First Ascent of Summer Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 36.56170°N / 118.224°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 10, 1994
SUMMER RIDGE FIRST ASCENT LONE PINE PEAK SOUTH FACE September 10, 1994 A conversation on a sunny September 11 morning at a Cafe in Lone Pine, Calif.... BRUCE: I'd forgotten how awful the approach to this thing was. No wonder we hadn't been back in 17 years! PAT: The Brush! maybe we finally went back to do it because we had forgotten! I know that if you'd agreed with me, I was going to turn back and go climb somewhere else. BRUCE: I know. It was when I realized you really were ready to go back that I knew we just had to do the route. I knew for sure I wasn't going to do that approach ever again. This was our last chance on the route, and I just wasn't ready for another failure. This route has been on my grudge list for close to two decades..... PAT: As far as I was concerned, it could have stayed on our grudge list for good. BRUCE: Those first two gully pitches were pure death. PAT: I know. It's been awhile since I'd climbed like that. push every hold into place, the belayer doesn't anchor because he might have to get out of the way of something big moving real fast.... Freight train blocks...... I was real glad someone had been up as far as the unprotected 5.9 pitch. That 3/8" bolt they used to rap was perfect. BRUCE: That's for sure. I think if it hadn't been there, I would have drilled. I can't believe you led that thing without pro seventeen years ago. PAT: I half expected you to send me up the thing on lead again. BRUCE: I woulda' if there hadn't been a bolt there. It was just enough, spinner hanger and all. But the crux of the route for me was the bivy. PAT: I kept expecting to wake up in the morning next to a dead man... then you would shiver and I'd know you were still alive. BRUCE: The wind. PAT: An evil wind. I was almost sure that we'd be rappelling in the morning, if we survived the night. It was blowing so hard, the buffetting of my bivy sac was creating wind inside, just from the fabric moving around! BRUCE: You shoulda seen my garbage bag, man. What got to me, though, was that the wind was so strong that it would blow my ensolite pad out from under me as I shifted around. And the dust storms! There were times I couldn't breathe because of the dirt and grit blowing around on the ledge. I kept thinking about your windbreaker, about borrowing it. I must have thought about it for two hours before I finally asked. PAT: And I kept expecting you to ask for it. You with your warm blanket jacket. Then you'd shiver again. What happened to that garbage bag, anyway? I could hear it snapping for about half the night, then it stopped. BRUCE: When I borrowed your wind breaker, I took the garbage bag and crumpled it up inside. I thought I was going to die. I was getting desperate and hypothermic. I was trying to get a little insulation from it. It sure wasn't doing me any good shredding and flapping around my ears! PAT: You know, you were getting kinda close to me up there... BRUCE: Listen Pat, I was so cold at that point, I would have snuggled with Charlie Manson! Well, are you glad we did the route? PAT: I'm glad we're down. BRUCE: But are you glad we did the route? PAT: Man, the route is a pile. the rock is shitty, the pro is bad... BRUCE: Yeah, but the exposure, the views, the location are wilder than anywhere else on the peak. Its an unbelievably exposed, wild adventure in a beautiful location.... PAT: On incredibly poor quality rock. But the bivy was the crux. BRUCE: You can say that again, my man. You can say that again.


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