20090803: Day 3 After yesterday's adventure on Walker Tower, we had a late breakfast at the Base Camp Cafe before taking a more mellow day - the North Arete on Crystal Crag. This is a classic II 5.6 route outside of Mammoth, featuring three pitches of steady 5.6 and another 600' or so of 4th class ridge scrambling. After the "II 5.6" of the previous day, this was a nice walk in the park for Jay and Haimei. crystal crag / the north arete follows the right-most corner for a pitch / pitch 2 follows ramps up and left / and the final fifth-class pitch climbs a chimney to [...]
20090802: DAY 2! In R.J. Secor's book, a multi-pitch climb is mentioned to exist in Bloody Canyon, just north of June Lake. The first tower on the left supposedly had a route following the right side of a larger corner on the prow of the tower, up to 5.6. The whole description took up three lines as a "wrinkle", fitting for a route established in the early 1970's: "There is a II 5.6 route on the easternmost pinnacle. Climb the face to the right of a black open book, and then the book itself for eight pitches to the top of the pinnacle. This was first climbed October 1972 by [...]
Jay and Heimei joined me again this year for a few days of rock climbing. August 1st was day one, so we took it mellow and went to a sector of Big Springs that's new to me: The Stumps. Big Springs is better known for Clark Canyon, but the stumps featured 60-150' trad climbs up remarkably good welded tuff. We climbed a 5.6, 5.7, 5.7, 5.9, and finally a 150' 5.8 with a great finish not shown in the guidebook. What a great time! Chris Simmons is an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide and a Rock, Alpine, and Ski Guide for SMC. Check out his adventures at his personal website: Climb.Ski.Run.Sleep.Repeat.
Jason was the "last man standing" for an Extended Mountain Camp from Sierra Mountain Center - the other two clients had canceled for one reason or another. So we met one early Sunday morning, with a climate dilema. Thunderstorms had been hitting us with clockwork precision every afternoon, making a lot of the taller alpine climbs normally dispatched on a trip like this a little harder. So we pulled together a plan, and our after-action report to SMC looked like this: Sunday, 20090719. Morning: Climbed Running Lizards (II 5.7, 3 pitches), PSOM Wall, Pine Creek Canyon, Bishop. Afternoon: Packed up, drove past Big Pine to Glacier Lodge, and hiked into Third [...]
Damien and Dustin came up from San Francisco to climb Fred Beckey's Premier Route on the Premier Buttress. This is my favorite route in the Eastern Sierra for the grade, with incredible finger cracks, hand cracks, an exciting 4-bolt ladder to aid through, slab climbing, face climbing, and even a chimney and off-width. Whew! Andy the Intern joined us, so we climbed in two rope teams. I think I break up the normal Pitch 2 into two pitches to facilitate belayer communication, so by my system a team can: climb 5 pitches and do three rappels with two ropes from the top of Pitch 5, 4, and the anchor of [...]
Nine 4th and 5th grader girls (and one boy ) and some of their moms from Minden climbed with SP, Ali and Andrew for a day at Benton Crags. Hoping to dodge the weather which has been thunder stormy we headed out to Benton Crags after meeting at Tom's Place. The day turned out to be pretty much perfect and we wrapped it up just as the skies opened. All of the girls did great and climbed wonderfully. Even those worried about it and a little scared all gave it a try and a few even got to the the top of the 100 foot 5.6 route. We all had [...]