Friday night Noriko and I drove up to and bivied at Saddlebag Lake. In the morning back at the car we found Kai Weidman and Cecil Ann were parked right next to us. Although we had never met I had seen Kai's slide show at the PCS meeting earlier that week and recognized him immediately. We were soon discussing the day's agenda. Kai and Cecil were on their way to do the West Ridge of Conness.
After breakfast Noriko and I drove to Camp 9 which is at the mouth of Warren Canyon to begin our trip. Even though I had Aaron Schuman's and Steve Eckert's 1998 and 1997 reports in hand I eschewed both. I couldn't see the eastern ridgeline and I didn't want to bushwhack blindly upslope. Besides from the map I figured we could find a route from the upper part of the canyon. We followed a pleasant trail along Warren Creek up the canyon without bugs and not very muddy. I eventually lost the trail in a small meadow at the upper end of the canyon and began heading NE around a spur through trees where we emerged below a steep W face. We ascended easy talus to the right of the face and just below the spur. At the top of this slope we found ourselves on the plateau below Peak 12177. Countouring N and up we summitted to where we could see that an easy ridge dropping to a saddle and up to Warren Peak.
On top of Warren we signed the register, took our summit photos and descended to escape the raging wind. We found a little spot sheltered enough for us to enjoy our lunch before beginning our descent. We followed the snow free drainage down talus to the eastern tributary of Warren Creek. I was curious as to where this tributary merged with the main creek so I followed it to a large isolated meadow but eventually had to diverge from the creek when the terrain became more steep and the bushwhacking more difficult. Eventually we were following the main creek and soon crossed and were back on the main trail.
We ended our day by camping in the campground that can be found about an 1/8 of mile in from highway 120 at Camp 9 next to Warren Creek. There was a large group of 10+ people camped in one of the sites but the sites are sufficiently far apart that we barely even notice them.
Warren is more or less a pile of rubble, and probably would better as ski-mountaineering trip, but the views of Mono Lake and Mt Dana are spectacular.
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