Monday, September 1, 2014

August 30 University Peak Attempt

13632' University Peak straddles the high Sierra crest, just south of Kearsarge Pass. I considered taking a shot at it since I climbed nearby Mt Gould in 2009.  After arriving at the trailhead Friday night, I slept in my car and got on the trail before sunup. But sometimes circumstances don't favor summiting and this was one of those occasions.
Route traced in magenta, showing my farthest point of progress
Sunrise from the trailhead
From Robinson Lake: aiming for 12,700' University Pass at center
Lots of cold wind in the upper bowl. I found this small rock shelter that some previous climber built, and eye that big pile in the upper bowl just below University Pass

Atop the talus pile.  No other climbers up here today.
Here I could look across to the base of the 700' chute to U. Pass. Just gaining access to the mouth of the chute would involve crossing the rest of the pile, comprised of car-to-RV-sized boulders and holes in between.  Having spent four hours to reach this point, I ate lunch and considered the chute and high winds on top. My mind was made up when I heard rocks tumble down the chute.

Right after I started down, the sun came out
Looking down at Robinson Lake and Independence Peak. This hike was worth it for the scenery.
I had time to see the Eastern California Museum in Independence, where the Norman Clyde exhibit includes his ice axe
At the Dow Villa Hotel in Lone Pine, I drew the Norman Clyde room, upstairs on the front corner of the building. It offered a view of the Eastern Sierra that Norman Clyde would have appreciated.