Trip Report
Two Dudes And A Ridge. A Lepton Sighting.
Thursday September 18, 2014 9:44am
Credit: survival


Almost everyone here has seen, heard of, or climbed the North Ridge of Mt. Conness, so no major news there. Mostly I am here to once again offer photos and hope that you enjoy them.

The real story is that Lepton Man and I are still at it, 34 years years after our first climbs together. We have done two El Cap routes together, and had many wild times in many wild places. He is solid, smart and funny, and a true friend, so I jump at the chance to hang out with him. He has lived at pretty high elevations all year, and ridden something like 6,000 miles on his fully loaded bike. I'm a stay at home dad and I was coming up from close to sea level. I knew it would be a real task trying to keep up with him. I was right...

On top of that Lepton wanted to do the North Ridge and the West Ridge on successive days. This is where it got a bit more difficult. He had already stashed some food, water, and his bivy gear at the top of the East Ridge. I brought an extra sleeping bag for him to Saddlebag for our Friday night bivy. The crux would be that all my stuff had to be carried up the North Ridge on Saturday.{gulp}



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Things started out a little rough when I turned toward Markleeville and the sign read Monitor Pass Closed. WHAT?!!? WTF??!! Luckily there is a D.O.T. hub right there, so I whipped in to find out what was going on. The pass had been closed the day before because of a fire, and the sign was still up, Whew!
Things took another inauspicious turn when I was only a few miles out of Lee Vining. Long delays because of yet another fire. It took more than an additional hour. GRRRRRRR



Credit: survival







Credit: survival





Lepton makes great company, and the approach is certainly beautiful, so that helped distract me from the weight of the pack and the altitude.



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Visit on photobucket.com






Look at the hill you have to climb just to get to the ridge!!

Visit on photobucket.com










Visit on photobucket.com










Visit on photobucket.com










Visit on photobucket.com




Gotta go get some work done. Back in a bit with many more pix!













  Trip Report Views: 4,627
survival
About the Author
survival is a big wall climber from A Token of My Extreme.

Comments
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 18, 2014 - 10:41am PT
that works nicely!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2014 - 10:46am PT
Thanks Moose!































It feels so good when you're finally on the ridge!






































this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 18, 2014 - 11:30am PT
Beautiful pics Bruce!
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Sep 18, 2014 - 11:36am PT

Nice work Survival. Great pictures!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2014 - 11:43am PT
Timid, Lepton asks about you and Nita every time I see him.
























I'll tell more of the tale in a little while. There's definitely more to the story, HA! Thanks for looking guys.


Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California, living in The Old Pueblo
  Sep 18, 2014 - 11:53am PT
Awesome, Bruce...
You have a great eye with the camera, and your TR's never lack in the "fantastic photos" department.

TFPU!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2014 - 12:02pm PT
Thanks Leggs! If I can't provide rad climbing content, at least I can try for rad pictures...Heh heh....



le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 18, 2014 - 02:25pm PT
Righteous! What a beautiful ridge that is. Did you lug a DSLR up there?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Sep 18, 2014 - 02:37pm PT

Another awesome TR, Bruuuuuce!!!!
Thanks!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 18, 2014 - 03:19pm PT
As you can see, it was getting a bit late when we topped out, but we didn't care since we intended to sleep on top anyway. But here were a couple guys coming up the west ridge, and they had a ways to go!
It was dark when they finished, and we got to watch their headlamps dance around for a long time.
They eventually hunkered down with t-shirts and windbreakers only!!

They were also quite amazed when they saw us cocooned in warm fluffies in the morning. I had more clothes on inside my sleeping bag than those guys bivvied in!!
























































Wait til you see some of the pix from Sunday!
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Sep 18, 2014 - 06:06pm PT
From the title I thought Brokeback Mountain had a sequel. That is a cool and beautiful route.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Sep 18, 2014 - 07:09pm PT
Awesome Bruce.
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Sep 18, 2014 - 07:16pm PT
Fuzzizzle the mizzle fazzle shezazzle. Sheznap the meezap my zapple frapple mc grapple.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 18, 2014 - 07:46pm PT
And the Lord looked down and took pity, and he giveth us the next Ansel Adams....love those black and whites!
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
  Sep 18, 2014 - 08:10pm PT
looks like a really good time. envy. admiration!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Sep 18, 2014 - 08:45pm PT
Almost everyone here has seen, heard of, or climbed the North Ridge of Mt. Conness

Great photos, and time shared with an old friend is always wonderful, but I have no clue about the North Ridge of Mt. Conness. Is it the subject of epic poetry? Did Royal Robbins deposit his night soil there during a famous bivouac? Perhaps it was there that David Brower received the ten green commandments from god?

So, with your next post, maybe some history?
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2014 - 07:47am PT
Sorry Ghost, I mistakenly assume too much about peoples Yosemite/Tuolumne knowledge.

Mt. Conness is a big peak just a few miles from Tuolumne Meadows. It is 12,700, is that right?
It has three classic high Sierra routes. They are North Ridge, West Ridge and the Southwest Face (Harding Route).
The East Ridge is the most common ascent and also the easiest.

The Harding Route is the most technical, 10d? It was originally Grade V, but most parties now go for the one day ascent. When did Harding do the FA? I don't remember. It is 9 pitches, and around 1200ft. I did it in a day with Rob Lesher in 1985. It's an awesome climb!



The West Ridge is considered by many to be the best High Sierra Ridge route. In fact Peter Croft himself said so at one point. It clocks in at 5.6/7, 1500 ft. and around 12 pitches.



The North Ridge was done in 1969 by Galen Rowell and Barry Hagen.
Lepton has a pic of me in this exact spot because I was following this pitch.

















For Donini.





Summit block, Mt Conness. The North Ridge drops away on the far right.






This is when the shrooms started kicking in......







Sunday morning.



















The bivy spot was actually well protected from the wind.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2014 - 08:01am PT
No ass dusting allowed. If'n you wanna climb with me, ya gotta slow the f*#k down once in a while!!

Actually Dingus, Lepton would love that. He's been observing your stuff for years on various sites.
























mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Sep 19, 2014 - 08:05am PT
Awwesome photos and looks like a great climb. Are the approaches out there shorter than the winds(8-20miles) or big horns(6-18 miles but much bushwacking and most climbing is at 11,000-13,000ft)? Looks like there is a never ending supply of 500+ft walls in the sierra.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Sep 19, 2014 - 09:03am PT
*
Bruce, Finally taking the time to look at your trip report...Gotta say... Way
Beautiful photos, and so very sweet to see Lepton man.(-;

Mt. Conness is one of my favorite peaks in the Tuolumne back country.. ..The hike to the peak and the views on top are impressively splendid.


Thanks for taking the time to load all your lovely Fotografie...
Cheers..n.t.

RyanD

climber
  Sep 19, 2014 - 09:34am PT
Awesome Survival, so pretty back there. Great pics. Thanks.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Sep 19, 2014 - 10:18am PT
Thanks for the background info. Other than reading the odd story about Mt. Whitney/Keeler Needle, and more recently The Hulk, I know nothing about the California Sierra
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2014 - 10:31am PT
Well get your azz down here and learn up some shit! It's about time don't you think? :)

I have already offered you an awesome place to stay, good peppers and a decent partner. What's a fella gotta do? Sheesh..... :)











































Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Sep 19, 2014 - 11:16am PT
Well get your azz down here and learn up some shit! It's about time don't you think? :) I have already offered you an awesome place to stay, good peppers and a decent partner. What's a fella gotta do? Sheesh..... :)

Well, it's not that I don't want to visit, and hang out and climb with you, but I really think it would be better -- at least as far as the climbing is concerned -- if you came up here. Why would anybody want to climb that chossy sh#t in the pictures in this thread, when the _real_ climbing is obviously in the PNW.

I mean, seriously, look at any of the stupid "climbing" pictures you've posted in this thread, and compare them to the real thing, just 45 minutes from where I live, as shown in the shots below.

First, we've got far more scenic approaches (and, it goes without saying, better weather).


And as for the actual climbing, surely this next picture will make it clear that there's not much point in traveling all the way to some stupid mountain range in California when the real deal is right here.


On the other hand, I hear Lepton is a good cook...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2014 - 11:46am PT
You are so right brother. How could I have thought otherwise?

How fondly I remember my first nailing adventures on the hollow mud of Smith Rocks......


This choss heap is in the PNW though!







survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2014 - 03:29pm PT
Thank you so much you guys.

There are few people that I can count on to view, and comment on my trip reports. I truly appreciate those of you that do.

I wish I had a bad ass camera, back in the day, or a better one now. But of course those of you that put these threads up, know that it takes time.

I enjoy doing it, and I enjoy feedback from folks that I have known here for decades. I hope that people who are chronic lurkers out there in interworld are enjoying it too!
























Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 19, 2014 - 04:17pm PT
Looks like another real deal trip Bruce, hope you and your family are well!!!!!

Here's to great friend ships!!!!
Avery

climber
New Zealand
  Sep 19, 2014 - 04:46pm PT
Nice work, Survival, it's great to stumble on something like this quite unexpectedly.
There's no doubt you've got a good eye for a pic. I honestly think it's a gift, either you have it or you don't. All the training in the world can't change that.
If your anything like me, you'll bitterly regret not taking more pics back in the "champagne" days of old.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 20, 2014 - 04:26pm PT
Yes, yes, I know..... MORE PIX!!

















The descent.











Hey Buggs, I found a couple new headstones. Be careful, they're fragile.....





























Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 20, 2014 - 04:57pm PT
Hoh man!!

Lepton lives!

So cool, all the pix, the adventure, the arduosness! I remember lepton riding someone's BMX bike down he c4 loop and going " I'm already winded" and interrupting someones account of a near miss on some free climbing adventure with "well, I've never been in free climbing shape"

Anyway,
I hope, but doubt, the tacos reading this, get what is presented.

Cheers and f*#kness once removed!
Avery

climber
New Zealand
  Sep 20, 2014 - 05:22pm PT
You've definitely touched a chord with this one, Survival, thanks.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Sep 20, 2014 - 07:14pm PT
Bruceman-wonderful TR and the photos are awesome. Don't you just love the view from Conness.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
The fake McCoy from nevernever land.
  Sep 21, 2014 - 05:57am PT
Sweet pics, good times! Nice!
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Sep 21, 2014 - 07:08am PT
What could be better than pictures of two dudes on a ridge?
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
  Sep 21, 2014 - 07:24am PT
survival, great trip report, not bad for a stay at home dad. great to see lepton man. ss
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2014 - 09:17am PT
STEVE! I hope you see this post. When we were lounging around in our bags on Sunday, one of the people that came up to climb the west ridge was your youngish partner from Lurking Fear and the Tangerine Trip link up?

In all this I forgot to tell you all one of Lepton's best comments of the weekend. We were running the Conness Summit Welcome Committee Kiosk, because we were right at the top of the East Ridge. Anyway, as I said previously, it was quite cold and windy on Sunday morning.
When one of the many teams that "didn't" do the West Ridge asked us why we were just hanging out instead of climbing, Lepton calmly replied that we had a lot of food and water to go through and that "The AARP sent Bruce a text and told him not to go to the West Ridge today."

Everybody seemed to get a big kick out of that, and of course Lepton was quite pleased with himself.















































As to the question posted above, my camera is only a small Olympus that I got on clearance a couple years back.

survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 23, 2014 - 07:41am PT
Thanks you guys.

Well, I can't compare to Cracko's North Ridge battle, but I'll give this one more trip on the front page.

Thanks for looking everybody!!











































































ugh........









mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Sep 23, 2014 - 09:34am PT
Beats the hell out of reading spam
survivalmademedoit

Trad climber
Grantham, New Hampshire
  Sep 24, 2014 - 04:08am PT
A classic Survival outing. Wish I was there.
anita514

Gym climber
Great White North
  Sep 24, 2014 - 04:40am PT
Great report and pics - I've done the hiking route up from Alpine Lake I think?
This route is on my to-do list, hopefully next summer!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 24, 2014 - 05:20am PT
Survival, you and Lepton should come to Moab sometime!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 24, 2014 - 10:19am PT
Bruce- Thanks for sharing your fun and fabulous photos with us!

My good friend Fig and Lepton did the FA of Rainbows on the Upper Yosemite Falls Wall BITD.
The Larry

climber
  Sep 24, 2014 - 10:22am PT
Great TR. TFPU!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 24, 2014 - 12:54pm PT
Excellent adventure. Great trip report. The best kind, friends on a ridge with blue skies and a sunset. Thanks for sharing. What a fine piece of stone that snaky ridge is eh? Here's a shot from last month.

skitch

Gym climber
Bend Or
  Sep 24, 2014 - 01:34pm PT
babump.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 24, 2014 - 03:35pm PT
I am so grateful for the response these photos have gotten, since it's clear I'm not busting much world class stuff anymore.

I even got a post from survivalmademedoit!! That is a serious bonus. Mark Vojtko was one of the toughest guys in my survival instructor class, and the only other "real" climber at the schoolhouse in those days. Not only that but he is a highly placed medical professional, and a badass bike racer. He was always stronger than I, and I'm honestly honored to get a post from him.

Peace Mark!!!



You would've loved our second bivy. Well protected from the wind, and beautiful at the same time.
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 24, 2014 - 09:04pm PT
Wow, one of the best TRs all year . So many great pics it's hard to choose my favorite .
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 26, 2014 - 08:32am PT
Well, I found Lepton sleeping behind Raley's, so the good news is that I now have access to some of the pictures that he took!




Look Amber, Dad wore his helmet after all!






I love that freeking ridge!









A caution to those who would down climb the North Ridge.
I know people who are solid do it, but if you're not ready for some real terrain and pretty serious exposure, I wouldn't recommend it. The route finding is not dead obvious in every spot either. I know we had bigger than usual packs, but all I'm saying is....don't get caught with your pants down.
If you intend to climb the West Ridge and down climb the North, you better be ready for a big day.








We met some people who were not prepared for what they had bitten off, in terms of experience or speed.
I blame it on the Internet Syndrome Guide Service:

"Sharma and I took a power bar and a small Gatorade, sent the West Ridge in 1.5 hours and then jogged down the North Ridge. We were powering beers at Saddlebag Lake at 1:30 PM."




survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  Sep 27, 2014 - 11:51am PT
A couple more photos I had to share.

Thanks a million Lepton!! What a great outing that was!






















the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  May 22, 2015 - 08:18pm PT
Great photos! Makes me want to go do it ASAP!

The shrooms kicking in photo made me LOL.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Author's Reply  May 23, 2015 - 10:30am PT
Thanks The Fet!!

It was very very cool to finally meet you and rope up for a few pitches.

I hope there will be more soon.
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