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Author Topic: On the East Side (of the Sierra): Climbing With Jim and Wendy  (Read 8119 times)
Brad Young
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« on: October 15, 2016, 07:53:49 AM »

The first post to this new thread won't be long. But, since Jim and Wendy are in the perfect place to visit while climbing on the east side of the Sierra, there will likely be other posts in months and years to follow.

On this visit Jim and I had planned on three or four days of cragging; Clark Canyon or Owens River Gorge, multi-pitch at Pine Creek, and certainly one of Jim's new routes on the Wheeler Crest.

But I put a damper on that plan; climbing a few weeks ago with Roger I pulled really, really hard on a rightward lay-away crux on a new route. I didn't get the crux until after several tries (5.11b). The next day it felt like I'd hit the bump of bone on the inside of the left elbow. Hit it really hard and bruised it.

When it still hurt after a week, I kicked in "Plan A" (keep ignoring it/pretend it isn't injured). This plan failed after one more week.

Realizing that it wasn't just a bone bruise, I tried "Plan B" next (climb things that don't use that part of the elbow). Yeah, right; this plan failed after two weeks.

I fell back on "Plan C" (get it diagnosed and then let the damn thing heal and do rehab). The diagnosis is crap: partially torn Pronator Teres muscle/tendon union. Try doing a hard layaway move (on the first ascent of a route that looks 5.9 but isn't) again and again and you'll feel just the spot, alongside the bump of bone that protrudes on the inside of the elbow.

With this diagnosis, I called Jim and told him that climbing was out. Would he care to bag a few summits late season instead? The answer was obvious. I drove over the night before.

For our first day we selected a peak with a perfect name and a great location: "Cloudripper." It sits just north of Temple Crag and the Palisades. It's got a class three West Chute route that gains almost 4,000 feet from parking to summit. The weather was perfect:




The chute was long and, in places, steep:







This was a great summit. Among other views, we could see down into the seven lakes, across Temple Crag (scene of the five "Celestial Aretes" that are so fun and fantastic), and the Palisades (several of California's fifteen 14,000 foot peaks are there):










This was a long day (about 10 miles to 13,500 feet and back down). Our next day's summit needed to be easier so that I could get back over the passes to home before they closed for the coming storm. We chose Lookout Peak. It's above Ruby Lake in the middle of Little Lakes Valley, halfway in to Bear Creek Spire. It was an ideal choice, we were in and out by 1:00 p.m. (and they'd still closed goddamn Sonora Pass before I could get there).

On the summit (with Bear Creek Spire and Mounts Dade and Abbot in the background):







The elbow injury is a downer. But we made it into a great trip anyway. The storm moved in the next day and the Sierra is closing down for the season. Still, in the famous words of an immortal machine from the movies: "I'll be back."




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mynameismud
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 10:11:41 AM »

Much good Mojo to you in your healing.  Get well soon.  Good to see you are getting out.
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mungeclimber
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 11:32:58 AM »

Appreciate the bc stoke! I keep threatening to go into the bc more and haven't lately.

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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 12:42:38 PM »

Thanks for the share. I hope to be in on some of this next year.
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Brad Young
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2016, 01:35:28 PM »


...I hope to be in on some of this next year.


Yep, that's the idea.
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Brad Young
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 06:22:42 AM »

All right, I'm off to see the wizard.

Looking forward to seeing how much snow there is at the top of Carson Pass. And driving down the east side. It's been a while.
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mungeclimber
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 06:33:34 AM »

Safe travels!
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 08:13:30 PM »

Heal up!

Good to see that Jim guy getting out.
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 03:14:26 AM »

Quote
All right, I'm off to see the wizard.

Hi Jim and Wendy!
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Brad Young
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 06:27:27 AM »

I got out twice yesterday on the drive over, just to smell the sage  Smiley
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Brad Young
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 07:09:40 AM »

Carson Pass is slowly clearing from a heavy snow year:







The drive south on 395 was very nice, although from Topaz Lake all the way down was windy with alternating rain and snow (Mono Lake from the Conway Summit overlook):




Off to the Gorge today. Cold but sunny. I've only done one climb at the Gotham City area. This leaves me two five star 5.10a routes untouched there and several other three and four stars 5.9s, 5.10s and (one) 5.11 (the Owens River Gorge guidebook uses a "five star" system). No rush though - it's only a 12 miles drive to North Gorge parking  Wink
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mungeclimber
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 01:52:28 PM »

Guessing yesterday was big and that you slept well as a result.

Pics when you get a chance...
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2017, 02:52:09 PM »

Isn't rule #6 at the gorge no posing??
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Brad Young
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2017, 06:53:09 AM »

Obviously there are many, many climbing venues to choose from over here. Tuesday we made it to "The" Gorge (some Californians call it that - even though there are fantastic climbing gorges in, among other states, Kentucky and West Virginia too).

The Gorge has mostly steep, featured sport climbs. It's a great place to do just pure movement for a few to several days a year. Conditions were cool for May.

To show The Gorge to those who've never been, here's a shot looking down on Gorgeous Towers from north parking (the route Gorgeous is a steep, hold-filled, five-star 5.10a):




Out goal for the day, Gotham City is in The Upper Gorge:




Our "warm-up" included a newly established climb that was across the river, in the sun (we climbed it because it was in the sun). The route starts at the narrow pinch-point where the river and the cliff are three feet apart:




See the trail passing through the pinch-point? The first ascentionist, the "elder" Barbella (not the one that occasionally posts here) called the route: "Excuse Me I'm Belaying Here." Love it. He also called it "5.10a/b." Although I admit that the crux is relatively short, my finger popped off a thin, slick and critical hold and I nearly came off. Let's go with solid 10b on this one guys.

We spent the rest of the day getting crazy pumped on multi-starred 5.10s across at Gotham City (no photos, they'd all be butt shots). By the time I led Dr. Evil (120 feet, 5.10a *****) I was well and truly spent. The dogs loved the river.

Yesterday we changed the pace. One route for the day. When I started climbing here on the east side (early 1990s) Pine Creek Canyon had just two walls worth of climbs (including though one of the most famous offwidths in California, Pratt's Crack). Now there are nearly 200 routes, most multi-pitch, most south-facing, and most a ways up.

Our goal for the day, Chip Off the Ol' Block, is behind Jim in this approach photo:







After 45 minutes we reached the base. Here's the view looking east, out of Pine Creek Canyon all the way to the White Mountains (and White Mountain itself, one of California's 15 "fourteeners"):




Chip Off the Ol' Block is six pitches, all 5.8 to 5.10a. Five of the pitches are old-school flarey, physical cracks (four pitches contained significant amounts of a technique called "thrutching," a technique unique to climbing flaring wide cracks). Seven raps (and one stuck f#$king rope) put an end to a long and fun day.

Which brings us to this morning. Today we head out to Jim's "backyard" to do routes he's established over the last two years. Here's a photo taken through their back window of The Wheeler Crest:"




We'll park at the "little" trees and meadow seen in the lower right side of the photo (the word little is in quotes because this wall, The Wheeler Crest, rises from the 4,000 foot-elevation Owens Valley to a peak at 13,000 feet; the section in this photo is about 6,000 feet high). A 45 minute approach will then lead to Dike Canyon and a short (100 to 150 feet) crag with a bunch of McConachie routes that I get to lead and evaluate. I'm told they're 5.6 to 5.10d. Oh boy. I'm sore already  Shocked  Wink
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mynameismud
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2017, 07:02:58 AM »

skip the gorge and stick with the crest.  Say hi.
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Brad Young
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 07:13:33 AM »

Will say "hi."

At least one more day in The Gorge this trip (got my route count there up over 230 on Tuesday; shooting for 300 by the time I'm 60).

Remind me tonight to post the story of my approach to a route on The Wheeler Crest with Mr. Mud in 1996. At one point he turned around from the steep uphill, jumped on me face to face, and wouldn't let go while I tried to fight him off....
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mynameismud
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 08:17:28 AM »

needed a hug
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mungeclimber
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 02:35:22 PM »

Snattle rake!
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2017, 04:58:36 PM »


Our goal for the day, Chip Off the Ol' Block, is behind Jim in this approach photo:

Dike Canyon


This columnar rhyolites in the gorge are cool.
Other than that I see lots of fractures, talus and stuff that looks ready to topple.
Sometimes I wish I didn't know so much about rocks Laugh Out Loud
Jim sent me some pics of Dike Canyon last year - looks very cool.
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 06:45:05 PM »

Yup, mr mud was scared!!!
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