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


CalBadger said...

To my delight I discovered that if you double click your cursor on one of your blog's photographs it will greatly enlarge it in a separate window! This is a Godsend to 1) lovers of fine photography and, 2) those of us with relatively poor vision! An already good thing about your blog instantly got better!!!

Trek on Dude!

Melissa said...

Nicely captured! That's a really, really long day, if you ask me.

Holly said...

You continue to amaze me, Todd. This was quite a climb and the pictures are stunning. Feels like being on top of the world, I bet. Mush on to Ranier!!