Summer in the Sierra

This summer has been super busy, between back-to-back work and personal trips. Not much point in spending too much time in a hot Reno apartment anyway, right? Big thanks go to Mike for setting up our adventures, planning routes, buying food, getting permits, and various and sundry logistical activities while I’m in the field so that I can come home and head out to the mountains with him. Heck, he’s even done my laundry for me while I’ve been away!

I hope you enjoy these scenes from some classic routes in the High Sierra — Temple Crag, Mt. Cotter, and Mt. Clarence King. Happy Summer!

Temple Crag

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Temple Crag as viewed from Second Lake, North Fork Big Pine Creek. Our route was the Moon Goddess Arête, which is the sharp ridge just left of the deep dark gully at left of the peak. We camped at the base of the peak, above the lake.
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This sandy patch between talus and boulders was much appreciated for our camp!
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Wee alpine flowers growing at 11,000′.
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Partway up Moon Goddess, Mike leads the airy Gendarme Traverse below the Ibrium Tower. Not difficult climbing, but quite exposed, with steep drop-offs and sheer faces everywhere!
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Can you spot me? I just came around the gendarme (rock tower) into a notch.
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Final pitch to the top of the arête, with Second and Third Lakes far below.
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After we hiked out, we stopped for little visit in Bishop and got to have dinner al fresco with Chris and Todd, with Todd’s gourmet pizza and good red wine.

Mt. Cotter and Mt. Clarence King

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View from the top of Glen Pass, looking north into Sixty Lake Basin and our objectives, Mt. Cotter (left) and Mt. Clarence King (right). Cotter was the chief horse packer for the Whitney Survey, which explored and mapped a lot of the Sierra Nevada in the late 1800s. King was a geologist and part of the Whitney Survey. He eventually organized and became the first director of the US Geological Survey. But at this point, we’re more focused on wishing our packs were different colors …
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Here are two strings of pack horses coming down off of Glen Pass! They are on trail, but it’s a steep one.
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Another lousy view from our camp below Mt. Cotter, overlooking part of Sixty Lake Basin. Weather was so nice we slept out without a shelter, under the stars and almost-full moon.
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Sorting out gear and hanging out on a sunny granite slab below Mt. Cotter. We did the route the next day, up the ridge in the foreground to the top of the peak at center of picture.
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No pictures of the ascent, but here is one of the descent, a combination of rappels, scrambling and general routefinding to get down safely.
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Later that day we moved camp to the base of Clarence King. Here, Mike checks out the start of the “Ramp Route,” which goes up the prominent steep ramp at right of picture, through a maze of blocks above, and then into a series of cracks that lead to the summit.
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Above the “big sandy ledge” halfway up the Ramp Route.
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The summit! Fabulous view looking south towards Mt. Cotter (center left) and countless other peaks and lakes beyond.

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