pads pop they provide a negative R value... I swear.  Thankfully I was so tired I didn't care too much.  

And a few other items not pictured... 
  • right ankle (sprained 3 times on the hike out)... injured from soccer the previous week.
  • Left toenail... is about to fall off and has a blood blister under it!  Should've cut my toenails... update: it fell of yesterday... ugh.  
UPDATE:  it fell off... and so did my right... I'll just show you my left... (WARNING: it's gross)

All gone...
  • Camera 100HS - ayeee

  • Cycling Jacket - not surprised at all that this tore
  • My REI convertible pants... have a hole all the way down my butt.