After a long, solid effort to gain the summit of Mt. Pancake Sunday morning (the lava flow in the gulley was just too hot to overcome, and the Class 4 sausage, I mean summit, block was just above my skillset), I decided to meander up the Meysan Lake trail to see what I could see. Well, actually I had intended to try and climb Candlelight, but went all ADD when the Dougs started cookin' breakfast...
I didn't get started until 10:45 or so Sunday morning, and the sun was already bright and strong on the eastern face of the canyon. Now, I have heard a lot of complaining about this trail, that it's sandy and hot and OMG those switchers that just go on for-ever... :crazy: But anyway, I like this trail because it's just a walk. And I think it has some really cool views of Lone Pine Peak and the OV from in there.
Patchy snow exists above 9500 ft, and there are a few open gulleys to cross that still have plenty of snow in them. Consistency yesterday was firm but smooshy enough to just kick steps. (I knew I wasn't going far, so had carried axe/clampons (I mean crampons, thanks, Earlene!) mostly for weight, along with a gallon of H20) The one thing I've noticed is when I'm on a trail now, I worry WAY too much about being ON the trail. So when it zigged, and I zagged, I spent WAY too much time hunting the trail down again, as opposed to just saying "Go up that way in that general direction!" It made for some good snow climbing up to Grass/Camp Lake , where I lunched and lay in the sun before heading back down. (OR NOT Grass/Camp Lake, some little overflow that had pretty rocks to lay on near its shores. Next time I'll take a waypoint! )
The chutes and gulleys looking up to LeConte/Mallory/Irvine look like a lot of fun right now. I hear they are dishes best served cold... any takers??
The lower trail seems to be in really good shape, and I took the liberty of performing 'trail maintenance' on a few small branches that were in the way. Good standing glissade practice on the descent, as the trail once again zigged while I zagged. Hey, I was NEVER lost. :/
Rest of the pics are here.
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Conditions look good! Maybe I'll head that way this weekend. I'll let you know.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison
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