Trip Report
Three outta (Big) Four: A week in the High Sierra
Thursday September 8, 2016 5:08pm
After getting cold last year, Kyle and I decided to stay warm this year. Plus Kyle has moved from the Midwest to coastal California, which makes logistics for a Sierra trip easier.

Near the end of August, I packed my bags in Brooklyn and flew out late Friday evening to meet Kyle in Sacramento. We had the idea of attempting as many of Croftís Big 4 as we could in a week. In the end, we got three of them. Altitude and general wimpiness on my part forced a rest day between Dark Star and the Keeler Needle, which threw off our timing. Kyle had already climbed Conness though, so at least one of us has ticked all four.

As a consolation prize, we spent the last day in Tuolomne, where we simul-climbed Tenaya Peak in one pitch, before driving back to Sacramento and shoving me on a plane to NYC.

Hereís a lot of pictures from the Trip. All the good ones were taken by Kyle. Kyle also led everything hard because he is a beast.

Dark Star, Temple Crag (V, 5.10b)

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Me following the second pitch.

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Kyleís view from the middle of the third pitch traverse.

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Somewhere on the second buttress, the 5.8 pitch, I think?

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Au sommet

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Harding Route, Keeler Needle (V, 5.10c)

Kyle on the approach

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When we arrived at Iceberg Lake, there were some climbers high on the grand staircase of E. Face of Whitney. They didnít make much progress as the afternoon turned into night. I think they spent the night up there. If you look closely, you can see them in this photo.

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We were a little concerned for them, but they did not call for help, flash headlamps, or make any other indications of distress. I think that in the end they just spent a cold night up high.

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We woke before dawn, and headed for the Harding Route.

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We added an extra (wet, loose, easy) pitch to avoid being below the Keeler/Day gully and instead traversed into the start of the route from the center of the face. Aside from the loose rock and sand, it was fine.

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Higher up on the route. Me finishing the 3rd(?) pitch.

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Approaching the Red Dihedral pitch.

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Kyle getting ready for the Red Diahedral pitch, easily the best pitch of the trip.

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Somewhere up high.

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Au Sommet

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Kyle was the man, and led all the hard pitches on the route. Including both off-widths.

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The next morning. If you look closely, you can just make out two climbers headed for the E. Buttress of Whitney.

By this point we knew we didnít have time to get Conness Ė weíre just not fast enough Ė so we spent an additional night at Iceberg lake rather than hoof it back to Whitney Portal in the dark. We didnít really have supplies for another dinner though, so our post-climb meal (and breakfast) was hot water and Halva bar.


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With a slightly more relaxed schedule, we had some time to kill before the Hulk. We stopped at Manzanar on our way north.


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Iím a lawyer, but a cynical one.
Just because something was legal or constitutional Ė now, or when it was done Ė does not make it right or good. It is wrong, I think, to ignore or deny that America has done things to her own citizens, and to citizens and visitors from other nations, that are, and were, an obscene affront to the principles which are said to underpin our nation.

More people should visit places like Manzanar. More people should know what we did here. And more people should be ashamed.


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Next, we hiked into the Incredible Hulk for the Red Dihedral (aka "Yggdrasil") (IV, 10c).


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When we arrived, Emily Harrington and Justin Sjong were working Venturi Effect. We napped in the sun and enjoyed the show.


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We were first in line for the Red Dihedral the next morning.


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Thatís Emily Harrington and her crew down below me, chasing my slow ass up the route.

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I thought that the Red Dihedral on the Red Dihedral was harder than the Red Dihedral on Keeler. Maybe itís a question of hand size.

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Beta for the Hulk descent. Skip the short downclimb or rap in the gully. Go through the hole instead.

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We finished the trip with a quick simul-climb of Tenaya Peak, then hung out at the lake until it was time to drive to Sacramento and the airport.

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  Trip Report Views: 3,203
Mr. Rogers
About the Author
Mr. Rogers is a climber from The Land of Make-Believe.

Comments
i-b-goB

Big Wall climber
Nutty
  Sep 8, 2016 - 05:55pm PT
WOW, they are some great shots of those routes, cool TR!
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Sep 8, 2016 - 07:05pm PT
Beautiful ... almost makes me wanna visit California again someday.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Sep 8, 2016 - 07:09pm PT
WOW I've been wanting to finish all three for some time big congrats!!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Sep 9, 2016 - 04:45am PT
Beautiful, thanks for posting.
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, Bozeman, the ocean, or ?
  Sep 9, 2016 - 05:19am PT
Oh oh... Now that's a early morning read!
Just stunning!

The Manznar piece was moving.

Susan
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 9, 2016 - 06:15am PT
Great report and climbing.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Redwood City
  Sep 9, 2016 - 07:58am PT
jeez , you guys know how to get after it , great report ....
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 10, 2016 - 07:34pm PT
This was great!

I've never met a Kyle who wasn't a good, solid dude.

Damn do I want to climb that Keeler route.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 12, 2016 - 11:19am PT
What a week! Excellent work, pictures and trip report.

And excellent observation, too:

More people should visit places like Manzanar. More people should know what we did here. And more people should be ashamed.

Amen.

John
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 12, 2016 - 12:07pm PT
Go back to Brooklyn Brah. You aren't welcome here. We Californians don't need big city folk like you coming out here and knocking off that much radness in just a few days. From here on out, keep your stupid Trip Reports with killer photos, tons of pitches in perfect weather and lots of summits to yourself. You didn't get all four of the routes done anyway....so in my opinion your trip was a total failure. This kind of TR is bad for my ego. I live a few hours from those routes and get less done in five years than you fellas did in three days. Go back to Brooklyn and stay there!!!



Scott

thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
  Sep 12, 2016 - 12:13pm PT
you play the telephone game very well: "psssst - here's some STOKE! pass it on!"
pumpkineater

Trad climber
California
  Sep 14, 2016 - 04:31pm PT
Great pictures. Memories to last the rest of your days.
Condorman

Trad climber
Garden Grove, CA
  Sep 19, 2016 - 09:14am PT
Great tr. Agreed on manzinar; however, it seems to be the norm these days to criticize, many times very shortsighted, or I ignorant in social media usually. But back when we had some national pride, were building this nation versus complain in and tearing it down, and PEOPLE GIVING THEIR LIVES for it, yes we made some mistakes. Have you never made mistakes? They say you learn more from your mistakes than your successes, and I can attest to that. Like Kaepernick who "voices his opinion" by disrespecting the flag that so many died for, his vision is myopic.

I worked for an ex fighter pilot who spent part of his childhood growing up in manzinar. He was and is a great man. He understood the bigger situation, and went on to fight FOR the country that put him there. Now, everyone is so entitled and demands things be "fair" and sues someone no matter how obscure or small the special group.

I'm just sayin, manzinar, our period of gangsters, definitely not our finest hours, but we HAVE done so much good, but so many like to comply about our failures. Try a day in their shoes before you criticize please. I'm greatful for all those who serve, and who setved, for everyone's right to criticize openly. If I criticize, it's CURRENT and active politicians,NOT the ones of the past that built us up, and that omplaining about the past can't change the past. Why not focus on something you CAN do something about?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 19, 2016 - 09:19am PT
worthy
hossjulia

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
  Sep 19, 2016 - 09:41am PT
Great route pics, thanks for sharing!
enjoimx

Trad climber
Yosemite
  Sep 19, 2016 - 01:56pm PT
Awesome TR!! So sick. Nice work. Beautiful photos of the Hulk!
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