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Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

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Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:16 am

Last year I free climbed Mt. Muir. Sport said she would climb Muir, but only if I belayed her with a rope. Do you know someone who would like to climb this peak with the protection of a rope? If so I would like to share with you what we learned during this climb.

What are my mountaineering qualifications?

1. I once climbed at the Rocknasium in Davis, CA.
2. I bought a book called “Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills” and I read some of it and looked at most of the pictures.
3. I took an REI class on how to set up a top rope anchor and how to set protection.
4. I watched a few videos on You Tube about rock climbing.

So basically I’m a mountaineering expert! :D :D

For those of you experienced climbers: please feel free to critique our novice attempt to provide protection during this climb. We are very eager to learn more. But please don’t be an immature arrogant AH like the sales boy at Elevation the climbing/mountaineering shop in Lone Pine. This P-word that rhymes with bunk replied to a question about pro on the backside of Muir with an arrogant, “Oh, it is just an easy walk-up”.

I wasn’t sure what kind of equipment I would need to set up a decent top rope anchor so I ended up bringing along quite a bit of extra gear. It turns out my pack weighed almost 43 pounds. Contest: Let’s see who can come closest to the weight of her pack. :D

1 Scale.JPG

We traveled the normal Whitney trail up to Trail Camp and found a private campsite behind a giant house sized boulder. That afternoon the air temperature didn’t get very high but the clear skies allowed the sun to really heat up things outside of the shade. The temperature finally started to drop once the sun went down but it never really got that cold.

She set her alarm to wake us before first light. I was able to drink my coffee as the sun light hit the top of main objective for the day. This is when I began to hear voices in my head. :nod: The first voice was that of our own HST Maverick, “Russ, the alpenglow shot will only last a few minutes. You better get a picture now!”

2 Alpenglow.JPG

I grabbed my camera to take a picture of the peak. That is when I realized the magnitude of today’s challenge. It is probably because of my martial background, but the next voice I heard was that of a famous General, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time!”

OK, yeah, your right…I’ve been on too many missions.

I packed up the climbing gear and some snacks and we headed up the switchbacks. It only took a little while for us to reach the cairns signaling the loose scree and gravel slope we had to climb to reach the final crag.

I have borrowed this photo from another site so as to show the route we took to the top.

3 Route.jpg

We followed the route indicated by the blue line. This is the easiest route to the summit.
I would also like to reference a Go Pro video made by “Agopatches” on You Tube. It is called “Mount Muir Scramble”.

I will reference the time in the video as he reaches different points in the climb.
One starts the route by climbing to the left up this first crack (time 0 – 1:30)

4 base.JPG

Then there is this obvious ledge you follow up and to the right (time 1:30 – 2).

5 Ledge to South.JPG

The ledge is just above in this shot. Picture #7 will show you Sport standing on this ledge (time 1:42).

This ledge leads you to the first pitch point. There is a wide area with plenty of room to set up a top rope (time 2:03 – 2:10).

This is a picture of Sport at the bottom. I am on the first ledge.

6 Looking Down From First Pitch.JPG

I built a top rope anchor point by equalizing three anchor points with a cordelette. I ran the cordelette through each anchor point’s strap and pulled down the top segment between the anchor points. I joined them with the bottom part of the cordelette by gripping the three loops and connecting two locking carabiners to all three loops. Then, while pulling in the predicted direction of force, I tied all three sections together into an overhand knot.

See figure 10-14 in “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills”.

This anchor is strong enough to hold up your truck!

This is a picture of her on the ledge I referenced in photo #5.

7 Just below First Pitch.JPG

I then disassembled my first top rope anchor. This is a picture showing her resting on the ledge where I had the anchor set up. Those two rock horns just behind her head make ideal anchor points (the climber grips them at time 2:27 – 2:29). The horn five feet above her head and slightly to the left makes the third anchor point.

8 First Pitch Landing.JPG

The next part of the climb is to climb up to that third horn and around the rock protruding out just to the left and above the third horn (time 2:14 – 2:19 clearly shows this rock). This is the part of the climb last year that I was not willing to follow. I had a real problem climbing around that protruding rock. The sense of throwing my body’s center of gravity out that far from the wall was too uncomfortable. I ended up just climbing the crack you see right above your head. This is also what the climber in the video did from time 2:30 – 4:25.

On this year’s climb I ended up setting a cam for protection while I climbed around the protruding rock. It turns out that there is a nice crack for a hand hold and if you smear your boot on the angled rock below the protrusion you can climb around the rock quite safely. I ended up climbing around this rock several times without protection on this climb.

Climbing around the protruding rock might be the crux of this climb but it is much easier than climbing up that crack (witness the climber struggle from time 2:30 – 4:25).

Once I made it around the protruding rock I climbed to very near the summit where there are three perfectly placed rock horns all in a row. Stop the video at time 6:21 and you will see these perfect rock horns. This is an ideal place to set up the second top rope anchor.

I then dropped the rope down to her. She is still resting on the first pitch’s ledge.

9 Coming Down From Anchor.JPG

I positioned myself next to and on the other side of the protruding rock so as to belay her up the rock.

10 Above First Landing.JPG

To be continued…
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway

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Vaca Russ
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Re: Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:22 am

This girl ROCKS! Although having really long legs sure does help! :nod:

11 Near Summit.JPG

This next photo is looking down from the summit at part of my backpack and some of the webbing I used for my top rope anchor.

12 Summit Top Rope Anchor.JPG

“Sport” made it to the top!

13 Ammo Box.JPG

This guy has been everywhere!

14 Bob Burd.JPG

We’ve been a few places ourselves.

15 Register.JPG

Here is a view of the switchback on the trail made by Gustave Marsh that opened in July of 1904. The mountain in the center of the photo was named after Marsh.

16 Switchbacks.JPG

When she made it down to the Whitney trail I asked Sport, “What was the hardest part of that climb?”

“Scrambling up and down the loose scree and gravel” was her reply.

17 Bottom of Skree Slope.JPG
"Americans love a winner!"

Then we bagged Whitney.

18 Whitney Register.JPG

19 Whitney Summit.JPG

She is standing on one 14er with two others she bagged (Langley and Muir) also pictured.

20 Langley and Muir.JPG

The skies then became cloudy so we hiked the 11 miles down to the portal. During this hike we experienced snow, sleet, rain and thunder but this helped keep us cool during the hike down the mountain.

I carried over 15 pounds of climbing gear up that mountain and that was WAY too much. I brought a 60 meter rope. You only need a 30 meter rope. I brought all kinds of cams, hexes and nuts. You don’t need them. All I needed was three lengths of webbing (10 feet each is more than enough), one static line cordelette (30 feet is plenty) and two lockers to clip into the power point of my top rope anchor. Of course you need harnesses and maybe extra biners and a belay device.

I should also buy a Go Pro camera. :nod:

I sure hope my humble attempt to describe our climb is helpful to others who may want do the same climb.

Thanks for reading our post.

” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby FeetFirst » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:26 pm

Very cool, Russ. I've taken a break from trad climbing after being spooked (watched a friend deck hard) a couple of years ago, but boy does this make me want to go. Thanks for sharing.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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Re: Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby Shawn » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:48 pm

You two rock! Great TR......thanks for sharing. :thumbsup:
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Re: Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby Mradford » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:09 am

Awesome!! :thumbsup:
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Re: Sport Bagged Two 14ers in One Day!

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:43 pm

Vaca Russ,

PM sent.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member:
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