Friday, November 28, 2008

The Mt. Conness Hike (Part 3)

(GPS: N37 58.025 W119 19.280)
I knew by getting past the catwalk from the previous entry that the rest of the climb over the rest of the granite blocks would be simple. When I got to the top it was sometime past 11am or so. There was a strange haze in the east and southeastern directions. The views were okay, but not as great as I would have liked for picture taking. I was not too bothered by this since I had good views for some of the nearby areas and had taken pictures from another nearby peak a week before anyways. Really, the fun in this one was experiencing that "stairway."

The following is looking towards the east. Mt. Warren is in the distance, half of Saddlebag Lake is down below, Greenstone Lake is to the left of Saddlebag, and the glacier is just below. Unfortunately, the glacier has that late season dry look to it. There are some positive and negative consequences of doing this hike later in the season, and the lack of snow and ice in the views is one of them.
In the next one you can see Lundy Canyon on the left side in the background. There are a bunch of lakes throughout this picture. There is a trail I have hiked down there that goes around a lot of those lakes, and I had hoped to do it over the last weekend in Halloween to get a picture of Conness from that direction. The storm conditions prevented that so I may have to do that next year. I had never seen those turquoise colored lakes before. I always like those exotic looking colored lakes.
The following picture is not that impressive in itself. It is the northern side of the summit. What is interesting to me is you can see some of Sawtooth Ridge and Matterhorn Peak (my logo) from this direction.
There she is! I had pictures from this direction of it a week before. Usually, there is a heart shaped piece of ice that sticks around until late in the season. It was there a week before, but by the time of this picture it was gone. What you can see is the "easy" class 2 scree filed route to the summit from this direction. In between the Matterhorn and the pyramid looking peak to the far right is Horseshoe Pass which drains all the way to Twin Lakes near Bridgeport. The Horseshoe Pass route from the trailhead at Upper Twin (near Mono Village) is what I usually take to climb this mountain.
This is the western direction. There were some streaky clouds in that direction. This is all Yosemite. I believe the area on the far right is the Hetch Hetchy Valley area. I have never been there, but it would make sense. Yosemite Valley is on the background on left side.
You can barely see it, but Half-Dome is in the very background middle of this picture. I wanted to climb Mt. Hoffman this year which is the high peak to the right in this picture, but that will have to wait until next year.
Here is a zoom in of Half-Dome. The higher peak to the left is Clouds Rest where I have written about before (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The fun part here is that little lake to the lower right should be Tenaya Lake. If so, then this we are looking back down at where Ansel Adams took his famous shot of Mt. Conness. Compare with this picture on the Ansel Adams site.
This is the southern side. The highest peak of importance is Mt. Lyell in the background of the left side. I have better pictures of it from a different mountain peak hike.

These pictures really could use a lot of photoshop work, the views are more fun with snow around on completely clear day, and they do not really capture the whole experience of being up there. I hope to go back on a better day. The interesting thing about this hike is that usually being in the backcountry like this I usually see at least one or two people on the way up or coming back. There was no one out there this entire day! I had all this area to myself for this day.
I have one more follow up blog I want do that will cover some interesting historical stuff I found out when I got home.

The Guardian of Mt. Conness (Youtube Version)

The Guardian of Mt. Conness (Vimeo Version)

For The Guardian of Mt. Conness video I used the following from Incompetech: Heavy Interlude, Coming Storm - Preview A, Mechanolith, Faceoff, and Virtutes Instrumenti. The non-Incompetech Spaghetti Western sounding piece is called "I Diavoli Dello Spazio" from a science fiction movie called Snow Devils.