TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

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TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:51 pm

MY CURRENT PROJECT is climbing Mt. Langley from Owens Valley thru the John Muir Wilderness, without a trail. Below is a selection of photos from the 100 on this photo-sharing website:

https://josiah.piwigo.com/index?/catego ... y_oct_2017

For the past few years, I've been looking for a route that avoids using the Tuttle Creek Trail:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/re ... ecid=20724

There seems to be two options that utilize the ridges inbetween Tuttle Creek and Diaz Creek:

(1.) The Tuttle Creek ridge: Turn off Granite View Road onto Forest Service Road 16S01 and park next to Tuttle Creek and ascend the south side of the ridge to the south of Tuttle Creek;

(2.) The Diaz Creek ridge: Park near the end of Granite View Road and head south onto a low slope that gradually climbs up along the north side of Diaz Creek.

I know option (1.) will work the whole way with only Class 2 and 3. I haven't gotten very far with option (2.) and expect that there is some class 4 or 5 in the middle.

Back in October 2017, I started at night. This shows how steep the southern side of the ridge to the south of Tuttle Creek can get:
IMG_2117.JPG
I found a "saddle" and saw this view looking East in the morning:
IMG_2148.JPG
The trees are definitely sculpted and twisted by the harsh environment:
IMG_2209.JPG
The drainage up to a "glacier" which was there at the end of summer 2017 but melted away by the end of summer 2018:
IMG_2214.JPG
The drainage has an underground spring that pops up out of the earth at the blue dot on the 7.5" Mt. Langley topo map labelled "Spring" -- here's the glacier that used to feed the spring:
IMG_2228.JPG
A gentle giant of old...
IMG_2254.JPG
...and another one standing on one leg...
IMG_2260.JPG
Close-up of the granite...
IMG_2292.JPG
...and a shot of the cliff I considered for a "short-cut" but going around the left side of the glacier was easier...
IMG_2295.JPG
"Tree line" is a bunch of dwarf pines nestled in the rocks with some Class 4 fun...
IMG_2314.JPG
I camped a second night in the foxtail pine forest which characteristically occur in very fine bands at certain elevations...
IMG_2373.JPG
The view towards Langley opens up...
IMG_2392.JPG
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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:21 am

I must have missed something, but why do you not want to access the climb from Tuttle Creek? I climbed Langley (and Corcoran) via Tuttle Creek July 4th, 2003 and I did not think the route in was bad. There is a use-trail. The NE couloir however is not a good route- very treacherous. Sun hit the top and melted snow, bowling ball sized rocks came down a steep chute at the top, and nearly hit us. We did some 3rd class scrambling on the way down the west ridge trying to stay pretty close to the top of the ridge. The whole climb was a lot of tedious talus. Not my favorite climb.

I have also climbed Lone Pine Peak from Tuttle Creek. The lower brush is horrible, but once through that, the remainder of the climb is pretty good.
Mt Langley_cropped.jpg
NEChute4.JPG
NEChute3.JPG
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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:48 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:21 am
I must have missed something, but why do you not want to access the climb from Tuttle Creek?
Thank you for the question and everything else posted above. I am interested in exploring the canyons from 6,000 to 11,000 feet just as much as making it to the top of Mt. Langley !!! There are several albums on my photo storage website (I think there's a link from this message board to it). They give a flavour of the scenery in those rugged canyons with creeks. { JOSIAH SPURR }

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:51 pm

josiahspurr wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:51 pm
There seems to be two options that utilize the ridges in between Tuttle Creek and Diaz Creek: (1.) The Tuttle Creek ridge: Turn off Granite View Road onto Forest Service Road 16S01 and park next to Tuttle Creek and ascend the south side of the ridge that is to the south of Tuttle Creek; (2.) The Diaz Creek ridge: Park near the end of Granite View Road and head south onto a low slope that gradually climbs up the ridge along the north side of Diaz Creek.

I know option (1.) will work the whole way with only Class 2 and 3. I haven't gotten very far with option (2.) and expect that there is some class 4 or 5 in the middle.
Last week I explored option (2.) some more. There was snow down to about 5,000 feet. Since it was wintertime, I didn't start off on a ridge (whereas during summer it's cooler thanks to those trees). I went "straight" up a couloir to about 9,000 feet. This one is surrounded by two ridges, the one to the North of Diaz Creek, and the ridge to the South of Tuttle Creek. At the top of the couloir is one of the many "x" peaks marked on the U.S.G.S. topographic used to guide the boundary between John Muir Wilderness and regular Inyo National Forest. The peak at the top of the couloir is "x3153" (10,344 feet).

Some photos here:
https://josiah.piwigo.com/index?/catego ... march_2020

Note the "stack" of diamond-shaped granite structures in the center of this picture:
IMG_20200324_175420297.jpg
The couloir makes a right just to the left of those diamonds, then swings to the right behind them, at 2560 meters (8,399'). At that point there's a huge boulder that's flat on top (where the sun melts the snow off) with a grove of maple bushes in front of it. You have to cross the top of that boulder to continue: DON'T LOOSE YOUR FOOTING on the smooth granite (or on a pebble), or end-up in the bushes (ouch).

The interesting thing from looking at the topographic map is that from x3153 to the top of Mt. Langley looks like a gradual class 1 or 2 ascent that's about four miles long.

From the end of the dirt road to the top of Mt. Langley is only four (4) and one-quarter (1/4) miles. I wonder how far it is from the junction of Horseshoe Meadows Road and Granite View Road, all the way up Horseshoe Road to the parking lot inside Golden Trout Wilderness, to New Army Pass, and to the top of Mt. Langley? From the end of the road near the bottom of the couloir, up the "Diaz-Tuttle couloir," through peak x3153, through peak x3625 and to Mt. Langley is 4.25 miles as the crow flies with an elevation gain of 7,299 feet.

ABOUT PARKING: The owner(s) of The Great Space Center are open to mountaineers parking on their land if they are contacted by email. I have communicated with Leonard, Doroethy B. in the past (in 2017 she published __Franklin Merrell-Wolff: An American Philosopher and Mystic__, Bloomington : Xlibris). Mr. Franklin Merrell-Wolff wrote the notable book, __The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object__. There's a 4WD road (= = =) that ends at about 2050 meters at the base of the couloir in the Inyo National Forest. Where it branches off a lower 4WD road may be on the 450-acre property of The Great Space Center (private land).

Enjoy !! I plan to reach x3153 some time in April, if anyone's interested in going.
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Last edited by JosiahSpurr on Sun May 03, 2020 9:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:48 pm

What IS the "Great Space Center"??

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:51 pm


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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by zacjust32 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:43 pm

Why not just park at the end at the Tuttle Creek TH? It's on Forest Service Land.

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by Jim F » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:49 pm

It appears to me that Josiah's project involves establishing a new route to Langley. The route lies between the well known ascent up the NE Chute and an approach mentioned (very vaguely) by Secor over "Diaz Pass".

From where Josiah parked his vehicle on a jeep trail at the entrance to a couloir, it seems:

(1) The Tuttle Creek TH lies on the other side of a ridge to the north.

(2) The Diaz Pass approach lies on the other side of a ridge to the south.

(3) His vehicle was parked on Forest Service land.

I would like to know more about the Diaz Pass approach, but unfortunately RJ is no longer available to fill in the details. Anyone at HST know anything about Diaz Pass? Could it actually be in the direction Josiah has initiated?

Josiah, if you head up that way again soon, any further observations would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jim

Note: Frank Merrell-Wolf of the Great Space Center organized the construction of the Tuttle Creek Ashram.

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun May 03, 2020 9:42 pm

zacjust32 wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:43 pm
Why not just park at the end at the Tuttle Creek TH? It's on Forest Service Land.
Good point !! That would be about 100 meters higher. But, harder to find the car coming back down. I'm looking for a map of the 450-acre Great Space Center with their property boundary. If the 4WD road that goes up the bottom of the couloir is on their property, will have to contact Doroethy Leonard to ask permission to park near the helicopter landing pad that's been abandoned. Someone said is was put there by the Forest Service.

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Re: TR: Mt. Langley attempt from Owens Valley, Oct. 2017

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun May 03, 2020 11:58 pm

Jim F wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:49 pm
I would like to know more about the Diaz Pass approach, but unfortunately RJ is no longer available to fill in the details. Anyone at HST know anything about Diaz Pass? Could it actually be in the direction Josiah has initiated?

Josiah, if you head up that way again soon, any further observations would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jim

Note: Frank Merrell-Wolf of the Great Space Center organized the construction of the Tuttle Creek Ashram.
"Diaz Pass" is 4040 m+ (0.4 mi SE of Mt. Langley) according to pg. 38 in RJ Secor's book. It looks like the pass is 0.6 mi from the upper-most Cottonwood lake, with the pass directly in between Langley and Lake #6 (although the map only goes up to #5).

Secor says, "this is an old shepherd's route that ascends Diaz Creek from the floor of Owens Valley." I'd like to know that route! I don't think it's possible to go straight up the creek. Someone in Lone Pine pointed out a triangular hill to the south of the Creek that one goes around to avoid the narrows. It might be peak x2730.

I was up that way yesterday. Actually, the more I explore the area, I realize that the route I am initiating is directly in between Tuttle and Diaz creeks. Simply, it would go from Owens Valley, through peak x3153 (on the John Muir Wilderness / Inyo NF boundary), through peak x3625, then on to Mt Langley. The tricky part is through the Inyo NF to x3153. These photos are from the couloir NE of that peak, from last month (March 25/26), when there was a lot more snow (before a heat wave):

https://josiah.piwigo.com/index?/catego ... march_2020

Yesterday, I reached the Wilderness boundary at approximately 3020 m ( 9,908 ft ) and discovered a mini pass. It has a grove of about 20 dead (foxtail?) pine trees, very unique in appearance. Back in Owens Valley, I could see a few dead trees on the ridge/pass. The view of Langley and the Tuttle Creek surroundings was great. Still plenty of snow. The ratio of Class 2 to 3 was about 80% to 20% going up (and 90% Class 2 going down). If one were coming back from Langley and wanted to avoid the spring and the waterfalls in the south branch that drain into the South Fork of Tuttle Creek (at 2400 m), this mini pass might be an option. It has a little flat piece of ground for a tent. Westward, looking into JM Wilderness, the slope was steep and covered in lots of snow. Probably also Class 2 and 3.

I found plenty of water flowing between 2600 and 2700 m from snow melt running over granite !!

I saw that there are four (4) mini passes in this couloir. Like Jim says, it's between the ridge N of Diaz Creek and the ridge S of Tuttle Creek, and I would add the John Muir Wilderness boundary as the third border. The blue "creeks" on the topo map don't drain into anything. The blue lines just stop.

Going clockwise, this photos shows the first two mini passes. The one on the L is due SSE (pass #1), and the one on the right is SSW (pass #2) that goes past the north face of a steep wall (pass #2). I suspect that Diaz Creek is on the other side of those two passes.

IMG_20200325_094424817_HDR.jpg

After turning the corner formed by the ridge seen in the foreground above, is the "creek" from the snow melt. Soon this object comes into view:

IMG_20200325_134725736.jpg

Going straight up and to the L of that object is pass #4 with the dead trees. On the way up and to the L (SW) pass #3 is revealed which has been hidden until now. Actually, it may not be a pass, but rather the E face of peak x3153 that sits on the Wilderness boundary. Stay tuned for more info.

Maybe I shouldn't include so many details, because it might spoil the adventure of finding out what's out there for other people?

( In a letter to his wife he wrote "Ajna Ashrama" and "May 30, 1938" at the top. )

Warmly, Josiah *
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