Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sierra Trip Report - Part 2

It felt like Mark and I were gunslingers out for Mt. Corcoran. We had tried three times before and did not reach the summit. Hell, we could not even find the peak. The book we used had a huge mistake making it impossible to find the summit. This time we would try the LeConte to Corcoran traverse route. This route is not done often, but we had photos of the route to guide us.

Mark, Wrong Way, and I backpack in on Sunday. Though it was windy, we were sheltered by trees and we found a wind protected site. Setting up my tent in the wind was a new experience, but I heard we had it good compared to hikers trying to make it to various summits in the Sierra. Guess some of us live a "Charmed Life."

My tent was shaking from the gale force wind that night. It quieted down around 3 am and the wind never returned. Believe me 4:30 am did not come soon enough for me. It was actually pretty warm and calm as I climbed out of my tent. (I have a two-story tent.) We ate breakfast and we were on our way a little before 6am. Wrong Way decided to stay at camp. Mark and I made it up the scree slope above Meysan Lake and to the base of LeConte before 8:30. I had heard about an east facing route and wanted to try that instead of the NW gully which is very cold and uninteresting. It's also known as the "Waterfall Pitch." It was a good choice indeed. Fun Class 3 and a little Class 4 climbing with big air below made this a great route. The first part of the route was in the shade and my fingers started losing feeling. Once we crossed a rib we were in the sun. Mark lead the way to the summit. It was his first time on LeConte.

Now we were gunning for Corcoran. We descended the NW gully to the ledges marking the start of the traverse to Corcoran. Luckily there were cairns along the traverse. This route reminds me of routes in Red Rock with twists and turns, ascents and descents, and great views. We would climb, look for cairns, and pull out the photos. We only made one small mistake and were soon back on track. Almost two hours later we were finally standing on Corcoran! The summit ridge is a confusing array of high points, some named and some not.

We cut the time to traverse back to LeConte in half. An uneventful descent back to our camp is just want we needed. We were soon backpacking out on the trail. We made it out in two hours. Pretty fast considering all we had done, but I had an incentive...
Panorama from Mt. Corcoran.