Funny thing this life we live. A wonderful bright vibrant young woman has turned into a bitter selfish ...human. At one time we walked hand in hand , arm in arm embracing the world challenges together. I was even the inspiration of a story of hers entitled "My Hero". She went over the rapids at Big Trees and I ran, climbed, dove in and pulled her out as she was going down exhausted. Now that has evolved into a bitter custody/divorce battle.
So begins the story of yet another adventurer getting away from the daily life we seem to have to live. Having decided on a day trip to climb either Mount Tallac or play near Round Top and the Sisters I was lured by the trip reports of the south east chutes of Mount Tallac. Not being one to stick the class 1 aproach I was intrigued by the reference to "peel off" the trail at the clearing and bushwack 100 yds. Allow me to clarify that I was intrigued by the "peel" reference not at all by the "bushwacking" that was mentioned.
I slept about 5 hours the night before and awoke packed and ready to embark on the drive from Stockton to the trailhead near Camp Richardson. A very nice drive of 3 hours and I was filling out my wilderness permit at the trailhead. A Jeep Grand Cherokee parked next to my Liberty Renegade and after a few minutes conversation it came out that we are both REI employees, him at Folsom and myself in Stockton. I finished my preperations and hit the trail.
After a short hike up to the clearing mentioned in the trip report I took a short break and surveyed my entrance into the Manzanita and Willows to begin the bushwack portion of the trip.
The view from the clearing
After I came through a very short patch of Manzanita the brush thinned considerably and travel was very easy with exposed rock to walk on.
I took a break at the top of a small shoulder at the bottom of the ridge that seperates the scree covered cirque to the South from the south east chutes to the North. The trip report advises against the cirque and it is advice to be heeded. Although not near as much elevation gain as the routes to the North it will more than likely consist of many times the steps if you are fortunate enough to not slide down. From here in the comfortable shade I surveyed the SE chutes and the ridge in front of me. The chutes are steep and look to be much better climbing in the winter. I was attracted to the scrambling possibilities of going straight up the ridge. From my vantage point I saw many cracks and ledges that appeared to allow some entertaining pathways to the upper portion of the ridge.
The boulder field and the ridge climb
With this plan I began my trek up the boulder field that lay before me to gain access to the lower walls of the ridge.
Once I topped the boulder field I reached the wall and was greeted by some wonderful class 2,3 and 4 climbing. The cracks and ledges seemed planned for scrambling with handholds and footholds almost always where I needed them. Even during the class 4 more vertical portions I never felt I was getting into a tight spot with no where to go. My only thought was that after all this climbing I was going to gain the upper ridge and find myself staring at an impassable drop and having to backtrack to gain the trail to the summit. When I reached the top of the SE chutes I continued up the ridge and when I topped out I was greeted by the view to the west with a small talus field with a meadow beyond with the trail meandering through it.
The view to the west
I headed Northwest and gained the trail about 15 minutes from the summit and was on top in no time. The view is well worth it. I didn't climb Round Top but I did see it during the higher portions of the climb. I had a nice lunch on the summit after a failed search for a register and started down after about 45 minutes.
I decided to take the trail back down and was treated to seeing a Grouse at the last trees while still on top of the summit ridge. I headed down the steep dusty trail and didn't regret my climb up at all. I was greeted by yet another Grouse minutes before I reached Cathedral Lake. I was out of water so I stopped and filtered a little and headed back to the car.
When I reached the clearing where I "peeled" off the trail I was reminded about how we may not be in control of what happens in our lives, we are in control of how we live. My reality is that the life I started with our sons mother has just changed. It is up to me on how I manage that change. The important thing to me is my ethical and moral beliefs and of course .. my sons well being and health, physically and mentally. So as you travel down your next trail or climb your next rock keep in mind that the world spins regardless of what we think or do. For me it is therapeutic to go into the wilderness and completely surrender control to the wild and do all I can to adapt to the planet on which we live. That reminds me that right now is all that matters, yesterday is gone and tomorrow is nothing more than a dream woven by my mind. I wish you all a great time out there and be safe.
No comments posted yet.