A last hurrah (almost)

Next week I start on 65 hour weeks to try to power through Wreck-it Ralph, the next animated feature at Disney. Since that will mean weekends are gone, then that also means I won’t be getting out on many trips for the next 4 months. I do have one planned for the weekend after next, but that will be another post. In the meantime we headed up to Mammoth last weekend to do some climbing. The goal was Crystal Crag, above Mammoth Lakes. We were camping at Twin Lakes campground since the camping beside lake George was still closed for the season. It is opening this weekend, so we were obviously a week too soon. Anyhow, when we woke from the short night after driving up Friday night it was very cold, and seeing the snow still at the foot of Crystal Crag we decided to climb Clark Canyon instead. This proved to be a very nice alternative since the weather there was gorgeous. It was our friend Kim’s birthday weekend so we were keeping it low key and doing only moderate climbs. a day of 4 star 5.7’s and 5.8’s was nice and relaxing and we retired to our campfire to prepare ourselves for another day on the rock.

Sunday morning proved to be a little warmer then Saturday, but with the shorter day in store since we had to drive back to Los Angeles, and the temperature we decided to try something new. We asked around a bit and looked in the Mammoth climbing guide and decided to climb at Locals Only rock at Benton Crags. This isolated climbing area is wonderful and is made of the same rock you find at Joshua Tree, quartz monzonite. We had the whole area to ourselves, and at 8000 feet and facing toward the sierra the temperature and view were outstanding. The climbing here is moderate and all trad. For those of you who don’t climb that means there are no bolts on the rock, and you have to place protection as you go. We decided to climb the 5 star 5.6 climb, Locals Only. This was a first class climb, and I would have loved to do more, but by the time everyone had climbed it was time to head back south.

We packed up and headed back to LA, but on the way we decided to show Susan Fossil Falls, so named because there were once spectacular waterfalls there, but they have dried up and left an interesting geological feature. The water left huge abstract ebony sculptures of water-smoothed basalt, just made for climbing over. We stopped and played for a while, also checking out some of the petroglyphs before continuing the journey home.

It was a wonderful swan song to my free time for the summer.

Climbing and exploring the Owen’s river valley

to see the whole gallery and view pictures at their original sizes click through the above link to my smugmug gallery at http://www.duffyknox.com





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