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2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:39 am

Bob,
Internet access is challenging here. I'm letting you know I made it back OK via SP.
I made it back to Mono Village at 7:15 after eventually adding Crown Point to my hike. I had a great time with you guys up on Slide Mountain. Once already most of the way back to the first trail junction heading back down, Crown Point standing straight ahead kept beckoning me. I headed upslope between the mentioned junction and Snow Lake to the saddle above the north facing col. between the main summit and the lower highpoint to the east. From there I climbed up some class 3-4 terrain before reaching class 2 terrain again near the summit. I gave myself a break from spicy maneuvers by opting to head back the long way around the west side of Peeler Lake, joining the trail at the Yosemite border to head out.
I actually spent slightly less time out today than my dogs and I did on our warm up hike up Center and Cirque Wednesday.

I hoped news related to the helicopter I heard from Crown Point and again near the trailhead would not be particularly bad. It turns out my wife had been asking around making sure it had nothing to do with me. I just helped some SAR folks through the campground maze in the dark on their way out and was glad to hear the incident was non-Sierra Challenge related and was successful rescue.

My family and I have got to head back home. Thanks and have a great week!

--Sean Reedy
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:57 am

Actually, it was Sierra Challenge related.
I didn't mention it in my last post because family members had not yet been informed. In summary:
Two participants were heading to Polomonium Pass on the Sawtooth Crest while the rest of us were heading to Slide Mtn. Kentaro and Toshi were attempting to climb hard snow/ice on the north side of the pass when Kentaro slipped, tumbling approx. 150ft before coming to rest. Injuries appeared to be confined to lacerations/possible fractures on both arms, but it was felt he could not hike back down through the boulder fields they had ascended. Toshi returned to Twin Lakes and initiated SAR around 1pm. A Yosemite helicopter flew in a team of Mono Co. SAR personnel, extracting Kentaro approx. 7:20p. He was flown to Modesto to attend to his injuries which are not reported to be life-threatening. Toshi has gone to Modesto to join his cousin. My utmost thanks and gratitude to the Yosemite and Mono Co. SAR teams for their help.

Be safe everyone.
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:13 am

Day 2 - Mt. Andrea Lawrence

Located on the Sierra Crest east of Donohue Pass and Peak, Mt. Andrea Lawrence was recently named for noted Mammoth Lakes alpine Olympian and environmental activist. The peak offers some spectacular views of the Koip Crest, Lyell Canyon, Ritter/Banner and more. We had seven on the summit before the first wave started back down, but likely had another half dozen ascents. Eric Su had already summited Donohue before joining the others atop Andrea Lawrence a few minutes later. He was starting a grand tour to Blacktop, Koip, Kuna, Parker and Woods. After 4.5hrs to reach the summit, I didn't even have the motivation to hit up nearby Donohue. Weather continues to be excellent.

Mts. Davis and Rogers reflected in Waugh Lake:
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Michael nearing the summit of Andrea Lawrence. Ritter/Banner in the background:
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Seven at the summit:
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby SeanReedy » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:48 am

Bob,

Thanks for the clarification regarding the SAR incident. I spoke with Kentaro briefly that morning as we brought up the rear of the group while heading uptrail to the group photo. That evening, upon returning to my campsite with the sound of the helicopter in the background, I found a note from my wife with a piece of information that immediately made me suspect Kentaro was the person being rescued. After dark, some information I received confused the identity a bit for me, but I was glad to hear the rescue was successful and the prognosis non-life threatening. After posting my comments here last night, I then looked at the group photo you posted, noticed the ice axe and again knew who had been rescued. However, I couldn't get back onto SP to revise my comments. Thanks for clearing up any confusion. I wish Kentaro the best.

I'm glad to see that you guys had another great hike today and am not surprised to find out that Eric was apparently just taking it easy and getting warmed up on the way up Slide Mountain Friday morning. Thanks for keeping us updated and have fun!
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Turtleggjp » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:34 am

I'm happy to report that the Sierra Challenge Dive Team is 3 for 3 so far in bagging lakes as well as the summits! We are missing a member, but we thank her very much for the treats on Patricia Peak today!

Day 1: Small lake just below Mule Pass. A large melting glacier that many of the participants passed on the way to Slide Mountain feeds down into this lake, keeping it pretty cold! I wish this island counted as a bonus peak...
01 - Island.jpg
Lake swim and a bonus island summit!
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Day 2: Lost Lake below Mount Andrea Lawrence. After a long march on the trail out to the summit, this lake was a most welcome refreshment! Shallow waters allowed the temperature to be just perfect. Best of all, we had Banner Peak and Mount Ritter for our backdrop! We could have stayed for an hour or more, if not for the long slog back to the trailhead that we both knew was going to drain us.
02A - Chris.jpg
Chris in Lost Lake
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02B - Matt.jpg
Matt in Lost Lake
02B - Matt.jpg (668.29 KiB) Viewed 1472 times


Day 3: Patricia Lake. While others went off to tag some bonus summits after an easy day, we swung by Patricia Lake on the way back to the trailhead for a nice dunk. Despite the water being pretty cold again, I managed to fire off a few of my classic cannonballs!
03 - cannonball.jpg
Cannonball in Patricia Lake
03 - cannonball.jpg (854.11 KiB) Viewed 1472 times


Long day to Langille Peak tomorrow. Will we be able to keep it up...?
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:18 am

Day 3 - Patricia Peak

Today was the easiest day of this year's (or any year's) Challenge. The lovely Patricia Peak lies just above Rock Creek Rd only a few miles from the Hilton Lakes TH
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We had about 25 at the summit for a memorial for Pat Hadley, sharing thoughts and memories with each other.
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Laura had left us a very touching poem she'd written which we shared. She also left a 12-pack of Fat Tire beer which we also shared. Thanks Laura!
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Tomorrow we go over Bishop Pass, down and across the Kings River, and up to Langille Peak. Should be a toughie! 4am start - time for bed!
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Cy Kaicener » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:03 pm

michael1 wrote:Hey everyone, I think it might be easier to communicate and share photos/files in a Facebook group so I created one. Ask to join and I'll add you.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/333058046852983/


Saw this link on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/eric.su.9235

http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.c ... ntain.html
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:26 am

Day 4 - Langille Peak

What a fun day! From South Lake, we made it to Bishop Pass in under two hours, getting us there before sunrise.
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Sunrise came as we made our way down through Dusy Basin towards LeConte Canyon and the Kings River. Our peak was wonderfully illuminated in the early morning light.
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We got to the LeConte Ranger Station by 8am and had a short break there with Ranger Dena. She was very nice. The place was pretty nice, too.
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We crossed the Kings River easily enough, then the long cross-country climb up the steep canyon south of Langille. A headwall is reached after rising above treeline. We took the chute on the left in the photo which was a rather fine scramble - the best part of the whole route.
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Seven of us reached the summit within 20min of the 6hr mark.
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Two others made it up several hours later for a total of 9. Not bad for a 26mi, 8,700-foot day.
On the way back we were in smaller groups. Three of us had a second visit with Ranger Dena. Jonathan had brought fresh salad greens for her. We also plied her with chocolates. She said we were welcome back anytime.
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Fortified with calories and caffeine, we charged back up out of LeConte Canyon to Bishop Pass in 2.5hrs. We used the slabs route to bypass a lot of the switchbacks.
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We ran into SP's spence on the way back down from Bishop Pass.
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We got back at the 12hr mark. We found Eric lounging in the shade of the TH sign. He'd beaten us back by a good amount PLUS had made a side trip to tag Chocolate Peak. With Sean in Canada, Eric has little competition and is currently leading in the White, Yellow, and Polka Dot jersies. It's kind of a one-horse show, but we're all having a good time. Currently there are 9 folks who have climbed all four Challenge peaks.
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Turtleggjp » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:57 am

I'm assuming the two others Bob was referring to were Ken Yee and myself. Chris Henry also made it to the summit today, for a total of 10.
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby ScottHanson » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:34 pm

Matt,
What lake did you swim in today? During your free time of climbing Langille. Ten to the summit, that is amazing. You guys keep pushing the envelope!
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:24 am

Day 5 - Divide BM

Thanks for correction - we did indeed get 10 to the summit yesterday, even if some were out after dark.

Today was a somewhat easier day but it didn't feel like it. Everyone was pretty whooped from yesterday and we were dragging some today. Divide BM is a benchmark atop the Glacier Divide just west of Matthes Peak. The approach is from North Lake up the Piute Pass Trail, into Humphreys Basin for about there miles, then a right turn to Glacier Divide and Packsaddle Pass.

We had 18 at the Piute Pass TH for a 6am start. Most were heading to DIvide BM, but others were heading to Pilot Knob or Keyhole Plateau.
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It was a beautiful morning hiking up to Piute Pass.
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Not a super-fast pace like the previous day, but the front group made it to Piute Pass in a bit less than 2hrs.
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After some miles down the west side of the crest we headed up towards the divide. Here's a picture of Packsaddle Pass and Divide BM just to the right. It wasn't a pretty climb. With almost no snow left on the north side of the divide, the rocks and boulders tended to be loose. Once at the pass, the scramble to the summit was pleasant enough.
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We had seven on the summit (same group as the previous day) with a few more coming later.
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On the way back down, while traveling over a few patches of old glacier ice, we were talking about finding the next Ice Man. Then, to our amazement, Jonathan discovered a native American bow sticking out of the ice. The wood was hard and in good condition. The notches for the bowstring were clearly evident at the end. He spent some time trying to extract and was still at it while I continued on.
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Back up towards Piute Pass, I took some photos of the surrounding peaks, made better with some clouds forming above. Humphreys looks good from almost any angle.
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The clouds got thicker as the afternoon wore on and it appears there is some thunderstorm activity over the range this evening. It might be interesting tomorrow morning as we head up Taboose Pass for the sixth time. Heading to an unnamed CA 13er between Striped and Pinchot this time. Another 8,000-foot+ day...
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Turtleggjp » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:18 am

Scott,

We had thought we might try to swim in the lowest Dusy Lake. Chris and I ended up being separated for most of the day. On the way back, Chris was still considering going swimming, but ultimately decided against it. I told myself that if I could get back to the lake by 5PM, I would go for it. When I didn't make it by 5, I figured 5:30 would be ok too, then perhaps 6PM. I did pass by the lake just about 6PM, but was unable to quickly locate a decent spot to go in, as the lake is surrounded by swampy conditions. With the sun going down, the temperature dropping, and the breeze picking up, it didn't take long to decide to pass on the swim. So we both ended the day with 4 peaks and 3 lakes.

Today, we went after the "easy" challenge peak out of North Lake, Checkered Demon. Bob said they were all going slower today, but they were all out of sight of us within a minute of leaving the campground. I ended up making it to Checkered Demon, probably about the time Bob and the gang were coming back over Piute Pass, but Chris was unable to find a route up to the top that he could manage. We later regrouped at the more rounded lake below Checkered Demon and each went for a brief swim (clouds were starting to block the sun, making it pretty cold to be wet out there) before taking the more scenic route through Humphreys Basin back to Piute Pass. As we started down towards the TH, Chris commented how once again we were being chased back to North Lake by a thunderstorm. While we did hear a few distant thunderclaps, we never got rained on.

So since we were both pretty whipped by Langille Peak on Monday, and our Checkered Demon "rest day" was hardly a rest, we're both planning to sleep in tomorrow. Once again, I'm going to miss the Taboose Pass hike on the Sierra Challenge. Hopefully we can recover enough to finish out the last 4 days. We may still try to get a swim in tomorrow though up above Onion Valley somewhere...

Oh, and Bob makes the Langille Peak hike sound so happy and fun. I need to re-tell that story from the "I Can't Believe I Survived That" point of view. Perhaps tomorrow while I'm resting up.
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby Bob Burd » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:49 am

Day 6 - Striped South

Striped South is located on the Sierra Crest between Striped Mtn and Pinchot, an officially unnamed CA 13er. There is almost no information on this peak so we were going in a little blind. I was making a guess that the NW slopes would be class 3, but it was just a guess.

We started at the Taboose Pass TH at 5a, 9 of us heading out by headlamp. The smallest starting group to date. Unlike last year when we had morning rain heading up the trail, today was beautifully clear and cool.
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We got to Taboose Pass in a bit over 3hrs. Tom did yoga.
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A short distance west of the pass we contoured into the basin west of Striped Mtn with two large, beautiful lakes. Our first view of Striped South was a bit frightening. All we could see of it looked like cliffs.
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This was something of a dilemma. There was the possibility that we couldn't reach the top, a first for the Challenge. All the leading group would get the ignoble DNF in the stats. This wouldn't do. We hiked up more than a mile to the base of the peak and decided that it looked like we could find a way up. In fact we found several ways up as we took different lines to suit our preferences. The face had steep, class 3 chutes littered with gravel and debris. Careful attention was required to keep from knocking rocks on each other.
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We managed the summit in about 5hrs, fine views south to Whitney and north to the Palisades.
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We started down the North Ridge intending to descend the west side chute Jonathan had taken on the way up. Instead, four of us decided on a whim to descend the east side and skirt around the east side of Striped Mtn to return to the Taboose trail. Lots and lots (and lots) of boulders and talus, but it worked. Shorter, too. Eric didn't join us, instead heading to Striped Mtn to pick up the bonus peak. Of course.
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Eric caught back up with us after descending Striped Mtn. He then beat us back to the TH by half an hour or so. Probably would have been faster if he hadn't stopped to eat berries.
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JD and Luke went to Ruskin, another toughie. Mason made it to Striped Mtn, but didn't like the look of Striped South. Others were out at other THs, and a few took a rest day. All good fun.
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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby bobmc » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:43 pm

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Re: 2014 Sierra Challenge Aug 15-24

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:58 am



Next year's Sierra Challenge might be Burd's last. He's casting his eye on Colorado's peaks. But he's said all that before.

"After six or seven years, I was telling people I was running out of peaks," Burd said, "but then I found some more."


2015 Day 1: Tower Peak from Mono Village. :!:

You've got to keep it up at least long enough to include that. Plus, for the truly insane, there are several easy bonus peaks nearby. :D I'm getting impatient about giving that one a try. If the next event falls earlier than this year and last, I might just stick around.

I'm imagining being back on University Pass and then swimming in Center Basin. I bet it was a fun day today.
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