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Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner (Now with Trip Report!

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Re: The Ritter Disaster of 1971

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:21 pm

kpeter wrote:Earlier in the same link is a full account of H. Galic's years-long research project to find out more about Conrad and Anna Rettenbacher and the Naturfreunde club (still in existence) that placed the plaque. Galic conducts a fascinating detective hunt and he finally figured the whole thing out once he got past the fact that the July 1934 date on the plaque was actually wrong (they died in August 1934.) Once I started reading his account I just could not stop until I was done.
They were found by Norman Clyde, perhaps the most famous mountaineer of the era. He had a fool-proof method. Watch for vultures. There is an interesting piece about Clyde towards the end of the materials.
http://www.stanford.edu/~galic/rettenbacher/


Wow, that is a riveting read. I was taking a break from getting some things done and ended up getting sidetracked for the remainder of the afternoon. I emailed Galic to see if he knows anything about the unmarked graves at the lower Ritter Lakes (2nd from bottom), given that the account of the 1971 disaster suggests the bodies were removed from the area. Thanks for posting those links and (to everyone) sorry for hijacking this thread.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html



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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner

Postby Alpineholydog » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Hiking up Banner from east/ Nydiver. 530 am start. Lots of big tumble scree. A little blue ice but otherwise good snow. Lots of clouds so abandoned Mt Ritter and went for Banner.
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner

Postby cgundersen » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:26 pm

kpeter,
I just caught up on this thread, and that link is fascinating. Like giantbrookie, it distracted me from what I had planned to be doing, but definitely worth the distraction. Thanks!

alpineholydog,
was that smoke, fog or clouds obscuring the views in the background?
cg
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner

Postby Heyworth » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:39 pm

Trip report:

Well, it happened like this:

On the day after Labor Day, I drove to LAX to pick up my friends, who were flying in from DC and Chicago, respectively. Spent the day picking up supplies, went out to dinner with my wife, and then we were getting ready to go to bed. But while setting up the cot for one of my friends, I stepped on a sewing needle that had been dropped on the rug. I pulled it out and notice that it was only the bottom two-thirds. I said, "I think the top part is broken off inside my foot," but my wife assured me that I'd be in a lot more pain if that were the case. And so we went to bed. When I got out of bed at 6:30 the next morning, though, I was pretty sure that I had a needle in my foot.

So, off to the emergency room, where an X-ray showed there was, indeed, about a centimeter of needle in the ball of my foot. But when the ER doctor tried to find it, all he succeeded in doing was making a nasty X-shaped cut in my foot. After ten minutes of digging around, he gave up, told me they'd have to do surgery and that it could be scheduled in about a week. I was crushed, not only that my trip was ruined, but that my friends' trips were as well.

A little while later, though, the doctor came back and said that he'd talked to the podiatrist on the staff, and that while he had a bunch of appointments he had to deal with first, he'd see me. Plus, they had a better X-ray machine that could get them live images and be turned to different angles.

So I hobbled over to the podiatry department and spent the next couple of hours staring at the wall until the doctor could get to me. I told him about my backpacking trip and how bummed I was. He used his X-ray machine and first announced that the ER guy wasn't even close. He stuck a needle in my foot, shot a picture, adjusted the needle, shot, moved the machine to another angle, shot again, moved the needle again, and so on until he had the exact track of the needle. Then he made a small incision and pulled it out. After stitching up the two wounds, he handed me a handful of bandages and some antibiotic ointment and said, "Use you own judgement on whether it hurts too much. Just keep it clean." I called my friends and said that we were going to have to play it by ear, but that we were driving to Mammoth as soon as I got home. And so, almost seven hours behind our planned departure, we hit the road and arrived in Mammoth at about 7 PM.

The next morning, I put a gauze pad over the stitches, taped it down, put some thick Moleskin foam pads on either side, put on a sock liner, heavy sock, and my heavy boots and was pretty much good to go. It hurt, but it wasn't stopping me. But it was slowing me up, and it combined with a series of delays caused by our late arrival (permits, etc.) that caused a late start out of Agnew Meadows. (I had dropped my friends off at the trailhead, then drove down to Devil's Postpile, where I had arranged a shuttle back to Agnew)

The plan had been to make the Nydivers, then climb Banner the next day, but reality was we got to Ediza and set up camp. The next day we followed the stream up to the base of Ritter and Banner, then climbed up to the Nydivers. But any idea of making the summit was gone.

We bushwhacked down the direct route back to Ediza. Someone else here asked about wind damage there, and we saw some trees downed, but not too bad. Spotting a better campsite, we moved our stuff.

Next day we did the classic Iceberg/Cecile/Minaret Lake route. The part around Iceberg was tough just because of the boulders and being forced to come down on the ball of my foot. Got to Minaret and found a great campsite.

We were on the trail at about 8 the next day and made rapid progress down to Devil's Postpile, Coming into the last couple of miles was where we saw the most extensive wind damage, with hundreds of trees down, seeming to increase the closer we got to the DP trailhead.

We were in the car by noon, cleaned up a bit at the ranger station restroom, got some burgers in Mammoth and were back home in L.A. by 7 PM.

So we didn't get to the top of Banner, but we still managed to make the trip happen, even with five stitches in my foot, and a good time was had by all.

The biggest drag on the trip, though, was that my Big Agnes Insulated Air Core mattress developed a slow leak that I can't find, so the nights weren't comfortable. I'll be returning it to REI as soon as I decide what I'm going to replace it with.
Last edited by Heyworth on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner (Now with Trip Report!

Postby kpeter » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:48 pm

Wow. Considering you just had a sewing needle in your foot, I'd say this was a miraculously successful trip. Traipsing around Nydiver and also the Ediza--Iceberg--Cecile--Minaret loop has to be one of the most beautiful, wonderful hikes in the Sierras. Congratulations on your fortitude for pulling off what sounds like a wonderful trip. And Banner will still be there.
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner (Now with Trip Report!

Postby gary c. » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:36 pm

That is really sticking with the trip no matter what. I can't imagine handling it any other way after friends fly in from out pf state though. Of the several folks that I know with BA pads only one has had a hard to find leak and BA replaced it for him no questions asked. It turned out to be near where the valve is attached to the pad.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner (Now with Trip Report!

Postby quentinc » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:45 am

gary c. wrote:Of the several folks that I know with BA pads only one has had a hard to find leak and BA replaced it for him no questions asked. It turned out to be near where the valve is attached to the pad.


In about 2 years, I went through 5 BA's, most with a leak in the valve. REI was nice enough to replace them all. REI finally just gave me my entire purchase price back, which is pretty amazing customer service. Still, a sleeping pad that keeps you up at night is no bargain at any price. I'd avoid them like the plague, personally.
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Re: Nydiver Lakes as base camp for Banner (Now with Trip Report!

Postby Alpineholydog » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:45 pm

My friend and I were keeping an eye out for you guys. We passed a few tired looking fellows on our way down from Nydiver and thought it might be you guys. We climbed from Nydiver up to the saddle of Banner and Ritter but due to clouds and a very strong westerly flow over the saddle we only climbed Banner. (All the bad stories about Ritter involve weather right?) The way over to the saddle from Nydiver is a tricky talus slog once you get enough altitude to move WSW to the east facing snowfield. Snowfield was not bad at first but " double diamond" near the top. Lots of loose scree. Was very cool/ haunting to hear the random drop of rocks falling off the mountain around us as Muir described in his accounts of his climb of Ritter. At the saddle we could only see 40-50 ft above us on Ritter but Banner was in and out of the fog. Made it back to camp in time for a brief rain storm and the weather looked to get worse. Packed up camp and hiked the 7.5 mi back to Agnew meadows. We were delirious and bonking out a lot on the hike down but made it back to the trailhead ok and had the best tasting beer of my life in town that night.
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