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Interesting find in le conte gully

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Interesting find in le conte gully

Postby sparky » Mon May 06, 2013 7:16 pm

So I was attempting to find the abandon trail to sierra point with no map and the only thing I could remember was to "go up at the rockpiles sign, and continue up and right". Well, I went way too far up than right and wound up in Le Conte gully. I barely remember reading about climbers using it as a descent, so after realizing where I was, I figured I would see if I could make it up and around to lost lake.

It is hard to say exactly what my elevation was, but I suddenly found myself near the mouth of a mountain lion den. The forest duff was such that I never saw tracks, but the piles of scat were unmistakable, and some of it fresh, with one looking like it would have been steaming if it was cold enough. I had been seeing indentations that could have been from a boot or animal. I was frozen, but alive so figured either no one is home, someone is sleeping, or is just hiding in the back where I couldn't see. I do what I normally do in these situations, I start talking loud and banging my water bottle, and acting like I am general bad ass.

The travel in this gully is difficult, loose, slippery, and steep. I was able to get around it and low and behold, I ended up having to retrace my steps, and pass that vile cave. Well I figured I was well below it, and traversed over. I found myself on a bit of a tricky down climb. I suddenly lost my balance and just about fell off the rocks. Low and behold I am right above the den, and was close to falling IN it. From up stunk. And I was sort of stuck. I either jump down just to the side of the opening, downclimb INTO it, or climb back up some really loose sketchy stuff.

I just jumped to the side of it, and obviously found my way back to my living room to type this.

I have never really heard of hikers stumbling across an active den, so I thought I would share. If you find yourself in Le Conte out! :bear:

Has anyone been through here? It is had to tell exactly where I was, but I should have been fairly close to the top. There were two gullies. The den was on the ridge that separated the two gullies. For me, both gullies were completely climbing into the unknown until I finally chickened out. Anyone know if these eventually go?

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Re: Interesting find in le conte gully

Postby AlmostThere » Mon May 06, 2013 7:27 pm

That's a little alarming considering the most traveled trail in the park is just a short distance below. :eek: Wonder if the rangers know that's there?

LeConte gully was Muir's route to the Diving Board, I believe... it becomes less climb-y the higher you go, or so it is claimed... but after looking at it on google earth, I think there has been enough rockslide activity that it's not the same anymore. It's not really that far to Lost Lake in miles but it would have felt like much farther than it is...

To find the trail to Sierra Point, you go left from the rock piles sign, until you hit a very large boulder and are presented with a choice of left or right. You then go right, up a narrow way through more boulders, then up to the large pine with the crudely-hacked arrow on it. The route is obvious from there - take the most heavily traveled trail.
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Re: Interesting find in le conte gully

Postby longri » Mon May 06, 2013 7:34 pm

Very cool find. I've descended Le Conte gully. It's not that steep but steep enough to warrent rappelling in places, or at least I thought so. It was raining as I recall. My memory is a bit foggy but I think we went down the branch of the gully closest to Grizzly peak. We did not see any lion dens!
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