Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bagging Mt. Langley

The guys and I planned a pretty nice labor day weekend in the mountains.  We split early from the Bay Area so that we would have a shot at bagging Mt. Langley at 14,042 ft on Friday.  We started our hike at 12:30 from the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead.  It would be about a 20 mile round trip climbing from 10000 ft to 14000 ft and then coming back down again.  We hoped to be done before nightfall so that we could get a good meal down in Lone Pine and get a full nights rest in some real beds before we set off for our three day backpacking adventure on Saturday.

While we were still smiling.
Lakes on the way up.
Still Smiling.

Nice day.

Old Army Pass zigzags up that hillside.  Black Soldiers in 1890(something) built the trail.  Why?  I don't know.  But it is unmaintained and still a really good trail.  At least while there is no snow.

Climbing Old Army.

Almost done.

Looking down from Old Army.

The wastelands on the way to bag Langley.

The sand that we were hiking just sucks all of your energy.

Fortunately there were giant Cairns to guide the way.

The views were getting quite spectacular.

Sachin was feeling the cold.

Yay, made it!

Summit Box.

On top.

Toshi made it up 5 minutes after us.
Toshi, wanting to add some off-trail travel to his ascent decided to go cross country up to another lake before climbing to the high plateau.  We split up at about 5 miles in and wondered whether we would actually meet at the top or not.  About five to ten minutes after Sachin and I reached the summit, there comes Toshi.  I thought it was remarkable that we were so close to each-other.

On the way down.

We screwed up our navigation on the way back.  Even though we were just following the trails back to the parking lot, we started to second guess ourselves when our GPS maps were showing that we had missed the trail back to the car.  It turned out that all of our maps were out of date and the trail that we needed was not on our GPS, so instead we took a trail down to the road and still had a mile or two to walk on the road to get back to the car.  We were not happy.  We had been on track to reach the car by 7:30, but then ended up about 8:30.  Sachin was in agony from the the effort and altitude and Toshi hadn't been eating anything because his stomach wasn't cooperating.  I was mentally and physically drained, and we all got back to the car wondering what we had got ourselves into.  Toshi had thought that this would be our "warmup" for what was to come, but we were already pretty toasted!  

I was the only one to pack away the food at dinner that night in Lone Pine, but it was fantastic: a great steak and potatoes dinner to fortify me for the coming days.  Toshi had the sound judgement to ask for a room upgrade at the hotel so that we could have a couple of beds (originally he had booked a one bed room - don't know what was up with that).  

The next morning Toshi and I let Sachin get some extra rest while we got some breakfast and then hit up the permit office to (hopefully) secure our wilderness permits for the Evolution Lakes Loop.  To be continued...

Video Compilation:

1 comment:

  1. That pic of you "On top." would make a great fb profile pic! :)

    You always do seem very cheery on top of these high places. Thanks for the report!