14 Day Rock Climbing and Alpine Backpacking

August has been a busy month! From the onset I've been busy preparing and directing two crews of students and instructors on a 14 day expedition to the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The expedition would split time rock climbing in the "Balls" and backpacking near the Minarets and Yosemite National Park. ] On August 5th we set out from Midpines to the Fresno airport to pick up the 14 and 15 year old students and returned to Midpines yesterday on the 18th. Some highlights of my experience out there include: working with great staff and students; an epic multi-day hail/rain storm and exploring some fun new rock climbing sites in the Portuguese Creek drainage. There were lightening-started fires which redirected one of our crew's travel plans in the area of Iron Mountain. The images below show some of the scenes from course. Enjoy! 

Looking east from the "Balls" to the Ritter Range - note the hazy air

Student Alex taking a break on a ledge on the fixed lines up the "Prow"

Student Willie about half way up the fixed lines on the "Prow"

Student Luke making the final moves up the fixed lines to the top of the "Prow"

Student Jacob reaching the summit of the "Prow" after finishing the fixed lines

Students climbing fixed lines up to the top of the "Golden Toad"

After the rock climbing section, the crews headed out into the mountains. I followed behind them and met up with them to see what was up. Hiking solo for the first time in a few years, felt quite cool. 

Hiking solo up into the storm at the Niche, about to cross into the Ansel Adams Wilderness

When I got to the group at McClure lake, the students were on solo and a giant storm was letting loose on the Sierra. Rain, hail, wet gear, and many afternoons with my journal under a tarp followed. The day I hiked out to get ready for Course End looked gloomy, but rain never fell. 

Sunrise looking east from McClure Lake towards Long Mountain

Sunrise at McClure Lake

Sunrise at McClure Lake

A small rock island at McClure Lake silhouetted against the giant cliffs

Tarp shelter before the storm looking east towards Long Mountai

Clouds building at the Niche

Double rainbow at McClure Lake

Instructor Oliver sharing his knowledge on constellations with a laser pointer at McClure Lake

This concludes my seventh summer exploring the High Sierra and sixth working for Outward Bound California. In the Sierra this summer I've got a chance to revisit some familiar landscapes and also explore some new areas. The wilderness areas we travel through with OB are named after two old school brothers: John Muir and Ansel Adams both who who have been inspirational figures to me. Ansel Adams for his passion and excellence in photography and John Muir for his deep connection to the Sierra and the adventure of the mountains. As I leave the Sierra for the year, I take with me a continued connection to the mountains and a strong sense of adventure. Will definitely miss the simple life of the mountains and the adventure and solitude of living life "unplugged." 

Keep your eye on the TIP for some interesting updates soon.