Inspired Stone


Eastside Tour
May 27, 2011, 5:22 am
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For seven days, I biked along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, on highway 395, testing the idea of using a bicycle to approach a climb and savoring the dramatic eastside environment that has lodged itself in my heart.

On the first account, I learned a lot, but I was not fully successful. On the second account, the trip was a glittering success. With only one week available, I compromised on the ideal of starting from my front door, by driving over the Sierra crest and starting the bike ride from Bridgeport, CA. From there, I rode south, through snow and unseasonably cold temperatures, and discovered that the cycling left me too exhausted to contemplate a significant one-day mountain ascent like I had planned. But I continued on to Bishop, enjoyed a rest day and then began the return ride to Bridgeport. I did do some bouldering along the way and I was able to spend one morning getting to around 11,000 feet on the Wheeler Crest before getting my feet back on the pedals. It was an amazing experience and I will continue to explore the use of a bike to get to the mountains when we move to Boulder next month. Coincidently, I found a recent article, “The Original ‘Mountain’ Bikers”, in Alpinist magazine that focuses on this very topic.



Trail Work and Wandering in the Eastern Sierra
November 12, 2009, 1:51 am
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A few days ago, I visited Bishop to help with a volunteer effort to improve the trails around the Buttermilk Boulders, a beautiful and popular bouldering destination. Many organizations were involved, including the Access Fund, the American Alpine Club and the Friends of the Inyo. The boulders are located in the high desert at the eastern threshold to the Sierra and given the sparse vegetation, a web of trails proliferate. So a group of about 70 volunteers arrived Saturday morning to rock the major trails and disguise the unnecessary ones. To help raise money for a toilet at the boulders (with so many people visiting, some amenities are required), Saturday night featured a slide show by Doug Robinson, a man that has been guiding, climbing and skiing hard in the Sierra for about 40 years.

Sunday was my day. One of the most prominent mountains on the Bishop skyline is Mt.Humphreys.
humphreys_wide

I have something of a goal to climb all of the mountains forming the western horizon as viewed from Bishop and one of the reasons I haven’t tried Humphreys yet is that the eastern trailhead is at the end of a gnarly dirt road. However, I’m not opposed to starting a climb with a desert hike and it looked like I could start from a highway 168 to the south and hike a dirt road about 3 miles to get to the trailhead. So that is what I did. An unfortunate decision to take a short-cut led to a lot of unnecessary ups and downs and I didn’t arrive at the trailhead until way too late. I did get an interesting, up-close look at the result of last summer’s wildfire.

solo_stone

solo_tree

The plan for next time is to A) Find someone with a high clearance vehicle or B) Start before sunrise and don’t take the “short-cut”. Despite not having accomplished the days goal, you can’t beat wandering around in the high desert wondering at the raw beauty of the desert meeting the mountains. The eastern sierra is wild, expansive, remote and inspiring. There will always be a special place in my heart for those mountains and desert along the eastern border of California.

aspens