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Lake Catherine TR

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Postby ifernau » Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:56 pm

Great photos and report :)
Capture the Scene of the Light

Unless you’re prepared to expect the unexpected, you’re likely to miss capturing nature’s finest moments.(Galen Rowell)

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Postby will_jrob » Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:04 am

Good report and photos . I've long considered Lake Catherine for a BP trip, but from the west via the North Fork San Joaquin.
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Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:29 pm

Great pictures, interesting report.

I'd have made the same decision. Discretion really is the better part of valor.
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Postby Shawn » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:03 pm

Thanks again for all the nice comments. My internet connection has been really flaky from the house recently, so here I am at work on Friday afternoon looking at HST. :D

The community here on HST is really terrific.

Kathy - I really enjoyed looking at your nice pictures.

GB - I saw that variation you describe after returning from the trip (can't recall exactly where tho).
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Ritter Davis Pictures

Postby langenbacher » Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:03 pm

I have posted a few pictures from this trip at http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/553569003EXsQSQ , but more will come next week - I'm in the midst of a 10 day stretch with only 2 days at home - both work days.

Yes, Charles and I made it to Ritter, but it wasn't as easy as I had expected. I guess the rest of you were lucky you didn't try it. First we had to wait patiently (or boringly) for 2 hours for the sun to rise high enough to soften up the snow around the middle Ritter lake. Then we had a hard time with the snow and the route up from the last Ritter Lake to the north ridge. About half way up, on what "should have been" steep talus, the west slope had a lot of high angle snow that was steep and still pretty frozen when we got there. We started front-pointing up but it made me too nervous. We took to a steep rock ridge, which seemed almost as bad, with loose rock and some exposed climbing. Definitely not your mother's class 2 route! We finally made it into a talus chute and gained the ridge, but it was a notch too far south and we had to traverse a ridge north to gain the relatively gentle southeast summit slope. Then it was easy to get to the top. I have almost no idea what the correct class 2 route would have been to replace the class 3 part of our ascent.

The weather and the view were beautiful and we got lots of pictures and browsed the summit registers. But I was too worried about the descent to feel the usual peak bagging euphoria. I swore I wouldn't go back the way we ascended. I was wishing we could go down by way of Ediza Lake. But, from the summit, the way down to Ediza didn't seem that great, so I decided I was willing to go down the class 3 North Face route and hope the steep snow at the bottom wasn't frozen. It was 2 pm. I had plenty of printed route descriptions and pictures, but I was confused in interpreting them. When we got down to the entrance to the top of the "west chute" it looked so bad we thought it was the wrong route, and we ended up dropping a long way down a steep talus chute on what was really the wrong side of the wrong ridge before realizing that the last duck we saw probably marked the correct route. At the top of the correct chute, there was a steep drop down a narrow crack hidden beyond the duck, and after that, it improved. I still thought we were in the wrong chute, and I tried to find a way into the next chute to the west, which would have been a disaster. But Charles insisted on following the faint use track down the chute, which was quite correct. Fortunately the snow at the bottom was softer than the bad stuff we had ascended in the morning, and we cautiously cramponed down it to the saddle, and it was easy after that. If we had gone up this way (after the snow softened) it would have been easy to find the right way.

I think we got back to camp about 5:30-6 PM, and left to hike out at about 6:30. It was dark before we got to the main trail at the east end of Thousand Island Lake.

I had lost my headlamp the day before, and Shawn graciously volunteered to lend me his before we parted ways. It shone faithfully the whole way back. Charles's batteries kept wearing out and I had to lend him my emergency coin-cell light to supplement his fading headlamp. When we got to the "shortcut" near the horse camp, I had a waypoint in my GPS but couldn't find it. I led us down the only trail on my GPS map, which turned out to be a horse trail that went through a muddy bog, and we had to backtrack. We finally followed the main trail all the way back to the parking lot at about 1:30 am.

I thought I might drive home, but at 3 am it was all too easy to check into a motel in Bishop for 6 hours of sleep.


The hike up Mt. Davis, the day before, was actually more pleasant, if not quite as much of an accomplishment. The view was beautiful, and the route, once we found the right one, was easy.
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Postby Trailtrekker06 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:03 am

whew. I got tired reading that! Congrats on the summits!
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