Ascent of Hines Peak on 2009-12-05

Climber: Marco Rohrer

Date:Saturday, December 5, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hines Peak
    Elevation:6716 ft / 2047 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was an interesting solo excursion to say the least. Started out from the end of Sisar Road and made really good time to the base of Hines Peak. The last few hundred yards were kind a steep and required the use of hands so I decided to stash my backpack and trekking poles, rush up to the summit, sign the register and return.
I took a slightly different route on the way down and missed my stuff. I climbed back up and started looking around. I lost a good 30 minutes. I was now in a bit of a rush, because I wanted get back to catch my daughter's soccer game at 6 p.m..
I picked up the pace and headed for TopaTopa Bluff. On the way there, thick fog moved in and I was soon in a complete whiteout. Somehow I missed the turnoff for the peak and ventured too far south. I was now pressured for time, so I decided to take a shortcut and head south-southwest cross-country across Sisar Cyn and connect with the trail. Unfortunately, I did not know my exact location and was further south than I thought. I descended down a gully and it got progressively steeper. I climbed down two dry waterfalls of about 10-12 feet each. I am a hiker, not a climber so this was tough. I then got to a waterfalll that dropped off about 25 feet. There was no way I could make this safely without a rope. I decided to hike back up the gully. The two earlier waterfalls took all my strenght to climb up. After the second one I got lightheaded and was not sure I could continue. I thought about an overnight Bivy right then and there. I took a badly needed break, drank some Gatorade and ate a Tangerine. Soon, I felt stronger and abandoned the Bivy idea. My wife would be worried as hell and there is no way Search and Rescue would be able to get out until the next day. It would be very embarassing to explain how I got so far off the trail. I decided to climb back up at a slow, steady pace and forget about the soccer game. Just make it back. About an hour later I was back on the top and did what I should have done in the first place. I backtracked. There was still a white out, but I found the trail and followed it. I came to the turn-off for TopaTopa Bluff (how could I have missed that?), got to the peak and signed the register about 2 1/2 hours behind schedule. Half way down the mountain it got dark, but fortunately I had my headlamp. The last hour and half I was in complete darkness and it was spooky. Lots of animals moving about.
What did I learn?
1. Mark your stash, build a cairn or tie a bandana to a tree.
2. Don't go off trail, especially in a whiteout, unless you are absolutely certain where you are and which way to go. Almost impossible in a whiteout.
3. Get a GPS.
4. Get a Spot GPS rescue locator.
5. Don't rush. Stay calm, figure out where you are, don't take chances.
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