Monday, July 27, 2015

King's Peak via Henry's Fork, High Uintas, Utah

King's Peak via Henry's Fork
32 miles, class 3
July 24-26, 2015

King's Peak (13,528 ft.)
Fortress Peak (13,260 ft.)
Cliff Peak (unknown)

The second annual father-and-son adventure trip did not disappoint. Last year, I convinced my dad to climb the Grand Teton, so he learned how to climb, rappel and got in shape. This year, we decided to King's Peak and do some fishing along the way. And this time, we brought our little dog, Wyatt.

We started at Henry's Fork on Friday around noon. We enjoyed the gentle trail following Henry's Fork stream through the forest and mountain meadows with wide open vistas. We hiked about 8 miles and set up camp near Dollar Lake. We spent the evening fishing and relaxing.

We began our hike up King's Peak on Saturday morning at 7 am. We had more than 3,000 ft. to climb and 14 miles to hike. There were plenty of people on the trail but thanks to the wide open terrain it didn't seem crowded, even though it was. We reached the summit just after noon. After a brief break on the summit, I ditched Dad and Wyatt and scrambled up a couple other peaks. I told my dad I would catch up to him on the way back down.

I scrambled up Fortress Peak and another smaller summit (Cliff Peak?) and I actually met a new friend along the way. I quickly made my way down and caught up with my dad near Gunsight Pass, and we hiked the final 2 miles back to camp. Wyatt was pretty beat at this point. In fact, he's still beat.

The following morning, we hiked out and relived the memories. Great weather, great weekend.

Wyatt marking his spot, Dad disgusted walks by 
Crossing Henry's Fork stream
Dad fished, I actually just read a book
Wyatt playing with sticks, classic 
Squirrel hunting
Cutthroat Trout caught from Dollar Lake by Pop 
Wyatt patiently waiting for Dad to reel in another fish
Blowing up the pad
King's Peak is the lit up pyramid visible in the gap
Wildflowers in upper Henry's Fork Basin 
Dad hiking up Painted Basin onto the flanks of King's Peak after crossing over Gunsight Pass, seen in the backgroun
High on King's Peak, Henry's Fork basin below
Wyatt waiting and resting while Dad catches up
Catching a breather on our way up King's Peak
Wyatt and myself on King's Peak
Wyatt was tired. I gave him all my water, I love him that much.  
Looking down into Henry's Fork Basin from the ridge leading to Fortress Peak
Fortress Peak (Henry's Fork Peak) on the left, Henry's Fork Basin on the right 
Cliff Peak center, King's Peak ridge on the right
King's (left) and South King's Peaks
My new friend Celeste on Fortress Peak
Western Henry's Fork Basin from Fortress Peak 
Looking back at Fortress Peak
Back in the valley, looking up at Fortress Peak 
Wildflowers near camp surrounding Dollar Lake 
Not sure what happened 
Sleeping arrangement
Wyatt had a big 3 days, he is still recovering. 

Broads Fork Twin Peaks, Utah

Broads Fork Twin Peaks (11,329 ft.)
Thursday July 23, 2015
Class 3

We started this hike at 4:30 pm knowing we would be coming down in the dark but knowing we were going to have great lighting, beautiful photos, and have the mountain to ourselves. Andrew, Kelsey, and I quickly made our way up Broads Fork through aspen groves, meadows, past a couple small ponds, eventually above tree line, and onto the rocky terrain above where the progress slowed. Despite the loose rocks and scrambling required to reach the ridge, we gained more than 4,000 vertical feet in about 3 hours. We followed the ridge westward and traversed into the prominent gully on the south side of the Twin Peaks. We scurried up the loose gully and followed the beaten path over scree and talus to the summit, which we reached at 8 pm. ~5,000 vertical feet, 4 miles, 3.5 hours. That was pretty fast. We quickly made our way down before the sunlight completely faded at 9:30 pm.

Roundtrip: 8 miles, 5,000 ft. gain, 6.5 hours

Lush forest and stream in Broads Fork
Getting above the trees in Broads Fork
Looking up Broads Fork towards 
Andrew and Kelsey charging up
Getting close to the ridge
Scrambling along the rocky ridge towards Twin Peaks. Note White Baldy and Pheifferhorn mountains in the backhground
Traversing towards the Gully
Group shot, iphone timer
Looking east along the Cottonwood Ridge with a nice shadow of Twin Peaks in the foreground
Last rays of sunshine in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mont Saleve, France

Mont Saleve
July 16, 2015

With one full day in Geneva, Switzerland I decided to get on top of the nearest mountain, Mont Saleve. I took the bus from downtown Geneva (free bus pass given by most hotels) to the base of the mountain just over the border in Collonges-sous-Saleve, France. From there I wondered around aimlessly trying to find the trail. Eventually I found it and hiked up over 600 m (~2000 ft) to the top in about an hour. The sign said 3 hours. I met several people on top and enjoyed watching the paragliders jump off and descend down to the valley.

Steep "trail" stairs
Paragliders jumping from Mont Saleve. Geneva and Lake Geneva below.
Taking the steep and cheap(!) cable car down

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mt. Erciyes, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Mt. Erciyes via East Ridge
July 14, 2015

Mt. Erciyes is a large stratovolcano that towers over the city of Kayseri and much of Central Anatolia. The mountain stands alone rising above the Anatolian Plateau to an elevation of 3,916 m (12,848 ft.) and is visible from almost anywhere in the region. As a result, the mountain receives significant snow fall and is home to the areas only ski resort and an abundant amount of alpine climbing and backcountry skiing opportunities. The standard climbing route follows the prominent, elongate and arcuate East Ridge to the summit and starts at the base of the ski area in the ski town Erciyes.

After a month of geology field work in the region, I decided to attempt Erciyes despite not having any of my climbing gear with me. Normally in mid July, this wouldn't be a problem. However, this year Erciyes received an abundant amount of snow and a lot still lingered on the steep slopes that lead to the summit. So despite the lack of appropriate gear and sparse info on the route itself, I convinced a new friend of mine to attempt the mountain with me.

The night before our climb, we went to the Jandarme Search and Rescue Station in Erciyes (right off the main road) and attained a free permit to climb the mountain. They took our passports and held on to them while we climbed the mountain. We went to bed early and started our trek the following morning at 4 am - we wanted to see the sunrise while high on the mountain and avoid any afternoon cloud build up that is very common on the mountain.

We parked at the base of the ski resort walked up dirt roads in the dark for an hour or so until we reached the beginning of the proper trail and had our first close-up views of the mountain; we arrived just in time for the sunrise and the accompanying alpenglow. The trail isn't well marked but it's impossible to to get lost (get on the ridge and follow it to the summit). Despite the straight forward nature of the route, the ridge is much longer and steeper than it appears from below. We hiked up and over several minor peaks passing steep couloirs still filled with snow on our right. Some minor snow still lingered on the ridge itself, but it did not hinder our progress until we reached "Camel Hump Rock." The only way around Camel Hump Rock is by passing it on the steep right (north) side, which was covered in snow. Without an ice axe, we decided to turn back. We enjoyed OUR summit for a bit and made our way down. We spent 7 hours on the mountain - 4 hours up and 3 hours down.

Erciyes from my hotel room in Kayseri 
Kayseri from Erciyes

Stephanie charging up the trail. East ridge starts on the left and works it's way to the summit on the right
Sunrise on Erciyes
Sunrise dancing
Alpenglow on Erciyes at sunrise
Cruising up a nice portion of the ridge
Stephanie risking her life collecting litter
The summit was so close. Note Camel Hump Rock on the ridge and the steep snow slopes on its right side. 
Our summit jump
Cinder cones and stream channels on the south side
View of the mountain from the trailhead