Today was the two-year anniversary of my first summit of Mt. Whitney. I had been hoping to take the day off and make a run up there, but half the Owens Valley decided to fall down this past weekend and I had a few new referrals in the hopper yesterday.
So, instead, I drove up the hill after work this evening to North Lake, then chased the sun up to Loch Leven along the Piute Pass Trail. Perched on a slab boulder near the outlet, I peered up towards Piute Pass as the sun descended behind the rock walls to the south. Beyond lies the Humphries Basin, one of many areas I haven't had the pleasure of exploring yet but hope to very soon. But it was a nice moment: thinking, planning, dreaming of what might come next, wondering what was over the next rise.
My weekend started Friday due to a low patient census, so I headed up to South Lake to finally get after Cloudripper. Last November , on one of my first hikes in the area, I made it to Vagabond but was forced to turn around when I was slowed by snow and slippery conditions. Friday was a great day: clear, warm, light breeze, afternoon clouds blowing through, a nice lake to take a dip at 11.5K (Thunder and Lightning Lake). It's a nice route that's basically class 1-2 all the way, and lots of ups and downs if you're into that sort of thing... Pics are here.
Saturday was Rachel's birthday, and what a day it was! Once again, we remarked at how flat and shady these trails on the eastside are as we headed up the MT. By the time we reached the cascade below LP Lake we were all ready to dunk heads as an attempt to curtail the copious sweating. The group of eight (I somehow got the '7 of 9' permit... :grin: ) cruised up to Trail Camp and met up w/ Ranboze before heading around the west side of Wotans Throne. The scramble from here is just that: scurry up the blocks and boulders to the summit on the NW corner. We celebrated at the top w/ all sorts of treats: from guac and triscuits to cookies and chocolate pound cake .
I had talked with Rach the week before about descending straight to Muir Lake via the route that Richard had descended after our little stroll from OV to WP. Everyone was game, so we picked our way down the ledges and rocks on the north face of WT into the drainage. It was a gorgeous area: deep waterways , green meadows, and the kicker, one of the most gorgeous slab areas I've seen outside of Yosemite. While a few were hesitant at first, we all eventually made our way down to Mirror Lake. From there, as Robyn said, it was back to the store for burgers , beer, vino, pie, and cake !
After a nice night camped in the Alabama Hills, and breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe (yummi!!!), Rachel, Kathy, Gordon, and I headed back up to Horseshoe Meadows to hike into Muir Lake. What a fantastic leg stretch, with wonderful views of Langley , Army Point , and Cirque Peaks. We lay out on the beach under Woollyback and swam in the not-quite-as-cold-as-you-might-think lake.
It was great hanging out with everyone this past weekend: what a fun few days!
A few other moments from the weekend:
Mt. Tom Brown Lake (that's for you, tomcat!)
A friend at the Bishop Creek Lodge:
Mike's Hero Shot:
Happy Birthday, Rachel!
Wotans Throne Pics.
Muir Lake Pics.
From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard. Be Safe.
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