Trip Report
West Ridge of Mt. Conness
Wednesday July 31, 2013 9:13pm
Hey guys! I'm not really sure how TR's work (this is my first on supertopo), but here is a quick TR of my climb up the West Ridge of Mt. Conness and other shenanigans (ignore the first 4 paragraphs). I wasn't sure how to link it, so here's the webpage:

http://trackingnat.blogspot.com/2013/07/hazing-walk-in-closets-and-w-ridge-of.html

The weekend was my first in Yosemite, so this TR is a bit overdue. Token Half Dome picture for the newbie from out East.

First time seeing it not in a magazine or online
First time seeing it not in a magazine or online
Credit: chick_on_ice


I climbed with two guys that kindly took me under their wing: Vitaliy and Hamik. Seeing as I'd only communicated with them via email, I was pleasantly surprised that they were quite normal and knew what they were doing (finding partners online is always a game of psychoanalysis and roulette in my experience). Trad cragging on Saturday and then Mt. Conness adventures on Sunday. Perfect people to introduce me to what the area has to offer. I do distinctly remember an older guy underneath Bombs Over Tokyo calling me a "triple virgin" for never having climbed in the area before.

V!
V!
Credit: chick_on_ice

Here's Vitaliy drinking coffee and perusing the local library while we wait for Hamik to show up post our car-sleeping night.

Credit: chick_on_ice
And here's Hamik. Alright, now everyone knows everyone in this story.


Photo cred to Vitaliy
Photo cred to Vitaliy
Credit: chick_on_ice
Pictured above is my first lead in Tuolumne called Table of Contents. I asked if it was bolted, V and H said "yes", so I didn't think anything of hopping on lead to climb it. I consider myself properly hazed now.

For those of you that have climbed in Yosemite before, you know that the bolts are often 10, 20, 30... ft apart, such is the 'ethos' of the area and of the people that put up the first ascents. More than once I asked V+H for help locating my next bolt because it was far off in the distance somewhere (at least it seemed like it). Still a fun intro to slab climbing on credit-card edges.

Sunday the boys got an early 4:30am start for the long approach to climb the SW Face of Mt. Conness---a serious route that would've taken much longer to do as a party of 3, so I was on my own for the day. Hamik suggested I hike up the West Ridge.

 <br/>
Prepping for the day ahead and drinking some delicious Chai

Prepping for the day ahead and drinking some delicious Chai
Credit: chick_on_ice
So I let the guys get a head start and set off on the approach on my own with a topo at 4:30am. Life is great at this point. I'm not lost (yet), my backpack is light because there's no gear, and I have the whole day to explore and climb on my own.

Credit: chick_on_ice

The views are beautiful. The sun is rising. I know where I'm going.

Credit: chick_on_ice
A view of the SW Face of Conness that Hamik and V climbed, and the gully descent to get there.

Fast forward to the point where I end up on the North Ridge (by accident), take off my sandals that have no tread, to climb barefoot across the 4th/5th class slabs (should've put climbing shoes on, but it was chilly and I was lazy), descend a gully, climb back up it and eventually maneuver around a little cornice to the summit of Conness--->all by accident. From there, I saw V and H sunning themselves on some rocks below me like a pair of lizards. Huh. Not where I was supposed to end up.

The approach took me about 2-ish hours total, but there was a lot of wrong route-finding involved on my part. Newbie mistake.

Credit: chick_on_ice

Pictured you can see V holding a backpack. While we were climbing, a marmot stole it and ate holes in his shirt. RIP backpack and shirt. Good thing the car keys weren't in it.
Hamik Scree Skiing
Hamik Scree Skiing
Credit: chick_on_ice



We wait for the sun to warm the ice off the SW route, then descend the 300' gully (much less heinous than the one I descended and ascended originally--->that thing was sketch).

spot the climbers
spot the climbers
Credit: chick_on_ice

Finally we get to the base of Mt. Conness. Above you can see a small yellow and red dot where V and Hamik are about to begin the SW face route. Hamik points me in the right direction to the West Ridge, and my leisurely climb begins.


Credit: chick_on_ice

The West Ridge is beautiful and pretty easy to route-find on. This was my first unroped 5th class climb, and it was a blast. I liked not having anyone near me--->it felt more like a hike that way instead of a climb.

Credit: chick_on_ice

The exposure was phenomenal. On the 'knife-like' ridge about half-way up, I found a beautiful bail anchor left behind by someone. Big, meaty, hand-sized chalk marks went ahead another ten feet and then stopped, so I'm assuming whomever was there before me didn't like the 500' drop beneath them, turned around and bailed. All 2012 gear (.75, yellow nut, double length, quick draw and two lockers). I snatched it and continued on.

Credit: chick_on_ice
Straddling the ridge

You might be able to see V and Hamik on the 2nd pitch of the SW face if you look really closely below. I had a clear shot of them almost the entire way up. It was mildly reassuring to know that they could see me, (not that it would've mattered), but I also loved tracking the route they were on--->it looks burly and awesome and they killed it.


Spot the little dots on the 2nd pitch
Spot the little dots on the 2nd pitch
Credit: chick_on_ice

I climbed the first bottom half of the West Ridge in my climbing shoes as a precaution (this being the first time doing something without proper ropes involved). The upper half I just climbed barefoot while sticking to the ridge all the way up (way more fun than going up the 3rd class chossy stuff to the right in my opinion).

Being lazy and enjoying the view before taking the shoes off
Being lazy and enjoying the view before taking the shoes off
Credit: chick_on_ice
I got to the top of Mt. Conness (12,000'?) and slept on some rocks while waiting a couple hours for Hamik and V to top out. There's a really fat and curious marmot that lives at the summit. If you can eat cuy in Peru, can you eat marmot in Cali?

The curious fat rodent
The curious fat rodent
Credit: chick_on_ice

The guys sprinted to the top to meet me victorious and happy, and we began the descent down that took much, much less time than my circuitous approach did that morning. There was a slight delay during which we searched fruitlessly for V's backpack, but it was decided by popular vote that a marmot nicked it.

Enviable footwear
Enviable footwear
Credit: chick_on_ice

One thing I have so far failed to mention is how envious of their footwear I was. They had actual shoes. I had 13 year old sandals. It wasn't fair! Actually, it was completely fair, but do I learn?

If you don't know which sandals these are, or have not been around long enough to notice these same sandals reappearing in every other one of my blog posts, then here is a picture of them from last summer:
Credit: chick_on_ice

I've replaced the laces, and they have no tread left, but they get the job done. UNLESS you have snow gullies to descend and snow patches to cross. Oh well. I considered it a therapeutic 'icing' of the feet on our descent.

Credit: chick_on_ice


Vitaliy and Hamik on the hike out.

Mt. Conness was beautiful and a gorgeous day out. I highly recommend the West Ridge to all (just don't wear sandals and beware the thieving marmot). Thanks for the awesome weekend guys, stay safe in Peru and can't wait to crush Squamish with you Hamik!

  Trip Report Views: 1,001
chick_on_ice
About the Author
chick_on_ice is a trad climber from .

Comments
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GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Thank you so much for sharing :)

Just as an aside, I'm not the biggest fan of just copy-pasting your blog link for hits, I've always preferred to post the entirety on Supertopo (but that's just me).
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
is there a way to do that without having to reinsert and replace all the captions on the photos? It always takes forever to do that, and I don't care about the hits. I just wanted to share.
Edit: Now I feel like such a dork for not realizing I should've written the TR with supertopo's formatting first. I promise future reports will not be a link. Live and learn! Thanks for the input GDavis
Edit: transferred the photos over. Didn't mean to break the supertopo code of conduct!
Burch3y

Mountain climber
I offer nothing to the discussion
  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
I love the picture of Vitaliy, he looks about 13.

PLUS I'M TOTALLY CRUSHING ON HIM< KNOWWHATIMEAN!?!?!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:42pm PT


Shoe and Foot photo from your TR. Ice and sandal references omitted to protect the guilty.
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Fixed it! Ok. I think I have the formatting down. No more outside links necessary. Sorry about that!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jul 31, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Edit: Now I feel like such a dork for not realizing I should've written the TR with supertopo's formatting first. I promise future reports will not be a link. Live and learn! Thanks for the input GDavis

I wouldn't stress it :) The formatting for my stuff crosses over, so its easy. If you'd have to re-type it not worth the trouble.

Add a second mancrush to the V+H crew.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 1, 2013 - 10:06am PT
Nice ice woman!
A great first TR indeed, that was one FAT marmot!!!!!!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 1, 2013 - 11:20am PT
Excellent TR. Did you end up doing Lucky Streaks, by the way?

John
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Aug 1, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Not yet for Lucky Streaks or OZ. They're my white whales. Last weekend my original partner bailed (typical), so I ended up climbing with a rope-gunner that wasn't interested in either of those, but I got to hop on some things I won't be leading any time soon! Not owning a car complicates things.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 1, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
Thanks for the trip report. Well done!

Might I presume to ask: WTF happened to your shins in the photo from last summer, blueberry shotgun fight, or 20 miles of manzanita bushwhacking in shorts?
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 1, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Right on! I'm sittin in the "swim up" bar in Cabo and finally decided to log onto the internet for the first time in a week since I just finished my tourist travel mystery detective novel and needed something to read. Your report was just the ticket. Tuolumne seems like a world away right now, but I have the West Ridge on the books for the first weekend in October. Thanks for the stoke. I'm gonna log off and find that waiter now. "Oh Fernan....Uno mas por favor...."

Adios,

Scott
Credit: micronut
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Aug 1, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
Fun stuff!

Another nice day out to consider is to combine the NW ridge on N Peak with the N ridge on Mt. Conness. There are 1 or 2 short raps on the N Ridge on Conness which can be bypassed by down climbing, but I have rapped it both times I was there. Lots(!) of mellow hiking and ridge scrambling with some short, maybe 5th-class bits which seemed easier than the W Ridge of Conness.

TFPU
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Aug 1, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
<WTF happened to your shins in the photo from last summer>

That was from when I had to slaughter chickens in the Brooks Range for my boss. But bushwhacking has caused many a trauma, including the latest from a couple weekends ago: a stick that got jammed in my foot and broke off. Here's a pic of the at-home extraction
I should've taken a picture of the piece of stick lodged in there.
I should've taken a picture of the piece of stick lodged in there.
Credit: chick_on_ice
hamik

Mountain climber
Pasadena, CA
  Aug 2, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
I'm not exactly a fixture here, but welcome! May I just point out that Natalie has been climbing for less than two years? She is the real deal!

First let's start with Table of Contents, whose first pitch is 10b. V and I approached this climb with a fair bit of wariness since Tuolumne bolting standards have bit our arses more than a couple of times. To our surprise Natalie piped up and offered to put the rope up for us! I don't know what was going on in her head when she was 15 or 20 feet above bolts, but from below it looked like she was as confident as she'd be on a sidewalk. Awesome.

That brings us around to the second thing I wanted to mention--that V and I were absolutely dumbfounded at how Natalie's nearly bare feet could take abuse from scree, snow, and talus with nary a peep from their owner. Natalie also hikes really fast; for any of you who haven't gotten the hint, she's got the psych, pain-tolerance, skill, and stamina to be a kickass alpine partner. Can't wait for Squamish!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Aug 2, 2013 - 04:34pm PT
Jealous I won't join you guys in Squamish. But was great to meet you and maybe we can figure out an ice climbing trip for next winter!

PS: THIS is what I want to do to that marmot!
Credit: Vitaliy M.
10b4me

climber
  Mar 12, 2014 - 12:50pm PT
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