Basin Mountain

This was much more technical than I’d expected. Secor’s description indicated that there was a small amount of class 4 climbing but I found that nearly 90% of the 300 ft from the couloir was high consequence, fairly technical climbing!

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Bear Creek Spire

At one point I followed a tight chimney 50 ft up before finding that the only way to continue would be to step out over 100 ft of air to connect with another chimney. I easily could have done the move, but I realized that this was getting into Class 5 territory and that there must be an easier route. I downclimbed the chimney, making quite a racket as my ice axe scraped on the rock, and tried a different route to the left which went well.

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Carson Peak

In one spot I placed my feet atop some partially buried trees, thinking that I was less likely to posthole there, and one of the trees lurched up as the snow restraining it broke. I panicked for an instance and the image of my body being cartoonishly flung up the mountain flashed through my mind before I realized the tree had only rose about an inch.

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Stanislaus and Sonora Peaks

As I continued the traverse, each bowl was much like the first. About half of the slope would be covered with snow but if I was strategic in my route choice I could manage to take a path with only about a quarter snow coverage.

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Disaster Peak and The Iceberg

It was a beautiful day and the country all around was gorgeous. 1,500 ft lower than Leavitt, the countryside was already mostly melted out and spring had arrived. Reeds and willows grew dense in the meadows and the hillsides were green with life — this was spectacular terrain for rambling! If I’d started earlier in the day, I’d be inclined to just keep on hiking and meander for a while!

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Mt Ritter and Banner Peak

Now that we were off the steepest snow and there were fewer consequences, we took a raucous descent of the snowfield. I was surprised by how much fun glissading was!

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Lee Vining Peak

This was a minor creek which drained the only the west slope of Lee Vining Peak so I wouldn’t be surprised if it dries up before the end of summer. During the current peak snow melt it was sparkling with life and the surrounding meadows were lush and full of small flowers.

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Reversed Peak

To the southwest, Mt Ritter and Banner Peak rose up above the north shoulder of Carson Peak. From this angle, the slightly taller but more distant Ritter appears to be the same height as Banner and their sloping summits mirrored each other with impossibly symmetry.

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Homer’s Nose

After climbing one particular waterfall, the entire forest suddenly transitioned to zombie cedars and the sunlight filtered through the toothpicks providing a magical light. Rafee and I agreed that it felt as if we’d just stumbled into Rivendell!

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San Joaquin River Trail

I started downhill toward the parking lot, ignoring a few groups of people gaping at my running down the hill. Unfortunately the trail dwindled and soon disappeared before I realized that they weren’t surprised by my running but by my running down a dead end!

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