Wednesday, July 9, 2008

technical difficulties on conness

OK, so I forgot my topo/description, made a small error on the approach to Conness, and took us up the NW Ridge of N Peak, which I realized was wrong once we started on the route. Fortunately, the NW Ridge joins up with the N Ridge of Conness so I guess you could think of it as an enhancement.

We made it to the N Ridge and moved quickly. The weather appeared to be holding out (20% chance of t-storms), but the winds were chilly on the W side. The crux on this route is a downclimb in a 5.6 crack, which is fairly easy thanks to a plethora of features. The next section includes some exposed class 4 slabs followed by one of the best photo ops in the Sierra, the fin. We topped out and signed the register. Some cock holster (special thanks to Mike S for this term, which seems most appropriate) had decided to censor my all-time favorite summit register entry. This was remediated.

The original plan was to do the N Ridge / W Ridge link-up, and I figured we could probably still squeeze it in. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember which of the many chutes that dropped down to W was the correct one and we got cliffed out several times. I was also starting to worry a bit about time, knowing that the descent was all cross-country and that I didn't have it memorized, and the wind situation on the W side given that we would be soloing. I discussed this with Jascha and we decided to cut our losses and head out.

I managed to piece together the descent from memory and cairns/footsteps and we dropped down to the E into the mosquito-laden swampland around the Carnegie Institute. To bypass the 0.7 miles of pavement between Sawmill Campground and the Saddlebag Lake parking area we contoured through the woods toward the damn at the end of Saddlebag Lake. This time I didn't get lost.

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