Agree with BergBryce about not underestimating this climb. It is, IMO, the worst candidate for a Supertopo entry, which presents a long and complicated alpine route as a seemingly casual undertaking. It has already been the scene of a few bad accidents when people got over their heads...
I feel like the time estimates in the guidebook aren't that accurate for mortal climbers. I'll never claim to be a speedster, but I'm not a sloth either and this route took much longer than anticipated. Only two short sections of simuling at the bottom and near the top for us and I believe we were climbing for about six hours. The descent, while straightforward, is still 3k of talus hopping, scrambling and some soft sand plunging.
There are many places to escape the initial gully and cross a rib and go up another gully. The description is rather nebulous. We ended up on a cool ridge (left of what you actually want) that did eventually lead into the ridge you want to be on and it offered better ridge line climbing than what was offered in the gully. This certainly slowed us down some but after seeing the gully we were supposed to be in, we were happy for our off route shenanigans.
Don't underestimate this route if you are a budding alpine climber or even an older, slightly overweight climber like me who has spent the past 18 months studying instead of climbing.
Even with low snow year, I wouldn't do it now. I did it in the late May last year in 4 hours car to car and the chimney was wet even than. Sierra just had a recent snow storm (about a week and a half ago), and I would guarantee a lot of snow to be around 11-13K. I was around 8-10K this weekend and there were huge patches of snow all over the place.
Go to ORG or Pine Creek! Or prepare your snow shoes! HAVE A BLAST whatever you decide to do!
The trick will be getting to North Lake. That gate may be closed past the little "town" of Aspendell or at/just above Lake Sabrina. Call Wilson's Eastside Sports to get the road beta. The hike in is quite mellow and could be done in approach shoes if the snow is firm in the morning. Might be some major post-holing on the way down.....The descent may be holding a good bit of snow. Maybe call ESAC....Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and get the current snow intel. Its a great route! Did it last fall. ENjoy!
has anyone ever done this route during this time of year? I am thinking of going to do something this next weekend (April 18-20) and am wandering if there is just too much snow or what? with the winter we had is the only reason why I am actually contemplating high sierra stuff when the Tioga road is not even open :) anything would help!!!!!!
Overview of Mount Emerson, Mount Humphreys and Basin Mountain.
Photo: Luke Lydiard
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