Trip Report
6 months of Weekend Warrior-ing in the Sierra, January to June 2014
Tuesday June 24, 2014 1:29am
Long time lurker, but rarely, if ever, post here. I have never written a TR in my 5 years of climbing. But I am SICK and tired of all the political bullshit and wankery I see on this site - so this is my attempt at a "BBST." As I sit here working along the banks of the Susitna River outside of Talkeetna, waiting for a helicopter to get me back to town, I reflect on the awesome first half of 2014, and the incredible friends and partners that have helped shape this into my most productive year of climbing yet. This TR does not include days of local cragging, bouldering, or trips to my beloved Joshua Tree. No "LULZing", music video accompaniment, or flowery prose. If you don't like short and sweet descriptions and a few kick-ass photos, go back to the politard threads.

After returning from my first trip to Patagonia on New Years (another TR to come), where my partner Peter Pribik and I managed to pull off an ascent of the Afanassief route (NW Ridge, VI 5.10 5,200') on Cerro Fitz Roy, My eyes had been opened as to what was possible in regards to conditions for rock climbing. Cold, ice, snow, bare hands, rotten rock - it's all good. Why not take this new found skill set into the Sierra in winter? And with the current drought year, it made the transition even easier.

January 18.
Erik Harz and I head out to the Needles after a week of work in Bakersfield. Many trips to the Needles leave you staring at and wondering about the solitary Hermit Spire off to the north. With some helpful beta from Kris Solem, we decided to go for a "winter ascent" of the original line, the Beckey-McHale South Face (III 5.8 800'). Hiking in from Hwy 190, the long 9 mile approach is relatively easy with the exception of sustained and cruxy WI0 on the flat road. Erik and I both take a few hard falls in our crampon-less tennis shoes, but we are at the base of the route in a few hours time. Lovely climbing up a massive dihedral for ~7 pitches. Some smoke can be seen down in the Kern River Valley, but this doesn't bother us much, as it's always smokey there. On the summit, much to our surprise, we see a wildfire(!) burning uphill in our direction, less than a mile to the north. Holy shite. Time to book it back (towards the fire) to our car. We daytrip it in 9.5 hours.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

February 1.
Mark Collar and I set out to June Lake and Lee Vining Canyon for his first taste of the frozen stuff. With little-to-no instruction, he is bashing and kicking his way up some WI4+ and even doing a bit of mixed/drytooling. Some bourbon and apres-climb hot spring soaking calm the nerves and warm the soul.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

February 8.
Erik Harz and I are at it again, this time in the Sierra Juarez of Baja California. A quick web search reveals maps, beta, and everything one could need to get to the elusive Mexican granite big wall known as El Gran Trono Blanco. A few hours drive and only one missed turn land us at basecamp in the early afternoon, with beers still cold from the shop in La Rumorosa. We hike down the approach gully to scope the line and stash our kit for the next day. As sunrise lights up the South Face (IV 5.10c R 1,600'), our stoke is redlining. Pitch after pitch of beautiful jam cracks, dihedrals, face, and major runouts on a roasting 90-degree day kill our swollen feet and dessicate our tired bodies. Go there, it's rad. A local climber from Tijuana, Alejandro, snaps this awesome pic of us high on the route from the notch.
the dots in upper left are us.
the dots in upper left are us.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

February 23.
Peter Pribik and I have our "light" overnight bags packed and are headed up the North Fork of Tuttle Creek to tackle the Direct South Face (V 5.8 3,000') of Lone Pine Peak 12,944' in winter. To my partner's surprise, I pulled out a pile of firewood from my backpack (that I carried in from the car, F*ck off, haters) to keep us warm at the world-class bivy site. To my surprise, he pulled out a bottle of Laphroaig 12-year scotch. An excellent sunset, star-filled sky, and sunrise were the higlights of this otherwise "meh" route. One shared pair of crampons got us down an icy descent on the east ledges and we were back in town for hot pizza.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

March 16.
Erik Harz, Mark Collar and I start up the massive Northeast Ridge (V? 5.7 6,900') of Lone Pine Peak 12,944' at the leisurely hour of 9:30am for another winter ascent of the mountain. Hours of scree and bushwhacking led to crummy decomposed granite, then onto knobby knife-edged goodness. A wickedly exposed bivy site with 1,000' drop-offs on 3 sides would be our home for a cold night on the peak. Mixed rock and snow climbing in gloves while dusting off holds was a first for Mark, as well as the hours of exposed free-soloing in Trango boots. We pulled out our 30M rope for a few rappels and one pitch of ice-choked, dripping wet crack near the final exit gulley. A multi-mile circumnavigation of the mountain led us back to our car parked out in the desert just before sunset.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

May 3.
I'm back on Lone Pine Peak again, this time solo on the Complete North Ridge (V?5.7 7,000'). Conditions are still quite wintery and I have a hair-raising experience as I attempt to beat Myles Moser's speed record (6:01 desert to summit). I find myself off-route due to snow and ice impasses on the easier terrain, but still manage to make the summit in 5:31. Whew! I joyously glissade head-first down the gully towards the Meysan Lakes, and slam down a few cold beers and a burger at the Portal Store while bragging to the newly-defeated Myles. No photos to accompany this one, too fast to take out the camera!

May 5.
The immaculate granite of the Whitney Portal Buttress beckons. With the incomparable Ms. Amy Ness, we swap leads up the seldom-done route on the right tower known as Mean Streak (IV 5.10cR A1 1,200'). Yet another "California-alpine start" at the wee hour of 11am. On the final 3 pitches, the sun disappears and we are slammed by a ferocious wind. A casual and fun jaunt in the afternoon sun quickly turns into a "get-me-the-hell-off-this-mountain" type of affair. A high-five on the summit and we scramble down the dirty east gully. We are not back in time for burgers and beer at the Portal Store, but score some tasty mexican food from one of the two dueling taco trucks in Lone Pine. The winds from earlier have buried the small desert town under a dust storm of Saharan proportions.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

May 10.
Back for some more obscure and untraveled Whitney Portal Buttress stone with Amy Ness. This time, up the left tower on the route of it's first ascent - the Beckey-Callis (IV/V 5.10+ A2 1,200'). Keeping with tradition, we started up the trail no sooner than 11am. Amy and I take turns leading our way up grainy, dirty, and vegetated crack systems. We climbed almost entirely free up to 5.10+/11- with a grand total of 6 points of aid on this route. The upper headwall pitches had a number of fixed pitons left in-situ, but more than half of them simply fell out of the rock under less-than-body weight. Thanks for the booty, Fred! Being bold fools, we carried no hammer or pins, and relied solely on free-climbing skills and dumb luck. 50 year-old 1/4" buttonhead bolts with rusty Leeper and homemade hangers were not inspiring, but Amy cruised the 5.10 (formerly 5.8 A3 hooks) knobby face pitch with the grace of a ballet dancer and the confidence of a bull fighter. 5.10Bush mantles and some 'swhacking led us to the eastern summit, where we descended the now-familiar east gully. Memorable moments include the amazing white crystal Quartz Cave belay, and having to use your female partner's sparkly colored chapstick when you realize you've forgotten your own. Again, we were too late getting down for burgers and beer.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

May 17.
The Portal has become irresistible to me. Myles Moser and I team up for a pre-celebratory 4th of July American solo of his route, Ummagumma (IV 5.7 2,500') on the Wrinkled Lady. A hispanic couple outside of Mojave is selling spandex tights out of white van for screaming deal, 3 pair for $25. The patriotic pattern compels even this dirtbag to open up his wallet and see what "one size fits all" really means. Myles and I style the route in a couple hours and he makes it back to work before noon.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

May 18.
Myles is back to work, so I steal his girlfriend for another mysterious and mischievious multipitch route in the Portal zone. Amy Ness and I tackle the Arc de Triomphe (IV 5.10d 1,200') on the Parisian Buttress, just a half-hour up the Meysan Lakes Trail. Enduro 5.9 liebacking for 2 pitches, followed by a brief 5.10d slab crux led to some of the most exposed, rotten, runout, and mind-bending pitches of 5.5 to 5.7 I've ever encountered. A wild catwalk pitch took us to the summit and easy descent. After another late start, we continue to miss out on burgers and beer at the Portal Store.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

May 31.
The high country rock is dry and ready for some serious rock climbing, and Chris Orozco is ready for a rendezvous on the East Face (IV 5.10 1,300') of Aiguille Extra, 14,000+' along the southern extent of the Mt Whitney Massif. After hiking up to a beautiful glacial tarn near the base of the wall, we set up camp and gawk at the mega-dihedral that makes up the bulk of the route. The next morning, we rack up and blast off. Pitch after pitch of type-1 fun handcracks and dihedrals seem to go on endlessly. Occasional smoke breaks remind us that we are working at alititude, and we are on the summit and main Whitney Trail before 3 pm. On the descent, we are greeted with the standard fare - "what are the ropes for? you guys must be doing something SERIOUS! We bow down to your superiority! Please don't tell me you were free-climbing like that Honnold guy?" (aka free-soloing for people in-the-know)
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

June 1.
Myles and I have a few hours to burn before I need to drive back to the coast and he has to start cooking at the Portal Store. We blast up No Country for Old Men (III 5.10c 900') on the Whitney Portal Buttress with him leading P1-P4 and me leading the second half. I gave Myles the crux as I was pretty worked this morning after doing The East Face of Aiguille Extra the day before. We are up and down the route, back to the car in just 4 hours time. Again, no photos, because as the Huber bros say "ve are on SPEED! get out of ze vay!"

June 7.
After years of stare-downs and utter intimidation, now was the time to face one of the Sierran greats - the Harding Route (V 5.10+ 2,000') on Keeler Needle, 14,264'. The man for the job - the rock-solid yet couch-ridden Peter Pribik, who hadn't climbed since we did the DSF on LPP back in February. Whatever, I knew he was game, and he didn't fail to impress. We cruised the route in 9 hours and were back at basecamp less than 12 hours after we left. The OW pitches were less vicious than the hype had made them out to be, but we were glad to have brought along a #4 and #5 camalot nonetheless. Some offroute choss navigation on the cryptic headwall pitches landed us on the summit with time to spare.
Credit: rfshore

Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

June 14.
Myles has to be at work by 1pm, so we have an "easy" day, with a team solo of the Stemwinder route (II 5.4 1,000') on Thor Peak 12,306', linked up with the Diagonal Route (II 5.7 800') on the Impala. We cover both the main and North Fork drainages of Lone Pine Creek as well as 8.5 miles on foot and a bunch of fun & mellow climbing, and Myles manages to make it to work on time with minutes to spare. I spend the rest of the day drinking beer and harassing would-be "mountain climbers" at the Portal Store.
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

June 15.
My final hurrah before heading to Alaska for a few weeks of work. Amy Ness and I decide to go BIG, real BIG, and send the Dark Star (V 5.10c 2,500') on
Temple Crag 12,999' car-to-car, ~14 miles roundtrip with nearly 6,000' of total elevation gain. I was impressed with the nature of the featured dark granite of the mountain, with many incut edges, hidden jugs and just enough small protection to keep you safe. Of course, the higher on the ridge you go, the worse the rock quality becomes. Regardless, it was one massive and awesome adventure with a kick-ass partner. We day tripped the route in 15.5 hours, and the young lady surprised me with hidden beers waiting back at the car after the long slog out. Multiple smoke breaks again reminded us of the altitude, but helped relieve our aching joints from the hard days work. Myles, you are a lucky man!
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore
Credit: rfshore

So I sit and wait along the banks of the Susitna River, with dreams of climbing. Excited to see what the next 6 months have in store for me! Anyone interested in a little smash-and-grab in the Ruth Gorge in late July or August??? The West Pillar of the Eye Tooth and the Cobra Pillar on Mt Barril are waiting.....
Credit: rfshore

  Trip Report Views: 3,066
rfshore
About the Author
Richard Shore is a trad climber from Santa Barbara, CA.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Old West Crackramento
  Jun 24, 2014 - 01:50am PT
You need to climb more and stop posting this political rubbish!


Awesome TR, man! Although, I'm a little green right now.
pc

climber
  Jun 24, 2014 - 01:56am PT
Excellent. Thanks for de lurking.
msiddens

Trad climber
  Jun 24, 2014 - 08:30am PT
sweeeeet
Marshall

climber
bay area
  Jun 24, 2014 - 08:46am PT

awesome!
Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Jun 24, 2014 - 09:14am PT
This is what I'm talkin about!!! Laphroig and firewood, I need more partners like that!
fluffy

Trad climber
Colorado
  Jun 24, 2014 - 09:39am PT
Wow some long routes up that way 6k feet? Niiiiice.

Thanks for the pics and the stoke.
Pie

Trad climber
So-Cal
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:13am PT
nice dude! way to keep charging. pretty inspiring...
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:18am PT
Really awesome report, glad it can bump the other retarded sh#t down. Just one advice - LULZ ON BRO!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:28am PT
Well, there go my excuses for six months worth of indolence. Fantastic trip report. I look forward to more of them.

John
Floridaputz

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:29am PT
Fecking spectacular
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:42am PT
Way to get after it. Great route selections as well.
eKat

Trad climber
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:45am PT
BITCHEN!

I WANT THOSE FLAG TIGHTS!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Jun 24, 2014 - 11:56am PT
Beautiful. LPP photos sure bring back the memories.

DMT
youngharz

Boulder climber
Santa Barbara
  Jun 24, 2014 - 12:21pm PT
Edited for what you may have meant to say:

"As I sit here working along the banks of the Susitna River outside of Talkeetna, waiting for a broken-down helicopter to get me back to town,"

In my underwear, eating cold chili out of a can with a spoon, all worked up and lounging next to 5 empty PBRs,

"I reflect on the awesome first half of 2014, and the incredible friends and partners that have helped shape this into my most productive year of climbing yet."

Awesome TR Rich, Convince your boss to bring us up to AK for the next field session!

EH&MC



johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jun 24, 2014 - 12:29pm PT
Get a job!

And thanks for the TR.
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 12:53pm PT
Well done!

Thanks for the pics and the stoke.
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
  Jun 24, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
cry in here with joy and envy. You have been to the some of the most beautiful places on earth and worshipped them in the best way.
The Old Glory tights....what is there to say about those! AWESOME
A really beautiful report....thanks beyond thanks, and then some
Susan
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 24, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
To my partner's surprise, I pulled out a pile of firewood from my backpack (that I carried in from the car, F*ck off, haters) to keep us warm at the world-class bivy site. To my surprise, he pulled out a bottle of Laphroaig 12-year scotch.

A real partner would have brought the 15 year.


This may be the best shot of Supertopo 2014.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#364201

Makes me proud to be Murican. Dern proud. Please keep sending and posting. A lurker you are no more my friend, a lurker no more.

Thanks,

Scott

P.S. I hope you don't mind but I touched it up a tad. It deserves it.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#364202
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 02:44pm PT
Really good. Inspiring stuff for us weekend pukes.



An excellent sunset, star-filled sky, and sunrise...

That's at least a little flowery, prose-wise.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
  Jun 24, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
Credit: Todd Gordon

Loafer....(just kidding). Thanks for sharing. Much can be accomplished when one gets off of one's ass.......good for you, Richard. While you were climbing in Patagonia, Baja, Alaska, and the High Sierras, ....we were holding down the fort here in Joshua Tree;.....drinking beer, climbing 40 foot grainy slabs, shopping at superWalmart, eating at Del Taco, and going to the dollar store.....which has it's own challeges...........climb on, sir....
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jun 24, 2014 - 03:00pm PT
A definite bump for climbing content. I only wish I had that much free time and energy. But man those tights...I did not need to see that. The only time I ever slipped on a pair of those was when I went sport climbing in Italy and needed to blend in.

What were the 80's thinking?
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Jun 24, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
Great TR.....

I really liked the El Gran Trono, So Face deal.... brings back the memories.

Please do more, kind sir.

crankster

Trad climber
  Jun 24, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
Wow. You're energetic. Complete N. Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. Whew, indeed!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jun 24, 2014 - 06:45pm PT
Thanks for the report. Would like to get out there some day, but with Wyoming so close it is hard to leave a big carbon trace way out there. Looks like you must have a great job and what's with the noon start time for Myles.
rfshore

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 24, 2014 - 07:00pm PT
Thanks for the positive feedback and keeping this on the front page. As far as my job - well, I'm pretty much a M-F 40-50 hour/week kinda guy, I'm just REALLY motivated to get the hell away from work and play hard on my limited and valuable time off. Hit me up if you're looking for a partner and are strong, motivated, and like fast-and-high multipitch.

I forgot one in the mayhem of putting this big TR together -

June 1.
Myles and I have a few hours to burn before I need to drive back to the coast and he has to start cooking at the Portal Store. We blast up No Country for Old Men (III 5.10c 900') on the Whitney Portal Buttress with him leading P1-P4 and me leading the second half. I gave Myles the crux as I was pretty worked this morning after doing The East Face of Aiguille Extra the day before. We are up and down the route, back to the car in just 4 hours time. Again, no photos, because as the Huber bros say "ve are on SPEED! get out of ze vay!"
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jun 24, 2014 - 08:30pm PT
play hard on my limited and valuable time off.

6 months is limited time? I want to be you!
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jun 24, 2014 - 08:33pm PT
Superb TR. Now I feel like a sloth, but this is the heart and soul of Supertopo
Aerili

climber
SLC, Utah
  Jun 24, 2014 - 08:50pm PT
Sick TR. Those Lone Pine taco trucks are really dang good, I agree.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 25, 2014 - 05:58am PT
Stellar, especially the tights!!!!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Jun 25, 2014 - 06:01am PT
but this is the heart and soul of Supertopo

It really is.

DMT
Easy Wind

Trad climber
Oakland, California
  Jun 25, 2014 - 09:01am PT
So that's how it's done?! Excellent report. Thanks for the motivation.
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jun 25, 2014 - 10:02am PT
Hell Yeah!!

TFPU!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jun 25, 2014 - 10:12am PT
Awesome trip report, way to get out and get after it! Thanks for taking the time to post and move away from your lurking ways.

BTW, disappointed in lack of soundtrack and lulz.
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  Jun 25, 2014 - 11:58am PT
Ahh yeah!! Thanks for letting us ride along.

The highlights must be climbing with Amy. ;)

Amy Ness

climber
ND
  Jun 25, 2014 - 08:15pm PT
Haha...although, I'm not the one in tight pants that show off my nice...parts;)
Getting after it-would think you were a dirtbag rather than a city slicker with a real job!! Can't wait for the next one!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jun 26, 2014 - 12:46am PT
All time TR! East face of Aiguille extra looks incredible!

Thanks for the psyche & the edginess.

Gotta get up in the portal damn!
looks easy from here

climber
Ben Lomond, CA
  Jun 27, 2014 - 11:00am PT
Ridiculously awesome!

I've only been through the Portal area once, before I started climbing. Now I know I definitely have to get back there soon (though I'll be using a rope a bit more than you!)
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jun 27, 2014 - 02:39pm PT
yeaaaaaa dude! keeping the psyched train rolling!
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  Jun 27, 2014 - 04:22pm PT
WOW!!!
Thanks for that Awesome Trips report.

Massive amount of work logged there... Good work.

Thanks for bringing me with you with your camera and story... I live vicariously through just these types of posts
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Jun 27, 2014 - 04:24pm PT
Geez dude... get out and climb some, m'k?

TFPU!!
rfshore

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2014 - 06:37am PT
Too much sadness and bullshit on the front page. BUMP for climbing!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Oct 3, 2014 - 02:54pm PT
schweet & da schwizzel 100% the sickest
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Oct 4, 2014 - 06:58am PT
Nice Tr - thanks
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Oct 4, 2014 - 08:04am PT
Way to get after it - thanks for sharing your excellent adventures!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Oct 4, 2014 - 10:07am PT
Wow way to get after it! TFPU!
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
  Oct 4, 2014 - 10:53am PT
Hall of Fame TR.

Did the Beckey Route on the Portal Buttress BITD. Fun semi-choss. The part of the route that had knifeblades that you could hand remove was scary. They actually were not the 30 years ago and the long runout on crusty face is something I still well recall..
pseudalpine

climber
  Oct 5, 2014 - 06:37am PT
Summon your eagle powers!
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