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 Post subject: Feather Peak - 2/5/06
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:00 pm 
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Location: Bishop, Ca
Feather Peak North Couloir - 2/5/06
From the Pine Creek trailhead, the forest is very thick and the summer trail is hard to find. So I decided to ignore the ‘no trespassing' sign and walk the road up to the mine. Apparently you're not supposed to do this, but at 4:30 in the morning I figured there wouldn't be anyone around to tell me otherwise. At the far end of the mine there is a bridge across the river, and it supposedly meets up with the hiking trail. With the snow, the trail was hard to follow and with my little headlamp I couldn't see more than 15 feet ahead. At this point the river flows through a narrow canyon with big rock walls, and I was worried about going too high and ending up on top of a cliff. But with the river flowing below me, I also didn't want to go to low and end up in the water. I found some coyote tracks and decided to follow him over an improbable ledge in the cliff. The tracks led down to the river, and the beginning of the snowbridge. Those things are pretty smart.
The river sits in a canyon that is very narrow and steep in parts. Most of it is covered in a snowbridge right now, but there are still a bunch of open waterfalls that need to be carefully negotiated. I can't imagine carrying an overnight pack up that thing. With more snow this would be much different. But right now there are trees, bushes, rocks, etc… in a narrow riverbed. The rock walls limit your space for doing switchbacks and it's at a low elevation so the snow is frozen.
And it goes on like this for almost 3000 feet.
At the top of the canyon the angle mellows quite a bit, and I finally got a view of my destination.

Feather is tucked away in the background on the left side:
Image
From there it's a very gradual climb through the trees and over a small col to Royce Lakes.

A dead tree:
Image

Merriam, Royce and Feather:
Image

From Royce Lakes it's still a mellow skin all the way to the base of the couloir:
Image
I had read somewhere that the Feather Couloir tops out at 60 degrees, but that is definitely not true. I'd say the steepest it gets is closer to 45 degrees, but it's still plenty exciting as it maintains that pitch for at least 1000 feet.
The top of the couloir kicks back and has a great area to drop gear and hang out on the rocks. From there it's a short scramble to the summit. 9 hours after leaving the car I was finally on top.

Views looking north and west:
Image

Seven Gables North Peak. 300 more inches of snow and this one is going down:
Image

Somewhere out there:
Image

Looking down the couloir:
Image
The snow in the couloir was mostly powder and soft windboard.
Another look at the peak:
Image
From Royce Lakes I chose to go down a separate drainage and ended up doing more skiing than snowboarding. But when the snow is soft, even skiing downhill can be fun!
Ski tracks:
Image
From there it was a long walk across the flats and then a long ride down the canyon to Pine Creek.
There were people working at the mine so I figured I wouldn't be able to cut through there. I rode back towards the parking lot and dropped down into the forest. That was a mistake. It took me longer to go downhill than it did to hike uphill in the morning, as I thrashed my way through the densest forest in the Eastern Sierra. Take note: DON'T do this. Either stay high and traverse above the forest or plead your case with the people at the mine to walk down the road. I don't know how I got through those trees without breaking my leg.
After 12 1/2 hours, and battling through the forest I finally made it back to the car.


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 Post subject: Great TR..
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:26 pm
Posts: 407
Location: S.F. Bay Area
That's a purdy line.... Nice photos.... And long day.... Way to get after it....

So, looks like mid Feb is going to bring a springlike corn cycle to the Sierra now... Nice change in weather.... not....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:10 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Teheckwithya
BCD,

You are THE man. The burly approaches don't deter you from these lines. Thanks for all of the footage. Nice to see footage of these lesser traveled areas. Big up yourself.

SL


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 Post subject: Feather Peak
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:29 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Bermuda Triangle
Beautiful terrain and photos! I had to pull out my copy of John Moynier's High Sierras to satisfy my curiosity even more. How many miles to get to the base of the couloir?

Always awesome TR's, everytime I check 'em out I wanna start packing my gear in the truck and head west...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:18 pm 
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Posts: 165
Location: Northern Coloraddy
BooyaKasha

Respect

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I'm a hundred miles away son, ready to strike!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:15 pm 
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Posts: 62
spec-fucking-tacular!!! 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2004 6:42 pm
Posts: 62
Location: folsom, ca
fitting movie excerpt for BCD:
BCD: "Now i want you to go in that bag and find my wallet"
Robber: 'Which one is it?'
BCD: "It's the one that says Bad Motherf*cker on it!" 8)

Well done BCD. That's a long day. Yeah, about that 60 degree thing. I remember reading that too(i think the secor book). Maybe in the fall when the ice is condition it has some bulges??
Whattever it is, very proud line. kudos to ya. Please do keep posting all your adventures 8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:55 pm
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Location: Tahoe
Way to go get it BCD. Beautiful pictures. Just curious, Do you solo these trips for peace of mind or can't you find anyone willing to drop that stuff ?

Way to go !!!


Jim

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Step, kick, slide....step, kick, slide....repeat 8,000 times.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am
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Location: California
So what's more entertaining: sick ass lines, sick ass photos, or cool/melow write-ups?

I say tie ball game. This ones got all three.

Quote:
Seven Gables North Peak. 300 more inches of snow and this one is going down:
Image



Right on, man. Thanks for the stoke.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
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Location: California
Solid work bcd! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:29 pm 
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huge day. way to go dan


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Nice as usual! Did you get a good look at the other 2 chutes on Feather? I'm surprised you didn't decide to be a maniac and hit all 3 (like Zellers in the "impressive effort" Moynier mentions in his book - though I'd say that every one of your TR's redefines "impressive effort" in my book)!


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