Somehow we seem to have become the “go to” guide service for Devils Crag. The peak is probably the most difficult on the Sierra Peaks list. This list comprises 248 peaks and only 66 people have done it and Corrine has only 15 left to go and has a trip to the Great Western Divide next week which if she completes her tick list there will have 7 left to go.
This trip had a great ratio of guide to climber with SP leading, and interns Rich and Andrew coming along.
The first day took us over Bishop Pass, down into Le Conte Canyon and then spent the night at Grouse Meadow. The Kings River here is slow moving and about thigh deep but no big deal to cross and we camped on the far side after crossing while it was still warm.
The next day is the climb up towards Rambaud Pass. This is all off trail travel and steep going. But it goes quickly and a few hours took us to the highest lake on the east side of the pass. Where to camp here is always an issue; camp low and save hauling the pack over the Pass or carry up and over to camp in the beautiful basin on the west side – longer pack carrying but closer. We opted for the former since thunderstorm could were building and rain was imminent. We set up the tent and spent lunch sitting out the rain. Once things cleared up we decided to see if we could knock off Wheel Mountain. About 500 feet from the top another storm moved back in so we ducked off the ridge and dropped down a few hundred feet to reduce the lightening exposure. Corrine was surprised that were not going all the way down to camp – we were close and it looked like the storm would pass so we hunkered down and took what shelter we could from the rain. A bag of M&Ms helped! An hour later the skies cleared and a little damp we went back up and summited Wheel about 5.30 in the evening.
The return trip was a beautiful hike in the late day light with clouds everywhere and the air washed clean.
Next morning was a pre-dawn start to Devils Crag and we go back to the Pass at about 6.00am. From here we skirted Whitetop to the start of the real climbing and roped up.
The climbing on the ridge is never harder than 4th class and maybe an odd 5th class move but the rock is not the usual good Sierra granite. It is loose and you to be very careful. Scary for those used to high quality granite, but certainly no worse than places such as the Canadian Rockies.
The ridge goes on for a long time and while you only gain about 500 feet it takes about 4 hours to get to the summit. Only four groups had climbed the peak since we did it two years ago with Linda Emerson.
Then it was back down the ridge and off to camp for a cup of tea and a nap as the thunderstorms moved in again.
A slow start next day took us back down to the KIngs and the long haul up out of Le Conte Canyon. Slow and steady!.
We spent the night in Upper Dusy Basin and then finished off the trip out on Day 5.
A long trip but really fun and a beautiful unspoiled area.
Next up is a trip back there with Louise Wholey.