North Ridge 5.6
Trip ReportNW Ridge North Peak and North Ridge Conness - Tuolumne season wind-down
*This TR inspired by the Matthes Instagram TR. Viva le iPhone camera.*
Last weekend my lady and I attempted NW ridge of North Peak but decided to retreat due to snow on the ridge and general sloth. Curiously, the Saddlebag Lake parking lot was completely empty both on arrival and return, but the bear bins were rather full of trash but also items I'd think folks wouldn't want to leave behind. There were no cars in the lot on either arrival or departure but I thought it best to give it the benefit of the doubt and leave things be. More on that later...
This weekend I returned with plans to link it up with North Ridge of Conness, hoping the snow would be gone. Lucky me, it was. Unfortunately the temperate weather disappeared with it.
One big plus of these late October jaunts is the solitude. I saw two sets of backpackers in their tents Cascade lake but not a soul otherwise.
Everything was going swimmingly until midway through the first 30' downclimb on Conness. CRAMP! Severe muscle cramps in both legs. I'd only experienced cramps like this on long road bike rides, and this was not a good time.
Temps were low already, freezing my bladder valve, and the wind on this side of the ridge added some bite. I was adequately dressed with everything on but just barely. I needed to keep moving. I downed a couple crampbuster clif bloks and some water and did my best self-massage routine. Silently thinking "that's gonna have to be good enough" I D/C'd the 2nd rap.
Things improved slightly as I continued upward to the summit but I was still pretty spooked. Normally I'd move fairly slowly and methodically but the cramps demanded I move quickly and fluidly through each motion so as not to seize up. Mental note: research cramp prevention sometime this week.
Time to go down.
Having done the Carnegie institute descent several times I was eager to avoid hiking the road from Sawmill Campground, so I took a stab at the descent off the East Ridge toward Greenstone Lake. I liked it.
Map courtesy of Bob Burd.
I returned to the car early enough to brew some aeropress coffee and make it back to Oakland in time to pick up Kelly from her 9:10 SFO flight.
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