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Vulgarian Ramblers
Summer 2010 Tour

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YouTube Video

The 2010 tour included trips to the Palisades and Mts. Powell & Thompson in California, plus the Arapaho Peaks in Colorado. I posted a video on YouTube containing slideshows and short video clips with annotations (more elaborate trip descriptions can be found below). Many thanks to Dan Blodgett for providing some of the best pictures.

Palisades Trip Google Earth “Fly-through”

I had previously developed a Google Earth-based tour as a proposal for this year’s Palisades trip. It makes use of the (free) Google Earth plug-in to display an interactive 3-D tour in your browser that follows our routes as the camera wheels and pans around the topography. The routes on Picture Puzzle and Gendarme Peak remain to be done, as Foo’ball’s cracked ribs precluded this portion of our itinerary. Note also that the entire Gabb/Abbot Tour (previously posted here) was abandoned in favor of Mts. Powell and Thompson.

Interested in writing your own Google Earth tours? If so, check out this page.

- Chris Schneider

Palisades, CA (2010-07-23 through 2009-07-27)

Dan Blodgett and I hiked up the Bishop Pass Trail from South Lake and claimed our usual campsite just across the pass and west of “Bishop Pass Lake”. There we waited for Mike Bromberg (aka Foo’ball), who following an attempt on Mt. Winchell the day before, hiked from his camp in Sam Mack Meadow around past Fifth Lake, up the drainage and over Jigsaw Pass. The route follows an ancient trail that has apparently all but disappeared completely (though it is planned to receive trail maintenance over the next two years!) Foo’ball had to carry five more nights of food and all of his gear over the pass, and things didn’t go particularly well for him, cresting just before nightfall and then descending the wrong couloir in the darkness with a full pack. Needless to say, he was in somewhat subdued form when he arrived at our camp a little after midnight.

On Saturday, the three of us moved camp down to the Dusy Basin, then traversed across it to Thunderbolt Pass. Soon after Foo’ball first plopped down at the pass, he rose again to carry his pack over to a promising tent site. He made only a few steps before falling right over onto our granite slab floor. The weight of his pack compounded the pounding of his poor ribs, cracking them and ending his climbing for the remainder of the summer.

Early Sunday morning, Dan and I left Foo’ball in his tent infirmary and climbed the class 4 Le Conte Route, one of my very favorite climbing routes anywhere, but which just happens to be on the North Palisade, a mountain Secor rightly considers, “the classic peak of the High Sierra.” We had also hoped to traverse the ridge from the summit to its lower north summit, known as “Starlight Peak”, but the weather kept building all day, and the graupel made the deliciously exposed third class scrambling near the top much more challenging. Happily, the sun came out for a bit while we were on the 14,242' summit and we had excellent views of the surrounding peaks getting hammered all around us. The wind and rain lashed at us all the way down the route, and “the catwalk” traverse was made all the more interesting by what was now a proper waterfall. Foo’ball was happy to see us return and we spent several hours huddled in the tent together before a stormy night’s rest.

The sun eventually came out long enough on Monday morning for us to dry some gear, pack up and head back down toward Bishop Pass. Foo’ball was able to carry a surprising amount of weight, and we were able to make it back to the pass in time to see several guys carrying kayaks in the opposite direction (headed for the Kings River). We found a nice spot at Bishop Lake (just below the pass), and I hurried off to collect the wine I’d cached at the Ruwau Lake turnoff during the hike in. It was a rather easy descent the next morning.

- Chris Schneider

Mts. Powell and Thompson, CA (2009-07-29 through 2009-07-31)

After a rest day in Bishop (and a long night spent debugging Secor’s coverage of the Mt. Powell vicinity), Dan and I bade Foo’ball farewell on Thursday and drove to Lake Sabrina. We followed the Sabrina Basin Trails to Baboon Lakes, then continued up the drainage to make our camp at Sunset Lake.

On Friday, we climbed mostly snow to the Powell-Thompson Col, reversing the descent route of a mountain lion. We traversed right and up to the Mt. Powell plateau, then dropped our packs and ran up to what we though was Pt. Wesley (oops! good thing it doesn’t count anyway). After returning to the saddle, we climbed the other side of the plateau to the summit of ~13,366' “Point Powell,” (which may be the highest summit of the Mt. Powell massif). From there, we descended back to the saddle, glissaded down to the basin south of the Powell-Thompson Col, and climbed back up the southwest slopes of 13,494' Mt. Thompson, which had apparently tried to beome a single quartz crystal back in its pluton days. It was a fine alpine day, but we were both too tired to swim when we finally returned to camp.

After hiking out on Friday, Dan and I enjoyed the hot springs near Bishop, sharing the area with a friendly herd of cattle.

- Chris Schneider

Arapaho Peaks, CO (2009-08-14)

With Foo’ball unable to climb, we had to abandon the list completion celebration he’d been planning for Colorado’s Mt. Powell. Instead, Jim Campbell organized a day trip to the Arapaho Peaks west of Boulder. After arriving at Jim’s home at the requested time of 6:00am, we woke him from a deep sleep. While waiting for him to hastily throw his own gear together, Alan Taylor and I met Jim’s friend and colleague Rusty Czerwinski.

Eventually, we joined the hordes of people making their way up and down 13,400' South Arapaho Peak. The weather was glorious, and we soon realized that the Alan, Jim and I had not all hung out together since college (c. 1980). Alan enjoyed the summit, but had to head back early. Jim, Rusty and I continued along the wonderful third class knife edge ridge to 13,500' North Arapaho and back. Unfortunately, a marmot found where I’d stashed my poles on the ridge, dragged them down into the very bowels of its lair, and chewed both grips up thoroughly. I was just barely able to reach into a narrow crack and retrieve them for the hike back down the trail. A few days later, during a solo trip powered by Foo’ball’s trusty Jeep, I inadvertently left what remained of them behind while packing up in the rain.

Jim posted a bunch more beautiful pictures from our trip (though thankfully not on Facebook).

- Chris Schneider