Cloudripper Trip Rpt & pics

4:04 a.m. on July 29, 2003 (EDT)


Arrived at South Lake 2am

Up at 7am, car doors slamming, people arriving to backpack. Shosh got there at 7:40am. Our meeting time was 8am. We left South Lake (9,755') at 8:20am on the siphon tube trail. Ten minutes later I realized I forgot my sunglasses. Shosh waited while I went back. 15 min later we were on our way again. Soon Mt Tom came in to view, then Mt Humphreys and other high peaks. We passed by Brown Lake (10,700'), then arrived at Green Lake (11,054'). After finding a campsite, we packed our daypacks for a dayhike to Cloudripper (13,525'). We headed up the trail to Grunion Plateau ~11:30 and was at the top of the ridge (11,720') before noon. Great views! We followed the plateau on a use trail for a mile, then headed cross country up a gully towards a ridge (12,384'). A descent to 12,317' in .3 mi, then another uphill climb to 13000' in .5 mi. The next .2 mi was up some large boulders to a saddle. I climbed up the boulders in search of a register. You can imagine the disappointment when I looked around and I was higher than anything around. My gps said I was at 13,356'. I found the white pvc pipe at 3pm, with a little book that said "Cloudripper Jr"! Inside, it said "Peak 13,356" and also "Thunder and Lightning Peak". I checked my gps again, and it said .50 feet. I later discovered my eyes saw "ft" and not "mi"! Shosh pointed out the peak across the way, which was Cloudripper. It required a 300' descent and 500' ascent to summit. The weather did not look promising, and with our late start, we settled for Cloudripper Jr. It was here we gave Shosh the moniker "Cloud Ripper Jr". She wasn't feeling well, and wasn't going to climb over the boulders to get to the summit, but she made it! There wasn't much room up there, and it got a little chilly so we signed the register and climbed back down to the saddle for a quick lunch. At 4pm we felt a few sprinkles and started putting stuff away. I saw a bolt of lightning to the north and we scrambled down to a saddle overlooking the Bishop Lakes Trail and all of its lakes. By 4:30pm balls of hail were hitting us hard so I put my rainjacket on. Doh! I left my pack cover at camp! Rain and hail was coming down hard so we didn't bother with rain pants. Thunder and lightning was 2-3 seconds apart, and coming from all around us. Goal was to get down ASAP! By the time we got to the gully it was 8 seconds apart. Back on the plateau the hail turned to a rain. We got to camp at 6:20pm, got in our tents to put dry clothes on. Everything in my pack was soaked, including my gloves and the capilene shirt I was going to wear for the night. Luckily I left my R4 Jacket in the tent and it was dry. It rained hard til 8pm, then Shosh got out and did some construction around her tent, which was now halfway in a pool of water. Mosquitos were out, so I stayed in my tent and looked at pics and worked on trip notes. Since we had a late lunch we skipped dinner. After that we got a little more rain on/off til 10pm. I got up at 11:20pm, thinking it was morning! I hate when that happens! It was a long and stormy night . . . .

Sunday morning
I was up at 5:30, wiping up the condensation in my tent. I was out by 6am, and Shosh was gone, wandering and checking out the meadow near our lake. The morning was hot, and without a breeze, Green Lake had beautiful reflections all morning. Since we had a short hike out, we spent the morning relaxing and talking. We layed our wet clothes and gear out to dry. Shosh decided to take a dip in the lake and tried to convince me to do it. I like the cold, but didn't want to deal with the bugs. We left Green lake at 11:10am, arriving South Lake at 12:45pm. This was my second trip with Shosh, but the first time we got to talk. She hikes almost as much as me, so we had a lot to talk about.

5:58 p.m. on July 30, 2003 (EDT)
4,404 reviewer rep
6,007 forum posts

Good photos. That's beautiful country. But now you know why you should read the map and leave that electronic goody at home (this from one of the systems designers of the satellites and ground segment ;=>D ). Then again, you could take the workshop I am teaching for the Sierra Club at Clair Tappaan Lodge Aug 9-10 and really learn how to use map, compass, and GPS receiver - no more mistaking "mi" for "ft".

Main thing is, you had a great time. Gotta get back to that area again sometime.

1:11 a.m. on July 31, 2003 (EDT)

"no more mistaking "mi" for "ft".
I have to learn to use carry glasses, can't see a map or the GPS screen without, no matter how much I squint. Since it was a last minute trip, I didn't have time to enlarge sections of the map and tape it together so I had a map I could barely see. I can see the direction the arrow points on the GPS. I can't see what it says, but I can see where its hilighted and can move to the next waypoint. Dr gave me tri-focals, but I can't walk around with them or I get dizzy. Eyesight went downhill really fast this year. Sux getting old. Time for Lasik?

"Main thing is, you had a great time. Gotta get back to that area again sometime"
I'm going back this weekend!

11:03 a.m. on July 31, 2003 (EDT)
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6,007 forum posts
Old Eyes (aka presbyopia)

Used to be I had near-perfect vision, excellent detail at distance, able to read the fine print on maps without a flashlight in the early pre-dawn or fading twilight. Somewhere around 50yo, the eyeballs stopped focussing and lost a lot of sensitivity to photons. I can sure sympathize on the question of hiking with multifocals. My wife used to use contacts, until she started having too much problem in the hills with keeping them clean, but now uses blended lenses. I used to think she would get used to hiking downhill with the variable focal lengths until I started needing bifocals to see both the distance and the map. Then I discovered that unnerving jump in focus and magnification. No way I can ski with the bifocals, and it is hard to go downhill over talus with them, even slow almost crawling over the rocks. One solution I use when orienteering is to use distance lenses plus a flip-up magnifier. Some friends use a compass with an attached magnifier (in orienteering, you have the compass and map in hand at all times, which would be a good practice for backcountry hikers as well - but too many get the map out of the pack only once an hour at best, then wonder why they get disoriented). I have been complaining to Garmin and Magellan about the hard to read screens for some time (they both provide loaner GPSRs for the navigation workshops I give, so I get to provide feedback to them about how newbies deal, or don't deal, with learning how to use the units). The distance and compass screens are the worst part, since the "mi", "km" etc on the distance and the "M" and "T" on the compass for magnetic and true bearings are so tiny. And the labels for waypoints and other items in the map views are also very hard to read, especially in low light.

I had the experience of doing a backcountry ski tour in the Tatoosh with some friends that turned out to take much longer than planned, thanks to a blizzard. I had taken a few waypoints, but somehow the "mark" button had gotten pressed several times when I stuck the unit in my pocket. In the failing light of my headlamp and not having reading glasses or a magnifier on this "short" trek, I could not distinguish the waypoints well enough on the tiny screen to realize that some were false readings, and finally gave up on the GPSR. We couldn't see our ski tracks coming in (over a foot of new, blowing snow, besides being after dark in dense forest), and the map had disintegrated from the wet snow getting on it. So we relied on my friend's familiarity with the particular tour and taking a "safe bearing" to get back to the road (lots of alternatives to bail yourself out, if you know them). Part of the moral is don't depend on electronic widgets (have backups and alternatives), and part is take the reading glasses, even if it a "short" trip in "familiar" terrain. It would also have helped to have printed the map on waterproof paper or put it in a plastic bag.

1:51 p.m. on August 2, 2003 (EDT)
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1,261 forum posts
Geese, whattya call catholics, Ancient asses? n/m

sorry, the door was wide open for that.

May 25, 2018
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