[Also posted on mt-whitney.us]
Went for a day hike up the Bishop Pass trail on Friday, July 7th which turned out to be a recon hike for a day summit hike of Mt. Agassiz on Saturday. On Friday, went only as far as Bishop Lake. There was snow on the trail intermittently but was easily navigable and well trodden. Due to snow, and footprints in the snow heading east, I missed the stream crossing of Timberline Tarn and was gifted a 300 yard snow field on the east side of Timberline Tarns. Continued traveling west and found myself east and above Bishop Lake, where I easily spotted the trail and USFS cabin. After lunching I returned, this time staying where I needed to be… on the west side of Timberline Tarns. Weather was near perfect… a little warm at the lower elevation.
My friend Ben drove over from the Bay area and was eager to give Agassiz a shot, so we did some quick research on routes and started up the Bishop Pass trail at 0640 on Saturday. Not stopping for photos, and staying on the trail, we made it to the Pass in a little over 3 hours, which is decent time for me. The usual class 2 route seemed to be filled with snow so we made our way up the ridge to the right of the class 2 gully. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say we were in class 3 for most all the way, with the exception of the top. We could see storms and thunderheads to the south, and they seemed to be moving east faster than north. After about 30 minutes on the summit for food and fotos, we started our descent. Ben spotted 2 ducks at a notch that led to a gully further west of the one we had ascended, so we checked it out. At the notch, we could see two access points to the gully, one to our left [east] and one a bit to our right [west]. They both dropped in to the same gully so we assessed which one looked easier. I headed over to the east approach and was very unhappy with what I saw, so we took the other route. All I can say about our descent is that I consistently demonstrated the butt-crawl technique as we dropped from rock to rock! Actually, this was a much better descent route than our ascent route would have been. About 1/3 the way down, we heard our first thunder. That motivated us to keep moving. After reaching the bottom, finally, and picking up some gear we had left at a large boulder, we headed over the pass. There’s a large snow filled gully to the east of the pass that would have been perfect for glissading, but never having glissaded and being [no pun intended] butt tired, we settled for the tramp down the trail. At the bottom of the pass we met up with Mike Bigelow, who had been in the Darwin/Mendel area. We had a few raindrops from Bishop Lake to Long Lake, but the rain gods seemed to be with us, as the storm pretty much stayed south and east for much of our return trip.
Quite a tiring day for me; only my second time on class 3 rock. The views from the summit were truly spectacular.
0645: Start at South Lake
0900: Bishop Lake
1005: Bishop Pass
1035: Stash rock, at bottom of Mt. Agassiz
1050: Leave stash rock
1400: Mt. Agassiz summit (~3 hrs from bottom)
1430: Leave summit
1700: Return to stash rock (~2.5 hours from summit)
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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
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