Monday, May 20, 2013

Getting high

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to get into the high country for a couple of days with a young friend, Kevin, and Django, the ultra-hound.  Most of the truly high country is off-limits to dogs because it lies within national parks.  Of course, if I have a long train of hooved thousand-pound beasts that will tear up any and all trails, crap and pee everywhere in vast quantities, that's okay.  But a hound that might chase a chipmunk or two?  Federal offense.  As Abbey said:  Resist much, obey little.  The bastards.  Still, there are some places where The Man has decided that his Best Friend is allowed to roam, and roam we did.  This was a hit-and-run operation:  Drive to the trail head Sunday night, hike in, set camp and climb the mountain featured above on Monday, camp in the back country Monday night, and hike back out on Tuesday.  We feel blessed to be able to do such an outing with so little expense and travel time.  Had we still lived in coastal northern California, this would have been impossible.  The nights were chilly but above freezing, the days bright, cool, and virtually bug free.  We only encountered a few gnats as we rounded a lake on the way to Cirque Peak featured above.  The whole trek felt like we were getting away with something, especially since we didn't see anyone except on the way in and the way out.  It was a fine kick off to the summer--and better conditions than we're likely to find until fall.  Note, however, the lack of snow cover.  The picture above is at over 11,000 ft.!

Kevin and Django heading out:

Django getting his phreak on:

Perfect streams in the sun:

Hitting the trail, summit beyond:

Lost in a wilderness of talus:

View to the west from the summit ridge:

View to the north-east:

Django and Kevin arrive at the summit--13,000ft.+:

On top--too much cloud and back light:

Mt. Langley is the big one, center; dark peak left of center, Mt. Whitney; Mt. Russel behind that to the right--fourteeners all:

Kevin looking back up the horrors of the descent:

Camp at sunrise (Note the Black Diamond Betamid--excellent):

On the way back out, we were sorry to leave:

Now, Jodi and I are getting rig, rack and gear ready for another outing.  We'll be taking Kevin, an even younger lad, Max, and Django, of course, back into the high country north of Whitney then out to tackle some rocks in the eastern Sierras.  It should be a grand and challenging time.  Our original plans to scale Olancha have been cancelled due to the very dry year we've been having.  I was very concerned about finding water given our chosen route, and the fact that we are now only taking one car, so a shuttle wasn't in the cards.  We'll be heading into the Kearsarge Pass region--higher, colder, beautiful.  Stay tuned for more high peaks adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying the pictures!!! Thanks for posting. Strapping on a pack is no longer an option for me so I will enjoy the back country vicariously.