Lone Pine Peak (N#75, T#9), Mount LeConte (N#76, T#10), Mount Corcoran (N#77, T#11), Mount Mallory (N#78, T#12), Mount Irvine (N#79, T#13)
Nathan Day 60, Travis Day 4
Nathan and I had a big day ahead of us, we would be attempting to link 5 peaks in 18.5 miles, a total of 12,000ft elevation gain, and lots of technical terrain. Thankfully, we had Justin and Shane joining us for the classic North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. They met us at the Meysan Lake trailhead at 7:00am and we set off. I appreciated their lighthearted company, and the first few miles flew by as we laughed our way to the base of the north ridge.
The north ridge is a fun route with good 5th class climbing and a few knife edge ridge sections.
We accidentally got off route but eventually found our way back to the ridge proper. Unfortunately Nathan and I had to leave our buddies behind halfway up the ridge because of our ambitious agenda but not before Justin whipped out a cherry pie! Yum!
We reached the summit of Lone Pine a bit after noon.
Nathan and I then followed the 3rd class ridgeline to Roscoe Peak.
It was a surprisingly interesting bit of climbing, however it took us a bit longer than expected.
On our way up to LeConte we noticed the north face had a striking 5.7 crack system leading directly to its summit. Originally we planned on contouring around to the mountain's west gulley but decided this granite wall seemed more fun.
The climb turned out to be quite good, and I even found an old hex on the route. Score! From the summit of Le Conte I couldn't help but notice the terrain to Corcoran appeared daunting.
The traverse to Corcoran consisted of a series of ledges that contoured beneath sharp sharktooth towers. I hadn't ever traveled through terrain quite like it before. The route was blocky, loose and time consuming but eventually we arrived on top of Corcoran.
It was late in the day and we realized if we wanted to summit Mallory and Irvine before dark we needed to hurry. After traversing back through the towers the slog up Mallory was uneventful but slow and steep.
We had one more peak and only an hour until dark. We charged down Mallory and over to Irvine but found another obstacle in our way in the form of a steep snow traverse.
Nathan traversed high on the snow and I watched him carefully friction his way across. Because it was so late in the day the snow was frozen over with a layer of slick ice. A slip would lead to a slide of hundreds of feet down to the rocks below, ouch. Thankfully Nathan made it to the other side, but not before stating "This is kind of f@#ked up." Uh oh.
I descended down to where the snow was a bit less steep though the traverse was still a bit harrowing. Once I reached the other side Nathan and I blasted to the top of Irvine riding a bit of adrenaline.
We arrived at the summit just as the sun dropped below the western Sierra skyline. The surrounding peaks were alight in beautiful fiery sunset rays.
We still had a 3rd class ridge to descend so we put our headlamps on and charged down. Thankfully it is hard to get lost on a ridge, even in the dark, so we just putzed our way and checked the map every so often just in case. After an hour or so we dropped into the basin and located the Meysan Lakes trail. It was about 9:00pm, so we ate "dinner" and then dropped down the trail back to our bikes. When all was said and done, we got back to our vans a bit before midnight and hit the hay. What a day!
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