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In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

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In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Yeti » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Hello all

I'l be in the SF area for a week, with a few days to myself. I've been looking over Whitneys Mountaineers Route as a fun climb, with the bonus of bagging the lower-48 highpoint.

Will there be much snow on the route in mid July?

Any other sort of "classic" alpine mountaineering routes in Central California?

Thanks
Eric
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby schaffner » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:48 pm

we descended the route on Memorial Day, there was almost no snow. The first third of the chute has suncupped snow, but we could avoid it by staying climber's right of it.

This is how Iceberg Lake and the start of MR (the chute next the the ridge we are on) looked from East Buttress:
Image

Also see:
whitney-conditions-found-sleeping-pad-nf-lone-pine-creek-t62237.html

What grade of "classic" climbing are you looking for?
Last edited by schaffner on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:50 pm

I went down MR yesterday (after climbing East Buttress, which is a great route too), it did not have enough snow to need an axe/crampons/or boots. I just had my running shoes...

You would like East Ridge of Russell if 3rd class scrambles is what you are looking for. Close to Whitney. Can make a great 3 day trip, or you can do it all in a day if you are very fit. I would strongly suggest east ridge of russell over MR (dirty crap chute in the summer with a bunch of loose rock).
Yellow brick road on Mt. Gayley could also be a good scramble.
L shaped couloir on Sill.
North couloir on Mt. Abbott
North ridge of North peak
North Ridge of Conness
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby JHH60 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:34 pm

Yeti wrote:Hello all

I'l be in the SF area for a week, with a few days to myself. I've been looking over Whitneys Mountaineers Route as a fun climb, with the bonus of bagging the lower-48 highpoint.

Will there be much snow on the route in mid July?

Any other sort of "classic" alpine mountaineering routes in Central California?

Thanks
Eric


Whitney is a beautiful area but be aware that the southeastern Sierra is quite a long way from the SF area. Whitney is 350+ miles and 7+ hrs drive from SF (it's actually a shorter drive from LA). Whitney is also one of the most crowded mountains in the country and permits are required even for day hiking it. Reserve-in-advance permits are allocated by lottery and those are long gone, though you may be able to get a walk-in permit especially if you go mid-week.

If you judge by the book "50 Classic Climbs of North America" then California has more "classic" routes than any other state. There are lots of excellent class 4 and easier routes that are closer to SF and that are less crowded than Whitney. A couple of good books to check out for Sierra climbs are Peter Croft's "The Good, the Great and the Awesome" and Chris McNamara's Supertopo's "High Sierra". Both cover several routes on Whitney but also lots of other climbs in the Sierra. The focus of these books is on alpine rock climbs (class 5) but they also include some easier routes. Secor's "HIgh Sierra: Peaks, Passes and Trails" includes many, many climbs but provides less detailed route info than Croft or McNamara.

If technical rock climbs are of interest then both Yosemite and Lake Tahoe have many excellent routes and are much closer to SF than Whitney (especially Lake Tahoe). You can find everything from easy topropes to big walls.

If you like snow and alpine ice climbs, another mountain you might consider is Shasta. It's a Cascade volcano and has a number of alpine routes. The easiest routes on the south side may not have much snow on them in mid July but the glaciated routes on the north side will probably be in good condition.
Last edited by JHH60 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby lcarreau » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:00 am

Excuse me, just my two cents ... but, I know HOW you could spend your nights ...! 8)

The Pinnacles NM is a great place to climb, so many rocks rockin' with so much History ..

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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Yeti » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:03 pm

JHH60 wrote:If you like snow and alpine ice climbs, another mountain you might consider is Shasta.


That was definitely on my radar, though I was concerned about glacier travel while solo. Truthfully,I haven't read up on the peak yet. It seems to be about the same distance as the Sierras.

I've solo'd class 4 before, but I'd like to keep it around a 3 since I'm a Daddy now.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Yeti » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:37 pm

Update: Shasta has caught my eye, especially the West Gully route.

Can anyone speak to the night-time tepuratures at 9000~11000 ft on Shasta in the summer? I recognize that a weather system can bring in oddly cold northern air. I just need to pick a sleeping bag for the average temps ( can layer myself within it for swings).
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby JHH60 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:22 pm

A 15F bag should be sufficient, especially if you have a tent. It's not a bad idea to have a tent especially if the snow has melted at your bivy spot. Shasta can be very windy at altitude and if the snow has melted there can be a lot of pumice in the air. Call me soft but it's nice to have some shelter from the wind and dust at night.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Yeti » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:46 pm

JHH60 wrote:A 15F bag should be sufficient, especially if you have a tent. It's not a bad idea to have a tent especially if the snow has melted at your bivy spot. Shasta can be very windy at altitude and if the snow has melted there can be a lot of pumice in the air. Call me soft but it's nice to have some shelter from the wind and dust at night.


It was tempting to omit the heavy tent and go for a snow bivy, but I've got a phobia of wet sleeping bags and I just don't trust it to be cold enough to make dry conditions a 100% certainty. I have snow-caved for practice and recreation a few times, but never on an actual climb, very tempting!
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby schaffner » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:23 pm

Last year in May a friend brought a Lamina 35 to Hidden Valley @9800 ft and said it was warm enough (OK, he is Canadian). If I would go mid July I would hope that a true 15F bag is not necessary, but a bag like that would probably cover most deviations of the temperature from normal.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby JHH60 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:40 pm

schaffner wrote:Last year in May a friend brought a Lamina 35 to Hidden Valley @9800 ft and said it was warm enough (OK, he is Canadian). If I would go mid July I would hope that a true 15F bag is not necessary, but a bag like that would probably cover most deviations of the temperature from normal.


John Muir famously survived a night on the Shasta summit in shirtsleeves and a blanket on April 30, 1875, but he wasn't very comfortable. :)
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Yeti » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:47 pm

JHH60 wrote:John Muir famously survived a night on the Shasta summit in shirtsleeves and a blanket on April 30, 1875, but he wasn't very comfortable. :)


I enjoyed reading that story.... doesn't mean I'd enjoy writing one like it. ;)

Looking over weather records, 15f seems to be about the average low at places like hidden Valley and Helen Lake. I have no 15f bag, just a 0, a 35, and an ultralight down 60.

The 0 and the cheapo 35 weigh the same. The 35 combined with the 60 as a liner served me well at -10. Hitting a comfortable 15 may be a bit tough.

I suppose I could just bring the 35 and wear some layers. I keep a compressed down jack with my forst aid stuff, I could wrap my feet with it if things got cold.
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby Palisades79 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:39 pm

Mt.Lassen isn't as far from S.F.or as high as Shasta but It is in a very scenic area and a good solo in the time you have to acclimate . Have a food trip !
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby schaffner » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:15 pm

Average low of 15F in mid July? That surprises me. Right now the forecast is low of 20 F for 12,000 ft. And there is currently a cold front coming through, so it's supposed to be warmer.

Where did you get the weather record for Hidden Valley? I was always looking for a place to get historical point forecasts/interpolated weather data.

Why do you bring the 35 if the 0 weights the same?
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Re: In the Bay area for a week, looking for a climb

Postby JHH60 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:49 pm

Today's NOAA point forecast for the spot nearest I could get to Hidden Valley on Shasta (which covered a decent sized area and was centered on a point at 10.7K') predicted nighttime low temps ranging from 17F to 32F over the next week. You can always check the weather report before you go.

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=41.403788879821406&lon=-122.22157001495361&site=sto&unit=0&lg=en&FcstType=text
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