Difference between revisions of "Winter Mountaineering Trip 2009"

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(Resources (some compiled from 2008 and 2009 trip webpages))
(Equipment and Resources)
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==Equipment and Resources==
==Equipment and Resources==
*[[Equipment|Info on where to get equipment]] (i.e. what the Alpine Club owns, what the Caltech Y has, what REI has, ...
* see also [[:Category:Equipment]] and [[:Category:How-To]].
*REI and Sport Chalet will rent most non-technical items; here is a [http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html#california list of which California REI stores rent which items], and here's the [http://www.sportchalet.com/category/services+&+advice/in-store+services/equipment+rentals.do Sport Chalet rental website] (Sport Chalet even rents xc skis, though not at any of their SoCal locations; the website says that snowshoe rentals are available at all locations except La Jolla, Foothill Ranch, Thousand Oaks, Happy Valley, Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe, Vacaville, San Jose, Mira Loma, San Marcos, Arroyo Crossing (Las Vegas), Metrocenter, Bakersfield, Goodyear, and Lake Pleasant). UC-Riverside's "Outdoor Excursions" (analogous to the Caltech Y) does rent crampons and ice axes. Also, I hear rumour that Adventure 16 does also, but this hasn't been verified. [http://www.adventure16.com/locationsmap2.html List of Adventure 16 stores] in LA -- click on the store to get more info.
*[http://www.its.caltech.edu/~alpine/%3Ehttp://www.sierraelevation.com/ Sierra Elevation] is a mountaineering store in Lone Pine. They rent the [http://madrockclimbing.com/cart.php?target=category&category_id=250 Mad Rock Alpinist '07] boots for $35/weekend in sizes 10, 11 and 12. They rent snowshoes and crampons, and don't rent ice axes, although they sell inexpensive ice axes for $59.
It may also be possible to rent gear from one of the several excellent [[Links#Commercial_Guiding.2FTraining_Services|guide services]] in Bishop (e.g. SMI, SMC, SMG).
*Here is what you can [[REI rental rates|rent at the REI in Arcadia]]
*[http://www.its.caltech.edu/~alpine/Whitney_packing_list.shtml Packing list] (update: see the new wiki [[Packing List]] page)
*[http://www.its.caltech.edu/~alpine/Whitney_gray.pdf Gray-scale map of Whitney Basin], 500 KB PDF file, 8.5" x 11"
*Some general[http://www.its.caltech.edu/~alpine/whitney_tips.shtml suggestions for winter and high altitude mountaineering] in California.
*[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM3xLshmNnk Self-arrest youtube video] (comment: if you don't have crampons on, then you should dig your feet in).
*[http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~alpine/restricted/self_arrest_better.pdf Self-arrest guide], taken from "Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills" (access is [[restricted]]). See also [[Self-Arrest]].
*[http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~alpine/restricted/Knots.pdf Overview of climbing knots] as PDF; see also [[:Category:Knots]].
*[http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~alpine/restricted/FrictionKnots.pdf Overview of friction knots] as PDF
*Instead of using a friction knot, you may find that using a [http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/multi-purpose-ascenders/tibloc Petzl Tibloc ascender] is more convenient for sliding up the rope. The Tibloc is the weight of a normal carabiner, much less than a normal ascender. Costs $30 at REI, or perhaps cheaper on the internet.
Here are some web resources. If this all seems a bit Whitney-focused, that's because it has been copied from last year's Whitney trip website.
*Our [[Avalanche Rescue]] and [[Links#Conditions|weather]] pages
*[http://www.esavalanche.org/Advisories.php Avalanche Advisories] from ESAC (Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center).
**The cyberspace snow and avalanche center (CSAC) and avalanche-center.org use the ESAC forecast [http://www.avalanche-center.org/Bulletins/Calif/esierra.php here], but also have good general information.
*[http://www.shastaavalanche.org/ Shasta avalanche center] and their advisories
*NOAA weather, for [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/index.php?wfo=hnx&zone=caz097&fire=caz297&county=cac107&dgtl=1&lat=36.557&lon=-118.275 Mt. Whitney Summit], for [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/index.php?wfo=vef&zone=caz519&fire=caz226&county=cac027&dgtl=1&lat=36.56&lon=-118.19 Whitney portal] (i.e. trailhead), and for [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/index.php?wfo=vef&zone=caz520&fire=caz226&county=cac027&dgtl=1&lat=36.590&lon=-118.06 Lone Pine]. NOAA also has a written discussion of the upcoming forecast, which mentions the uncertainties in the predictions, etc. The [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=vef&sid=vef&pil=afd discussion for the Las Vegas area] and the [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=hnx&sid=hnx&pil=afd discussion for the San Joaquin Valley / Hanford area] and the [http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=rev&sid=rev&pil=afd discussion for the Reno area]. Mt. Whitney is on the border between the Las Vegas and the San Joaquin forecast areas.
*[http://socalweather.net/ SoCal Weather.net for local weather]
Some online forums:
*[http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=1 Mt. Whitney Reports forum] from whitneyportalstore.com. The user dmatt provides weather updates often (twice a day?).
*[http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/wps_weather.htmv Whitney Weather links] from whitneyportalstore.com
*[http://www.mt-whitney.info/ mt-whitney.info] is another forum, for the entire Sierras, and perhaps a bit less active than the whitneyportalstore forums.
*[http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/webcam/wc1.htm Mt. Whitney web cam] and a [http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/webcam/whitney.jpg higher res version]

Revision as of 00:27, 15 November 2010

See the Trip Report page on the old website.

You may be looking for the Winter Mountaineering Trip 2010, the Winter Mountaineering Trip 2008, or the Winter Mountaineering Trip 2007 (see Category:Club Winter Mountaineering Trips).

Overview (pre-trip info)

  • Most new information is on the Google Groups "AlpineClubTrip2009" site; you MUST sign up for the google groups email list if you wish to come on the trips. The trip dates, etc. are on this website.
  • The mandatory organizational meeting is Wed, Jan 28th 2009 at 7 PM at the Caltech Y. Email justusb with questions (most questions will be answered at the meeting); no need to RSVP.
  • If you are not subscribed to the alpine club email list, you may wish to read the introductory email sent Thur Jan 28 2010 that gives a brief explanation of the trip.
  • The first Baldy trip was canceled (twice) due to high snowfall. The only Baldy practice trip is the weekend of Feb 21-22. For directions and maps to Baldy, please see Baldy Mountaineering 2006 and Mount Baldy.

Post-trip info

Mt. Baldy practice trips

We had about 28 people this year! Sean and Justus covered topics like crampon use, ropework, and basic snow mountaineering skills. This was in late February, after having to cancel a few dates due to the perpetual snowstorms that SoCal received in February.

There are also pictures on Erik's Picasa account and Mary Laura's Picasa account.

{{#widget:Picasa |user=eschomburg |album=5305861890710701441 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }} {{#widget:Picasa |user=marylaura |album=5292789716410393089 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }}

Mt. Whitney trip

Most years, we camp at the trailhead Thursday night, then climb to Lower Boy Scout Lake for Friday, go up to Iceberg Lake on Saturday, and summit and return on Sunday. This year, due to a forecasted storm that was to come in on Saturday night, we had to be a bit faster, so we made it all the way to Iceberg Lake by Friday night, putting us in position to summit on Saturday. The mountain was crowded this year -- many other groups! We had 11 people, plus Sean and Stefan who joined us later (and Justin, who ran into us; and Fu Hai and his team of 5). March 20 - 21 (and we camped at the trailhead Thur March 19).

Below are some pictures taken by Martin and Stephen; click the picture for a larger version. Stephen has a photoalbum online as well.

Here are some detailed photo albums:

{{#widget:Picasa |user=MartinYoshiPeek |album=5322076956072771985 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }}

Mt. Shasta trip

After a bit of debate, we decided to tackle Mt. Shasta's Casaval ridge as our second winter Sierra trip in 2009. This ridge is considered the premier mountaineering route on the mountain (though perhaps not quite the hardest route), and is usually attempted in winter. Although Stephen and Sean had led the club to Shasta in 2006, this was a summer trip; no one in the group had ever done the Casaval Ridge before, so there was some uncertainty as to how difficult the trip would be. From reading internet trip reports, it seemed that many parties don't stick to the upper ridge, but we weren't going to wimp out...

Things went well, and a good number of us made it to the summit. Friday night (April 3) we drove to Sacramento, camped in the backyard of Eli's parents, enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked breakfast in the morning, and arrived in the City of Mt. Shast around noon on Saturday. The hike in to Horse Camp was easy and short (maybe 1 hour of hiking), and we camped here instead of camping higher on the ridge since this was the last point where our ascent and descent routes were together. We woke about 2 AM Sunday morning and climbed throughout the day. Everyone was back at camp around 4 PM (a few of us came down the ridge, most came down Avalanche gulch, and we had two ski descents of different chutes into Avalanche Gulch).

Pictures below are due to Annelen and Martin. Click the image to see a larger size.

Here are some detailed photo albums:

{{#widget:Picasa |user=eschomburg |album=5323696617945867729 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }} {{#widget:Picasa |user=MartinYoshiPeek |album=5322096780640587265 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }} {{#widget:Picasa |user=setpoint32 |album=5322088816049745729 |width=300 |height=200 |captions=1 |autoplay=0 }}

Hareem's picasa album appears to be offline now.

Further info



Option 1: Mt. Whitney

Caltech climbers at Iceberg Lake on Mt. Whitney, Feb 2006

We approach via NF of Lone Pine Creek, ascent via Mountaineer's Route from high camp at Iceberg Lake at 12,500 ft


  • More glamourous since it's the highest.
  • Ice climbing on the approach.
  • Trip leaders have ascended this route several times in winter.
  • The climbing route is possibly more skiable than routes in Palisades
  • Avalanche danger is relatively low
  • Route gets progressively harder, so easy to turn around.


  • Some people already climbed it (in 2007, 2008 and 2009).

Option 2: Palisades area

Two Caltech climbers (Justus and Wayne) at the bottom of the U-Notch, with the Palisade glacier below

We approach via NF of Big Pine Creek, high camp at North Palisade Glacier. From here the options are: Mt. Sill via the NE couloir, Polemonium or N. Pal via U-Notch, or possibly Thunderbolt. In 2008, we did Mt. Sill via the NE couloir with mixed success, after a two day approach up the NF of Big Pine Creek.


  • Largest glacier in the Sierra
  • Many climbing route options
  • More beautiful view from the summit. The view from Sill is the "best in the Sierra" according to some.
  • This is the most rugged spot in the Sierra


  • Potentially worse avalanche terrain
  • Less chance of summiting

Option 3: Mt. Shasta (14,162')

via an easy route like Avalanche Gulch or something difficult like Casaval Ridge.


Option 4: Lee Vining Ice Climbing

This would not be mountaineering, but would be a fun substitute. Here are current ice conditions in the Sierras, courtesy of Sierra Mountain Guides.

Equipment and Resources