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Mount Conness Alpine Triathlon (Bike/Ski/Climb)
July 2006 

 

... Continued

After cycling up the snowless road, we were dismayed to run into a forest ranger at the trailhead.  We knew that could only mean one thing.  "You gonna open up the road today?"

"Just did".  Rats!

Oh well, we were already here, and the ride at the end was all downhill, so we rolled with the punches and headed off up the trail.

 

Note:  clicking on any photograph will present a full screen version.

Abe on the bike

On the waterfall slabs below the East Ridge

 

Climbing the East Ridge near the top

 

Abe looks out over the Yosemite High Country

 

 

 

Rich ascends the upper snow chute on the East Ridge

Rich on the Summit Plateau

 

Rich skiing the upper Y-couloir

Through the choke of the chute

Abe drops in...

 

...and down to the glacier

Last few turns down to Alpine Lake

(yes, this is July in California)

 

The run down the Y-couloir and Conness Glacier was superb.  We debated a second lap, but tomorrow was a big day for us and rest was definitely in order.  Back at camp, I found a marmot having my shoes for dinner.  Little bastards will eat just about anything. 

 

The next morning saw a beautiful dawn, but with a few broken clouds and red skies ("red sky at morning, climber heed warning...").  The West Ridge is a pretty committing route with poor retreat options.  A storm could have very bad consequences if it hit us on the route.  But the skies looked OK for now, so we decided to march on to the base of the route.  Of course, when you do the West Ridge, you basically climb the mountain first, then descent the other side.  When this is all over, we will have basically climbed the mountain three times.

 

Sunrise over the desert

Back up the East Ridge (again!), this time by headlamp

 

Tuolumne Crags in the early morning light

 

Abe starting up the first pitch.  The route is basically two vertical pitches, followed by a long fun mostly Class 4+ ridge that we simulclimbed to save time

 

Looking up the first pitch

 

 

 

 

 

Me, somewhere on Pitch #1, hanging on for my life

Abe leads on

Perfect rock, no more clouds!

 

Climbing across the "window" knife edge.

The classic SW Face is on the right.

 

Fun crack system about halfway up, followed by a lot of exposed Class 3/4 scrambling

 

Nearing the summit, with the route behind me

Abe on the summit

Descending back to Alpine Lake

Skiing down as the rain and hail starts to fall

 

Borderline hypothermic as we hike back to the trailhead in a monster hailstorm with mega-thunder boomers bearing down on us

 

Back at the bikes.  Shivering, but alive

 

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