Left Sacramento at 1600 hours on Friday, 08/07/2009.
Arrival time at dirt parking lot of 1200 after crossing the 4x4 (almost) trail (standard route) to get to the trail head. FYI- I crossed in a 2003 Ford F-150 2WD with original tires. A little hard getting out, but manageable.
Started the climb at 0430 on almost a full moon. Perfect conditions to begin. Yes the beggining of the climb is a scree field, and yes it is very tiring. Note I learned very keen trail finding skills based on the ease of losing the trail, in moonlight and sunlight.
Arrived at Red Tail Lake at 0900. Of course, I had read on summitpost that one of the very stellar and elite mountain climbers had reached the SUMMIT of Split Mountain in 4.5 hrs, and I somehow thought I could do that. Well, it took me 4.5 hrs to reach the lake.
Continued passed the lake up the gnarly talus. Not technical, but physically demanding from the standpoint of having to balance yourself regularly. At this point, seeing the saddle (I thought), I ditched my climbers book (failed to bring the pages I printed off summitpost, stuck with climbers book), and continued onward. Acheived the false saddle, and then confused about where to find true saddle.
Without book, I adhered to old addage of staying high to avoid losing ground, and as such wasted a ton of time and energy achieving true saddle by traversing the ring at that level. Late season snow on the true saddle Class III climb which I foolishly climbed with no ice axe or crampons to create the only degree of difficulty and exposure on climb.
Topped out on the saddle, traversed more talus and a false summit or two, and gained true summit at 1400 after 9.5 hrs. 5 hours down to truck and return at 1930 hours. Return to Sacramento immediately and arrive at 0200 on Sunday.
Met a group of climbers up at the top from Stockton. Good group of guys.
The climb was easy, though it was physically demanding.
The contrasts of the summit are amazing, and for all the kicking and screaming I was doing getting to the top, it was well worth it.
Beautiful views at the top.
First solo 14er.
CA 14er No. 5.
Dedicated to my Mom, who died three days later from terminal cancer.
Marti Ann McClaren- 01/17/56 - 08/11/09.
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