North Peak TR (watch out-big pix!)

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rwedgee

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 28, 2007 - 11:56am PT
Every summer I usually solo at least one couloir but so far I
haven't done any, roped or otherwise & the season is
winding down. All the usual excuses applied; work,
injuries, weather, girls, etc. but this was THE
weekend. Nothing could stop my solo. Except a partner
who could leave on thursday! Looks like Robert from
San Diego is going too. We leave Santa Clarita at 10am
and are at Stately Pleasure dome at 4pm. It's cold but
not too windy so we bag a quicky of South Crack,
skipping the usual swim in Tenya Lake(almost dark, 39
degrees). We only saw 3 other cars in Tuolumne. Tioga Pass Resort
is boarded up for the winter & won't be open,
something about the water supply. Bummer(if it's
true??) Back to camp by Lee Vining & rack for
tomorrow.

Looking up at 3rd Pillar from camp. It's cold and
windy but no snow in the forcast. We get to the
Saddlebag Lake parking area at 8:30am . First time
I've ever seen both lots empty
.
After ~1.5 mi North
peak comes into view. There's only one cloud in the
sky and it's on the place we're going. The red dots
are where the next 2 shots are taken from.


(shot in august)The snow field and moraine. If you've never had the pleasure of ascending a moraine
you're not missing anything. It's a loose pile of all
the rock, scree, sand, choss, etc. that couldn't stay
attached to the mountain. There's some big stuff too
and it all moves. For every 3 steps up you slide back
2.

Just below the moraine. It's really windy and
cold as the clouds whiz by from the west. We crest
the gravel pile, drop into the glacier bowl and gear
up. We're out of the wind but now we're out of the
warm sun too. It's still an improvement. We cross the
snow field and up to the bergshrund(you have to say it
with Arnolds accent) which is mostly filled with
snow....and rocks!(yikes)


Looking back at the approach from the "shrund".

Looking up

Top of the 1st pitch. Since I was going to solo I
compromised by using one screw per pitch, to protect the belayer.

Top of the 2nd pitch.

The ice was smooth and brittle making every stick
dinner plate. Translated that means every time you hit
the ice a piece the size of a dinner plate 1 1/2"
thick fractures. Sometimes it stays, sometimes it
falls. A little more work but no big deal unless
you're below. If that much rock ever came down a rock
route nobody would ever climb it, but it's an accepted
hazard in the ice game.

Towards the top it was covered with a thick layer
of crusty snow. You can tell a good "stick" with an
ice tool by the sound it makes. Kind of like hearing a
good pin ring as you drive it verses the dull thud of
expando(that makes sense only to aid climbers). The snow layer deadens the sound and keeps
you guessing if you don't scrape it away.

Top of the 3rd(?)I think

Top of the couloir in the saddle looking ~south.
The wind had picked up on the last pitch, blowing spin
drift from the bottom up the couloir. Everything that
got wet earlier(gloves & rope) was now frozen as the
temp took a nose dive. We shed the ice gear and
started making our way up the gully to the right.

Looking down the gully to the east. We started at
the far right past the lake.

Almost at the top, looking down the gully.

Looking up. No snow but steeper. The wind is
roaring from the west across the summit.

This is Robert on a super exposed traverse with a
bulging section at chest height and no hands for about
5 feet. What's he thinking right now? Well let's see;
He's a gym climber/boulderer who got his new ice boots
wednesday($150 Ebay), had never ice climbed until
today, followed his first trad route yesterday(south
crack), and now he's "Big Boot Bouldering" with a pack
on....all in the freezing cold wind. The fun isn't
over yet. The exit rock is covered with slab ice with
a few crystal knobs sticking out(3 moves). Not pretty
but he pulls through it with the belly flop technique verses mantling.

A happy kid on top(Mount Dana on the top right
skyline.

The northwest ridge of North Peak

To the south Mount Conness. The descent heads
this way and drops down left at the low point before
the North Ridge of Conness.

Did I mention it was really cold and really
windy? All the west facing rock on the summit edge was
covered with these. The moisture in the clouds sticks
to it and freezes. One was forming on the back of my
head so we left after 3 whole minutes on top.

Looking at the NR of Conness after dropping down
the east side. From here our descent is actually the
approach to the NR of Conness, also a must do class 5-easy.

Of course it got dark and of course Roberts head
lamp died. "What next?" he asks. "What next" will come
up again. We're back to the car @ 7:15pm. We get back
to camp and think someone has stolen our tent and
sleeping bags until I discover the 2 corners of the
tent I had tied to the picnic table. They're still
tied to the picnic table which it dragged 15 feet
before setting sail. 150 yards away in the gully(down
wind!) we find it; poles broken, fly shredded, corners
missing......in the stream. IN THE STREAM! What Next?
Getting it out was like trying to drag a water bed up
a flight of stairs, in the cold wind. Oddly enough the
missing corners came in handy by helping to drain the
water. I was not going into the 2 foot deep stream
after it. Actually, I don't think we could have gotten
it up the bank if it weren't for the AWOL pieces still
anchored to the picnic mooring. Our bags didn't get
totally soaked as they managed to stay on top of the
queen sized air mattress. We find a spot in some thick
brush to break the wind and it's off to sleep.
I wake Robert at 2:30am "Dude it's raining, we have
to get the tarp". "What next?" he sighs. At 7:30am we
look like a queen sized blue M&M. I've woken up with
worse. We take it easy and sight see that day.

Olmstead Point with Half Dome in the background.

I show him some routes for his "to do" list.

It's a nice clear day with no wind but at 8pm the
temp is 26F. Brrrr. That night it got down to 10F.

Lee Vining at 11am, Mono Lake in the background.

The 5 gallon block of ice squeegee.

We make a few stops on the way home. Convict
Lake with Laural Mountain.

Scenery around Bishop.

Weir Lake.

Aspendell.

This 54" pipe was in service 1908 until 1991 delivering water from Sabrina Lake(above Bishop) to the hydroelectric plants!
They don't make them like that anymore.

We also went to Bodie ghost town if I get time I'll
post a few from there.

That was pretty much it. Got home at 9pm and got
evacuated for the fire at 10pm. What next?

PS Pix shot with a Nikon D70, Tokina 12-24mm, Hoya Pro 1 Circular Polarizer. Weird blueing in the sky color is from the
polarizer. I'm working on it. And yes, shooting with gloves while climbing is kind of a pain.


Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:07pm PT
Thanks for such a cool TR! Looks like you had fun!

:-)

eKat
nita

climber
chico ca
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:10pm PT
Good read, Beautiful pics........can relate to- wind blown tent fun.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:14pm PT
nice report! thanks
Jody

Mountain climber
Templeton, CA
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:15pm PT
Now THAT was about the best set of pics I have seen in a long time! Thanks! That Laurel Mtn. pic is unreal.
the-shoe

Trad climber
Santa Clarita, CA
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:19pm PT
Must of been nice to escapes the smell of smoke and the view of burnt hills. As a fellow Canyon Country climber who is suffering from a back injury and who also had to evacuate for the fire, I appreciated the pictures. This TR hit me at a good time.

If you ever need a local partner drop me a line. Thanks for the TR.
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
Oct 28, 2007 - 12:24pm PT
Very cool rwedgee Thanks.

When did you guys do this trip?

Does your gym climbing buddy got his boots for sale on ebay now or is he hooked?
rwedgee

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 28, 2007 - 12:32pm PT
T2, it was last weekend the 18th, 19, 20th. The boots fit perfectly out of the box, even with some crappy socks he didn't get so much as a blister. To answer your question he almost bought crampons at Wilsons on the way home.
joebuzz

Trad climber
Truckee, CA.
Oct 28, 2007 - 01:36pm PT
Nice TR! I was just up there on 10/24. We got lucky, the weather was so nice we actually climbed the couloir in t-shirts. We did have cold weather gear in the packs though.
I also found a nice digi. camera on the approach with a ton of climbing pics on it. The last pic is dated 9/14/07, taken on the approach through Twenty Lakes Basin. I just picked it up a few days ago, so it was out there for a few weeks. It's still in perfect working order though. If anyone might know the owner, I'd be happy to get it back to them.
Peace... Joe
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Oct 28, 2007 - 02:03pm PT
Great pics, and TR. Thank you.

Prod.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Oct 28, 2007 - 03:39pm PT
Nice post.

Tioga pass Resort has issues with waste disposal. From what I understand the feds are requiring an expensive engineered septic system to protect the water supply. The six owners are debating how to best invest in the project, if at all. It is not a high revenue business.

Great seeing the hard blue dinner plate ice. Great TR and shots.
Jody

Mountain climber
Templeton, CA
Oct 28, 2007 - 04:35pm PT
That old cabin is right there near Round Valley..I took a couple shots of that myself last week. Didn't turn out as good as yours.
John Moosie

climber
Oct 28, 2007 - 05:35pm PT
Awesome report. Super pictures. Glad your friend made it. :-)

Thank you.
Duke-

Trad climber
SF, aka: Dirkastan
Oct 28, 2007 - 07:47pm PT
Great shots, looks CHILLY!

-Dirka
Crimpergirl

Social climber
St. Looney
Oct 28, 2007 - 08:17pm PT
Very pretty. Thanks for sharing.
mooch

Big Wall climber
The Immaculate Conception
Oct 30, 2007 - 12:02pm PT
Here's a shot of the wife from this Saturday on the #1:

spyork

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Oct 30, 2007 - 12:11pm PT
Wow, nice TR. Sounds like you showed your friend a real adventure!
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
Oct 30, 2007 - 01:20pm PT
great TR, thanks!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Oct 30, 2007 - 03:27pm PT
That's deluxe TR action. Loved it.
museman

Big Wall climber
Poway, Ca
Oct 30, 2007 - 03:43pm PT
Dang it Chris! I knew it was you, man- "rwegee"...T2, Stevie and big Jay a drooling over those pics! Said there going up there soon too.

I saw some pics you posted of me when we where in Canada not to many years back on another thread and thought it was you. Miss climbin' with ya bro!
Your pal,
Steve
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