Thursday, May 27, 2010

Robinson Lake (University Peak Attempt) May 22/23

Looking up from Robinson Lake
Looking at University Peak to the right at 11,500 feet

Last weekend Cary and I headed back to the Sierras.  We decided to attempt University Peak out of the Onion Valley/Independence area.  We started climbing around mid day on Saturday.  With snowshoes on we headed up to Robinson Lake.  1 mile and 2 hours later we arrived at Robinson Lake.  The weather was very pleasant as we set up camp for the night.  As night began to creep up on us so did the clouds.  Around 7 it started to lightly snow.  After dinner Cary and I went to the lake with an ice axe to break through the frozen layer of ice to filter some water.  It must have been in the high teens at night.  My water inside our tent started to freeze including my hydration bladder!  I slept in down booties, down pants and a down parka.  

The next morning we woke up to a few new inches of snow.  We packed our bags, put on our gators and crampons and headed out.  It started to snow more and more as the morning went on.  The clouds totally engulfed us, limiting our view of the peaks.  We continued to climb, realizing it wouldn't be a good idea to go for the summit.  Around 11,500 feet and 1 mile from camp we reached the base of the peaks.  We decided this was a good place to stop.   With visibility being limiting I climbed about 300 feet up the right embankment to get a little more climbing in.  I quickly lost sight of Cary and decided to come back down.  On our way back to camp we glissaded 200 feet down to Robinson Lake.  It was the steepest glissade I have done yet.  Good times!

We arrived back to our camp with a few more inches of snow.  We packed up our gear and headed back to the parking lot.  It snowed the whole morning we were out.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful! We only saw a handful of people the whole weekend, and that was close to the parking lot.

Elevation at parking lot = 9200 feet
1 mile (via snow travel) to Robinson Lake, 10,500 feet
1 mile to the base of University Peak.
Total Miles = 4  round trip
My high point for the trip = 11,800 feet

View Robinson Lake - Sierras in a larger map

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rock Creek, Ruby and Dade Lake

Don't step in the hole!
I should have had my ice axe out.
Heading up to Dade Lake
The views were amazing!
Yahoo for snow camping!
Our kitchen
May 1st and 2nd 
Over the weekend Cary and I went camping and climbing in the Eastern Sierras.  Friday afternoon Cary and I drove up to Rock Creek Lake, arriving around 10:30pm.  The snow level was around 8,000 feet, however, the road was paved all the way to Rock Creek Lake, 9,700 feet.  Friday night we spent the night in the bed of Cary's pick-up truck.  Saturday morning we got up and packed all our gear.  We headed out on snowshoes simply because we did not have any room in or on our packs to store them.  A little over 2 miles later we reached Heart Lake where we set up camp.  After setting up camp we hiked past treasure lakes to Dade lake.  The views were spectacular.  Snow was swirling off the mountain tops making for an amazing landscape.  

We returned to our camp around 6 and shortly after started dinner.  We dug out a little space to sit and a little table (see above pic) to make dinner.  The next morning we hoped to climb Mt. Starr.  We woke up around 5:15am, grabbed our gear and headed out.  Heading up we climbed a short class 3 section to get above the tree line.  Once over the tree line ridge we hiked up to Ruby Lake which is almost half way to the summit.  We scouted a nice shoot that looked inviting, however, Cary pointed out it was in an avalanche zone.  We saw trees were stripped of branches on the mountain side.  We decided to call it a day and hike back down to our camp.  Next time I climb I will probably go around to Mono Pass and climb up from the other side of Mt. Starr.  We returned to our camp around 10am and packed up and hiked back to the parking lot.

All and all it was a great trip, yeah we didn't summit, however, we did get a lot of info for next trip.  The views were amazing, the weather was alright (a little windy) and we only saw a handful of people each day.  Next time I would like to backcountry ski instead of snow shoe in.  Skiing would be much more enjoyable and faster on the descents, everyone we saw the whole weekend were on skis.  Great, one more toy I need to save up for:-)

For more pics click here
  • RCL to Heart Lake = 2 hours on  snow shoes
  • Heart Lake to Dade Lake = 2.25 hours on snow shoes
  • If climbing Mt. Dade, camp at Treasure Lakes
  • Heart Lake to Ruby Lake = 2.25 hours with crampons
  • RCL area is a great back country skiing area
  • Temps:  Low 20's at night, 40's during the day

Orange is our climb up.  Purple is our descent.
View Rock Creek Snow Camp may 1st 2010.kmz in a larger map

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mt. Baldy 4-24-10

Last weekend Cary and I climbed Mt. Baldy. There was still plenty of snow above the ski hut (8,000 ft). For details about the route see last week's post.

View Baldy 4-24-10 in a larger map