Friday, November 05, 2004

 
Yep, we made it back just fine. Left at 5am, and by the time the sun was up at 6:30, we were just getting into the snow (3 inches or so) before Dry Lake. The only hard part before Dry Lake was finding where to go after the Dollar Lake - Dry Lake fork. Based on the footprints in the snow, everyone was going to Dollar, so we spent about 5 min until we found some Dry Lake signs nailed to the tree - it was a little tough to find the trail. The streams there had plenty of water, but that was the last point we saw water to pump. Then it was pretty easy to follow the beginning of the mineshaft trail (trees are cut in half by a chainsaw - obvious things like that).

We got to the point where you can see Jepson peak when another couple with a dog passed us, which was a ways above Dry Lake. They looked like they knew where they were going, so we followed for a bit, but they just went straight up the hill through the trees. It got to a point where we were in 9" of snow or more on a very steep incline, and it really was too difficult to continue up for us. This was to the South of where the proper trail goes, so we tracked East to meet back up with the trail at Mineshaft Saddle. The saddle had about 12" of snow I'd say. Then we went up towards the switchbacks, and the snow got a lot softer than before on the trail. That made slow going, so we made it around the bend in that trail to the point where you can see infinitely to the east (approx 10,200 feet). This was probably 18" of snow, but I'm guessing (I'm a midwesterner, so I know about snow!) Then we just ate lunch and headed back. If we had snow shoes and I were in better shape, we could have made it to the top - trekking poles were very useful for as far as we got. I think the Vivian trail might be a little faster to the top though.

I was hoping to see more blazes on the trees, but they were no help. Coming down was quite easy - we were following the terrain as GChapp mentioned. The Topo map was crucial - without it we would have had to turn back much sooner. It was about 45 F at the to top around 11am, and the wind was gusting not more than 10 mph. We got down and out by 2p. Some of the trees are changing to orange, which is nice.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/amcallis@sbcglobal.net/album?.dir=ef2d
PS - YES! that's snow in southern california in October.

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