Your report was thoroughly enjoyable. Not only do you have a fine writing style, but your adventure was almost unbelievable. Having climbed the route earlier in the month under near-ideal conditions, it was hard to imagine a party spending two full days on it. I'm sure if the route had appeared in Roper's guide it would have been simply put at class 4, but I don't think the 5.4 rating is far off. I have done almost no climbing above 5.6, and felt the rating justified. Anyway, you seemed to have enjoyed yourselves despite the adversities, and that alone made it one of the better reads I've had in a while. Now don't wait another three years for your next adventure!
Great write up Tom! Biting off a little more than you can chew - whatever your climbing level or ability - and having a great adventure as a result, is what it's all about! By the way, when I did this route, my partner was passing a kidney stone and we summited at 10:30 pm, with the lights of Bishop far below. And bivy'd God knows where on the way down - you are not alone!!!
Lets go climbing sometime !!!
This is a great trip report.
BTW, do you guys know if the chute between Piute Crags and Emerson is a viable escape route? It looked like the upper part was a scree-ski, but the lower looked narrow, like an exercise in canyoneering. I ask because I did see plenty of escape options leading that way, but not knowing, I didn't chance it.
CRAIG: If my wife ever removes the shackles, I may take you up on that offer! :-)
After last weekends unplanned sub zero bivy with my wife waiting in camp, I'm afraid if your wife takes off the shackles it will only be so mine can borrow them!!! :^ 0
Tom--Secor says that chute (and Emerson's SE Ridge, which you reach at the top of the couloir) is cl 3. I didn't spend long looking at it when Sam and I were there (it consisted of frozen snow at the time), but I think Mark headed up there during the Challenge.
Great TR, by the way--I really enjoyed reading it.