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Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:06 pm

Derek has completed a video for the section he was with us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcDbMWL ... ture=share



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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby sekihiker » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:48 am

RoguePhotonic wrote:Derek has completed a video

Really enjoyed this amazing and well-produced video.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby tanngrisnir3 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:22 am

RoguePhotonic wrote:Derek has completed a video for the section he was with us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcDbMWL ... ture=share


Like a mini-compresso version of "Mile, Mile and a Half"!

Well done!
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby FeetFirst » Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:04 pm

sekihiker wrote:
RoguePhotonic wrote:Derek has completed a video

Really enjoyed this amazing and well-produced video.



Ditto. Thanks for sharing.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Hobbes » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:02 am

Excellent.

Q: Did Derek ever wear his boots? He was wearing his NB minimus even on the trail sections of the video. I was wondering if he just got used to walking in those all the time.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:50 am

Hi Hobbes. Derek only wore those NB Minimus. He didn't bring boots, which I thought was quite impressive. I was wearing a trail shoe by NB but after this 12 day section it was showing some serious signs of use. And after the following 14 day section they completely fell apart. I'll post a photo at some point. I now use approach shoes as I find them the perfect shoe for both walking on the trail and cross country terrain without the weight and bulk of a large boot.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Shawn » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:50 pm

Excellent video, thanks for sharing. :thumbsup:
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:39 pm

Alright... finally found some time to write up Week 3 of this adventure. Being an undergrad at a university and trying to work definitely gets in the way of writing up trip reports let alone climbing mountains! But without further ado.. here comes Week 3 which I would say was the most tumultuous week of my life with adventures filling almost every other day. I will be as straight as possible and try not to embellish anything. Hopefully that will allow all of you to try and experience what these adventures were like if you were in our shoes! Let's begin..

Day 15- VVR to Blayney Hot Springs 5.2 Miles
Today started out quite funny. We missed our ride to Florence Lake originally and thus had to wait around VVR for several hours longer. In the meantime we feasted on our last good meal for what to me seemed like eternity afterwards. Chili-Cheese Fries was the meal of choice. It would be 15+ days before I got to taste something so magnificent as that. Rogue was able to get us a free ride to Florence for which we were quite gracious. Florence lake oddly enough wasn't nearly as low as Thomas Edison and thus the ferry ran all the way across the lake. We crossed the choppy water and began the trudge to Blayney hot springs. I believe we had 14 days worth of food... Well technically Rogue had 14 and I think I had slightly less. I just couldn't muster up the strength to carry any more.. and boy would that bite me hard later! We had our delicious breakfast burritos from VVR for dinner and then decided to cross the San Joaquin river and jump into the hot springs. I only dipped my feet in but no doubt it was very nice. I was completely barefoot crossing the river both times and on the return trip it was already quite dark.. that was an interesting experience! Today marked the last time we camped by anyone on this entire section until the very last night out! Difficult to believe that but there are places in the Sierra where that is still very much a reality.

Day 16- Blayney Hot Springs to North Goddard Creek 11.5 Miles
Today it was up Goddard Canyon to where North Goddard Creek meets the San Joaquin. It was a long, hot, and brutal day. Mostly due to the weight of our packs which was easily in the high 40's, low 50's range. We jumped into the San Joaquin at the bridge on the Muir Trail and the water was magnificent. Icy cold and most likely the coldest water I've ever jumped into before oddly enough.The views in the canyon were quite gorgeous with all the waterfalls and cascades. This was my first time in the area and it was definitely living up to it's beautiful reputation. When we reached North Goddard creek we crossed the mighty San Joaquin although now it was no more than a mere trickle! Had a great campsite there with an awesome fire and turned in for the night. Tomorrow would begin the adventure of adventures.. The first of 11 days without seeing a trail.

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Cascades in Goddard Canyon

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Goddard Canyon

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Day 17- North Goddard Creek to Lake 11,196 (North of Davis Lake) 3.5 Miles+
Today the mileage was not a lot but the terrain was completely new to both of us. We made our way up North Goddard creek quite easily for much of the way up to Davis Lake. The views were fantastic and the terrain was mellow. I was hoping not to see anyone today, since that could potentially ensure an entire 11 days worth of not seeing anyone else, but also we actually ran into a whole Boy Scout Troop! We looked up at Mt. Mcgee and definitely decided we didn't want to climb it, for it looked like an awful climb. We got to the outlet of Davis Lake and had a fantastic view across to parts of the Goddard Divide. We rounded the corner and then began angling up and around a knob. Wow, that situation got annoying and sketchy quite fast. We were left standing on a ledge where the only good move was up a Class 4 one. Full pack on too! I was not a fan of it at all but we made it no doubt. We made our way around Davis Lake which does have the tedious talus as described and finally made it to our glacial flour colored small lake. It was a very pretty lake with fantastic open vistas. The guardian Mt. Goddard loomed above us. We found a nice campsite there and turned in for the night as tomorrow we would trek into the mystic Ionian Basin.

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Looking at the LeConte Divide

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The Class 4 Nonsense we had to do

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Beautiful Davis Lake

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Pretty Glacial Flour Lake 11,196


Day 18- Lake 11,196 to Lake 12,080 (Scylla Lake) 3.5 Miles
This day would be a special one for I would finally get into Ionian Basin. Last year I had intended to make my way in there but I never made it in. Finally I would see this mythic land. We went up and over Davis Lakes Pass and Wanda Pass. Both of which were straightforward and provided awesome views. From Wanda we could see the Southern Part of the range which included the Kaweah's. Almost as soon as we descended and started eating lunch two other people came down the pass. They said that they may go down the Enchanted Gorge and up Goddard Creek into Ionian Basin all in one day. Rogue and I definitely thought this to be quite unlikely given the awfulness of the Enchanted Gorge. At any rate we ventured deeper into the heart of Ionian Basin. We passed several lakes with a color that one could only dream up.. The deepest darkest shade of blue. And not only the color but also shape/texture of the rock was amazing. Most of it was black and fractured and undeniably sharp. It's as if one isn't even in the Sierra anymore. All of it is the ancient metamorphic rock that once made up all of the Sierra. We topped out on a ridge and I laid gaze upon most likely the single most amazing sights I would see this entire trip. My words and photographs do not give it justice. The lake below Scylla was just set beautifully in a basin where the wall of Scylla rises straight up and the Three Sirens stand guard close at hand. The awe that came over me was unparalleled. We camped on the peninsula, which presented rough and hilly camping, but we made do. The evening gave way to a very pretty sunset and soon we were in our bags for it was the coldest night I remembered. At 12,080 even in July it doesn't get much higher than the mid 30's. I slept soundly that night amid ancient tales of Greek Mythology swirling in my head.

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Wanda Pass 12,400 FT

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Wanda Lake and the JMT

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First view of Ionian with Charybdis
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:19 am

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Crazy Colored Rock in Ionian

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Scylla Lake in all it's Grandeur

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On Scylla Lake Peninsula

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Impossible to deny the awesomeness of this place


Day 19- Scylla Lake to Lake 11,840 (Ragged Spur Lake) 2.5-3 Miles
Today would prove to be an adventurous day. Rogue first told me about his plan to visit this unnamed lake deep in the heart of one of the most remote regions of the Sierra many months prior. I was immediately hooked on the idea. The thought of being able to visit a place that most likely no human has ever ventured before truly excited me. It is just a fact about our human nature that we are curious creatures and this opportunity was as great as any one could hope for. I was even more excited to hopefully get some Black and White film images of this lake. So, morning came and we headed around Scylla Lake quite slowly since the terrain is quite cumbersome. We eventually rounded it and then began up the slope of the Ragged Spur. The rock was unreal... nothing I had ever seen before. This rock was even more impressive than what I had seen in Ionian. Nothing about it seemed inviting or pleasant. Black, sharp, and crumbly. We eventually reached the ridge-top not far from the summit of Scylla. I had skipped bagging Scylla the day prior because I just didn't want to deal with walking around the lake that many times. Even now I was too lazy to get up there, and I figured a return trip into Ionian would be a great experience. The ridge proved to be fun and annoying with Class 3 rock that definitely liked to move around. None of it was dangerous, so long as cautious eyes and feet were exercised. We followed the ridge all day South. The views were about as great as they could get. Almost in every direction you have an unobstructed view. Goddard dominated the view to the Northwest, Palisades and Black Divide to the East, the remote White Divide to the direct West, and of course the entirety of the Southern Sierra unfolded directly to the South. One could see everything from the Kaweah's to the Great Western Divide and all the way to the Whitney region. It was absolutely gorgeous and probably a view as grand as Mt. Gabb's except this view continued for hours! We were quite on top of the Sierra. We climbed remote Mt. Hansen on the ridge along with several other unnamed peaks. Clouds were building all day and I knew that weather was brewing and definitely coming for us. This would prove to be quite interesting as the day unfolded. Eventually we reached a spot above our lake and decided it was time to angle down towards it. The route was not fun nor was it technically easy. First a Class 3 knife-edge ridge was navigated to a horribly loose talus and boulder slope. The entire slope kept sliding as we traversed on it. Finally we got to the lake very tired and dehydrated. I snapped off a few shots of the lake and then the fun began. We looked absolutely everywhere for a place to pitch tents, but alas we were out of luck. Rogue found 2 places where we could lay our bodies...That was it.. NO Camping at all. To make matters more fun, the water in the lake was teeming with both water fleas and copepods. And of course on top of all that it started to rain! Yes, it started to rain in this miserable wasteland with no place to put up a shelter. To put it as honestly as I can we were f****** pissed. I crawled under a rock which Rogue called my Hobbit Hole. I stayed fairly dry but it was awfully cramped and uncomfortable. He used his tent as a cover for his gear while he just sat out in the rain. I used his rain-fly to cover mine. The scenery there was nice but not nearly as nice as hoped for since there was no good view across the gorge and the lake was hemmed in by sheer rock cliffs. I will never forget how miserable we were there. The place clearly did not want us there. Everything about it pointed to sinister feelings and quite honestly I can easily see why no one has ever been there. We got to the point where we joked about how nice it would be in the safety of Ionian! To think.. Ionian is actually now a safe haven for us, when it's considered one of the starkest and inhospitable of the places in the Sierra. Finally it stopped raining and we quickly had dinner under some flashes of lightning. We slept under the stars that night since there was no other option and prayed to God it wouldn't rain that night. For if it did start raining we would be put to a very serious test of mother nature and our wills...

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Looking South atop the Ragged Spur. One can make out the Kaweah's, The Great Western Divide & more

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Down into the Enchanted Gorge

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Looking up the Enchanted Gorge towards Ionian

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Ragged Spur Lake
Last edited by alpinemike on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:16 pm

Day 20- Ragged Spur Lake to Chasm Lake 3.2+ Miles
To quote out of the journal that I kept... "Fortunately it didn’t rain & on Day 20 we got the f*** out of there." My sentiments here definitely describe how we felt about visiting Ragged Spur Lake. At many times we kept asking ourselves why we were there.. because there truly was no good answer. As Rogue erected the small cairn for our register I wrote on the slip of paper that I have named this "Dumb ass Lake" for very obvious reasons. I think it goes without saying but I shall warn anyways.. I would never recommend anyone to ever go to this lake. Many have asked why not.. And the only good answer I have is that there is absolutely nothing good about it and the feeling of evil seems to breath around there. To continue with our trek out of there we decided to follow a different way out. We decided to go Northwest out of the basin of the lake and climb up a slope and chute to what became known as the Pinnacle of Salvation. It was a much faster, more direct, and not as awful way as the day prior. The clouds at 9 A.M. were already menacing so we moved quickly. Eventually we made it to the final climb which definitely got very real fast. Class 5 climbing with a full pack is what we faced. No.. I was not a fan of this at all, but as I mentioned earlier this week would be one of the most tumultuous in my life and so it continued. The rock became harder and harder and finally reached the crux of the climb. It would be the hardest rock climb I would do on this trip. A classic open book crack with the first foot hold waist high! It was a gymnastic feat to climb it but we did and within minutes we were on the top of the ridge shouting victory against the evil lake and praise for the Pinnacle! It was no doubt that this was a first ascent of this Pinnacle and probably the last ascent.. As we turned the corner we saw our chute that we initially traveled up and found it ended at a col that went all the way to the ridge.. mostly Class 2. Of course we didn't think it would be that easy and we always seemed to take the "extra fun route". We quickly traversed along the ridge as the storm was fast approaching. We reached the final slope down to Scylla Lake and that's when the rain hit hard. We weren't too concerned for lighting anymore since we were off the top but we quickly made our way down. I fell once on the annoying slick rock but fortunately where there was only sand. The plan was to camp at the lake below Wanda Pass but we pressed on during intermittent rain all the way to Chasm Lake. We were able to actually set up a nice camp there on a knoll overlooking Chasm Lake which had a direct view towards of all things.. Black Kaweah! We were quite grateful for finally being down in Ionian and away from all the stupidity of Dumb ass Lake and the Ragged Spur. It rained some more before dinner but then cleared up a bit for a nice evening. Of course.. this was only the calm before the storm!

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My sleeping spot at Dumb ass Lake

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That's my Hobbit Hole!

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Our cairn at the lake

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I'll let you decide if it's a good name...

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Dumb ass Lake

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The Pinnacle of Salvation.. Notice how steep and real the climbing is at the top...

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The open book crack on the Pinnacle

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Storm approaching

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Gorgeous Chasm Lake with Black Kaweah in the Distance
Last edited by alpinemike on Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Cross Country » Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:50 pm

That was a great video. I really really liked it. Now I get to show it to my wife who´s never seen anything like it.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:09 pm

Day 21- Chasm Lake to Goddard Creek via The Enchanted Gorge 6.5 Miles
The day had finally come.. The day we descend the Enchanted Gorge. A place of legend and lore in the Sierra. If one has a wish to explore that which is held in mystique and secret they go here to the Enchanted Gorge. The day started out as normal as any.. traversing around Chasm Lake to get to the entrance to the gorge. The boulders were large but technically easy. The sky told of a grim situation.. clouds seemed to be building even early. We descended a massive talus field for what seemed like over an hour until the gorge got a bit steeper and we got a view of the lakes. We had a nice lunch on a bench above the lakes by a waterfall only to be greeted by none other than our friend.. The Rain! If you're keeping count.. this would be Day 3 of rain in a row for us. Little did we know but this rain would not be just an afternoon shower.. Oh no. It lasted 4-5 hours if not more and was steady and hard many times. Just for perspective.. The Enchanted Gorge is considered challenging and tedious on a good dry day.. In this situation it proved to be nearly fatal and utterly miserable. After passing by the Lake of Enchantment (which was the only good part about the entire gorge at all), which also goes by the name of The Rotunda we entered a boulder field I had never seen before. It was straight out of Tolkiens' Lord of The Rings as the land of Mordor. The rock was black but had an evil green tint to it that looked surreal as the rain feel on it. It was horribly slippery and difficult to navigate. We passed through this strange land and entered onto horribly loose rock on the steepest of slopes. The rain now especially did not help the situation. We ventured deeper into the Gorge as it got narrower and thus we had to cross the creek. I decided since my feet were already wet I might as well cross in my shoes. We crossed so many times I completely lost count. It got to be so tedious that eventually even Rogue with his large leather boots crossed the creek in them. It was total misery to have wet feet for hours on top of it just raining in general. We then came to a blockage. We were hemmed in by cliffs and could go no further but descend. This is when Rogue looked to me, shook his head and said "No good.. This is very very bad" along with other curses. We were standing on a sloped rock that was covered in wet grass! I had absolutely no traction whatsoever and I became quite terrified of slipping and falling to my doom. When the most experienced person I know says that the situation is not good you get scared and realize the situation is quite serious. The rock ended in a 30 foot drop into a cascade with sharp rock at the bottom. And the next thing I know I lose all my grip and I fall and start sliding feet first on my stomach toward the edge! I did the only thing I could and that was clutch all the grass my hands could grab and fortunately it stopped me from sliding off. I estimated I wasn't more than 5-6 feet away from the edge when I stopped. This was easily the closest I came to my death ever in my life and as I got up I regained my ability to stand up without shaking. I clutched the grass the entire way down to the creek. We made it and in a shout of relief and I proclaimed this had to be the worst day of my life. Little did I know.. it was about to get worse.. We continued along the wretchedness for hours and got to the point where brush blocked the way. This was another level of awfulness. Not only were parts of it practically impenetrable but also it was choked full of stinging nettles! Wow.. how much my legs hurt after that is hard to describe. It shouldn't sting for more than 10-20 minutes after.. but for me it lasted hours (I'm a bit allergic to things like that). It was now late afternoon.. I was nearing the end of my abilities both mentally and physically to keep going. I was falling constantly and thus Rogue told me later... "Whenever I looked back all I could see was Mike rolling in the bushes". Yep.. that was definitely what kept happening. There was no place to camp at all so we kept pushing on. I was wet, exhausted, delirious, and hurting and in this awful state I managed to break both my hiking poles! Yes.. both in the span of 10 minutes. It was awful and I had to borrow Rogue's poles for the entire next week just to set up my tent. We finally crossed the creek for the last time and angled up the final slope and descended to Goddard Creek. Salvation at last! There was nothing more that I wanted than a roaring fire to dry us out. We arrived in the dark of night so we needed light as well. We set to finding a campsite and made do with what we found. We set to work gathering wood, of which there was plenty and had a fire to beat all fires. It was so much more than a source of warmth and light.. It literally represented a symbol of making it through the day alive and in one piece. I definitely got torn up along with my pants and shoes. It was easily the hardest day of my life and I was undeniably thankful it was finally over. I slept a sleep I had never slept before that night..

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The start of the Enchanted Gorge

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The nicest part of the Gorge.. right above the Lakes

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The Lake of Enchantment

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The land of Mordor

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The last photo I took in the gorge.. which isn't saying much.. Only took about 10 because it started raining too hard.


Thus concludes the adventures of Week 3! I hope I did it justice and I hope it's as fun to read as it was to write. I can't say Weeks 4 and 5 can top it but they have their fair share of beauty and fortunately less awfulness. And I'll say this.. No.. There is definitely nothing enchanted about the Enchanted Gorge! For all practical and reasonable individuals.. I'd say stay away from it. Stay tuned for Weeks 4 & 5!
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