TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Ed Huckl » Wed, 05 Apr 2000 04:00:00


Last Thursday my girlfriend (Rachel) and I were sitting at home dreading
the late night drive from LA up to Bishop.  The plan was to climb Mt.
Johnson, which is a nice looking, pointy mountain in the Sierras near
South Lake, nestled between Mt. Gilbert and Mt. Goode.  The original
plan was to drive up Thursday night, ski in to Treasure lakes on Fri.,
climb Mt. Johnson on Sat. and ski out on Sun.  But the idea of doing
this, in our tired condition repelled us.  So we decided to do it in a
long day.

So, we relaxed on Thursday night, drove up on Friday, and slept in the
car at the trailhead (where the road turns to snow - 3 or 4 miles from
South Lake).  Saturday morning we were up at 4:30 and hiking (with day
packs and randonee skis on our back) by 5:30am.  The snow was rock hard
and we got to South Lake by 7:00.  On the other end of the lake the
postholing started so the skis came off the back and on the feet.  We
continued on skis through the Treasure lakes drainage.  The mountain was
still looking pretty far away and I found myself eyeing up the west face
of Hurd Peak (~ 12,200 ft), which was our backup plan, and much closer.

However, we were making good progress so we stuck to the plan.  As we
continued we were getting in the "if I can just make it to the next
saddle" mode, and sucking wind hard.  But, eventually we were at the
base of the SE slope of Mt. Johnson.  There we ditched the skis and got
out the crampons and axes.  Rachel forgot to adjust her crampons to her
plastic doubles, and without a screwdriver we were in a pickle.  But
after trying everything, we used the adze on our ice axes for a
screwdriver, which worked nicely.  We started up the second class talus
slope about noon or so.  At the top of the slope we crossed onto a steep
snow slope/couloir.  The snow was the perfect consistency for unroped,
single axe, self belay snowclimbing.  

For a couple hundred meters we kicked deep steps and sunk our shafts in
the snow.  The snow steepened to about 45 or 50 degrees at the top and,
after making sure the other side wasn't corniced, we stepped onto a
narrow ridge.  A few minutes later we were on the summit (12,871 ft) and
trying to enjoy our lunch.  It was a near perfect day except for a
little wind.  The peanut butter and honey bagel did nicely, but we were
anxious to get going.  The summit register was buried and went unfound,
so we snapped some photos and took off.  We downclimbed the snow
backwards, then retraced our steps down to the skis.

The theory was that by using plastic double climbing boots with randonee
bindings then we get the best climbing boots and are still able to ski
in them.  However, if you have ever tried to ski with plastic double
mountaineering boots, you know that they are NOTHING like ski boots.
Earlier this year I made ***for them, by using the upper portion of
some old Lange ski boots.  These ***just wrap around the outside of
my plastic doubles and actually add a lot of lateral support.  In
addition, I did that trick with the stiffening strap (from climbing tech
tips a while ago) which helped as well.  With all of these shenanegans
the boots were still barely skiable (and we used to compete at skiing
for several years!).  Even though the boots don't ski very well they
will still allow you to get in and out of a climb much better than
snowshoes.

So we "skied" down through the Treasure lakes, and found some patches of
perfect velvet windpack and actually carved a couple of turns!  We
encountered just about every type of snow you can imagine (except for
some of the good ones).  Some places were so sticky and crusty that
while sideslipping the downhill ski would break through and I would
launch forward faceplanting.  We tried to get enough speed to carry us
though the flat spots but we had to do some occasional pushing here and
there.  We were very stubborn, refusing to have to put our skins back
on.  When we got to South Lake I was tired, and slowly dragged ass up a
small hill.  After that it was flat or down all the way to the car,
which was a really welcomed sight.

We arrived just after 5pm, nearly a 12 hour jaunt.  We were very happy,
both to have done a perfect ski tour and climb, but to be done as well.
We jumped in the car, went to Tacobell (I love the Santa Fe Gorditas!),
and then caught the second night of the Banff Film Festival in Bishop.
We saw the one in LA, but these were mostly different films and we had a
good time.  We saw a friend there who let us sleep the floor of his
Bishop weekend house.  Sunday was beautiful and we leisurely drove back
to LA during the day and enjoyed the views - all the while making plans
for other mountains on our to-do list (North Rib of Mt Tyndall, and the
Swiss Arete of Mt. Sill, both visible from the 395, were especially
calling to me).

The highlight in Mojave City occurred when we were in some kind of fast
food restaurant.  There was what we thought was a stuffed bass mounted
on the wall, complete with lure*** from his lip.  However, all of a
sudden, we heard a noise coming from the fish and we saw that it was a
mechanical bass who was flipping around and singing (with full mouth
movement) the words "take me to the river ......... put me in the water
....... take me to the river ........ put me in the water ........".  We
laughed pretty hard about this.

Ed

 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by zippoded.. » Wed, 05 Apr 2000 04:00:00

Nice TR.  Thank you for posting it.  I agree with you that skiing in
mountaineering boots sucks big time.  Personally, I never want to do it
again.

Z


Quote:

> Last Thursday my girlfriend (Rachel) and I were sitting at home
dreading
> the late night drive from LA up to Bishop.  The plan was to climb Mt.
> Johnson, which is a nice looking, pointy mountain in the Sierras near
> South Lake, nestled between Mt. Gilbert and Mt. Goode.  The original
> plan was to drive up Thursday night, ski in to Treasure lakes on Fri.,
> climb Mt. Johnson on Sat. and ski out on Sun.  But the idea of doing
> this, in our tired condition repelled us.  So we decided to do it in a
> long day.

> So, we relaxed on Thursday night, drove up on Friday, and slept in the
> car at the trailhead (where the road turns to snow - 3 or 4 miles from
> South Lake).  Saturday morning we were up at 4:30 and hiking (with day
> packs and randonee skis on our back) by 5:30am.  The snow was rock
hard
> and we got to South Lake by 7:00.  On the other end of the lake the
> postholing started so the skis came off the back and on the feet.  We
> continued on skis through the Treasure lakes drainage.  The mountain
was
> still looking pretty far away and I found myself eyeing up the west
face
> of Hurd Peak (~ 12,200 ft), which was our backup plan, and much
closer.

> However, we were making good progress so we stuck to the plan.  As we
> continued we were getting in the "if I can just make it to the next
> saddle" mode, and sucking wind hard.  But, eventually we were at the
> base of the SE slope of Mt. Johnson.  There we ditched the skis and
got
> out the crampons and axes.  Rachel forgot to adjust her crampons to
her
> plastic doubles, and without a screwdriver we were in a pickle.  But
> after trying everything, we used the adze on our ice axes for a
> screwdriver, which worked nicely.  We started up the second class
talus
> slope about noon or so.  At the top of the slope we crossed onto a
steep
> snow slope/couloir.  The snow was the perfect consistency for unroped,
> single axe, self belay snowclimbing.

> For a couple hundred meters we kicked deep steps and sunk our shafts
in
> the snow.  The snow steepened to about 45 or 50 degrees at the top
and,
> after making sure the other side wasn't corniced, we stepped onto a
> narrow ridge.  A few minutes later we were on the summit (12,871 ft)
and
> trying to enjoy our lunch.  It was a near perfect day except for a
> little wind.  The peanut butter and honey bagel did nicely, but we
were
> anxious to get going.  The summit register was buried and went
unfound,
> so we snapped some photos and took off.  We downclimbed the snow
> backwards, then retraced our steps down to the skis.

> The theory was that by using plastic double climbing boots with
randonee
> bindings then we get the best climbing boots and are still able to ski
> in them.  However, if you have ever tried to ski with plastic double
> mountaineering boots, you know that they are NOTHING like ski boots.
> Earlier this year I made ***for them, by using the upper portion of
> some old Lange ski boots.  These ***just wrap around the outside of
> my plastic doubles and actually add a lot of lateral support.  In
> addition, I did that trick with the stiffening strap (from climbing
tech
> tips a while ago) which helped as well.  With all of these shenanegans
> the boots were still barely skiable (and we used to compete at skiing
> for several years!).  Even though the boots don't ski very well they
> will still allow you to get in and out of a climb much better than
> snowshoes.

> So we "skied" down through the Treasure lakes, and found some patches
of
> perfect velvet windpack and actually carved a couple of turns!  We
> encountered just about every type of snow you can imagine (except for
> some of the good ones).  Some places were so sticky and crusty that
> while sideslipping the downhill ski would break through and I would
> launch forward faceplanting.  We tried to get enough speed to carry us
> though the flat spots but we had to do some occasional pushing here
and
> there.  We were very stubborn, refusing to have to put our skins back
> on.  When we got to South Lake I was tired, and slowly dragged ass up
a
> small hill.  After that it was flat or down all the way to the car,
> which was a really welcomed sight.

> We arrived just after 5pm, nearly a 12 hour jaunt.  We were very
happy,
> both to have done a perfect ski tour and climb, but to be done as
well.
> We jumped in the car, went to Tacobell (I love the Santa Fe
Gorditas!),
> and then caught the second night of the Banff Film Festival in
Bishop.
> We saw the one in LA, but these were mostly different films and we
had a
> good time.  We saw a friend there who let us sleep the floor of his
> Bishop weekend house.  Sunday was beautiful and we leisurely drove
back
> to LA during the day and enjoyed the views - all the while making
plans
> for other mountains on our to-do list (North Rib of Mt Tyndall, and
the
> Swiss Arete of Mt. Sill, both visible from the 395, were especially
> calling to me).

> The highlight in Mojave City occurred when we were in some kind of
fast
> food restaurant.  There was what we thought was a stuffed bass mounted
> on the wall, complete with lure*** from his lip.  However, all
of a
> sudden, we heard a noise coming from the fish and we saw that it was a
> mechanical bass who was flipping around and singing (with full mouth
> movement) the words "take me to the river ......... put me in the
water
> ....... take me to the river ........ put me in the water ........".
We
> laughed pretty hard about this.

> Ed

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Before you buy.

 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Tom Kenn » Thu, 06 Apr 2000 04:00:00

<excellent TR snipped>

Quote:
>The highlight in Mojave City occurred when we were in some kind of fast
>food restaurant.  There was what we thought was a stuffed bass mounted
>on the wall, complete with lure*** from his lip.  However, all of a
>sudden, we heard a noise coming from the fish and we saw that it was a
>mechanical bass who was flipping around and singing (with full mouth
>movement) the words "take me to the river ......... put me in the water
>....... take me to the river ........ put me in the water ........".  We
>laughed pretty hard about this.

Do you recall the name of the place?  I'd like to see this Nth Wonder of the
World next time I'm passing through.

Thanks for the great TR!

Tom Kenney



 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Michael E. Gordo » Thu, 06 Apr 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
> Do you recall the name of the place?  I'd like to see this Nth Wonder of
the
> World next time I'm passing through.

If you'd like (to see) one of those funky fish without having to go to
Mojave, Sport Chalet sells them. I saw one in the Long Beach store.

--
Best Regards,
Michael

Gordie's Ramblings in the High Sierra
http://home.earthlink.net/~mgordon324/sierra.htm
"Yellow Pages for the Sierra - If it's not here, it doesn't exist "

 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Tom Kenn » Thu, 06 Apr 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
>If you'd like (to see) one of those funky fish without having to go to
>Mojave, Sport Chalet sells them. I saw one in the Long Beach store.

Shucks, Michael, you just punctured a potential adventure! (:-D)

Tom Kenney


 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Ed Huckl » Thu, 06 Apr 2000 04:00:00

Quote:


> <excellent TR snipped>

> >The highlight in Mojave City occurred when we were in some kind of fast
> >food restaurant.  There was what we thought was a stuffed bass mounted
> >on the wall, complete with lure*** from his lip.  However, all of a
> >sudden, we heard a noise coming from the fish and we saw that it was a
> >mechanical bass who was flipping around and singing (with full mouth
> >movement) the words "take me to the river ......... put me in the water
> >....... take me to the river ........ put me in the water ........".  We
> >laughed pretty hard about this.

> Do you recall the name of the place?  I'd like to see this Nth Wonder of the
> World next time I'm passing through.

> Thanks for the great TR!

> Tom Kenney



I don't remember the name.  It was some kind of burger fast food place.
If you are headed northward, you pass through the main strip, then you
will make a right hand turn (to head toward Lone Pine / Bishop).  The
place is located on the right just after the turn but before the Subway.
The food is actually OK and cheap as well.
Ed
 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Tom Kenn » Thu, 06 Apr 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

>I don't remember the name.  It was some kind of burger fast food place.
>If you are headed northward, you pass through the main strip, then you
>will make a right hand turn (to head toward Lone Pine / Bishop).  The
>place is located on the right just after the turn but before the Subway.
>The food is actually OK and cheap as well.
>Ed

Ah...right next to the pizza place.  I can't recall the name either, but I know
exactly which one.  BTW, the pizza place is OK, too, but their turkey sandwiches
were GREASY!!!

Tom Kenney


 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by blysl » Fri, 07 Apr 2000 04:00:00



Quote:
>Nice TR.  Thank you for posting it.  I agree with you that
skiing in
>mountaineering boots sucks big time.  Personally, I never want
to do it
>again.

Sorry to break up the ruminations on fast food and campy kitsch,
but what do think is worse, skiing in mountaineering boots, or
climbing in leather telemark boots or (randonee boots for that
matter)?

blyslv

* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!

 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by zippoded.. » Sat, 08 Apr 2000 04:00:00



Quote:


> >Nice TR.  Thank you for posting it.  I agree with you that
> skiing in
> >mountaineering boots sucks big time.  Personally, I never want
> to do it
> >again.

> Sorry to break up the ruminations on fast food and campy kitsch,
> but what do think is worse, skiing in mountaineering boots, or
> climbing in leather telemark boots or (randonee boots for that
> matter)?

Don't know much about telemark boots, but I have no problem climbing up
anything that I plan to ski back down in my A/T boots.  They don't
bother me much.  They also keep my feet toasty warm.  I kind of of like
that.

Quote:

> blyslv

> * Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion
Network *
> The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet -
Free!

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.
 
 
 

TR (long): Good ski tour and easy climb of Mt Johnson (Sierras)

Post by Ed Huckl » Sat, 08 Apr 2000 04:00:00

Quote:



> >Nice TR.  Thank you for posting it.  I agree with you that
> skiing in
> >mountaineering boots sucks big time.  Personally, I never want
> to do it
> >again.

> Sorry to break up the ruminations on fast food and campy kitsch,
> but what do think is worse, skiing in mountaineering boots, or
> climbing in leather telemark boots or (randonee boots for that
> matter)?

> blyslv

Good question, and one I have been asking myself alot.  I want to get
randonee boots for those trips where skiing is the main attraction.
Last year a friend and I went on a trip and I had snowshoes with
mountaineering boots and he had randonee boots and skis. I was much
happier doing any climbing and he was REAL happy just coasting 10 miles
of downhill on the way out.  

So I had the idea to combine the two - hence this is why I got my setup
with Radonee (silvretta 404's) bindings, skis, skins, but with
mountaineering boots (Koflach Vertical).  I thought this would be the
perfect setup, and it nearly is (excpet for the skiing).  This sounds
funny, but there are many climbs where you just need to get in on flat
or moderate terrain then climb (where you really want mountaineering
boots over randonee boots or tele boots) a mountain.  On the way out the
skiing isn't so important - you may just want to coast out.

But, obviously if you are going to climb a mountain for an awesome ski
descent then you are better off to have randonee boots (or tele).  In
this case you are going there to ski, mostly.  So in conclusion,
although skiing in mountaineering boots does suck, it is the perfect
setup for the climb I did the other weekend (mt. Johnson) and especially
for others where there is even more non-ski climbing involved.

Ed