Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mt. Langley

Last weekend Cary and I set out to climb Mt. Langley, the southern most 14er. I had previously attempted Langley with a Sierra Club trip, however, we got to 13,100 feet then had to turn around due to the leaders slow pace and late start time.

On Friday night, Cary and I drove up to Horseshoe Meadow campground and slept in the back of his truck. Saturday morning we packed up our packs, decided to leave the snow shoes behind and hiked the 7 miles of Cottonwood pass and the PCT to the unnamed lake ( 2 miles past chicken spring lake). It was a beautiful day with looming thunder clouds that never materialized into rain. I was surprised by the extreme temperature difference between being in the sun compared to the shade. Saturday afternoon we took it easy, set up camp and ate some awesome pasta primavera. We were lucky to have the unnamed lake all to ourselves, we only saw a few people on the trail all day.

Sunday morning we got up at 3:45 am and got ready to climb Langley. By 4:30 am we were off and climbing. I really prefer climbing this early because I still feel half asleep. After about 20 minutes on the PCT we headed cross country up toward Cirque peak ridge. We skirted around the ridge gaining about 400 feet elevation. After traversing the ridge and watching the sunrise cast a beautiful pink and blue tint over the Sequoia mountain range we finally saw Langley. We then crossed a few snow patches with sun cups and descended down to New Army Pass, which marked the base of Langley.

We made it to New Army Pass around 7:30. We stopped for a short break to eat some food and we happened to meet a guy (Jeff) coming up from the New Army Pass trail. As most climbers do he stopped by and we chatted it up for a little while. It turns out he is friends with 2 of my buddies from Pasadena. One of them being Katie, who I am climbing Rainier with next week. He was going to climb Langley as well so we decided to all climb together. Jeff, Cary and I headed up Langley and found Jeff to be a super cool guy and a good climber as well. The conversation distracted us from the long hike up Langley. Once we got to about 13,300 feet we decided to take a more direct route up which involved 3rd class rock scramble. This was much more entertaining than scrambling around the side of Langley. After a few hundred feet of climbing the last part was a walk up to the summit. Once on the summit we took in the spectacular views, ate and signed the register. There was only 3 other people on the summit and not that many people coming up on the trail. We summited around 10:30, before the dark afternoon thunder clouds rolled in.  After descending Langley to New Army Pass we said goodbye to Jeff and hoped to climb with him in the future. After a short break we headed back to camp the same route we came. We got back to camp around 2:30 pm. When we arrived I went to the little snow patch near our tent to uncover the pizza I had stashed and ate it for lunch. After lunch we packed up our camp and hiked back to the trailhead, arriving at 7pm. It was a great climb and also one of the longest days I've had. We covered almost 17 miles while climbing about 3,000 feet.

Overall it was a great trip. I am happy to have climbed another 14er. My goal is to climb all 15 14ers in California and so far I have climbed 3: Shasta, Whitney and Langley. The trip was also great training for Rainier next week.

Trip Stats:

Trailhead to Camp: 7 miles

Camp to Langley: 5 miles

Camp Elevation: 11,300 ft

Summit: 14,027 ft

Weather: Cloudy/Sunny with no rain.

Trail: Very little snow, just a few sun cupped patches. No crampons, axes or snowshoes required :-(

Here is a link to more pictures of the climb. Sorry there are also graduation photos that were on the memory card. It is a pain to try to move them to another album.

View Mt. Langley in a larger map

Sunday, May 17, 2009

San Jacinto & Newton Drury via Marion Mtn TH

It's crunch time. 2.5 weeks until Rainier!

In continuation for training for Rainier Cary, Katie and I climbed San Jacinto on Saturday. Katie, who lives in Colorado was in town for work and was able to climb with us. She is part of our Rainier team and is an exceptional climber. The 3 of us have climbed together before and we always have a blast. This climb was no different.

We got to Marion Mountain trailhead (near Idyllwild) around 8am. We wanted to get an earlier start but the trailhead is a good 2.5 hours from my place in Pasadena. As we started up the trail we encountered a ton of cut down trees along with a sign labeled "hard hat area". we are unsure what they were doing but we had to go around or climb over many trees. It took us about 4.5 hours to climb the 5 mile trail with 4,500 ft of elevation gain. The trail had just a few patches of snow, just enough for me to periodically hurl snowballs at my climbing partners. There was also enough snow to make the streams flow (enough to filter water at least).

We reached the summit around 12:30 along with a plethora of other people. I think most of them came from the Tram. We only saw a handful of people on our trail. Once on top we ate our pizza and talked with a guy hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. On our way down we decided to climb a neighboring peak, Newton Drury. There was no direct trail so we used our compasses to help navigate our cross country trek. This peak was more enjoyable to climb because there was bouldering and cross country navigation required. After a short time on top we headed back down and met up with the trail 20 minutes later.

Going back down was long and somewhat boring. It was getting pretty warm out so we dunked our hats in one of the running streams. To help us keep our minds from succumbing to boredom we gave each other trail names. Some long distance hikers (not ourselves) give themselves hiking names so we thought it would be fun to give each other names. Some names we gave each other I decline to share, however, here are some of them:
Cary = Sunshine
Katie = sooshka (Russian for pine cone)
Me = Fish (I drink and carry more water than needed)

We finally returned to our car at 5 pm. Then headed to In-n-Out, which is a tradition of ours after each climb.

*Thanks to Cary for taking the photos

  • Elevation start: 6,300 ft
  • San Jacinto Pk: 10,800 ft
  • Newton Drury Pk: 10,160ft
  • Total Elevation Gain: 4,600 ft
  • Start: 8am
  • End: 5 pm
  • Permit: Self assigned at the ranger station.

Weather: Sunny and warm 70's to 80's, cool and windy on top.

Trail conditions: Mostly dirt switch back trails, few snow patches (no snow gear necessary) and a few small running springs. Plenty of shade relief for most of the trail up. Bare on the summit.

Food I Consumed:
  • 1 luna bar
  • 1 Odwalla Bar
  • 1 Power triple threat bar
  • 1 bag of peanut m&m's
  • 6 red vines (thanks Cary!)
  • Handful of trail mix (with reese's pieces! good call Cary)
  • Dijerno Pizza

View San Jacinto via Marion Mtn 5 16 09 in a larger map

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek

Last Saturday Cary and I set out to climb San Gorgonio, the highest peak in So Cal at 11,499 feet.  Cary and I rolled up at the trailhead parking lot around 11:30pm  on Friday night.  The plan was to sleep in the bed of his truck and get an early start on our climb the next morning.  Unfortunately, we got little sleep that night.  Around 12:30 a few cars rolled up into the parking lot.  The people proceeded to do an ample amount of drugs and blast bass thumping techno crap.  They played the same song over and over again and then proceeded to wave glow sticks around.  Apparently they took a wrong turn and mistakenly thought the empty trialhead parking lot was a rave.  I thought for sure cops or rangers would show up, nope, nothing.  Around 3am we moved to another parking lot, which turns out to be the parking lot we should have been at in the first place.  We got 1.5 hours of sleep in before waking up at 4:30am to start our climb.  

At 5:15 we hit the trail, it was light enough were we didn't need our headlamps on.  The first 1.2 miles had 1,100 feet of elevation gain.  Luckily I was still half asleep!  Cary and I pushed on and met up with a fellow hiker.  It turns out that he attempted to climb Rainier last year with RMI, the same guiding company we are using.  Have gave them high praise which was a relief to both Cary and myself.  As we carried on up the long switch backs we hit a few patches of snow but nothing serious.  The light hiking boots I was wearing were more than sufficient.  After gaining 4,000 feet I started to feel the altitude.  After climbing some other high peaks I am familiar with the woozy feeling.  At 10,000 feet we could almost see the summit.  Seeing the summit usually makes me feel better, but it wasn't working this time.  So I ripped open a bag of peanut butter m&m's and finished the bag in 2 giant handfuls.  The m&m's helped me feel better as we pushed on to the summit.  Finally after 6.5 hours, 8 miles and 5,500 feet of elevation gain we reached the summit.  We signed the registry and took some photos before eating some pizza.  Cary and I love eating pizza for lunch.  One of us will buy a frozen pizza and cook it the night before our hike.  My favorite is Dejorno..........No Cary it is not delivery!

After 40 minutes on top we headed back down.  Going down was extremely boring.  8 miles of long drawn out switch backs.  And it was pretty warm.  We made it back to the trail head around 4:30.  I am glad I climbed Gorgonio but I don't think I am going to do it again for awhile.  I'm sure it would be  a blast in the snow though. 

Elevation Start: 6,000 ft
Summit: 11,500ft (gain: 5,500 feet)
Start time: 5:15
Summit: 11:40
Return: 4:30
Miles: 16 round trip

Food I consumed:
1 pack of poptarts
1 pack of skittles
a little trail mix
half a bbq pizza
1 babyruth bar
1 pack of peanut butter m&m's
1 luna bar
1 power/energy bar
5 liters of water

View san gorgonio 5 9 09 in a larger map

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut

On Saturday, Cary and I climbed Mt. Baldy via the ski hut trail.  We hit the trail around 8 and summited around 11.  We ate some cold pizza I made the night before.  After a long break we headed back down to the trailhead.  We returned around 2.  There were a few patches of snow but nothing serious.  

So the count down to Rainier is on.  The climb is only a month away, I am starting to eat healthier and really pushing myself in work outs.  I joined a gym for a month to build my core muscles.  On Saturday Cary and I are going to climb Gorgonio (if we can get the permit in time).  This will be a good test to see were I am fitness wise.  It is about 16 miles with 5600 feet of elevation gain.  The plan is to sleep near the trailhead the night before and start hiking around 5am.

Good times!

Thanks to Cary for taking the photos.

Trip stats:
  • Elevation start: 6,100 ft
  • Summit: 10,000 ft
  • 3 hours up
  • 2.5 hours down

View Mt. Baldy ski hut MAY-09.kmz in a larger map