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Mono/Gabbott Pass trip

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Mono/Gabbott Pass trip

Postby quentinc » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:56 pm

I finished a week long trip over Mono and Gabbott passes on Labor Day. It was a terrific trip, even though it somehow took 4 peak attempts to get one summit!

I was suffering from a lingering cold, as well as the after-effects of a mono-like illness that has plagued me since January. The trip started out over Mono Pass and up into Pioneer Basin, where I've never been before despite a number of visits to this area. My first peak attempt was Mt. Stanford (my law school alma mater). Because of my cold and my problems in adjusting to the altitude, I was totally exhausted, and had to turn back about 3/4 of the way up the northwest ridge to the peak. Somehow, it was fitting, as it reminded me very much of my experience at law school (although somehow I did manage to finish that :p ).

I then headed to Second Recess. Luckily, I was able to cross-country much of the way from Pioneer Basin, so I avoided several miles of the execrable Mono Creek trail (I also cross-countried from Trail Lake down to the Pioneer Basin turnoff), which is one of the dustiest and horse manure-ridden trails in the Sierras. I spent a night at Upper Mills Creek Lake and then made my second peak attempt -- Mt. Gabb. Secor's book blithely describes crossing a glacier to get to the saddle (from which the northwest and southwest ridges are pretty straightfoward Class 2 scrambles). Unfortunately, without an ice axe, this proved to be a death-defying task. I made several attempts to get around the ice, but quickly found myself fast against a Class 4 (at least) headwall. During this time, I noticed that a song kept repeating in my head, which I then realized was a Jesus & Mary Chain song that begins "I want to die..." That was enough to convince me to give up that attempt!

Later that afternoon, I went over Gabbott Pass (spectacular), and the next morning I was able to climb Gabb from the south without much trouble. There was lots of nice Class 3 climbing -- not scary like Mt. Abbott, which I did about 5 years ago. I got to visit Lake Italy, which was surprisingly nice.

I had originally planned on heading out over Cox Col, so I wouldn't have to suffer the Mono Creek trail twice. But all the snow and ice I encountered made me nervous about trying to get down the east side, which I was never able to get a clear view of (it is amazingly steep, and would have been suicidal with snow and ice). Still, before that, I tried to climb Mt. Dade, allegedly a Class 2 hike up the western chute according to Secor. Unfortunately, I was never quite sure where the summit of Dade was. One thing I learned is that it is very hard to climb a mountain if you don't know where it is! I spent quite some time trying different chutes (once you're up in the chutes, you can't see the ridgeline), and ended up doing some gnarly Class 3 stuff. I finally ended up on a pinnacle just north of the summit, and decided that was good enough (it was certainly harder than the summit would have been).

On the way out, I nearly ran out of food, and got to discover how nice my fellow backpackers could be (I got several offers of spare food, which were enough to let me take an extra day to go out). On the way out, I went via Golden Creek and Golden Lake, which proved infinitely nicer than going up the main Mono Creek trail. It was a bit strenuous clambering out of the Golden Lake basin, but the x-country to the pass was delightful.

Some pictures appear:

http://good-times.webshots.com/album/553933626DUuLng
Technologically inept as I am, it took a whole week to accomplish this. Just why this album is titled "My Public Shoebox" is beyond me. It makes me sounds like an exhibitionist with a foot fetish, but I can't figure out how to change the name. If there are better options than community webshots, I'd love to hear suggestions from you all.



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Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:50 pm

I've done parts of this trip and its a beautiful area with great views! Congratulations on Gabb! And Dade looked like a tough try!

Did you try going into "Edit Album" (upper right corner of webshots desktop)
then "Edit Album Properties" (you can change title of album)

SmugMug is a good one to use. I would do it if I could transfer all 7 of my webshots accounts.
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby copeg » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:58 am

Great report and pics. Thanks for sharing. Love those flower pics.
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Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:49 am

Great pics, but I sure hope you don't have a sister! ;) (Just kidding...but I am a Faulkner fan too.)

I've got all my photos on Flickr, which I love. With a free account, you can upload up to 20 mb per month, and display up to 200 pics at a time; for $24.95/year, you get unlimited display/storage and 2 gb upload per month. You can tag your photos with keywords, and do keyword searches of other people's photos. There's also an enormous and very active community on Flickr, with a lot of group photo pools (a great one for the High Sierra--more than 1,000 photos in it).

And they just added the coolest feature: geotagging. You can drag and drop your photos onto a map to show where they were taken; you can also search or browse locations to see who else took photos there. Awesome.
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Postby Trailtrekker06 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:37 pm

Cool shots! Nice trip.
(Webshots is getting increasingly frustrating, a few of my friends have switched to Smug-mug, and Flickr sounds cool, too.)
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Postby quentinc » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:38 pm

Thanks to all for the comments and suggestions (I'm on the free version of Webshots, which is probably why I can't change the album name). And Snow Nymph, thanks for the corrections on the flower names! I should have remembered epilobium, as I've looked that one up before.
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Postby madeintahoe » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:26 am

Quentinc...Pioneer Basin is so beautiful..Your pictures are beautiful. The mills lakes area looks very nice too.

I was in the PB in 2004 and loved it..one of our layover days I hiked up to Golden lake..I loved the outlet creek you follow up to the lake. The other layover day we explored the PB Lakes and went up to the ridge that you look at Red Slate..that was really neat I thought.
You had some beautiful light wispy clouds like :)
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Postby quentinc » Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:00 pm

Tehipite Tom -- I somehow overlooked your Faulkner comment!
No, I don't have a sister (and neither did Dalton Ames), but I do have a cat named Caddie. ;)
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