Monday, July 8, 2013

Flying High over the Sierra Nevada

For years now I have dreamed of hiring a local pilot to fly me high above the peaks I live and play amidst, and last week I finally made it happen.  It was a surprise treat to Jen, who had no idea what we were doing until we pulled up to the hanger, and who for the last year has been a very important part of my life.

After she cooled off a bit we piled into the small '81 Cessna piloted by local Bishop pilot Wayne S. bound for the Southern Sierra.  I wanted to check out the area around Carl Heller and Tulainyo without the necessary bushwack up George Creek to find out the hard way!

Around Whitney the thunderheads started building up very early and brought some unstable gusty air with it, so Wayne decided that going over to the west side of the range wasn't in the cards for the day, so we headed over to the Inyo and White Mountains, flying above the Whites until Boundary Peak and Montgomery Pass then turning around back to Bishop.

It was a great morning spent out in the mountains, taking lots of pictures, and now I am waiting (impatiently) for the next calm day to go out into the heart of the range!

High Country Hiking and Palisade Summits

This past week has done a number on my knees!  Last weekend I had the pleasure of guiding Robert and his future son-in-law Michael on a trek from Tuolumne Meadows to Red's Meadow.  We passed many smelly thru-hikers, did battle with the horrendous mosquitos of Lyell Canyon, and cooked delicious pasta ala carbonara over a fire (I managed to leave the fuel pump behind in my truck!).
Still waiting on pics from those guys so stay tuned for those...

And then yesterday, I guided Doug C. up the East Face of Middle Palisade.  I met Doug early in the morning at Finger Lake, we packed up after a quick cup of coffee, and then headed up the slabs and talus to the base of the face.  With only about 50 meters of easy snow travel we were able to make it up to the hidden access ledge without ice axe or crampons, and then we motored together at quite a good pace up the 1,000 ft. 3rd class East Face.  The climbing is never difficult, and the good holds always appear when you need them, making this a very enjoyable moderate mountain climb. 
We summited early, at 10am, and after a little bit of trundling to clean the route up for future parties, we descended.

I left Doug at Finger Lake again with his girlfriend and son, and I headed back down the dusty trail lured home by homemade focaccia pizza and ice cream!  
With a little bit of time off over the next week I plan on getting out to the North Buttress of Mt. Goode and the SE Face of Clyde Minaret.  

Over and out- Ryan