Saturday, July 16, 2016

Charleston Peak & Mummy Mountain DPS Peaks Above Las Vegas

July 16th, 2016
Charleston Peak (11,916')
Mummy Mountain (11,529')
[Pics] [Map]

This was going to be a weekend spent at home catching up after spending the last few running around in the mountains but I couldn't take it.  Two days after getting home from Mineral King and managing some semblance of catching up on sleep I was ready to get out again.

Charleston Peak and Mummy Mountain are two peaks on the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section list located just north of Vegas.  I've eyed them for years and even attempted them once (on New Years 2012 which turned that into just Griffith Peak) but either conditions were not promising or I ended up making other plans.

But now with less than 10 DPS peaks left before Decembers planned Glow In The Dark DPS List Finish #1 they suddenly seemed a lot more appealing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cherry Lake To Lake Eleanor via Main Jack and Falls Canyon Climbing Sachse Monument and Chittenden Peak

July 1st to 5th, 2016
Sachse Monument (9,405')
Chittenden Peak (9,685')
[Pics] [Map]

Jen, Kristen, and I originally tried to do this loop for the 2015 Memorial Day Massacre figuring the low altitude made it a good fit for an early season high mileage peakbag.  We were corrected by a combination of a snowstorm and dangerously high water crossings which caused us to turn around during the second day of a planned five.

Having now successfully done the loop I'd strongly recommend not trying it that early and in fact even later than the 4th of July would probably be ideal.

For me this summer the 4th of July weekend was the only real option for doing a 5 day trip so I decided to go for it.  It would be the longest trip by a fair margin that I'd done since knee surgery last November but had a fair amount of wiggle room so we could adjust the trip as needed.

Stats ended up being 75 miles and 11,270 ft gain doing just two of the optional peaks but seeing a lot of really spectacular terrain in an area that a lot of us LA area based folks don't often go to.

Also this trip was notable for having the worse mosquitoes I think I've ever encountered in the Sierra.  And these weren't just your average isolated hoard but lasted for days in numbers that basically just had to be endured.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Waucoba Mountain from the East Along Saline Valley Road

June 26th, 2016
Waucoba Mountain (11,123')
[Pics] [Map]

Waucoba Mountain is a peak in the Whites that I've made plans to climb in the past but never actually did.  It's relatively short, relatively easy, relatively accessible, and all around not very distinct.  The best thing to recommend it is it's a decent shorter day and a good workout that pairs well with doing White Mountain.

After climbing White Mountain the day before this was the last remaining DPS peak I needed in the area so it was time to get it checked off sore knees and hot weather or not.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

White Mountain: The California 14er You Could Technically Drive Up

June 25th, 2016
White Mountain Peak (14,2246')
[Pics] [Map]

This was a free weekend between a buttkicker 3 day backpack to Tehipite Dome and a planned 5 day trip near Sonora Pass over the 4th of July.  I was tempted to stay home on account of aching knees but in the end it seemed like a good opportunity to pick up two of the stranglers I had left on the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list ahead of my planned December glow in the dark list finish.

White Mountain is the highpoint of the Whites and one of 11 peaks above 14,000 ft in California which makes it a popular peak to visit.

It's also the easiest.  While Mount Whitney has a trail all the way to the top White takes it one step further and has a drivable jeep road all the way to the summit.  The only thing preventing this from being the other other DPS drive up other than Navajo Mountain is the gated research station along the way.  This turns it into a 15 mile and 3400 ft of gain round trip stroll.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mount Mary Austin via Baxter Pass

June 4th & 5th, 2016
Mount Mary Austin (13,051')
[Pics] [Map]

I was up in this area to climb Diamond Peak and Black in 2012 but after a rough first day climbing from the cars at 6k, setting up camp at 10k, and then doing the 13k Diamond via the north chute my fellow carpool riders were completely trashed by the time we made it back down to camp.  Figuring I'd be back here sometime I elected to hike out the next morning with them rather than make them sit around and wait.

I've always intended to go back in the spring for Black (and nearby bonus bump Mary Austin) but dreaded the climb up Baxter due to the condition of the trail.

4 years later I'd mostly forgotten and finally figured it would be worth another shot.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lloyd Meadow to Sagebrush Gulch Post Knee Surgery Two Day

May 7th & 8th
[Pics] [Map]

Trip season at last!

The first and last parts of the year I dedicate a decent amount of time to volunteering with the Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course and Advanced Mountaineering Program.  These are both amazing programs and I really enjoy all the new people I get to meet every year.

However they do keep me in town and out of the mountains a little more than I need to stay sane so when Spring AMP wraps up I'm always gunning to get out of town and start climbing.

This year AMP wrapped on May 1st so this was the first chance to really get out.  And it was also my first "real" backpack since having a microfracture on my right knee last November.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Advanced Mountaineering Program (AMP13) - Spring 2016


The Sierra Club Advanced Mountaineering Program or AMP was started in 2009 by Dan Richter and Pat McKusky to teach basic and advanced mountaineering skills with the goal of promoting safe climbing and train a new generation of club leadership. While it's primarily targeted to WTC graduates and Sierra Club leaders anyone is welcome. It's run twice a year in the spring and fall and staffed by an array of hard working volunteers.

This post covers the Spring 2016 AMP class. More posts about AMP can be found here. More information on AMP and instructions on how to sign up can be found here.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sheep Hole Mountain DPS

April 24th, 2016
Sheep Hole Mountains HP (4,613')
[Pics] [Map]

This was a long weekend.

The AMP13 rappel day was Saturday and the setup requires waking up painfully early to meet up with Jack, get to Chatsworth, and set up 6 separate rappel stations complete with separate belay anchors.  By the time the students show up around 8 I'd already been up 5 hours.  Actually teaching the course was a ball like always and I managed to stay coherent through the post class meal.

Needless to say by the time I got home I pretty much showered and passed out immediately.  Only to wake up at 3 am, quickly throw together a daypack, and then drive out to meet John Slagle and Mark Butski at a local carpool point so we could drive 3 hours to Sheep Hole Mountain north of 29 Palms.

Fortunately John was up for doing the driving.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Clipper Mountain Near Essex

March 26th, 2016
Clipper Mountain (4,593')
[Pics] [Map]

This was the first "real" hike I'd been on since Knee Surgery 2015.
Prior to this I had done a snow travel outing with my WTC group and a number of short local hikes but I was anxious to get back out.  The last 6 months of being laid up had taken a toll on my sanity.

I picked this peak almost at random while looking around on Peakbagger.  I'm getting low on DPS peaks I need and I really wanted a two day desert trip with a car camp in between.

Clipper is just south of the infamous Edgar and Mitchell Peaks and Providence Benchmark nearby looked to make a decent pairing with it.

As I posted on Facebook that morning:
"Middle of nowhere, parked in an abandoned dump, about to do a long slog for a seldom visited bump of no particular significance. All is right with the world. -ish"

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle - March 2016

March 3rd, 2016
[Pics] [Map]

About once a month a group of us get together and paddle Newport Harbor after work. We launch from the beach at the Newport Aquatic Center and paddle over to Pizza Nova in the main harbor in a combination of kayaks and SUPs. There we dock our boats, partake in feast of pizza and beer, and then paddling back to the cars. We do this all year round and in pretty much all conditions. Light, dark, rain, and the dead of SoCal winter where you're tempted to put a
sweater on with your flip flops.

You can find writeups of other pizza paddles here.

This should be the last one for a while that will happen in the dark due to daylight savings time. .All of the regulars except for Kristen, Jen, and myself were tied up elsewhere but we had 7 folks join us for the first time including students from this year and last years WTC class and our favorite former WTC bus driver.