On September 14, 2012, we set out to climb it: Lisa Barboza, Linda Sun, Chris Franchuk, Eddie Sudol, Jim Ramaker and myself. From the Rancheria trailhead, south of Wishon Reservoir (6800) in Sierra National Forest, we trekked over 12 miles of up down up down trail, across Crown Creek (7881) to flat campsite near a muddy spring in Kings Canyon National Park. On Saturday morning, we hiked a couple more miles up the trail and then traveled 2 miles cross country through forest and brush down to the beginning of the climb (7500).
At the base of the rock, we met members of the "Pull Harder" climbing team: Brad Wilson, Scotty Nelson, and Shaun Reed, working on a month-long project to put up a new route on the southeast buttress. They shared a fixed line with us and I wasn't ashamed to use it.
There is one improbable move, a long step up from a toehold ledge to a friction slab. It isn't difficult, but the climber who gets it wrong, ends up on the TV news. That move is worse on the down climb, because the ledge is unseen from above. When ascending, make a point to memorize how it goes.
A brief class 3 scramble took us to the summit. We peered down thousands of feet to the river below, and gazed across the enormous expanse to the Monarch Divide.
Returning the way we came, we broke camp, with the intention of moving part of the way to the trailhead and shortening our walk on Sunday. But with a hot breeze at our backs, we kept on hiking and reached the cars at nightfall. Some of us camped at the reservoir and drove home in the morning.
Photos by Linda Sun.
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