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Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

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Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby vsop4me » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:47 am

Hello everyone.

I'm from Colorado and have overnight trip planned for Dusy Basin for some RR, Fishing and Photography. My brother and I have decided we wanted to climb Mount Agassiz for a morning sunrise, ie peak before sunrise. I have some questions that I hope some of you may be able help with. We are not climbers but seasoned hikers so comfortable with class 2 and maybe shorter 3s but like to keep it to class 2 scrambling.

1. We will be camped somewhere in the upper Dusy Basin, west side of Bishop Pass. In my research, the most popular and easy route is essential straight up from Bishop Pass. Are there alternatives to cut off some distance by heading east towards the peak to avoid having to hike back up the the pass and also keeping it class 2? I'm trying to think of doing an angle approach to eventually hit the popular route but not sure about the terrain there.
2. Considering that both my brother and I have in good shape, I am seeing that it may take 2-3 hous starting from Bishop Pass so I can accoutn for additional time depending on where we camp. I figure that if I want to get there say at 5:30am for sunrise, I should probably start out no later then 2-3am?

Any advice or additional information would be extremely helpful. BTW...we're going to be up there end of August. Maybe not appropriate for this forum but should I worry about skeeters end of August?

Thanks in advance
Dave



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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:00 pm

I do not see why going from Bishop Pass or near Bishop Pass is a detour given that you don't really have to ascend to Bishop Pass after descending from Agassiz. Certainly it is not necessary to start the class 2 climb strictly at Bishop Pass. One can maneuver as one sees fit beneath the steeper part of the peak (ie below about 12100) on class 1 ground. However I wouldn't cut the corner too much southward (toward Dusy Basin) on Agassiz given that overall slope angle and the angle of the chutes and spur you will be ascending increases a bit southward. The easiest slopes are found on the NW and WNW flanks falling away directly toward Bishop Pass or aiming a shade north of the pass rather than south of it. This is clearly apparent on the topo map. In other words, if I was hiking from Dusy Basin I'd plan to take off for the summit climb from fairly close to Bishop Pass. You can cut the corner to the lakelet shown ESE of the pass but this really doesn't save much time.

As for the sunrise thing, I have little experience of intentionally climbing in the dark (more than I like to admit of unintentional climbing/hiking). A couple things to keep in mind: (1) don't do this if there is thunderstorm activity--nightime thundershowers are not uncommon in the Sierra. (2) I wouldn't do this without some degree of moonlight. This is a class 2 route with innumerable possible options but without longer distance line-of-sight, it is pretty easy to get off into class 3 or perhaps worse. What we have is a face that is fluted with primarily class 2 scree/talus chutes. Most folks like to ascent trading off between the loose class 2 stuff in the chutes and more solid class 2 to 3 rock on the spurs. The optimal route needs some careful consideration of the terrain which benefits from a decent line of sight (ie being able to see a ways up the slope). In other words, you will need to be able to see a lot further than your flashlight to pick out a good route.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby maverick » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:58 pm

This climb would be better attempted if you were familiar with the route since
finding it in the dark is very dangerous and not recommended at all.
A flashlight will not even remotely give you enough light for route finding on the
ascent or a descent. August 31st will be the next full moon, but even climbing
with the aid of moonlight this would be risky proposition.
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby vsop4me » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:04 pm

Thanks giantbrookie and maverick for the quick and informative response.

Although I have done many hikes/climbs up peaks here in Colorado in the dark, I am not familiar with this area as this would be the first time I've been the area so I will heed your advice regarding doing this at night. That was my first concern regarding the scree and trying to maneuver that in the dark.

Looking at the pictures and the topo, our plan to was to try and not have to retrace back to the official trail but cut through and head straight for the base but now that we're probably going to do this during the day, we'll take a look when we get there and is probably much easier to navigate in daylight.

Looks like night climbing this peak in the dark will have to wait for some future attempts.

giantbrookie - I did go to the website but not sure what to look for :)
maverick - some awesome pictures.

Any suggestions on where to set up basecamp for a couple nights in Dusy Basin?
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby BrianF » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:17 pm

I asssume you are going in via Bishop Pass, so you will get a good look at the route on your way to Dusy and can make a final decision then. If you decide to go for it at night, I think you would be better served by following the trail most of the way back to Bishop Pass; though farther it will be much quicker walking by headlamp to stay on trail. You can also take a compass bearing from a chosen point on the trail to the base of the obvious chute you want to take, in the dark it may be hard to discern which chute is which. It has been many years since I climbed it but it is an extremely popular route and I would imagine there are plenty signs of where people have gone before you to help keep you on route. Sounds like you have experience so as long as you don't let yourselves get in over your head off-route, worst case scenario you get off-route and have to wait till light to get your bearings.
That said, there is alot of talus that is much harder to negotiate by headlamp than say snow. It will tend to be slow going, You could always try to time it that you are getting to the bottom of the chute just at the first glimmer of light and you still might be on top to see the sun hit the Palisades if you are fast
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby vsop4me » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:34 am

Yes, we will be starting from South Lake TH on 8/30 in the morning will be up the area for 3 nights.

Based on the feedback so far,on our way up and over Bishop Pass, we might take a short breather and head to the base and check it out. We may try the visual/compass method and compare against topo and other's suggested routes. Either way, I also think that we are going to forego trying this in complete darkness. The option that I think we may take is to start a bit later in the morning, try to time it so that we beging to get light maybe 1/4 of the way up...we'll end up missing the surnise but would like to be up there earlier in the morning.

Maybe part of the reason that I do early mornings often is due to living in Colorado. It's almost a guarantee this time of year that you have to start your descent around noon as there is always the threat of the the afternoon thunderstorm. Alot of people peak-bag just to peak-bag, I like that aspect but also enjoy spending time up there as well and too often, at least here in Colorado, folks spend mabe 30-45 mins at the peak.

Again, thanks for the suggestion and advice, I think I have a much better understand of what to expect. And being from Colorado, I can't help but say: if any of you have not visited the San Juans in SW Colorado, I highly recommend making a trip there. I just got back from a solo trip last month the Ice Lake Basin and if you time your trip around late Sept/Early Oct, the aspens are a sight to see, I've been there many times and it never stops to amaze me how beautiful that area is.
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:32 pm

Any photo's or TR's you'd like to share in the "Beyond the Sierra Nevada" section
at the bottom would be great!
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:16 pm

Vsop4me wrote:
maverick - some awesome pictures.


Thank you.
Since you mentioned photography check out Lake 11393, Lake 11388 and the
surrounding lakes and ponds. These make for great sunset shots of the Palisades
Ridge and its reflections.
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: http://reconn.org
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Re: Mount Agassiz from Dusy Basin For Sunrise

Postby vsop4me » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:48 am

I will definitely be looking to photograph some sunsets in the area and based on what you recommended, we should be somewhere camped in that area.
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