High Sierra Fun

Spectacular Budd Lake on the approach to Matthes Crest.

Spectacular Budd Lake on the approach to Matthes Crest.

I definitely needed a break after getting back from Nepal, but I was eager to spend a few days out in my beautiful backyard–California’s High Sierra. I spent some quality time with my good friend Mike in Yosemite’s spectacular high country over July 4th weekend that included top-notch dirtbag camping, homemade fajitas and perfect granite climbs. We spent our first day on Matthes Crest, one of Tuolumne’s classic adventures.

Matthes Crest. One of the shyest peaks in Yosemite...it's not visible from any road or major trail

Matthes Crest. One of the shyest peaks in Yosemite…it’s not visible from any road or major trail

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Mike along the crest

The next day, we started hiking early to attempt the West Ridge of Mount Conness. We had a challenging approach that went up and nearly to the summit of Conness before dropping down its west face to the base of the route.

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Gorgeous approach on Conness

As we were ready to rope up, puffy cumulous clouds turned more menacing. After a tiny bit of contemplation, we shouldered our packs and hiked back up and over the peak, unwilling to risk a thunderstorm on an exposed ridge. On the hike back over, I quickly tagged the summit but we’ll have to return to try one of Yosemite’s best routes. Aside from being a bit of a buffet for the mosquitoes, the trip couldn’t have been better.

The West Ridge of Conness, our objective for the day.

The West Ridge of Conness, our objective for the day.

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A yellow-bellied marmot was curious to see what all the hummus and pita chips were about!

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I also had the chance to spend a weekend at Courtright Reservoir on the western side of the Sierra. It was great to get to a part of the range that I’ve never seen and have been eager to explore for a long time. There was some fun climbing, a hike of Eagle Peak, and swimming in the surprisingly warm reservoir.

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The view from Eagle Peak. This part of the range is like a mini Tuolumne.

A rainbow was the opening act to a short but memorable thunderstorm at Courtright Reservoir

A rainbow was the opening act to a short but memorable thunderstorm at Courtright Reservoir

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