Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alpine Climbing on Minya Konka (China) + Snow Creek to Tramway Mtn Station + Caldwell Redpoints Dawn Wall

Alpine climbing on Minya Konka in Sechuan China by Gietl and Italians
Snow Creek Village to Aerial Tramway Mountain Station trip report by Ellen and Sally - Page 3
Tommy Caldwell sends Dawn Wall crux in Yosemite (redpoints hardest pitch)
Mark Horell blog on climbing the big peaks in the Himalayas
Cirque Crest Loop : Windy Point and Marion Peak trip repost with pictures - Leor Pantilat  -- Alpine climbs on Minya Konka in Sichuan Chine by Gietl, Tavernini and Messini  -- Ellen Coleman and Sally Morley (California) -- Snow Creek Village to Aerial Tramway Mountain Station

Re: Snow Creek Village To Aerial Tram Mountain Station

Postby Ellen » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:09 pm
Howdy All :)
Sally and I started hiking a little after 3 AM on Sunday. It was quite windy which effectively killed any attempt to converse and, in addition to the darkness, also slowed our pace. When the sun finally rose, we could see a huge layer of dust over the Coachella valley due to the wind. As a result, the sunrise was a dud. There was significant erosion of the trail in certain areas and the trail was choked with brush starting at about 4 K. I finally gave in and donned pants and a long sleeved shirt
after getting my left leg gashed several times.

Due to the obnoxious wind and chilly temperature, we enjoyed the radiant heat of the sun – not our normal reaction to hiking in the desert. As we approached the ghost forest (burned trees), it was evident that someone had worked on the trail. We switchbacked up through the rocks (this section always reminds me of a movie set for a western) and finally reached the pine trees on the north side of Fuller Ridge. It took us 6 hours to reach Black Mountain road. It seemed to take forever to reach the Fuller Ridge TH where we stopped for lunch a bit after 11 am. We donned down sweaters and beanies to stay warm while we sat and ate. Sally immediately put on her gloves -- I’d had mine on for the past several hours. My hands are more sensitive to the cold due to frost bite.

We resumed hiking around 11:30, still wearing our down sweaters and beanies. No matter how fast I tried to hike, I couldn’t get warm and my hands started to go bad. My friend Erica calls this pain “the screaming barkies.” Sally saved me by switching gloves – hers were Seirus; mine were Manzilla wind-stopper. It seemed to get a bit warmer after the Castle Rocks so we removed our down and Smart Wool long sleeved shirts. Big mistake – we wound up back in the shade and freezing again -- ugh :? Put the Smart Wool shirts on again. When we reached our first stream on the Fuller Ridge trail, we felt vindicated – it was completely frozen over.

It was a relief to reach the Deer Springs junction and climb up the “three bears” to Little Round Valley. We finally encountered our first hikers of the day, who were descending and not very courteous about yielding the trail. Bed Springs was partially frozen and the next stream had a beautiful ice cascade. We took a quick fuel break in LRV before heading up the endless switchbacks. By LRV, I knew I was not up to the summit and Sally concurred. When we reached the junction, it was 4 PM – we’d been out 13 hours. Took another short break for a celebratory toast, then started down the main trail.

The sun was setting on the descent, casting a beautiful pyramidal shadow over the desert floor. We were surprised to see a significant number of folks heading up -- many of them were completing C2C. We diverted from the trail at around 10 K and descended cross country to Tamarack valley. We wound our way over to the Sid Davis drainage. It was a relief to rejoin the main trail. Even Heartbreak hill (climb to the ranger station) and the cement switchbacks were welcome sights. We reached the tram at 7 PM – 16 hours and my absolutely hardest Snowcreek PCT hike :roll: Tram Tim welcomed us, Frank supplied us with anesthetic beverages, Jessica brought us yummy chili and security kindly took us down the tram road to my car.

It may be quite a while before I do this hike again. Thanks to Sister Sally for her unwavering friendship (even in the hypothermia zone) and for continuing to join me on these crazy treks :D
Miles of smiles,
Ellen  -- Tommy Caldwell sends Dawn Wall crux ( redpoints hardest pitch)

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