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Cottonwood Pass / Trailmaster Peak 07/22/06

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Cottonwood Pass / Trailmaster Peak 07/22/06

Postby Ranboze » Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:16 am

Did everyone get wet this weekend?

Started out with Cirque Peak as my target destination. Left the Cottonwood Pass trailhead at 0615 with a cloudless sky. Meadow wildflowers are still quite nice. While at the pass, a couple came up the pass from the PCT north. Turns out it was Trailtrekker, exiting from a glorious week that started at Kearsarge Pass - very nice to meet you Trailtrekker.

Looking north from the Pass, I could see the hill I needed to climb, but the hill in view is only the southern tip of the ridge, the peak is further north. I ended up spending a lot of time in the boulders bagging the false summit! Should have stayed low and to the west of this bump and traversed the ridge to it's end. I was able to get some nice views of BobR's Cirque Pk shortcut - maybe I'll try that sometime.

After lunching on the summit it was 1130 and although the sky above was decorated with nice bold puffy clouds, the south looked a little more threatening. Call me a chicken, but I decided I didn't wanna be on Cirque by myself in a T-storm, so I retraced my steps, leaving Cirque for another time, another trip. It started raining about 12:45 and continued off/on for most of the descent from the Pass to the trailhead. My arrival at the TH at 2:00 made for an early day and comfortable drive back to Long Beach.

As I got into Lone Pine, it looked like the entire eastern sierra was socked in.

Photos are here
Walking outside is where I find what's inside.

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Postby quentinc » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:58 pm

Ranboze, good decision -- Cirque isn't a peak you want to mess around with in a storm. Me and my partner were hiking it one year from High Lake, on what seemed to be a perfectly clear day. Some guys started yelling at us from New Army Pass, but we couldn't hear what they were saying, so blew them off. About 3/4 of the way up, we could see storm clouds drifting towards the Sierra Crest, and immediatly felt sparks in our hair. It was pretty terrifying, as the static electricity was getting worse and worse, to the point of being really painful. Although Cirque is an easy peak, the footing going down is still loose enough to make it hard to go fast. Scrambling as fast as we could, we were both thinking this could have been the last hike we'd ever do!

We survived well enough that I did Langley last summer, and also got caught in a sudden storm. As I ran frantically down the gravel, the biggest lightning bolts I've ever seen were smashing into the side of the ridge, less than a mile away.

Of course, two hours later, as I was approaching the parking lot, it was sunny and mild, and all sorts of fair weather hikers were ambling along, blissfully unaware of the excitement they had missed.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:09 pm

I 'almost' did that trail on Saturday! I was undecided until Thursday, and this was one of 3 hikes I was going to do. I decided to go to Onion Valley instead. I waited out the Sat storm at 11,500', then continued (making it a long day). I bailed (call me chicken ;) ) on my Sunday hike 267' from the summit .
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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Postby madeintahoe » Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:32 pm

Ronboze..Beautiful pictures! That primrose is amazing..LOVE the Marmot.
Awesome picture of Chicken Spring lake..Im starting my hike into the Miter Basin this Monday..we are going to try to get to Chicken Spring L. on Monday..we will be getting a late start around 4:30 late hoping we get to at least the lake to camp.
Thank you for sharing
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