Saturday, July 13, 2013

Epic (relatively) Weekend

We'll provide an overview of what we thought was a pretty epic weekend in the mountains, but before we do, we thought it best to be clear about the relative epic-ness of our trip. 

Here are some people we came across in the last week:

  1. We'll call him Bill: Celebrating his 60th birthday by getting all his pals to join him for 2 climbs considered 2 of 3 hardest climbs in the Northwest (we're talking biking here). They met in Lone Pine, CA and climbed 6,000 feet up to Horseshoe Meadows and then rode back to down to climb another 4,000 feet up to Whitney Portal -- all in 100 degree heat! Happy 60th Bill!
  2. We'll call her Janet: We see the calves of a 35 year old on the trail in front of us plugging away up the trail to Nevada Falls. She passes most people on the trail. As we catch up, she turns around and it turns out those 35 year old calves are attached to a 65 year old woman who is prepping to celebrate her 65th by climbing Mt Whitney next week! I bet we were the only people who passed her that day. We were traveling light -- a day pack only, so she didn't really have a chance. 
  3. We'll call him Eduardo and that's his real name: Eduardo Calisto from Brazil. We met him in a coffee shop. Appearing relaxed and happy as he sipped his cappuccino, we learn that he's just come in from a run from Lone Pine up to Whitney Portal -- a 10 miler with 4,000 feet elevation in more than 100 degree heat. He just wanted to get an idea what the finish of BadWater would be like the next week. He ran it in 1 hour 44 this time. Wonder what his time will be next weekend after the first 125 miles from Death Valley to Lone Pine? His results should be posted here: We'll be following his progress for sure!
And here is how we define epic: Hail storm, 14,000 foot peak, 22 mile day hike with 5,000 feet of climbing. Oh yeah, and then there was the search and rescue mission...

First, the hail. Dave was feeling a bit pokey due to his participation in the aforementioned 60th birthday celebration climb and as we slowly progressed toward Cottonwood Lakes, storm clouds moved in, thunder started and the next thing we knew, we were soaked. That's wasn't so bad, because we found a spot to stash our packs, put on our rain gear and have lunch. As our lunch of pita and salmon become dotted in white balls that didn't taste like salt, we looked at eachother, grabbed the tent and began assembling. The hail poured down and melted immediately as it reached the tent -- we weren't fast enough with the rain fly and the whole tent was filled with puddles of water...we were still glad for the shelter because the storm continued for 2 more hours and boy did it pour!

Next, the 14,000 ft peak: Maybe I should make a whole post about this -- it was pretty epic. I think I will.

The 22 mile day hike with 5,000 feet of climbing: We drove through Yosemite to get home and decided to retrace a hike that Dave has done a few times -- from Yosemite Valley to Cloud's Rest. You might remember Cloud's Rest from our JMT hike. It was our final night of the hike before descending to Yosemite. Views of Half Dome and the Valley -- an incredible way to end our trip. But, I digress. Perhaps it was those fond memories that motivated me to do this one-day round trip version?

It was worth it. 4 hours 55 minutes up and about the same down (stairs, a wrong trail choice, steep terrain and a bear). Dave finished earlier because he used the cell phone reception on top of Cloud's Rest to check his work email...then, decided he should get back to the Valley for a call. I took my time.

View of Half Done

Feels like you're on top of the world on Cloud's Rest

Nevada Falls

He's pointing to the people climbing the cables to Half Dome

A tall trail duck

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