Saturday, May 31, 2008

valley fever

The whole point of moving to Bishop was to take advantage of alpine season. Unfortunately, after only two peaks recent storms pushed the real season start out even further. Cragging and bouldering in the Owens Valley weren't quite satisfying my craving, so this morning I headed up to Rock Creek intent on doing (or reconning) the NE Ridge of Bear Creek Spire.

I didn't exactly get the alpine start I had intended due to late night conversations with Lisa and Jascha, but 8a is better than noon. The 38F trail head temperature was a good sign, meaning that the snow was freezing at night. I set off on firm snow, taking the Treasure Lakes approach that Chris showed me last summer. I even had to use my ice axe at one point to traverse an icy side hill.
Unfortunately, around Dade Lake I started postholing likely due to the new layer of fresh snow from last week. I decided to continue until I reached the basin below the BCS to get a better look at my route as well as the N Arete, which is on my summer to do list. The N Arete looked clear with the exception of a small amount of snow blanketing a few flat ledges. The NE Ridge, however, was mostly covered. I will fully admit that I am an alpine rock climber, not a true mountaineer (as pointed out by my climbing partner, Miguel), and the thought of slogging up (and down) a route that in another month should be pristine granite (see photos from last July) made me feel lazy. Consequently, I called it a recon/training day and headed back. Guess it's back to the crags tomorrow.

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