North Ridge 5.6

 
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Mt. Conness


Tuolumne Meadows, California USA


Trip Report
Conness North Ridge

by Ed H
Monday August 26, 2013 5:50pm
Burke Green and I were lucky enough to get a guided tour up the North Ridge of Mt. Conness on Aug 14. Awesome day! Thank you Paul Minault!
Im not a huge fan of long approaches or sufferfests, so I normally turn the page when I see 2-3 hour approach in the topo - but boy this climb really changed my tune. Burke says My best day hiking ever. Paul says This is my kind of day 5th class hiking I was really blown away by the variety of the terrain this climb really has it all alpine lakes, meadows, glacier, streams, snow fields, views, exposure, and amazing white granite move this climb up your to do list now.
The approach is about 4 miles and gains 1700 ft. Once on the granite, the 4th/5th class climbing gains about 900 ft. It took us 10 hours car to car at a leisurely rate. We had the luxury of 2 cars we started at Saddlebag Lake, and finished at Sawmill Campground. Thanks Joni for the drop off!
Checking out the approach/summit/descent at 8:30 am (my kind of Al...
Checking out the approach/summit/descent at 8:30 am (my kind of Alpine start)
Credit: Ed H
We planned to free solo everything except the 2 pitch 5.6 rappel, so we packed pretty light:
One rope, harness, belay device, climbing shoes, helmet, food, sunscreen, topo, camera, one Nalgene bottle each, water filter (lots of refill opportunities), headlamp, clothes to spend the night (in case of epic), and some first aid/emergency shelter. You certainly could go lighter a climber passed us with super small pack I assume he planned to down climb the 5.6 unroped.
The first part of the hike passes by Saddlebag Lake (10,100ft) on very interesting rust colored stone with no vegetation anywhere. After Saddlebag lake, the Alpine beauty really hits you.
Greenstone Lake on approach
Greenstone Lake on approach
Credit: Ed H
Meadow approach about to end - Summit in clear view
Meadow approach about to end - Summit in clear view
Credit: Ed H
After passing Conness Lakes, the fun begins with a hike up sand and scree hunting for the best gully. The route finding is not bad, and the Super Topo photo is helpful. Once on top of the ridge, you get a good view of the glacier and what you signed up for
On the ridge
On the ridge
Credit: Ed H
Follow the ridge to the start of the first tower time to put the climbing shoes on
Start of first tower - shoe up!
Start of first tower - shoe up!
Credit: Ed H
After the first tower, awesome views of the summit and the exposure coming your way...
Summit, glacier, and tower 2
Summit, glacier, and tower 2
Credit: Ed H
Some exposed 5th class scrambling to summit tower 2
Scramble up tower 2
Scramble up tower 2
Credit: Ed H
Looking back at Tower 2 this is what you down climb if you dont carry a rope along
Looking back at tower 2 - this is what you rappel down (or solo)
Looking back at tower 2 - this is what you rappel down (or solo)
Credit: Ed H
Paul practices his fireman belay
Paul practices his fireman belay
Credit: Ed H
After the 2 pitch rappel, you get to see the awesome white granite summit about 500 ft above. Beautiful 4th and 5th class climbing to get there.
Looking up towards summit
Looking up towards summit
Credit: Ed H
Now for the summit shots! Fairview Dome looks so tiny from here! Once at the summit, you get to put your approach shoes back on - awesome!
Burke on summit
Burke on summit
Credit: Ed H
Burke and I - warm enough for shorts - yea!
Burke and I - warm enough for shorts - yea!
Credit: Ed H
View to the East - descent trail follows this line
View to the East - descent trail follows this line
Credit: Ed H
The descent trail is awesome different than the approach and more terrain variety awaits lakes, meadow, snow fields, vistas - really beautiful and lots of light left yea!
Snow field and descent lake
Snow field and descent lake
Credit: Ed H
Descent meadow the grass is just beggin for you to take a nap.
Descent meadow
Descent meadow
Credit: Ed H
And nap we did. This is my kind of speed climbing
Nap
Nap
Credit: Ed H
A flat trail leads you back to sawmill campgroud and beer in the car (still daylight!)
Dusty trail home
Dusty trail home
Credit: Ed H

  Trip Report Views: 1,234
Ed H
About the Author
Ed H is a trad climber from Santa Rosa.

Comments
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matty

Trad climber
under the sea
  Aug 26, 2013 - 06:11pm PT
We already have an Ed H. and don't need more confusion around here! Go find a new name and report back.






Just Kidding....Thx for the TR;)

phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Aug 26, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
Very nice report Ed H.!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Aug 26, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
EH, Thanks for posting. We enjoyed meeting Paul and Jonie that next weekend there at Junction CG, you meet the nicest people in the mountains! Conness is great, hard not to have a good time on that piece of real estate!

Cheers,

Charlie D.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 26, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Nice report and write-up! This is one of my favorite routes.
10b4me

climber
  Aug 26, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
I agree, one of my favorite routes.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 26, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
Topping!

Race you to the zzzz's...
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Aug 26, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Beauty day
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
Nice tr and great photos. A full value day and one of my favorite areas. Glad you got on it before the big fire.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Aug 27, 2013 - 01:55am PT
That view of the NE(?) face is gnarly - those incut ledges and springboards.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:57am PT
Fun tr. thanks
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 27, 2013 - 10:57am PT
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Aug 30, 2013 - 02:51am PT
Look at the stack of single pitch, or boulder problems on this ridge : 0
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 30, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
Nice!!!!!
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Mt. Conness - North Ridge 5.6 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Chris McNamara
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