Thursday, September 11, 2014

Temple - Gayley - Sill: the amateur way... (Labor Day Weekend '14)

Nick contemplating the meaning of life while enjoying a tab on another 14er...
Climbing used to be such a big focus in my life.... going to the gym 2-3x a week, going climbing outside 20+ times a year, dedicating my vacations to road trips out to Joshua Tree, Utah, etc... These days, I make an effort to get out once a year.  Not because I've lost my passion for the sport, but because other priorities have become a larger part of my life.  The last time I had put on climbing shoes was on Cal Dome last Oct with Metres.  

That being said... I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while.  Rebecca flew into town a few days ago from Japan and was willing to escort Kimbo and the boys to Auburn for a football game... so I was given a golden ticket to go frolic in the mountains with Nick... who I hadn't climbed with in 2 years.  

Nick had slowly been recovering from knee surgery, so he wanted to take it easy... but we somehow planned on doing a long ridge traverse... which in hindsight is probably the worst type of climbing for your knee.  Anyway, after dropping Rebecca, Kimbo & the boys off at the airport, being stuck in traffic... I made it up to S. Lake to pick up Nick, and we promptly drove down to the McDonald's in Bishop...

Nick's brilliant-ly bad idea of getting a big mac for dinner on Thur night in Bishop... his bum paid for it the next day.
Swimming hole... provided by the city of LA...
At the TH near Glacier Lodge.  After a big breakky, sorting gear, and Nick visiting the bathroom 3x, we finally hit the trail.

First sight of Temple Crag.  You can see Venutian Blind, Moon Goddess, Sun Ribbon, and Dark Star... if you know where to look.
at second lake with Temple Crag behind
our fat camp at Third Lake.
Should've brought my Tenkara rod!  Arrrgh.... these fish were taunting us.  
22 deg Halo
Nick catching up on some zzz's... whilst listening to politics.  
The next morning, we got an early start... as our alarm went off at 4, and we were hiking by 5.  We were climbing by 6, and in hindsight we should've started things 1 hr later.  With a bit more light, we could've seen where our route was supposed to go before we were directly under it.  
Once you are on Temple Crag, there are so many little false buttresses that it's easy to get off route.  I think we were OK until pitch 4 or so, then we veered off to some bail slings and stayed off route.  
Soon we were climbing up the gully to the looker's left of Venutian Blind.... not sure if we should go left or right, or what... so we just went up.  Check out this tattered old rope.  I wonder what epic story that rope was involved in...   
From the top looking down we finally figured out which routes were which.  This is Venutian Blind... with 1st and 2nd lake behind.  
Summit shot from Temple... forced smiles here as we should've been climbing 5th class... not 4th... alas.  We chalked it off as we still figured we had a long day ahead of us and got ready for Gayley.  
traversing over to Gayley is "fine" as Croft puts it... that's all the beta we got.  True adventure climbing.  
Fun sections of down climbing, ridge traversing, and knocking off huge boulders into either side of the ridge crest.  If you want to try to stay on the ridge the entire time, the climbing is significantly harder.  For the simple link up from Temple to Gayley, you can probably just do a class 2 or 3 walk around the south side of the ridge.  I'd say we stayed on the ridge for about 50% of the time... if there was an obvious crux coming up, we'd look for exits to the north of south around it...
Looking over at Middle Pal and Norman Clyde Peak with Firebird ridge.... one day... the full Palisades Traverse awaits.  
Looking back at Nick, with Temple Crag behind, middle pal in the middle, and the ridge of Gayley on the right.
pretty pink flowers... not sure what they are.. 4 petals
Another fun, exposed down climb on the ridge traverse to Gayley
Firebird Ridge
Mt. Sill (with the Swiss Arete), and North Pal
Check out the lake at the end of the glacier.  That'd be a fun polar bear plunge... 
Summit shot #2: Top O' Gayley!
we saw some folks on top of Sill from here.  I think they just did the Thunderbolt to Sill traverse.
which is this... Sill, Polemonium, North Pal, Starlight, and Thunderbolt... with Winchell and Agassiz beyond
Sill with a nice 22 deg halo
Filling up on some fresh glacier water.  We probably didn't need to do this, but it was a nice excuse for a break.  
The rubble heap of Gayley... at least from this side... this "traverse" is more of a link-up... as the ridge between Temple and Gayley can be skirted around, and Gayley to Sill is class 2.  
Mt. Sill from Gayley with the prominent Swiss Arete taunting us.  
Nick, stoked to be doing some actual clean climbing on the Swiss Arete.
Plane crash debris!
Me looking back at Nick... not so stoked that Nick got the "good pitch" and the Swiss Arete was so short and over... we roped up for 2 pitches... 
Sufferfest! 5 min into this:  a worthy watch... 
Lisa Rands! Headed to Thunderbolt... now that's a long day... maybe next time.  
lucky penny
Summit Shot #3 - Sill!
Nick showing his stoke to be on top of another 14er...
We presented the red cock to the mtn gods.  
Our rack for the day
This type of down climbing/scrambing... does not bode well for freshly cut knees...
a marmot must've got this toothpaste... kind of incredible the amount of trash recovered on this route...
We came down the slabs route... I'd recommend going through Sam Mack meadow next time... but we still did make it back to camp with plenty of daylight left.  
Funky barkless tree...
The next morning, after much discussion Nick decided to take it easy on his knee.  I wanted to get redemption on Temple Crag and hop on Sun Ribbon, but I was OK with going on a short hike up to 4th lake and heading out.  Here's a good view of the ridge between Temple and Gayley.  It's loose, but really fun... if you like loose.  

Another look at our route... this time with the Swiss Arete in the sun.  
Temple Crag from 2nd lake.  At this time of the day, the celestial aretes are well defined and route finding would have been a bit easier.  
Back in town we went for a nice lunch at a Mexican place, and went for a dip to cool off before driving back to S. Lake...
To get my climbing fill in, we went to the Leap on Monday and climbed Harvey Wallbanger Center, then Surrealistic Pillar to Hospital Corner all the way to the top... that place is soooo much fun.  Hopefully I won't be hanging up my shoes until next year... but we'll see.


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