The summit that got away… this time (Travis)

Quincy and I decided to escape the hustle and bustle (and schmustle) of civilized life and headed for the mountains this weekend. The goal: to summit Mount Langley – one of California’s 14ers at 14,042 feet. We set out geared up with Microspikes (which are awesome), ice axes, climbing harnesses, climbing rope, tons of warm clothes, delicious food, and a huge appetite for checking another 14er off of my checklist (3 down… 12 to go!) We set out at 3AM Saturday morning and expected to be home late Monday night. But we’re home now. Here’s how it went down.

About 5 miles into our hike, and already short on air (at 11,000 feet there’s 30% less oxygen than we’re used to at sea level), patchy snow turned into solid snow. Snowy mountains make for pretty stunning hiking.

We hit base camp about 7 miles and about 1,000 feet higher at Cottonwood Lake #3, where Quincy quickly passed out.

We kept hydrated to ward off Acute Mountain Sickness, the headache (and possibly worse things) that comes with high altitudes. Quincy sported her Mindbody binary solo T-shirt.

We set up camp in the snow. Definitely a first for Quincy – possibly a first for me too? I remember camping in a snow cave (that I dug) once years ago, but I can’t remember setting up a tent on snow… anyway.

Early this morning we decked ourselves out in the warmest clothes we brought, strapped on our Microspikes, and set out for the summit.

And that’s pretty much were our expectations were crushed. From the last of a series of 6 lakes we finally caught a glimpse of Old Army Pass, the gateway to the summit of Mount Langley. And staring us in the face was an 800ft tall wall of ice.

I’d like to believe we could have attacked that pass. Actually, I think we could have, given the right gear (specifically real crampons and ice anchors) and more importantly, training. Some day we’ll tackle passes like this together… but not until we’ve been shown how to use the gear. Safety first?

So, we took some photos. Like we do.

Then we set back down the hill, not the least bit disappointed. We tried, it was amazing, and we’ll be back to attack it again!

Is there a cooler place to plank than at 11,000 feet on a giant snowball?

We practiced our ice ax technique on the way home. Quincy’s got it down.

Then we packed up, hiked down, caffeinated up, and drove (down?) home! All in all, an awesome weekend – despite an unsuccessful summit attempt. Next time…


~ by stormcellar on June 12, 2011.

6 Responses to “The summit that got away… this time (Travis)”

  1. Yes, you failed to climb the mountain, but probably hold a world record for planking on Mt Langley!


  2. Nice! And really, a snowball planking? Rad. 🙂

  3. Travis your hair is really dark. It hasn’t magically turned that dark has it

    • Hey Brie!!
      I haven’t done anything to it if that’s what you’re asking 🙂 It’s super long now, longer than it’s been in 10 years, so maybe that’s it?
      I feel like I haven’t talked to you in years! Hope you’re doing well!

  4. Nice adventuring, it’s a shame to not live by you any more. Hit up Bert or Dan for the bottle of wine you guys brought over way back. Later!

    • Thanks Brian! I hoped to hang out with you guys a bit more before you moved… busy lives got in the way. Can’t believe you guys didn’t drink that wine 🙂

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