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Ascent of Mount Gibbs on 2013-06-22

Climber: Patrick Bergeron

Date:Saturday, June 22, 2013
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Mount Gibbs
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:12480 ft / 3803 m

Ascent Trip Report

From Peak 12565, the route is obvious to the base of Gibbs. The one variation might be which particular angle you take up. For example, I chose to follow a contour line around a couple ridge bumps, but if you prefer, you could just go straight and do a little extra up-and-down elevation gain/loss. Either way, there’s no risk of poor navigation here.

Not sure what it was, but something hit me as soon as I left Peak 12565. I started feeling a little lightheaded and suddenly very anxious about what looked like a steep, loose ascent ahead of me to the summit of Gibbs. Alone on the mountain, I put it aside and pushed over the ridge and arrived at what I’d consider the base of Gibbs – the part where the gentle angle of the ridge ends and the steeper ascent begins.

In the 200ft of ascent I did from the base, I slipped once. My slide was maybe 2ft at most, but it was enough to resurface the anxiety I had felt looking at Gibbs from Peak 12565 and to make me more consciously acknowledge my light-headedness. I recomposed myself, took a break, and decided to keep moving, just more slowly. Then at 12480 I slipped a second time.

My head just wasn’t in it. It wasn’t a technically difficult route. However, for whatever reason—dehydration, panic, acrophobia—I just didn’t have it in me to continue. I was pissed. Seriously pissed. The idea of turning around on a mountain because of dehydration or lack of acclimatization or juvenile acrophobia/mental shit infuriates me...even if turning around happens to be the right decision given a set of circumstances...I'd much rather have to turn around because of lack of safety gear, technical ability, etc.

I backtracked down to the “base” and took a route down the gully/valley that I had scouted earlier as a potential bailout point. For my consolation prize, I got to descend .6mi and 1100ft of scree until I landed in the plush meadow near the top of the valley. I cussed and yelled myself the whole way down the scree. (In retrospect I’m glad no one was around to see my rage.)

On the plus side, I loved the cross-country hike after the scree that went down the valley and along the river, eventually meeting up with the Mono Pass Trail. It was beautiful—challenging but beautiful—and I was thankful to have it take my mind off of my Gibbs failure.

F’in Gibbs, man. F’in Gibbs.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:880 ft / 266 m
    Elevation Loss:3230 ft / 983 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 6.9 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:580 ft / 175 m
    Extra Loss:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Trailhead:12100 ft / 3688 m
    Time Up:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3030 ft / 923 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Trailhead:Mono Pass TH  9750 ft / 2971 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Dana etc 20130623

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Mount Dana2013-06-22 a
2Peak 125652013-06-22 b
3(Attempt) Mount Gibbs2013-06-22 c
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Patrick Bergeron
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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