Mt Langley on Memorial Day

30-31 May 1992 - by Ed Carlson

My son and I decided to train together and attempt numerous 14k peaks in the Sierra. Mt Langley was the first 14'r. Starting with the easy drive up to altitude and the Cottonwood trail head, we made our way to the lake at the base of Army Pass. We watched a couple train on the couloir we would climb up early the next morning and saw nothing difficult about it. They also climbed up a very narrow chute to the north, looking very much like the one to North Palisade. The next morning we followed two guys up the couloir using just boots and ice axes. It wasn't difficult, you just had to pay alot of attention to what you're doing. Following the obvious route to Langley wasn't difficult until we faced the walls and chutes and numerous routes crisscrossing up to the summit slope. And then, it just a route finding exercise to make it as easy as possible. The summit was very cold and windy on the Memorial Day weekend and quite desolate with a nice view of the valley and Mt Whitney (another planned trip). The altitude was bothering me and I usually don't eat or drink when that happens. I learned since how to minimize the effects of altitude. With me, it's all about hydration. If I lose that, I lose it all. So, on that trip, I was quite tired when we reached the down climb couloir we climbed up hours before. This time it looked quite different. The first 150 ft of the couloir was visable the the rest dropped away into oblivion. I was exhausted and drenched inside. Neither my son or I said anything. We just strapped on the crampons and started down. It was quite a sight to see the drop away beyond the 150 ft and after a few slippery traverses we may our way back to camp. We always seem to change plans after accomplishing our objective, so we packed up the hiked out late that day. We later hiked up White Mtn, Whitney, Muir and the Swiss Arete up Mt Sill get five peaks in the bag. No 14'rs since then, but I'm looking at the list again.


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