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On the drive to Mammoth, September 9, 2005 - This album contains a few pictures we took on our drive from Palo Alto through Yosemite to Mammoth Lakes.
|Bike Ridden:||Rotator Pursuit|
|Cumulative climbing:||5530 feet|
|Avg. power to rear wheel (PowerTap):||128 watts|
|Total energy to rear wheel (PowerTap):||2897 kJ (805 wh)|
High Sierra Fall Century, September 10, 2005 - Zach Kaplan, Ron Bobb and I started from our condo in Mammoth Lakes shortly before 8:00. We rode down the hill out to US395 before joining the official route of the High Sierra Fall Century. From Mammoth Junction we rode north on US395 over Deadman Summit and down into Mono Basin.
At June Lake Junction we left the official route that continues on US395 to CA120 east and turned left on CA158 (June Lake Loop) to take what I consider to be the most scenic part of the ride, where the slopes of the High Sierra peaks plunge directly down to the road. We stopped a couple of times at particularly scenic spots (Oh Ridge and Mono Basin viewpoint) before reaching US395 where after a short backtrack south we turned left onto CA120 toward Benton and were back onto the official century route.
We continued east on CA120 over the shoulder of the Mono Craters before plunging to the lowpoint in Mono Basin (6591ft) and then started the long gradual climb to Sagehen Summit (8140ft).
The descent from Sagehen Summit is always thrilling, and somewhat dangerous due to the combination of fast speeds and strong gusty winds that blow in this area. Today was no exception.
We continued down the frost-heaved road to the dusty, windy Adobe Valley rest stop for a short break before continuing east on CA120 across a number of whoop-de-doo dips and bumps before we reached the Benton Crossing rest stop.
At Benton Crossing Rd. we turned south and began my least-favorite part of the route: the tedious climb up Wildrose Grade. At the top of Wildrose Grade we stopped for a break at the rest stop before continuing a bit further to the summit.
The descent from Wildrose Summit looks fairly boring but was rather exciting due to the gusty winds. The last 15 miles of the ride down Watterson Canyon and around the north end of Lake Crowley was similarly exciting with winds that I would estimate were blowing 20-30 mph with an occasional stronger gust.
I rode this last part at low to moderate effort (100-150 watts) and found that although my speed was usually in the high teens I was passing everyone at a significant speed differential. While the fairing made for tricky handling at times, it reduced the overall physical effort in these windy conditions.
We arrived at the finish area shortly before 17:00, having ridden at a relaxing pace. My dad who had gone on a hike to Duck Pass earlier in the day drove the van down to the finish area to pick up Ron and me. Zach, ever the glutton for punishment, opted to ride the 10 miles back into town, into the setting sun, into a headwind, and up another 800 feet.
Lembert Dome, September 11, 2005 - Ron Bobb, Zach Kaplan, my dad (David), and I started from the Lembert Dome parking area at the base of the dome. We crossed Tioga Rd. and hiked a short distance near the Tuolumne River toward the Dog Lake parking area behind the Tuolumne Lodge, crossed through the parking lot and began a short climb up to the shoulder of Lembert Dome, crossing Tioga Rd. along the way.
At the shoulder of Lembert Dome we continued out onto the granite on the south side of the summit before hooking back to the northeast and climbing to the top. After a short break at the top we hiked down the west ridge to the west summit of Lembert Dome and then returned to the shoulder of the dome. We hiked back to the parking lot by continuing north and then west on the Dog Lake trail that circles around the north side of the dome.
This hike is a bit longer than the hike up Gaylor Peak and is more crowded. But even though Lembert Dome appears like nothing more than a bump in the Meadow to some of the higher peaks in the area (See other photo albums.), it's still worthwhile for the dramatic terrain and the panoramic views from the top.
(4.3 miles; 900 feet climbing)
Gaylor Peak, September 11, 2005 - This short hike up Gaylor Peak (11004ft) from Tioga Pass (9945ft) gives lots of "bang for the buck", offering spectacular views of the Yosemite high country from Tuolumne Meadows to peaks east of the Sierra Crest. It's a great hike to do if you have an extra couple of hours while driving through Yosemite or if you're not much of a hiker but want to climb a peak.
Ron Bobb, Zach Kaplan, my dad, and I started from the small parking area next to the entrance station at Tioga Pass and hiked up the Gaylor Lakes Trail. Where the trail crosses the ridge we set off cross-country directly north toward the summit of Gaylor Peak, another 500 feet higher. The cross-country hiking was easy across a broad alpine meadow. As the terrain got rockier we stayed to the left of the crest along the short trees until we got to a field of scree (clinkers) a couple hundred feet below the summit. Once we got through the scree, the summit was an easy walk. We stayed at the top for about 35 minutes before heading down.
(2.3 miles; 1060 feet climbing)
Cathedral Range, September 13, 2005 - We started this hike at the Cathedral Pass trailhead along Tioga Rd. in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. We hiked a short distance on the John Muir Trail toward Yosemite Valley before we veered left onto a well-worn use trail to Budd Lake.
On our way up we neglected to cross Budd Creek and go to Budd Lake, but instead continued up the trail that heads to the climber's routes on Cathedral Peak. But, before we got to Cathedral Peak we veered off the trail and continued cross-country to a small meadow with a meandering stream where we ate our first lunch. Such a place would be filled with blood-sucking mosquitos earlier in the season, but now we were left in peace.
After our break we continued cross-country up some stepped slabs to a faint use trail in a broad "ski run" width chute that zig-zags its way up to Echo Peaks. At the top of this ridge we got our first view to the south to Echo Lake and the knife-thin Matthes Crest.
The easiest routes up the Echo Peaks looked a bit too difficult for us (Class 3 or 4), so we headed eastward and upward toward the top of Echo Ridge, the highest point in this general area of the Cathedral Range.
We stopped about 100 feet from the summit when the Class 2 route became Class 3. As the pictures show the granite is rough and knobby and gives good traction, but the scramble to the peak of the ridge is highly exposed on both sides, with a precipitous overhang on the south and plenty of evidence below indicating that rockfall is common.
After retracing our route off Echo Ridge we made a beeline for Cathedral Peak. We walked across the slabs to the broad pass between Cathedral Lakes and Budd Lake and then up to the bottom of the climber's route on the Southeast Buttress.
From this point we zig-zagged our way up the use trail made by climbers descending the peak. This "trail" is quite dramatic as it parallels the climber's route on the rock face. At the top of this trail we were only a couple hundred feet from the summit block, but it looked closer. We squeezed through a gap between two great blocks of granite and found ourselves a nice spot out of the wind to enjoy our second lunch and the magnificent view from the peak that is considered to be at the center of the Yosemite high country.
Descending Cathedral Peak we took a different use trail that dropped directly to the east rather than the one next to the Southeast Buttress. When we got to the bottom of this route we looked up and never would have thought a viable route would be possible that way. From here it was easy to find the main use trail back to Tioga Rd. even though there are trails all over this area.
(8.5 miles; 3100 feet climbing)
|Bike Ridden:||Rotator Pursuit|
|Cumulative climbing:||3250 feet|
|Total energy to rear wheel (PowerTap):||1314 kJ (365 wh)|
Reds Meadow, September 14, 2005 - This was a short day. Having done a long hike the day before my dad and I took the morning off to check email, read, and relax around the house. But the weather was ideal for getting outside: sunny and clear, cool, but little wind, and I couldn't resist getting out for a short ride.
From our condo in Mammoth I rode up to the ski resort and then over Minaret Summit and down the west side to the end of the road at Reds Meadow Resort and back. Once past the Summit the road is closed to general traffic, so the only motor traffic was the occasional shuttle bus (that the day-use public has to take) and camper/motorhome going to one of the campgrounds on the west side of the pass.
As I rode down the hill and back up mostly in solitude I recall that during the Reagan Administration (CA governor) this road was considered as another through crossing of the Sierra Crest. But it was said that the idea was abandoned after Reagan was given a tour of the area.
The day I did the ride the air was thick with smoke from controlled burns in Yosemite. Even so, the distant views are still spectacular.
An Attempt on Mt. Conness, September 15, 2005 - We started early from the Sawmill Walk-In Campground along Lee Vining Creek just south of Saddlebag Lake and hiked up along the road and use trail through the Carnegie Preserve as far as it would take us. Eventually we had to cross several boulder fields that required us to do more of our own route-finding until we found ourselves at the bottom of a great bowl below the frowning cliffs of Mt. Conness's southern ridge.
Three years ago we had found a way through a notch in the cliffs to the Yosemite side of the crest and a straightforward cross-country hike to the summit plateau of Conness. Unfortunately, that year we had arrived too late to get to the summit and back before dark. This year the notch was blocked by snow, icy snow that was as slick as snot on the surface. With neither crampons nor a desire to scramble through the boulder field on the right (something we inadvertently found ourselves doing three years ago when looking for the way across the ridge) we turned around and decided to do another short hike that day as consolation.
(6 miles; 1200 feet climbing)
Saddlebag Lake, September 15, 2005 - After our aborted hike up Mt. Conness, we drove up to the Saddlebag Lake Resort and hired the water taxi to take us to the far side of the lake where we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon hike through Twenty Lakes Basin and views of many of the nearby High Sierra peaks. (5.2 miles; 750 feet climbing)
Hetch Hetchy, September 16, 2005 - On our way back from our annual trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA Dad and I detoured to the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite and took a couple of short hikes to explore the area and to get a feel for the "other" valley in Yosemite. We also wanted to see where we have been getting our local drinking water all of these years.
Our first hike was to the outflow near the base of O'Shaughnessy dam. Our second hike was across the dam, through a tunnel, and on to Wapama Falls and back.
(6.2 miles; 1650 feet climbing)
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