Ascent of Mount Abbot on 2019-08-08

Climber: Rafee Memon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, August 8, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Abbot
    Elevation:13704 ft / 4176 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Sierra Challenge group was at South Lake heading to the fifth-class Isosceles Peak, but I was eyeing up a tamer peak for myself. The previous evening was very stormy on the crest and the weather wasn't looking favorable for the next day, but I didn't want to waste a day after a rest day. I eventually settled on Mount Abbot and Mount Mills, which I hoped would be a short day to help me Dodge any storms. I also saw it as a good opportunity to climb two peaks with notorious rockfall danger, which would be somewhat mitigated by going solo. To be safe, I picked up a used helmet in great condition for $10 from the gear exchange in Bishop the night before.

I passed a bear driving up to Little Lakes Valley and arrived at the Mosquito Flat trailhead around 4:45am. It was still dark and I took my time getting ready, putting on my boots, and spraying myself with DEET before starting out by headlamp at 5:20am. The bugs over the previous few days had been horrible, and I was pleasantly surprised that they were leaving me alone.

I continued up the trail towards Mono Pass and then Ruby Lake, where I crossed over the outlet, waved to a camper, and started cross-country up the ridge. I avoided the angled snow closer to the lake as I wasn't ready to don my crampons, and instead dealt with what ended up being somewhat loose scree on the ridge. I endured a few ups and downs on my way to the base of the Abbot northeast couloir, which was filled with snow almost the whole way to the top due to the big winter. The snow was already starting to get soft from the heat of the morning, so I quickly strapped on my crampons and helmet and continued upward.

The sun cups were large and annoying, but I made quick work of the snow climb to the base of the third-class chute about halfway up the snow. I put my crampons and axe in my pack and found a third-class crack that took me most of the way to the top of the ridge. From there, the views opened up dramatically: the striking summits of Abbot and Mills came into view to my left and right, and the Mono Recesses lay dramatically in front of me over the crest. I continued up the ridge to the left, dropping down on the right side into more easy third class to avoid the difficult ridge, then regained the ridge for the final easy walk to the summit, where I arrived at 10:00am.

The summit views were spectacular, and I spent quite a bit of time photographing the various summits that I recognized all around me. I put on a pullover as the sun went behind clouds and the wind started to pick up, which I also took as my cue to get going. I had already ruled out climbing Mills due to the snow becoming too soft, but now I wasn't even sure I would make it back to the trailhead dry. I stayed closer to the ridge on the descent, this time passing over the "knife edge", which was nothing more than a trivial three-foot-wide sidewalk -- not at all like my experience on Emerson two days prior! Arriving back at the snow, I surprisingly passed another climber on his way up. We chatted and exchanged beta, but he got going quickly to try to make the summit before the weather completely turned.

I got out my axe and glissaded down the snow cups to the tarns above Mills Lake. From there, my route finding decisions took a big turn for the worse. Instead of heading back up to the ridge, I decided to continue down the snow directly towards the lake, but this incurred a lot of annoying sidehilling across the sun cups, which was exacerbated by me not wanting to put my crampons back on. I alternated between the snow and loose rock, kicking down many huge fragments onto the snow. By the time I reached the lake, the sky was entirely clouded over and it had started to lightly hail. For some reason, I can never catch a break weather-wise at Little Lakes. After reaching Ruby Lake and then the trail, the weather dramatically improved, and blue skies dominated the whole valley to Bear Creek Spire. I stopped to take photos before returning to the trailhead and driving back to Bishop.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3809 ft / 1160 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3809 ft / 1160 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.9 mi / 20.8 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Headlamp
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3650 ft / 1112 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3491 ft / 1064 m; Extra: 159 ft / 48m
    Loss on way in:159 ft / 48 m
    Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route:NE couloir
    Start Trailhead:Mosquito Flat TH  10213 ft / 3112 m
    Time:4 Hours 41 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3650 ft / 1112 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3491 ft / 1064 m; Extra: 159 ft / 48m
    Gain on way out:159 ft / 48 m
    Distance:6.3 mi / 10.1 km
    Route:NE couloir
    End Trailhead:Mosquito Flat TH  10213 ft / 3112 m
    Time:3 Hours 35 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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