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TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Postby alpinemike » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:30 pm

Yeah I know it's been a while... but a lot has happened for me and I was gone for most of the summer you all know where. But without further delay here's week 6. I have most of the next 3 weeks written so maybe I'll get those posted in the next few days.

Day 36- Climb Hogback Peak
The morning dawned clear and beautiful. Today we climbed Hogsback Peak & were done before 1:30. Anyways we had another loungy & mellow day that was fortunately clearer to the South but not completely smoke free. Very few clouds built, but it’s cooler so I hope especially given the wind we are back into a cooler & drier pattern. Tomorrow we head to the Slide Lakes & climb Slide Peak.

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Day 37- Swamp Lakes to Slide Lakes

Today we went up Gimme Pass & climbed Slide Peak. The pass was easy and the peak was mostly a walk-up. The summit block though was easily Class 4 & quite fun. Another typical Secor peak... no mention of any crazy summit block that required some serious arm and leg strength. He claims it's just a Class 1 walk up all the way to the top. We made it down to camp early & pretty easily & found a decent area, but totally undeveloped, and so another fire pit was made. The night was pleasant & cool in the mid 30’s. So it definitely had turned to a cooler and drier weather pattern... just the way I like it.

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Day 38- Climb Peak 11,114
Today was straightforward, since we climbed the unnamed peak. We did it up the slope & it was definitely a ****, but the view was amazingly crystal clear & as far as the eye could see. We took a slightly different, but still a loose and shitty descent. Once we got back we still had plenty of time to lounge. We all bathed and swam and it was wonderfully refreshing. I helped plan Dan’s JMT trip, which was very fun talking about the areas. He would be starting the following month while Rogue and I were still out. We had our last fire that night & I enjoyed a good meal with some roasted and crispy tortillas.

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Postby alpinemike » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:41 pm

Day 39- Slide Lakes to Volcanic Lakes
Today was a much longer & arduous day. We first climbed up to what I’m calling Slide Pass & then traversed around to climb the ridge of Kennedy. The traverse was easy & the ridge climb was pretty fun. We got to the summit around 11 A.M., which was very good time. Another epically clear day with a spectacular view in all directions. One of the finest summit views I’ve had. From there we dropped down to Kennedy Pass and got an awesome view of Kennedy Canyon. The ridge traverse was very tedious from there with more downhill than we wanted & shitty sand mixed in with some boulders. But eventually we topped out on the sub-peak & finally saw what awaited us. A very annoying large talus block ridge-line was first. There was a decent boulder/grass ramp run-out to the bottom. But after descending a part of the ridge-line we were faced with a nasty chute that naturally had hard packed dirt and loose rock. It wasn’t long but a little spicy, especially for Dan. We were able to drop down very easily from there to the largest Volcanic Lake. At the Volcanic Lake we took a good break and Dan fished catching a couple small ones, but nothing big enough to eat. I really enjoyed the scenery & grandeur there. From there we headed up to the next lake & found no camping so now we made it to the next one down where we’re all laying out under the majestic sky & epic grandeur. These lakes were certainly the highest and most desolate lakes of the section & I thoroughly enjoyed them. Tomorrow we head to Granite Pass & climb Hutchings, which is our 8th Peak! Maybe out to food at Cedar Grove or Lower Tent Meadow.

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Day 40- Volcanic Lakes to Cedar Grove
Today was a long & challenging day. We made it all the way down to Road’s End from the Volcanic Lakes. We got a decent start and climbed up above Granite Pass in good time. Unfortunately we awoke to some smoky skies to the North, but the view was still pretty impressive from Granite Pass. We finally could see Hutchings & it looked to be a straightforward climb. From the pass we quickly dropped down into Granite Basin, which had a pretty view toward the Granite ridge but you couldn’t see Granite Lake. From there we climbed up to the Lip, where Rogue & I had lunch. Dan said he wasn’t feeling the climb up Hutchings so he went down the trail & would meet us at the bottom or Lower Tent. We began the climb up to the peak just as we saw some stock stop where we had lunch. The climb was easy and short. The summit block was fun Class 4. And the view to the South & East was exceptional. Albeit hazy it was still fantastic. We quickly got down to our packs and began the plunge all the day down to 5000FT from 10,340 FT. A serious endeavor that we topped last year. At Lower Tent we found no Dan so we knew he made it all the way down. And by 5:15, so did we. Fortunately the view down was much nicer than last year, since there was no smoke, and only haze. It also was not nearly as hot down at the bottom as when we left. A much more pleasant time down here it would be. Dan was waiting there for us for an hour & 45. We all hopped in & made our way to a delicious dinner. Double Cheeseburger & chili with some beer. How glorious it was being down here, eating good food & having 2 layover days. We got a pretty close site to the entrance/exit of the campground. We chatted about our adventures over the course of the adventures since Dan would leave the following morning.

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Day 41- Layover
This morning Dan bad us goodbye since he left by 8. We got our first & closest site, since it vacated and we did our usual errands of laundry and showering and naturally eating! We had 2 layover days since we got out one day early so we used it to eat as much delicious food as possible since the next section would be another long and challenging 14 day section.

Day 42- Layover
As is typical for us our layovers focused on lounging around and eating and we most certainly did that! Hot dog with chili & Caesar wraps & pizza’s among other things come to mind. We actually had internet access so we posted on HST & then nerded out by rebuilding our computers. Rogue is going for an 8 core i7 that’s over a grand I’m doing a 6 core for around $800. That's just for the computer processor alone. (Addendum... I eventually built a new computer but it ended up being cheaper than this original crazy plan... It's still pretty epic as I type on it. Rogue on the other hand actually decided to spend more money haha. :D) Our rigs will be pretty similar though.(Um.. nope they are definitely not). We definitely spent lots of time looking at computer parts & builds, since yes we are both pretty solid nerds and enjoy some of the finer technological things in life when we're not out here living like hobos!
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Postby alpinemike » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:49 pm

Alright Week 7! Officially over half way!

Day 43- Road's End to Junction Meadow
After saying goodbye to all the wonderful food we said goodbye to Cedar Grove which we won’t return to for quite a while. At least 2 years as I see it. Hell it may be even longer now that both Rogue and I have somewhat settled down in our civilized lives! Today we got up to Junction Meadow. We got a ride very quickly, within 10 minutes of standing on the side of the road. It was around 7:30 and from 2 guys that were doing the Rae Lakes Loop. We chatted with the ranger & then set off. We fortunately had a crisp morning & there was lots of shade even on the switchbacks. Overall, a hard day; but not horrible, since we got to camp by 4ish. Hot and dry in parts of the canyon & I certainly have no interest in being through it again, especially anytime soon. We had a good dinner and a fire followed by a restful night. I have done this stretch of trail several times now and while parts are scenic I will be reserving it for the no other option category of trips.

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Day 44- Junction Meadow to Lake Reflection
Today we made the climb to Reflection. Yesterday we did 3,100 FT+ of climbing & today was only 1,900 FT, so not a bad day. We made East Lake by lunch & we made camp by 3. There was a log jam across Bubb’s Creek which meant we didn’t have to ford it. No one camped here yet; whereas at Junction Meadow, a volunteer crew was doing some analysis on vegetation at East Lake. We jumped from some rocks and enjoyed the stupendous views but the water is still quite chilly. The pleasantries stopped there though as I **** up dinner royally. I spilled over half my gumbo out on the ground & then managed to spill more on my shoe later. Needless to say but I almost killed someone. I had to finish my triscuits so that I could at least get some more nutrition. Which, naturally **** me over for the next day since I had no crackers. After that **** we both watched The Edge of Tomorrow, which was a pretty cool movie. Tomorrow, a long & hard day awaits us over Little Joe’s Pass & to Lake South America.

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Day 45- Lake Reflection to Lake South America
Today we climbed up Little Joe’s Pass, which was a **** & a half, given we took the wrong chute up. This of course caused us to do major technical Class 3 with our full packs with 12 days of food. Typical **** that we end up on as usual. I say this joking but honestly I swear half the time Rogue and I end up on some ridiculous crap that we never intend on and we're like... "Oh well, just another day for us in the Sierra". The 12 days of food bit really made this pass the challenge. I'll take technical Class 3 any day over carrying that kind of weight. Nonetheless we made it up that son of a **** & vowed we’ll never return given the grueling climb. It was much later than we hoped for, but we pressed on to Lucy’s Foot Pass in order to climb Ericsson. That pass, to me looked like an even bigger **** & I never intend on doing it. I convinced Rogue to climb the peak & we trudged up the easy slope to the ridge and climbed the fun Class 3 to the top. The view was hazy, but still very worth it. Ericsson is such a prominent peak from the North that it truly is a landmark that stands out and begs to be climbed. The trudge down and to LSA was pretty miserable, since we were totally out of energy. We got there after 7:30 and found a decent camp. Dinner was painfully late, but very satisfying. The night was cold and in the mid 30’s & we had a decent amount of frost & ice in the bucket the following morning.

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Postby alpinemike » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:58 pm

Day 46- Climb Stanford
Today, we climbed Stanford. Likely the most technically challenging peak of the entire trip with the exception of North Palisade and Mt. Humphrey's. First we made it up Harrison Pass, which was easy & then climbed the easy slope up to Gregory’s Monument. I certainly have no intention of ever going up or down the Northern side of Harrison. Too steep, sandy, and long for my taste. The view was pretty epic given it was a clear day & no smoke had inundated the Sierra yet. From Gregory's the real **** began and it got very real right away. The initial downclimb off the ridge was some of the sketchiest climbing I’ve ever done. Total Class 4 & not 3. We literally had to hang from the rock over a chasm & lower yourself onto a boulder. And then a difficult Class 4 move over an overhanging boulder. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it but I did somehow. From there the route was obvious with major technical vertical Class 3 on mostly good rock. Very fun and thoroughly enjoyable. The summit was badass & the view still good. I found a weird pipe bomb register just as we were leaving. Super new...mid 2000’s from some Colorado club, weird no doubt. Anyways the return was spicy Class 3 fun & the crux was difficult but easier than the downclimb. Definitely a much longer day than anticipated but still a success on my 2nd highest peak. [Addendum: This was my second highest peak at the time. Since then I climbed Humphrey's and Middle Palisade on that trip. Later that year I climbed Langley and finally Whitney capping out my elevation barrier at least for a while.]

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Day 47- Climb Caltech
We climbed Caltech today via the South Ridge & it went very smoothly. We managed to climb the unnamed peak which turned out to be called Mt. Torchbearer. From there we followed the ridge. We got back to camp at a good hour and there was a guy on the shore of the lake that we chatted with. There were people camped here at LSA all 3 nights. Tomorrow we would explore a more remote part of the Upper Kern and climb Genevra.

Great Western Divide.jpg

LSA.jpg
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Postby alpinemike » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:12 pm

Day 48- Lake South America to Lake 11,560 FT (Below Mt. Genevra)
Today ventured over to an unnamed lake below Mt. Genevra. Easy terrain to get there and we had enough time to climb Mt. Genevra too. It wasn’t nearly as bad as we had thought. The view was good, but unfortunately more smoke from the South has infiltrated the basin. We found a nice grassy area to camp & spent a lazy late afternoon in our tents as clouds built & collapsed over the divide.

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Day 49- Layover
Today was a lazy day. Less clouds built today, which might mean the chance for weather is over again. Today was a layover day filled with bathing & laundry. We decided yesterday to skip Jordan & do Milestone instead because of the shitty sandy route up it. Hopefully we can get Milestone, since it is a very prominent and impressive peak. I read a lot of Greek Philosophy and particularly Plato and that's typically what my layover days are spent doing. Over the course of the past couple years I have managed to read a good majority of Plato's work... time well spent I'd say! Tomorrow we head into Milestone Creek.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:12 pm

Thanks for the update! It was interesting to read your account of the upper Kern since I was there this summer. Am looking forward to more.

I have been up Harrison Pass (with 16 days of food and in tennis shoes) and it is not as bad as it looks. I used my ice-axe even though there was no snow or ice. I jammed the ice axe in the dirt and pulled myself up to keep from sliding back down. It is slow and tedious, but before you know it you are up. At the time I did it, I had an injured (bruised) ankle so could not wear boots, so I just put Superfeet insoles in my tennis shoes.

Hope you made it to Milestone Pk. It is a great climb.
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