Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:31 pm Posts: 590 Location: ca. - sierra
some shots from the last two weekends of riding>>>
here in ca the transition to spring is taking its toll on the snow conditions. at least in my neck of the woods anyway. we had quite a good jan/feb then march started off nicely but has been pretty dry and more than a few days of nuking winds. conditions went from generally epic to challenging, but at least also mostly stable. the longer days and weather make it more favorable for spending a night on the hill, so now it is the season for overnights, which is how both of these spots were done.
both would be possible in a day (if you are bgnight) but not for me. im slow, and need time to acclimate a bit. although it would be very sick to ride the whole line in one shot. without the overnight loads.
so it started with langley two weekends ago. went with robert (RJC). in the past when we were in lone pine he would always look out to langley and talk about it. so when the subject came up last time in lone pine, it didnt take much convincing for me to consider returning there.
at the TH robert packing - note the look on his face. i think he is wondering about how he is gonna carry all that stuff! his overnight pack is the same as my day pack.
just as we were finishing up three skiers rolled up. bummer. other people. oh well. for the record if that ever happens again im going somewhere else! nothing against skiers - just other people.
views in the lower tuttle creek/canyon. note the stone house, upper left. would have been a super bad ass place to live back in the day.
so stoked, we were able to skin right from the bottom! actually below the true TH, barely 6500ft. seemed lucky as most of the snowline is/was rapidly rising.
robert skinning up, almost to the 1st bench. from there on it is pretty open and easy
ahhhh - that view of langley when you can just see the route.
at camp, looking up to the evening's fun. snow up there looks worse than it was. good warmup.
almost dinner time. our camp was in those trees down there.
now this was a simple no frillz camp. no disco balls. no ipods. ok i did have my droid but the battery died after like two seconds - HA! - just kidding. seriously though i couldnt help thinking about what my friends 120mi. to the north were doing.
3:30 wakeup, climb the apron in the dark, and this is what greeted us shortly after dawn
robert - with the skiers down lower - the booter was pretty solid. would have preferred to be swimming in knee to waist deep but it just wasnt gonna happen.
oh langley - what a great peak! nothing special about this line here really. not too steep, nor too narrow. it is just your average 14k ft sierra peak with the standard run of the mill 2k ft couloir.
so last time i was there i really wanted to ride it in one shot, but when riding with a partner i think that it is generally a good idea to ride from safe zone to safe zone so last time that is what we did. it was also quite a bit more sketch conditions.
this time was pretty bomber. so after a few turns off the top, we stopped a moment and then i disucssed dropping the rest. since robert was fine with it i took off. that was the best part. at the bottom i took a bunch of pics of robert. he is the little tiny dot at the top.
the snow never really softened up. there were a few pockets of windblown pow. even still it was an amazing time to ride this peak. notice no summit shots? it was nuking winds and seemed well below zero. wasnt really in the mood for pics.
lastly i have a story about one of the skiers, who pretty much raced to catch us at the top of the couloir. he left his other two partenrs behind, no big deal. raced up and caught up to me with about 5 steps to finish the line the guy passes me. so i just said hey whats up, and where is the race bro? to which he replies, you guys are the ones moving fast - this made no sense to me, must have been the altitude? anyway i have climbed a lot with other people around but never had anyone do anything like that. so honestly it was all good and i had no beef with the skiers, it just kind of soured the whole experience. that is why next time, if i see people, well the sierra is a big range. lots of places to hide!
now onto this past weekend. returned to split mtn. this turned out to be plan B, but it was quite a good call IMHO. with the forecast this south facing route seemed to hold the best potential for some good riding off another cali 14'er.
this time i headed up with mike (swanny) and planned to maybe also meet up with brooks (bgnight).
there is quite a long approach to this one, and you dont see the route till you are right under it
almost there. killer sunshine.
and finally she shows herself!
camping at 11k, nice moon!
i had some serious issues with puking on sat eve. due to altitude sickness. well there is one flavor of backpackers pantry i will never be able to eat again. woke up in the mornig feeling much much better.
i took some of my anti-nausea medicine and enjoyed the sunrise
i feel really bad about this but mike also had some altitude issues and ended up deciding not to climb. really wanted to deliver a nice experience riding a 14'er but it just wasnt meant to happen i guess. well next time, there is always next time, and i will definitely want to return here again and again.
so as we started climbing i saw brooks skinning up the lower section. was a bit surprised, as i thought he may go soemwhere else. but there he was, and turns out he had hauled ass up from the TH that morning. crazy crazy. good going mon! so i traded in partners, mike for brooks, and we climbed that face.
had some doubts about the sunshine and warming but i kept my positive attitude and sure enough things softened up nicely! not quite corn, or realy even pre corn, but soft and great for carving! the view of cardinal is always alluring. some nice lines over there.
again i didnt top out here, but at least got a little farther than last time at least i have a good reason to come back! no seriously i had made it just fine with no probs up to that point but then it hit me hard. so i decided it was time to ride.
all riding shots of brooks
great to ride that one with ya bgnight! glad you made it. till next time. aloha.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1387 Location: 395
I started hiking @ 4:30am. About 1/2 hour into it, following a game trail, I came to a steep brushy section guarded by a bunch of rotten cliffs (you can skin on the other side but it's steep and frozen so it would kinda suck). It was pitch black and I couldn't find a way through so I climbed down through the cliffs and into the thick brush. As I was stepping down off the last ledge I pulled off a 100lb rock, lost my balance, and went tumbling backwards downhill into brush and rosebushes. I tried pushing the rock away but it came down the hill with me and landed flush on my leg pinning my foot sideways completely covering it past the knee. So there I am in sticker bushes, head downhill and in turtle postition w/ a giant rock on me. I panicked for a second and realized I felt no pain. I got out of my straps and managed to leverage the rock enough to free my leg. Ok! That woke me right up! No harm done except some skin loss on my thumb.
Random pic I found on summitpost from Cardinal:
When I arrive at south face I see Dave and Mike starting up.
There were a couple annoying cloud bands that didn't seem to want to leave and I was having second thoughts on whether this would soften, but about 10am it completely cleared and things got soft quick.
Cardinal chutes and my backup plan I didn't need to resort to:
Looking down at Dave and Mike's camp:
Dave likes to dig seats with a view on most his ascents:
When I got to the top I scrambled to the lookers right peak not realizing the lookers left was the actual southern summit. The actual summit is on the north side of the east couloir so not like it matters anyway.
Southern summit looking northwest:
The real summit looking north (14058). Birch mountain in background has a sick looking 2k foot corn shot I didn't know about. Intriguing:
Looking down the east couloir I ran into a buddy of mine from Mammoth and his friend coming out. They had tried climbing it the day before and said it was mostly ice still. They climbed another couloir with skis on the east side then skied the shoulder down Sunday. Basically ice climbing w/ some skiing. They're real climbers.
Top of east couloir:
Sort of immature corn on the face but it was soft and that's all that mattered.
I hung out at their camp to refuel then rode to my car in one shot (11 hrs car to car). About 4800ft of corn. Some of the goods on way back:
POV! (a bit overexposed in spots but I corrected what I could):
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:57 am Posts: 1106 Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
Strong work fellas.
When I was a little kid and I went to manmade churches on sundays instead of the Back Country ones, I remember a sunday school teacher telling me that hell was the worst thing imaginable...for eternity.
If I believed in that sort of thing, I'd say hell is permanent altitude sickness.
_________________ "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." -Sinclair Lewis
Nice! I've wanted to go after the Langley couloir ever since you shared your first visit there a few years ago.
I think you guys should have brought some disco magic with you on the Split trip. Not that it helps with the sickness at all, but there is something special about puking under a disco ball. Oh yeah I totally stole this move from you, Dave.
BG - total missed opportunity with that rock. You should have sawed your leg off, clawed your way back to the car, and written a book.
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am Posts: 2374 Location: California
Sweet lines. Glad you're ok Brooks. As far as that dude trying to step on the summit first--he can have first place but he can't have first tracks. Please tell me he didn't try to take freshies after you cut the whole skin track and booter?
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:09 pm Posts: 626 Location: white room
Never been on Split, or even seen it in real life, but I want to do it just for the name. Sounds like something every splitter should do. Maybe even put a big sb.com banner up there! Brooks, you buy a lotto ticket on your way home?
great stuff gentlemen jealous you were able to skin langley from the car...had to carry my board to about 9.5K a couple years back, though still definitely worth it. bg, glad you didn't have to 'ralston' your way out of that situation!