The Eagle Route is a moderate traditional climbing route, but with a short hike so it feels and appears to be more like a mini-alpine rock climb. With a short but steep hike and solid rock over beautiful views, it's a worthy undertaking for budding tradition style climbers. The Eagle Route is rated 5.5 but feels a bit harder and also depends on which variation you choose near the summit.
From the Eagle Falls Trailhead, follow the trail for about a mile, stay on the lower fork of the turon loop. You will pass a bridge and the falls on the way to the lake, this is a busy trailhead with frequent tourist who hike to the lake. Take the fork to the lake and cross the lake outlet, follow a use trail around the lakeshore. You will come to a small rock wall on the side of the lake, follow the use trail up around the right hand side of this small wall. To the west there are two large gullies/draws coming down from the ridge, head up the gully on the right through tallus boulders. Half way up this gully cross the brush to the left onto more tallus which reaches the top. Upon reaching the top of the gully, follow the ridgeline to the northwest (turn right) for about one-half mile until reaching the Eagle Lake Buttress. There is a neat balancing rock in the middle of this ridge with spectacular views of Emerald Bay and the Desolation Wilderness, this is where the Eagle Lake Buttress comes into view. There are some trees and shade near the base for gearing up. Click read more for the rest of the route.
Posted by squishy on Wednesday, September 09 @ 00:20:05 EDT (1610 reads)
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North Ridge of Mount Conness 2008
Randomly, Summit Poster Biz, sent me an email and wanted to climb the North Ridge of Mount Conness. I must have been a little buzzed from some red wine when I sat down to reply. I was soon in the middle of changing jobs and packing for my 1st alpine climb. I had no idea what to bring so I just brought it all, climbing gear, camping gear and backpacking gear.
We left Sacramento at 9:00pm Friday September 19th, and reached Saddlebag lake campground after midnight. When we pulled into the parking lot and noticed a few people sleeping on the ground next to their vehicles and soon we did the same. Biz probably wanted to leave earlier, but we woke up with the sun. We organized a small lightweight rack for the day, consisting of a bunch of climbing gear (full set of Metolious ultra light cams, and a set of Black Diamond nuts complimented with lightweight slings and draws). I had some old green tea and set off toward the lake. We met a considerably large group near the dam, they were aiming for the normal route; it seemed it would be a crowded mountain. I didn't make it more than 10 minutes before throwing up all over the trail. Could it have been the old green tea I had for breakfast or something else? Click read more for the rest of the trip report
Posted by squishy on Thursday, October 09 @ 00:07:44 EDT (2448 reads)
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Pyramid Peak 2008
On Aug 1st 2008 I did my 1st solo adventure and summited Pyramid Peak (9,983 feet) via the Rocky Canyon Creek route. I took 4 liters of water a sandwich and my backpacking gear, it must have weighted about 35lb's. I had the entire summit to myself and I only ran into people lower down the trail who where coming up for day hikes as I was leaving. The Rocky Canyon route up Pyramid Peak is probably the greatest vertical climb in the Tahoe Sierra. Starting from a base elevation of 5,900', the route climbs up nearly 4,100' to the summit of Pyramid Peak in 3.3 miles. I have done this route in the summer and winter and I was confident it would offer a challenging yet safe solo adventure. In just a few days I plan to summit the Middle Palisade and I have been preparing for 14,000 feet. I've been running every other day, hiking, climbing and I figured the best way to acclimate to higher elevations is by going to higher elevations. On a whim I planned to spend the night on top of Pyramid Peak and because it was a Friday (I had to work Sunday) I would need to go solo, all my partners would be working, and I'm kind of glad. I always wanted to go solo, I guess I just never put my money where my mouth is and stepped into the unknown. It was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad I went through with it. Click read more for the rest of the trip report.
Posted by squishy on Tuesday, August 05 @ 19:59:06 EDT (2246 reads)
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Big Sur 2008
In January Lis and I made it out to Big Sur for a weekend of hiking and exploring. Big Sur is about 120 miles south of San Francisco, where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the sea. We visited several waterfalls including one that drops right into the ocean, but the wildlife was the highlight of the trip. We spotted the California condor, deer, turkey, sea otter, seals, many birds and even migrating grey whales. We met two very nice rangers at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and they told us about the whale watching spot on hwy 1. They provided binoculars and a wealth of information, Lis was spotting whale spouts in the ocean for the remainder of the weekend. We spent dusk on Pfeiffer state beach with a bottle of California red wine while reading excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur”. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park was especially beautiful with redwoods, waterfalls and beaches all within close proximity. We also visited Point Lobos State Reserve on the way back to Sacramento, with its crowed trails and beautiful coast. I took some great pictures from Monterey to Big Sur, here's some sleepy seals. Big Sur has so much to offer I wish we had a few more days for longer excursions; this would be an awesome place to do some backpacking.
When I was very young I remember looking up at the Thunder Mountain while camping at Silver Lake with my family. I use to wonder what use to live up there in the caves and overhangs. It was a magical place for a child's mind and for some reason the place stuck in mine. Things always seem so large when you are so small, but this one didn't change when Lis and I revisited it on 10/7/07. It was a beautiful day, it had snowed the day before, leaving the mountains lightly dusted. Thunder Mountain is a short distance from Kirkwood ski resort, as you can see in the pictures, we found some discouraging warning signs. We parked near the Carson Spur and reached the summit on a moderate trail. The route was about 7 miles round trip with 1800 feet of elevation gain. In the snow was numerous animal tracks and we were startled by a Blue Grouse flapping into the trees. We ate lunch perched above Silver Lake amongst rock formations not unlike those of Pinnacle National Monument.
I learned of the mountains more recent and tragic history while doing research for this hike. Paul Ruff died there while attempting a world record ski jump, I took a picture of the memorial cross found near the summit. This hike was also Lis's first "peak bag". Thunder Mountain is 9410 feet and the highest point in Amador county, and it was bigger and better than my young mind had imagined years ago.