|Cloudripper, 13,525 ft. living up to its name.|
While cruising through REI to stock up for one of the fore mentioned trips, I bumped into my friend Edd who asked me if I wanted to go on a Sierra Club hike he was leading to summit Cloudripper. Fortunately my wife Denise was standing beside me, he told me the date and she said, "sure, go for it." Well getting permission had never been so easy so I jumped on the opportunity immediately! One grand finally to climb a substantial peak before the summer season drew to an end. My Boy Scout Trek had me in the vicinity of Cloudripper just a few weeks prior. I told the boys the reason I would not be at the next Court of Honor was because I would be climbing that, as I pointed to the peak towering above us at 13,525 feet with what looked like a near vertical face on the western side.
Just a week and a half after returning from my week long Boy Scout trek to Long Lake and vicinity I was yet again on my way up highway 395, my fifth of the season! This was to be a 3 day hike, quite leisurely at 6 miles per day and no more than 3,000 ft. of elevation gain per day with a base camp among the Big Pine Lakes, an area I had never been to before. We all met up at the trail head and finished packing and were ready to head out. We were a group of eleven, I knew the Sierra Club leaders on the trip, and a few of the others. One included Bill Burke, the oldest American to have summited Mt. Everest as well as one of the very few to have summited the highest peak on every continent. It is not every day you get to travel with someone with that kind of resume and I was looking forward to talking with him on the trip as I had met him at a seminar he did on Everest a couple years prior.
|Edd and Erica pose by Big Pine Creek.|
|Want to swim?|
|Fresh pizza from the oven! Backpacking food at its best.|
|Erica lectures Bill Burke, who has summited Everest,|
on the dangers of the final ridge traverse.
|On the summit, overlooking where I was with the Scouts|
two weeks prior.
|Fourteeners abound, Split on the left, Sill in center,|
and Starlight, Polemonium, North Palisade and Thunderbolt.
Dinner that night was not near as exciting but I did make my trail tacos which are always a hit. A lot of food sharing took place and I once again made popcorn to share. Rain just started to fall as we finished up so it was off to the tents for an early night. After a long day off trail and big summit we were all tired and welcomed the early night.
|The lake for the final swim. COLD!!!|
|Big Pine Creek on the way out as rain|
began to fall.
This was a fantastic trip, an area I would like to explore much more in the future. It might even be the location for a future Boy Scout Sierra Trek. The summit was spectacular and hiking with both new and old friends was great. The trail cooking I did was really fun and something practical on a short hike like this. With no future hikes to the Sierras planned I am afraid my summer backpacking season has come to a close. With predictions of an El Nino year in the long range forecast I am hoping to get back up there, or even locally, with the backcountry skis for several adventures this winter. Every cloud has a silver lining as they say, I just hope this winters include a heck of a lot of moisture to go with that silver!
The full set of pictures are available to view by clicking here.