Manly & Needle Mustache Mosey

When:  November 5th & 6th, 2011
Where:  Mojave National Preserve, CA
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Jack Kieffer, Adrienne Benedict, Anne Kircher, Mark Peterson, James Barlow, Laurent Hoffman, Ann Shields, Virgil Shields, Keith Christenson, Angelo Lopez, Bob Meyers, Mark Butski, Becky Cummings, Lisa Miyake
GPS Track:  

This trip came about because Adrienne Benedict and I wanted to lead something together after the depressingly uncomplicated Hengst & White Chief trip this summer.  As Jack was free also this particular weekend we happily roped him in to the trip and then went about finding some peaks.

The time of year meant we were looking out to the desert so I offered a few different pairs that had reasonably mild stats.

I mentioned Manly and Needle only to have Adrienne ask if there was anything interesting about them.  Not knowing a damn thing about the peaks I went for the obvious, we’d throw a theme trip!

Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) 2011 - Modjeska Group Snowmageddon

Past the break is a very long quasi chronological sequence of photos following the 2011 Wilderness Travel Course in Orange County with most being specific to Modjeska Group led by Wayne Vollaire and myself along with a staff of hardworking volunteers.

For more information on what WTC is and how to take the course see the official site here.  More posts by me can be found here.

This is the year went down in history as the best snow camp snow in recent memory.  30 to 36 inches would come down on us over the three days and two nights we were out there.

We also almost had to abort the climb of 4377' at Joshua Tree due to rain on Saturday but ended up just dealing with some wet sand.

At this time the class was at Red Hill Lutheran Church where we'd stay for two more blissful years before we were crowded out by their own uses and had to move to Santiago College in 2014.

Climbing Fall In 9 Lakes Basin + SAR

August 25th to 27th, 2011
[Pics] [Map]

This entry details the events immediately following a 25 foot fall deep in the Sierra and my subsequent helicopter evacuation and hospital visit.

For the events of the 6 days 9 peaks leading up to the fall see here.

For what came after and my eventual knee surgery 4 years later see here.

Kaweah Range Peak Cleanout: 6 Days & 9 Peaks Ending In A Fall

August 20th to 27th, 2011
Mount Kaweah (13,802')
Second Kaweah (13,661')
Black Kaweah (13,680')
Red Kaweah (13,720')
Lawson Peak (13,120')
Kaweah Queen (13,382')
Mount Stewart (12,200')
Lion Rock 12,360')
Triple Divide Peak (12,634')
[Pics] [Map]

This trip was planned as a 9 day clean-out of the Kaweah range area deep in the Sierra. It effectively ended on day 6 when I took a bad fall and had to be helicoptered out.

This will just cover the rather excellent climbing trip leading up to that event.

For the story of the fall itself click here.

For the more on the long term effects and eventual knee surgery click here for the recovery diary

Alta Peak & Panther Dayhike From Wolverton

July 15th, 2011
Alta Peak (11,204')
Panther Peak (9,046')
[Pics] [Map]

The main purpose of this weekend was to lead a quick two day Wilderness Travel Course experience trip to nearby Mount Silliman with Bill Payne and a large group of students.

That would have left the nearby SPS peak Alta as one of those red dot orphans on Peakbagger that tend to haunt my dreams so I planned to head up a day early and just dayhike the peak alone. Then a few weeks ahead of the tip I decided that I’d rather have company and ended up with Paul Warren, Laurent Hoffman, and repeat offender Anne Kircher joining me for the long drive up Thursday night.

Grand Teton Via Upper Exum

July 9th  to 12th, 2011
Grand Teton (13,770')
[Pics] [Map]

I came out of a four day Yosemite trip Tuesday night and had three long days of working from home before I could disappear off to the wilderness again. Three days after a long period of being in Boise every week so there was the usual pile of things that needed my attention in addition to trying to remind several friends that I exist as something other than an overactive Flickr account.

Still, it wasn't all unpleasant.

Then it was time for the next adventure: a 4 day trip to climb Grand Teton out of Jackson Hole Wyoming. I had been invited out of the blue by Kathy Rich several months before and as it fell on an open weekend I said yes on a whim. Originally I was one of 6 climbers but after a few injuries we were down to Kathy Rich, Daryn Dodge, and myself with me as the lead climber.

Clark & Gray In Yosemite At High Tide

   Mount Clark (11,522')
   Gray Peak (11,573')
When: July 2nd to 5th, 2011
Where: Yosemite, CA
Who: Matthew Hengst, Jack Kieffer, Lisa Miyake, Ted Lenzie, Agustine Barajas
Pictures: Unsuccessful, Successful
GPS Track: Track

This was the second attempt at the Clark ridge for Jack and I after a previous attempt in late October of 2010 ran afoul of the first big winter storm of the season.

Back then Jack and I had made the ridge below the summit only to find the storm that had swept in that morning had done a rather thorough job of coating all the rocks in ice making things impassable well before the reputed brief yet gee-you-should-really-pay-attention 4th class bit.

We retreated to camp and after about an hour and a half of concerted effort managed to light a well earned campfire despite nonstop rain that lasted throughout the night and the entire 6+ hour hike out to Yosemite Valley the next morning. All and all a memorable trip.

Clark was now a grudge peak so Jack and I scheduled another attempt for 4th of July weekend.  4 days, 4 peaks (Clark, Grey, Red, and Merced) and (hopefully) no ice.

Horseshoe Meadow To Sage Flats Traverse

June 10th to 12th, 2010
Muah Mountain (11,016')
Cartago Peak (10,480')
Olancha Peak (12,123')

This year’s Memorial Day Massacre hadn’t gone quite as planned. A slight bit of bad weather (on a Matt trip? Never!) resulted in Jen and I spending the night in a bush wrapped in the tattered remains of my tent while high winds and three inches of snow made the night rather memorable.

But on the plus side when we came out a day early and rather than do something drastic like head home and sleep we took the opportunity to dayhike the nearby Olancha Peak. It was so pretty back there

(Wow! It’s not snowing and the wind isn’t blowing hard enough to knock me over!) that I was compelled to do a nice relaxed backpack there.

So of course I planned a three day 53 mile traverse involving three peaks. Can you feel the relaxation?!

Mount Whitney Via The Mountaineer's Route

April 16th to 18th, 2011
Mount Whitney (14,495')
[Pics] [Map]

Ah winter / early spring. Nothing like looking back at what was supposed to be a tightly packed climbing schedule to see the scattered weather wrecked remains.

Admittedly I’d set out a rather optimistic schedule trying to fit in Snowcreek, Whitney Mountaineer’s Route, and Red Slate all within a one month period but hey, one can dream.

Snowcreek was canceled due to a large snow dump leading to dangerous avalanche conditions and instead I ran around the desert with James Barlow grabbing 3 DPS peaks and poking around a few mines.

Whitney MR was initially derailed at the last minute to an unpleasant cold front sweeping in. The forecast called for 40-50 mph winds with a low of 9 degrees and my partner Steve Eckert neglected to be blown off the ridge like a frozen mountaineer shaped kite. Not wanting to do something drastic like stay home I repurposed the weekend and ran up three 3rd class DPS peaks out near Las Vegas with Jen Blackie and Kim Breul.

When Red Slate rolled around I was eyeing snow conditions and not liking what I was seeing. Things were still unconsolidated with fresh snow falling just the weekend before. After chatting with Steve we decided to repurpose the weekend and go grab Whitney MR as the weather looked much more promising.