Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 10: Cirque Peak Loop

I got in one final Sierras trip, to climb 12900' Cirque Peak at the head of the Cottonwood Lakes basin. I ascended cross country on the north face, up about a thousand feet of scree and boulderfield, before summiting and descending the southwest slope to the PCT and Chicken Spring Lake, returning through Cottonwood Pass. On the summit was a Meetup group who took my picture.
The entire loop is almost 16 miles. I made this same hike in 2007 and liked it enough to redo it. It was a great day for climbing in the Sierras, and afterward I had a room waiting for me at the Dow Villa in Lone Pine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

John Muir Trail progress, mapped

OK then, the fastest ultrarunner has finished the 212 mile John Muir Trail in under four days. By the time we finish we'll have taken seven years (about 55 trail days). But in breaking it up, and with the connector trails, we'll have hiked over 360 miles and seen a lot more of the High Sierra. Honestly, thinking back of all the connector trails we've used, how few people we've seen on the passes, and how pretty the valleys were that lead us to and from the JMT, it's all just as great.
Obviously we're not hiking it contiguously end to end
Looking NW from Lone Pine. Our final segment lies between the 2015 and 2017 pins.
Next year's segment will be eight days, 68 miles, five high passes (four are around 12000'), without resupply. We'll parallel the high wall of peaks named the Palisades, in Kings Canyon NP.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

John Muir Trail 2016: Finishing Yosemite

This year's JMT trip was shorter than others, at 40 miles, but we were able to fashion a five day loop trip with just a one-mile car shuttle. The segment that we needed to close was the 15-mile stretch between Half Dome and Cathedral Lakes. Weather was perfect, mosquitoes were rare, and we visited three of the High Sierra Camps along the way (Vogelsang, Merced Lake, and Sunrise).  80% complete now, next year will finish the trail with a 68-mile trip between South Lake and Onion Valley in 8 days, without a resupply.
Mark posted his best shots here.
After an overnight stay in tentcabins at Tuolumne Meadows, we're ready to start
Day 1: Crossing Tuolumne Creek, we won't see dayhikers again til day 5
Approaching Vogelsang Pass
Day 2: on the descent into the Merced River drainage
Day 3: hiking past Merced Lake
A fawn at Merced Lake
The trail on the floor of Merced Valley
Near our joining of the JMT, and looking at Half Dome's backside. We climbed Half Dome when we hiked that segment in 2010.
That stripe is the cable route. Can you see hikers?
See them yet?

Day 5: Cathedral Pass, Cathedral Lake and Cathedral Peak