We had a family reunion for my mom's sid of the family, in celebration of My grandmothers 75'th birthday. This took place at the famous, or rather imfamous Convict lake.
Convict Lake is the famous site of a stereotypical western crime, and also the filming of a Star Trek movie.
Back to the point, we planned to do a climb up the backside of Mount Morrison, but landed on Mount Starr instead. We came to this conclusion thinking that it was easy. So much for that.
I do not remember too many exact details of the climb, as I am writing this report almost two years after the climb. i am merely scavenging the details.
When we pulled into Miquito flat trailhead, i was feeling great (i've got to stop going by my beggining feelings, as i usually feel great before something really hard). We read over the message board that was posted at the edge of the John Muir Wilderness, and started hiking.
The part on the trail was simple and easy. We steadily gained about 300 feet on solid terrain. We also passed 3 lakes.
When we first left the trail, it was still mostly easy, and we kept walking, with only a very
short scamble up a dirt slope. Never judge a route or climb by first impressions.
I was still feeling fine (did i mention how decieving that is?) when the group spread out. I was staying behind with My dad, My aunt, My mom, and me, while the rest of the group plowed on ahead, on a different route.
This was the part where it got challenging, with around 2.5K vertical of unexpected class 3-4 scrambling. We slowly scrambled our way up the slope, being very angry at the author of the guidebook for 'lying' to us, but we continued anyways. One part that I do remember was very interesting, and challenging. The slope got very steep, but was relatively easy, until the stunted trees appeared. we crawled up through the sand underneath the trees, grabbing the roots as handholds. We got to the top and enjoyed the easier walking.
Another memorable part was a 100 vertical foot class 4 chute. I almost wanted to abort, and descend, but i was convinced to continue, and went up the chute at a remarkable speed.
Once above the chute, we stopped and took some pictures, in which I had an incredibly silly pose, and continued up some much easier class 2-3 steep walking. This lasted a short while, and ended at a low gap in the summit ridgeline, about 12.2K.
A pinnacle that i would estimate to be about 100 feet abouve us rose to the North, with the Main summit to the South.
The ridgeline to the main summit was broad, and composed of hard scree, but was much more difficult than it seemed, as the summit refused to stop walking south.
There was a small snowfield just below the little island of the summit.
When we reached the summit, i signed the register,sat on the Pinnacle, and sat with the 800 foot veritical cliff that drooped off to the west from the exact summit, behind me.
We rested at the summit for about an hour, ate lunch and had a picture of most of the group taken. I had a small headache, but not from the altitude. I was merely dehydrated, and exerted (I sometimes get headaches at .5K after running hard). I was worried that i would be stuck with having to descend the east face, but i was lucky, as a less steep and very loose (Yee-ha) way down the west side was jus in a gap between the summit and false summit.
. I almost forgot, the summit was rather warm and a slight breeze was blowing.
Down, Down, and down, till youre a zombie
The descent was much less demanding, but after the adrenaline rush died down, i was as close to wanting to be dead as possible, without wanting to be dead.
The descent from The summit to Mono Pass was fun, and increased the adrenaline rate. We virtually 'boot skied' for 800 vertical feet, making good time.
Mono pass was, to this day, the closest to paradise that I have been. There was a patch of snow that was feeding an alpine lake, and there were several small streams on the soft decomposed granite,We rested at the pass longer than the summit, and took off our shoes to let our feet soak in the cold waters.
The rest of the descent was simple, we hiked down the Mono Pass trail, winding around the South side of Mount Starr, crossing the summit ridgeline, crossing a stream, more the stream was crossing us. The veiw was beyond incredible, seeing into the endless expanse of the John Muir Wilderness, and slowly coming down.
My adrenaline began to wear off, and i became a zombie, wanting one and only one thing: to get back to the heated car ( the sun had set behind the Mountain).
The trip was very rewarding, and taught me a lesson, along with giving me some real Mountaineering experience.
My cousin, Andy, from Wisconsin, had not been above 2,000 feet in his life, until Convict lake, and barely got sick.