Summit and Anti-summit
Lone Pine Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
May 30th, 2004 – by: cneoridium
I was feeling fine again, and we headed up another thousand feet to the slick part of the ice chute, but altitude sickness, a potentially dangerous condition, had struck another of our climbers. It's really miserable- nausea, fainting, headache, and general weakness.
It worked well, a couple thousand foot drop and she was feeling better. Downhill's a lot easier, especially with a light water load. We continued down, arriving back at base camp in the afternoon. After sending my friend off, I felt really good (suddenly adding all that oxygen and pressure gives you super powers.
In the mean time, the others made it to the summit! They ascended the ice chute, crossed the knife edged ridgeline that leads up to the peak with breathtaking (if there was breath to take that high) of the western Sierra and Central Valley to the west, and the desert and Nevada to the east. The bronze survey marker at the top reads 14,505 feet!
Meanwhile, sleeping alone at the base camp, I had a visitor during the night. I woke the sound of my empty day pack being torn apart. I cracked the tent door to see if I could film the bear (if you know me, I film everything), and a horrible bear nose and blast of foul breath greeted me as he shoved his nose in.
The next afternoon the others came down off the mountain and we exchanged stories of highlands and lowlands. This was just a day climb, I have new respect for the climbers on Everest or K2, more than twice as high!
I would recommend the climb, but remember to reserve a climbing pass far in advance (usually for next year). I would suggest going a little later in the year unless you really like cold and ice, it would be a lot easier. If I do it again, I think I'll try the one-day alternative. Whereas we climbed with overnight gear, camped, summited, camped and descended, you can also leave before dawn, run up the mountain with a day pack, then come back down the same day, covering the easier lower slopes by headlamp. To me, this would be a lot easier than lugging camping gear and food for two nights up the mountain, and you'd have more freedom to explore without the bulky packs. Downside is that there is less of a safety net since you aren't equipped for an overnight stay if something happens.
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