Mt Goode and Giraud Peak

15-17 Sep 2001 - by Steve Eckert

Notes on last weekend's climb of Goode and Giraud (SPS trip led by Ret Moore)... this isn't the official trip report as far as I know.

I scared a bear off the road driving near the village below South Lake, and one participant found bearpaw prints on his vehicle at the trailhead. A ranger told us they had to shoot an aggressive bear in the Bishop Pass drainage just this year. Bear cannisters are now required (not optional). There are 8 new steel food lockers at the South Lake trailhead. Anyone else wondering if we're seeing a population explosion and they're expanding their range simply because there isn't enough natural food? (Let me know if you've seen lockers installed at other east side trailheads, like the ones now in for Big Pine and South Lake trailheads.)

We camped at Bishop Lakes (just east of the pass) both nights, where it frosted overnight but was warm during the day. Great early fall weather and the crowds are gone! (A ranger asked us if we had a permit, but didn't ask to see it.)

From camp, Mt Goode (13085) was mostly an easy walk and we lazed around on the summit for an hour before returning to happy hour. Not a strenuous first day, but a high one, so Jim and Elmer opted out of the peak climb. The west approach shows you none of the eastern slopes in

Nights are long enough now that several of us stayed up after dark to finish a capitalism-vs-socialism debate. The fishermen camped next to us stayed up even later. No noise curfew. We got up at first light and were hiking by 7am. Elmer was having trouble with the altitude and signed out before we left.

The hike over Bishop Pass and into Dusy Basin was (as always) uneventful. This is the first time in a long time I've been on the trail. I usually am here in the winter or headed toward a cross-country pass... and the trail is amazingly long for such a short distance covered. Nice low slope. Horses love it.

We popped over the ridge into the drainage above Rainbow Lakes (which Secor calls the gully to the right of the north ridge of Peak 12265). John worried about slowing us down (he didn't) and Vishal worried about the upcoming scree slope (continually tugging at the group to climb 4th class cliffs and run the ragged ridge instead). By the way, it's about 450' down the southeast side of the saddle between Giraud and Peak 12265 before you can start on 2nd class back up toward the peak. Ugly.

Once on the southeast face, you have many choices. Ret wanted to traverse before climbing, but we didn't go quite far enough to get in the 2nd class chute (which lines up between the east end of the lake and the peak, and requires an even greater drop). Personally, I preferred the 3rd class climbing to the scree alternative! Vishal wanted to take an angled traverse: No amount of asking or demanding by either the leader or the coleader could get him to stay behind the leader, although threats that this would be his last trip with me finally kept him within sight. (This is at least the third trip this summer on which the leader has been ignored, and one group abandoned him overnight.) On my first climb of Giraud, I took the traverse Vishal wanted to take this time, and it works if you are careful not to cliff out.

The peak is worth the climb, and we lazed around again instead of running back to camp. Good choice! You can see from Brewer to Sill, all from a perch above LeConte Canyon. Rather than go down and up and down over the saddle, we dropped down Giraud's NW ridge to the slight saddle at 12200 (where the lighter summit rock meets a black rock shoulder). The chute here was treacherous and we went down it one at a time... a thin layer of scree on base rock, with loose rocks on top. One bounder did a heat seeking turn and split, narrowly missing Ret, but we got down without incident. This chute would be better as a snow climb! I took a detour to lower Rainbow Lake, looking again for Jim Clement's lost bear-cannister-food-cache, and determined it was NOT buried in the snow when we were there this spring: Someone apparently took it in spite of the note asking them not to.

Most of us rolled back into camp around 6:30pm, after almost 4500' of gain, but Vishal came in an hour later with bad knees. John's chest cold had been getting worse all day, so he hiked out as it got dark rather than risk waking up worse. More people participated in this night's political debate, and we stayed up later knowing we were in no rush the next day. Jim signed out at dawn the next morning, the rest of us started late for the 1.5-hour stroll to the cars. Breakfast in Bishop and an afternoon of passing cars in Yosemite capped off a fine trip. Colors and frost indicate summer is over in the high sierra!

Vishal Jaiswal adds:

About "me being abandoned" if I was totally worn out & had all the gear needed with me & knew exactly where I was headed in the morning , what makes better sense?

Ret Moore adds:

I would tend to agree with Vishal on his over night stay. He have his sleeping bag and pad with him. He knew right where he was and we knew right where he was. Also, he said he would be back in camp at eight in the morning and at eight sharp he was there.

Peter Maxwell adds:

> bear in the Bishop Pass drainage just this year.
> Bear cannisters are now required (not optional).

Is this just in the Bishop Pass drainage, or does it extend to Piute Pass? Some of us are going in there next weekend and if we have to have a bear cannister I want to know so I can bring one along.

Yes, summer is over - at Long Lake in Little Lakes Vally last weekend a half empty water bottle lying on the ground froze solid. And the colors are magnificent up there right now. That's all the trip report I'm giving, as this was a family backpack including our 5 and 8 year olds: their first time.

Steve Eckert replies:

In my opinion, cannisters are required in every part of the Sierra now. Doesn't matter if the rangers have wised up, WE should wise up and prevent the problem instead of reacting to it after they shoot the bear.

But you'd have to check with the rangers about whether they're requiring cannisters in other drainages. Be sure to keep track of any trailhead food lockers you see!

Hal Murray adds:

I've noticed that the permit-writing rangers get a lot more friendly/relaxed as soon as you tell them you have a bear can. That helps start the trip in a good mood.

Plus, I like to go on long backpacks, like a week or more. Canisters are completely impractical in this case, unless you want to live on rice and protein powder the whole time. I own one, but I leave it at home if the trip is longer than 5 days.

Jim Curl adds:

Fuck 'em. There are still plenty of places in the Sierra where I challenge you to find a bear. Go ahead, leave your food out all night long. Not even a rodent to be found.

Gary Craig adds:

Plus, I like to go on long backpacks, like a week or more. Canisters are completely impractical in this case, unless you want to live on rice and protein powder the whole time. I own one, but I leave it at home if the trip is longer than 5 days.

Craig Clarence adds:

I agree. In 1998 David Harris and I hiked the JMT over 3 weeks. Not exactly your most remote Sierra terrain. We hung food a few times but most the time I used my food bag as a pillow (with the food in it). Didn't see a bear. I haven't hung my food in years in the Sierra (except a few feet off the ground to deter mini-bears), due to the remote treeless locations I visit.

Bear concerns in much of the Sierra are similar to giardia concerns. Use common sense in highly visited areas, but outside of these areas the odds are slim you will see either.

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