Ascent of Lone Pine Peak on 2016-09-04

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Aidan Barlow
Date:Sunday, September 4, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Lone Pine Peak
    Elevation:12944 ft / 3945 m

Ascent Trip Report

We opted to make this a 3 day trip to the Meysan Lakes drainage for the north ridge of Lone Pine Peak. On Saturday after picking up the permit in Lone Pine, we hiked up to our campsite. Road work near the Meysan Lakes trailhead prevents you from parking anywhere near the trailhead. We parked up at the Whitney Portal overflow lot. We established camp at 9,900 ft near the gullies that lead up to the north ridge, right at tree line.

The following morning, we headed for the gully that Bob Burd alluded to in his trip report. We found that this gully had one minor scramble to get around a chockstone but went well otherwise. Right as we arrived at the north ridge, we met another pair of climbers, Bob and Jody, from San Diego. Right at this spot on the ridge, you hit the first pitch of 4th to low 5th climbing. We pitched it out and then traversed to another easy 4th class ramp which we just simul-climbed. Here, we met with two other pairs of climbers that we chatted with throughout the day. We rapped off the gear that Jody & Bob left and traversed and climbed back up to the second notch. It was windy on the west side of the notch, so we took our lunch on the east side of the notch.

While we waited for two of the other teams to climb the crux pitch, we ate. It took longer than we expected for them to go up the pitch. The initial pitch out of the notch was a bit short for my 30m rope so I ended up setting a belay on something less than a nice ledge. I pulled Aidan up and he put me back on lead. I caught up to Bob as he belayed Jody up the next pitch. The piton pitch was 5.5 in my estimation. After arriving at the flat platform, I opted to do the off-width variation. It was stout for 5.4 or 5.5 in my estimation... After that pitch, it eased up to 4th class up to the next tower. The ridge was flat for a bit at this point and we dropped to the left side, following beta shouted back to us from Bob & Jody. There is a tiny ledge that traversed us right to where we needed to be above the notch. We once again saw the next team directly above us and dropped back to the west side of the ridge from the notch. Bob and Jody were pitching it out, so we passed them on the right and worked our way up some mostly 3rd class terrain to the summit. There were a few small places where there were some short 5th class sections, all under 20 feet, so I just free-soloed each of these sections and belayed Aidan up after me.

When we popped up to the skyline, we were just a few feet from the summit! We topped out at 6pm, so plenty of time to find the correct descent gully! We were the first party of the day to top out, having passed the other two pairs when we diverted right to speed up and beat sunset to the top. We saw the other couple reach the top of the last pitch below the summit as we departed and we shouted to them so that they new they were almost there. We headed west from the summit to the low point on the ridge. From the low point, DO NOT go down the first gully. Keep traversing to the west until you reach a gully that looks like it goes all the way down to the Meysan Lakes drainage. At the top of this gully, there is a prominent rock rib that sticks out towards Meysan Lake. If you walk about 200 ft out on this flat outcrop, you can see the entirety of your descent gully to determine that you are in the correct one. I eyeballed it and knew that we were in the right spot! The descent is long and sandy - we skied for portions of this. About 2/3 of the way down, we needed to pull out the headlamps as the sun set. We stayed to skier's right in the drainage, stopping at the stream below Meysan Lake, but above Little Meysan Lake to fill our empty water bottles, which we had finished on the summit, and empty our full shoes, which we had filled with pebbles and sand in the gully. We stayed away from the stream to the right as we descended to camp. We didn't encounter any cliff-outs and made it into camp around 9:30pm. After a quick dinner, we passed out for the evening, opting to sleep in on Monday.

The hike out was uneventful and we ran into Bob & Jody at the trailhead. I volunteered to drive one of them to their car once I hiked up for my car as they had stayed the night on the ridge, having failed to find the proper descent gully. They definitely had an epic compared to us! I hiked the half mile or so back up to the car while Aidan watched the packs. We swam in Lone Pine Creek near the overflow parking lot and chatted with Bob & Jody for a few minutes after that before battling traffic back to the suburban hellscape of SoCal...

GPS track is a mess on the north ridge, probably from being in tight gullies at times. We didn't descend hundreds of feet to the west just to re-ascend it. Otherwise, it gives a good idea of our route up the north ridge. Also, future climbers finally have a GPS track to find the right gully in the dark!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5344 ft / 1628 m
    Total Elevation Loss:300 ft / 91 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Headlamp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5344 ft / 1628 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5044 ft / 1538 m; Extra: 300 ft / 91m
    Loss on way in:300 ft / 91 m
    Route:N Ridge III, 5.5
    Start Trailhead:7900 ft / 2407 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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