Adjusting to Climbing in the Eastern Sierra

November 29, 2021
A peak-baggers ascent attempt of Blacksmith Mountain

I’ve spent almost three years out here in the Eastern Sierra and its been a big climbing adjustment. Before, from the San Francisco Bay Area, the process was frequent, hard gym climbing, one season of the pure crack style in Yosemite followed by the foothills season of mostly crack practice. However, out in the Eastern Sierra I’ve found much more of a face-crack style of routes that has had me evaluate my generally weak face-climbing skills. Also, adjusting to a different seasonality of climbing that doesn’t involve Yosemite Valley (which is inaccessible for the best seasons from the Eastside).

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Hike up to Hopkins Lake

September 27, 2021
View of Big McGee Lake from Hopkins Pass

Getting in a couple more backpacking trips before it gets too cold. This weekend Sadie, Piton and I went up McGee Creek just a couple canyons down from Mammoth Lakes. It took us seven hours to hike to 11,100 ft camp along an eight mile, 3500 ft gain trail and three and a half hours back. [Map]

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Dog Ascent of Kettle Peak

September 13, 2021
Hiking up a slot gulley we found. It looks solid but is really loose.

On a weekend trying to find activities outside of the closed Inyo National Forest I picked another random peak. This time a 10 mile day with 3,500 ft of elevation and dogs. [Map]

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Off Trail to the Cleaver Notch

September 7, 2021
View from the Cleaver Notch

Sometimes I can get too caught up in the details of a climb or mountain or canyon. The more details there are, the more you can obsess over them to try to figure out exactly what the experience might be. With the Inyo National Forest closure from Aug. 31 – Sept. 17th due to the fires in California, most of my backyard and frequented places were not accessible. Therefore, I found a random, non SPS (Sierra Peak Section) peak in the only National Forest open (Humboldt-Toiyabe) and decided to just go for the journey.

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Canyoneering 1000ft Down Yosemite Falls

August 16, 2021
The final rappels down Lower Yosemite Falls

Middle Earth was a challenging canyon route starting at the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, descending ~1000 ft to the bottom of Lower Yosemite Falls. It tested and broke my nerves but I still had a number of firsts including my first class B+ canyon involving several swims.

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Backpacking to Thousand Islands

August 3, 2021
Minaret Lake from Peak 3113

In late July 2021 I went on a moderate backpacking trip out of Agnew Meadows (near Devils Post Pile) hitting Thousand Island, Ediza and Minaret Lakes. I went with a group of six of which I knew only one person, my good friend Brian who I’ve done a lot with (Shasta, Williamson, Lassen, Convict Lake and Mt. Morrison). Overall we spent four easy days going 31 miles and nearly 6,000 ft, including some day hikes that Brian and I did. (map)

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I dig U-Dig… Fossils

July 24, 2021

I have a hard time stopping for side trips when I have a destination. However, Sadie’s love of fossils convinced me to turn off desolate highway 50 in Nevada. Another half hour down a gravel road brought us to a trilobite quarry called U-Dig Fossils. My expectations of walking around, mostly bored while looking at pieces of shale were blown away after breaking my first rock open to reveal a trilobite fossil!

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Alone at Desolation Lake

June 13, 2021
Looking down from Piute Pass towards Piute and Loch Leven Lakes

Getting ready for the summer backpacking season I was excited to reach higher than 11,000 ft on this trip up Piute Pass near Bishop. The plan was to pack a heavy bag to get the feel of a multi-day trip on this 16.5 mile, 3000 ft gain out-and-back trip.

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Unexpected Snowstorm at Robinson Lake

May 24, 2021
View from Barney Lake, early in the trip.

Another early season backpacking trip was met with unexpected snow conditions out of Twin Lakes near Bridgeport, CA. Our trip was planed to go 20 miles, 3600 ft round trip, ending at Snow Lake in the Hoover Wilderness however, early season backpacking never goes as expected.

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Early season backpacking to Baker Lake

May 3, 2021
Baker Lake all to ourselves

The upside of a low winter is that the backcountry is accessible in early May 2021. Looking at the snow in Mammoth Lakes, I decided to give a backpacking trip up to 10,700 ft a try and hope for limited snow on our 13.7 mi, 3,800 ft adventure. At 8:30am, Sadie, pup and I all started up the little traveled Logging Flat Trail outside of Big Pine.

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