Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back to the Roots

After an attempt at Widows Tears and chasing other goals without much 'success' my body had enough stress (or not enough rest?). Final outcome was laid out in bed shivering with temperature of 40C. Even while obviously not OK, I tried to find someone to climb the Widows Tears with. After Wednesday (01/16/2013) the temps in Yosemite Valley were going up, which would make ice climbing there a death wish. In the end, our attempt on Friday (01/11/2013) was all I got. Since the first two pitches of the climb fell off on Thursday, the ice did not have enough time to re-generate for our Friday's attempt, and we had to bail part way up the first pitch. Getting sick shortly after seemed like a sign to change something!
Widow's Tears (01/11/2013) one of longest ice routes in lower 48

Soloing some ice on the approach

Hamik on first pitch (not as dry as it looks). I am really happy he found a way to get down!

The views are not bad!
At least ice in Tahoe formed (Inertia tube)
One thing I realized is that I need to go back to the roots of why I started climbing. It was not to chase climbs. My favorite part about climbing is to have fun, be challenged, and do it in a location I like. Next weekend I planned to do two things I have never done: 1) To go on my first ever ski tour and 2) To day-hike Shasta in calendar winter (in the past I day-hiked Green Butte Ridge, Casaval Ridge and Avalanche Gulch in April/May). In addition, I decided to combine the day-hike with the ski down for a great day out.
The trip turned out to be fun and challenging enough. On Saturday we did an acclimation hike up to Lake Helen (about 10,500 ft) from Bunny Flat trailhead (just under 7000ft) and skied back down to the parking lot. 3500ft of down-hill skiing in 30 minutes!
Skiing up to Lake Helen


View toward Red Banks
Walking up the gulch
Through the Red Banks

On Sunday we started from the same trailhead and made it to the summit in the afternoon. I did not beat my personal record of 4 hours 50 minutes from Bunny Flat to the summit, but we did have a fun day out! My favorite part about our climb was eating pancakes, chocolate, and chicken wraps for snacks. Who wants to eat GU? On the way up, I stashed my skis at some point before the 'Heart' and skied down from there. Since I am a total beginner on skis (I skied at a resort 5-6 times prior to this trip) the ride down was a challenge, but super fun in the same time. Can't wait to ski on Shasta again in the Spring, and maybe check out Mt. Lassen.

Cool rhyme formations

There is the summit, finally


On top at last

Back at the trailhead I saw a SAR helicopter. Turned out someone fell on Green Butte ridge and hurt one of his lower extremities. It was a reminder that Search and Rescue people are well organized, and do their job fast. Also, viewing the incident is a reason to keep the guard up no matter if you are attempting one of the longest ice climbs in lower 48 or are hiking up Shasta.
Skiing down the gulch


Life is good

More skiing

Rescue helicopter


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Since Shasta was my first peak ever, it holds a special place in my heart. Even though my focus in climbing changed, Shasta is still fun to get back to and enjoy the scenery.