Posted on July 30th, 2009
Our first climb of the East Face of Mt. Whitney in 2009 was a one day car to car ascent. Leaving Whitney Portal wearing headlamps we ascended the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek with the goal of reaching the base of the route at sunrise. We would then climb efficiently up the route leaving us plenty of daylight to return to Whitney Portal in time for burgers from the Whitney Portal Store.
Taking a quick rest break at Lower Boyscout Lake in the middle of the night.
Polemonium's in full bloom. They only grow above 12,000 feet in the Sierra.
Sunrise at the start of the East Face of Mt. Whitney
The Tower Traverse, the first pitch of the East Face route on Mt. Whitney.
Finishing pitch #4 at the top of the Washboards.
Pitch #5 above the Washboards with Iceberg Lake behind.
The Fresh Air Traverse on the East Face of Mt. Whitney
Climbing the Grand Staircase.
As we finished off the final 5th class pitch clouds were building around Mt. Whitney
A well earned summit photo on top of Mt. Whitney!
As clouds surrounded Keeler Needle immediately south of Mt. Whitney it began to hail. The summit is no place to be in a storm so it was time to descend.
Descending the upper section of the Mountaineers Route of Mt. Whitney.
A well earned bacon cheese burger from the Whitney Portal Store.
Posted on July 25th, 2009
Our guests on this trip were a group of fun loving adventurous guys from Orange County who wanted to do an overnight backpack trip and cover lots of mileage. After considering several trip options we settled on this loop trip. This route covered a lot of ground over two days. In addition to the 35+ miles our elevation gained and lost added to the challenge. Starting at 9250+ feet we hiked up to Lamarck Col at almost 13,000′ then descended down to the John Muir Trail where we ended up at Wanda Lake at 11,426′ 12 hours after we began. After a good dinner of pad thai with shrimp and vegetables we went to sleep prepared to wake early for day 2.
We woke early and were hiking before 7 AM. A short ascent got us to Muir Pass at 12,000 feet then a long very scenic drop in elevation over a 7 mile period as we headed south on the John Muir Trail. We turned off the JMT at the LeConte ranger station at 8900 feet. The next 6.6 miles was an ascent through Dusy Basin to Bishop Pass at 11,972′. Finally we descended the last 6 miles down the Bishop Pass trail to the South Lake trailhead at 9600+ feet.
The weather has isolated storm cells around but none of them ever got near us so we stayed dry the whole time. The scenery was gorgeous the whole time. The Sierra wildflowers were in full bloom. The scenery included an abundance of blue alpine lakes, meadows, pine trees, white granite spires, and patches of snow. A great time was had by all and we celebrated that evening in Bishop with a big dinner at Whiskey Creek.
Group photo at the North Lake trailhead.
The first of many creek crossings we would encounter over the next two days.
Gaining elevation on the way to Lamarck Col with North Lake in view.
At Lamarck Col and looking great!
Approaching Darwin Canyon after dropping off Lamarck Col
Traversing the unnamed lakes in Darwin Canyon
Taking a break below Darwin Bench on our cross country route headed towards the John Muir Trail. Evolution Valley below us on the right.
Creek crossing at the inlet to Evolution Lake at 10,800 feet
Wanda Lake at 11,426 feet. Our camp site at the end of day 1.
Wanda Lake shortly after sunrise.
The group rested and ready to start the long journey on day 2 from Wanda Lake to the South Lake trailhead.
The Muir Hut at Muir Pass at 12,000 feet. This hut was built as an emergency shelter for this very remote part of the John Muir Trail
Silhouette on top of the Muir Hut
Helen Lake as we descended from Muir Pass. The trail traverses along the right shoreline then begins the descent into LeConte Canyon.
Shooting Stars in bloom along the trail
The snow melted off late this year after the Sierra experienced an unusually stormy June. We encountered several snow patches that were still recently revealing creeks and waterfalls. Beautiful!
Looking back at LeConte Canyon as we started up towards Bishop Pass
River coming from Dusy Basin flowing over granite slabs.
Bishop Pass. It's all (mostly) downhill from here!
One final break before reaching the trailhead at South Lake. Still smiling!
A happy group of great guys at South Lake. Time for showers and food!
Celebration time at Whiskey Creek in Bishop
Posted on July 7th, 2009
Exciting views of remote part of the Sierra and supurb route conditions greeted us on this annually scheduled SMI trip. We allow 5 days to tackle two of the Sierra’s most remote 14ers. Mt. Williamson at 14,375′ is the second highest peak in California and access to the peak is restricted past July 15. Mt. Tyndall lies outside of the closure area located closer to Shepherd Pass. The climbs are enjoyable ascents involving 3rd class climbing over excellent quality Sierra granite. Breathtaking views from the summits add to the majestic beauty of these peaks.
Back row left to right: Ed Saenz, Lori Nissen, Julie Harden, Reid Lidow, Cory Cline. Front row guides Sara Berghoff and Kurt Wedberg
Julie, Kurt, and Ed relaxing at camp before dinner.
Mt. Tyndall lit up by early morning sunlight as seen from our approach to Mt. Williamson
Beginning up the West Face of Mt. Williamson
Lori, Julie, and Ed enjoying climbing the steep snow high on the West Face of Mt. Williamson.
Ed and Julie on the 3rd class finish on the West Face of Mt. Williamson.
Summit photo on Mt. Williamson
North Rib of Mt. Tyndall from camp
Cory, Reid, Ed, and Sara beginning the ascent of the North Rib of Mt. Tyndall
Sara topping out on the North Rib of Mt. Tyndall
Ed on the summit block of Mt. Tyndall