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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