Laurel Mountain

4 Jul 1998 - by Robert Walton

It was a true pleasure to walk away from my Convict Lake campsite at dawn, cross the road and head up the north ridge of Laurel Mountain. I like to do Norman Clyde routes, though his footsteps often lead to harder climbing than the route description suggests. The lower part of the ridge involved light to moderate bushwhacking. No true climbing difficulties arose until I'd put three thousand feet below me and reached the big snow bowl on the peak's north side. A good thirty degree snow slope got me to the rocks on the upper part of the ridge. Typically, I hit them too soon and ended up making some fun though very exposed rock moves. My rock antics were not at all necessary, but they led to easier scree slopes and the summit. Views of Morrison across the canyon were spectacular. Bloody Mountain, too, with its long, icy north couloir was beautiful. I took a short cut on the way down. I hopped off the ridge between nine and ten thousand feet and headed straight for the lake. This worked as a descent route, though its loose and sandy texture would preclude it as an approach route. Close to the lake, I encountered a naked lady. But that's another story.

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