Trip Report2017-09 Quick hit for White Mountains and Saline Valley
I've been holed up in my house for ages, don't even get out to check the mail most days. I have a work project that is sort of like chasing a rainbow and I keep making excuses for putting stuff off, saying "when I finish this project then I'll...."
So this time when Batrock hits me up I'm glad I say yes. We only were out of down for a bit more than 2 days but covered enough ground to make it seem like a week. He showed me a gem of a place up in the White Mountains that you'd never expect to see up there, totally uncharacteristic rock for the region. Like stumbling into Joshua Tree before humans arrived. Well, except there is cow poop and summer pastures and all and a good 4wd road. But still, pretty great spot. And we had a bonus night on the way back, hangin' at the hot springs, listening to the swooshing of palm trees under a desert sky with a very bright moon. A good friend from Berkeley joined us and stayed a bit longer at the hot springs.
Enough blabbin', get to the pics.
We'll make camp here, almost 2 miles high:
Not too shabby!
Scouting new lines, temps take a biting turn as the sun goes down:
^^ note on the above: some gnarly piles of guano or rotting meat or guano of rotting meat eaters that needs to be bypassed when exiting the chimney. Looks very doable, but tell the belayer to wear a hat with a wide brim.
Is this place for real?
Autumn arduously arrives, sun sets sooner, fellows freeze faster.
We sleep in the shadow of the crags, reflected morning light giving a gentler start to the day:
First up is this thing next to where we slept. That start is a bit more awkward than it looks.
When I got up to this spot following, I was impressed with the sack-stretcher and awkward extension that helped get the rope up there.
Yes a tipped out #6 might protect it, and we even had one. But future visitors might be wandering with draws or a minimal rack and that bolt gives some peace of mind. They don't all have to be dick-wrenching mega-classics. Sometimes just having fun is ok too!
Then a run up the ball-bearing arete!
Which gave access to some hard top-rope fun.
Bring callouses on all sides of your fingers and be prepared for some crystal chewy flaring!
It gets easier here:
Then the perfect amount of facey hardness:
After my turn we checked out a splitter we saw from afar across a valley. On the way I thought of the Lichen and Loven It thread...
We'll come back for this one. Scale is sort of weird and foreshortened:
No words were exchanged, but we all zenned out for a while mid-day exploring on our own. We eventually came together back in camp:
After a bit of camp lounging, adjusting to the effects of altitude (and a sedentary lifestyle for me), we rallied for an afternoon session to explore stuff Batrock scouted on his mid-day vision quest.
Drill left behind for this session!
A little stemming helps get off the ground for a future moderate classic:
Pretty awesome spot I have to say.
We even found a walk-off descent:
More future glory at every turn!
Well, there's a limit to how much goodness an out of shape fellow can absorb in a day, and it's pretty close to my present limit:
So we best be moseyin' on back.
Not a bad one-day fix!
Look westward, and ponder the mighty Sierra stretching full of possibility for several lifetimes.
Time for some nighttime luxuriating!
The morning after:
That's all she wrote folks!
p.s. For the thumbnail
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