Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Thursday, September 16, 2010

El Capitan - Sawtooth Mountains




Saturday Sept 11 saw Dylan and I join a group from Idahosummits.com for their annual fall outing. Idahosummits has been one of the websites that I have followed for the last couple of years and we thought it might be fun to join them on for a climb. All together there were 12 of us on this hike/climb.

A little after 8AM Saturday morning we all met at the trail head. One of the guys attending recognized Dylan from all the trips he has made to Sierra Trading Post buying and then returning climbing shoes. After joking about Dylan's picture being up in their break room with warnings about dealing with him, we were off on the approach hike.

As you can see there was a light dusting of snow in the higher elevations from a storm that had passed through earlier in the week. Luckily, it turned out to not be a factor in the climb. We started off in the cold and fog for the first half hour until the sun broke out.

Dylan overlooking the valley we hiked up
Since this was a "social" outing, we didn't make as fast as progress as we normally would have, but it was all good. We had a great time meeting new people and Dylan got a chance to pump John Platt and Dan Robbins for climbing info. John has a great website (http://www.splattski.com/) detailing all his adventures and Dan runs Idahosummits.com. After a couple of hours we reached the point where we turned off the trail and headed up a rocky bowl.




Heading up the bowl
Once we reached the bowl it was boulder hopping time while trying to stay away from the snow.  This wasn't too difficult as the snow had melted somewhat by this time.  Sometimes it pays to take your time!  As we progressed higher the hike started to become a scramble.



The last twenty feet or so before the summit was pretty much straight up with what Dylan likes to call " a little airy feeling".  We had some exposure with the left side dropping 500 feet or so.  The right side wasn't nearly that far down but it was still 50 feet or so,  Others would call this class 3+, I'd call it butterflies in the stomach.  There were plenty of hand holds and ledges available for this last section.

Dylan climbing the last section


Looking up at the class 3+ section




On top!

All twelve of us summitted and we just barely all fit on top.  We spent a bit of time enjoying the views, chatting, and eating the required kipper snacks and smoked oysters.  Then it was time for the down climb.  John and Dan helped everyone out by pointing out were to place hands and feet and after 15 minutes or so we were all past the steep section and cruising down.

Alice Lake from the summit of El Capitan


Down Climbing





Once past the bowl of boulders it was back on the trail for the 4 mile trek back to camp.  The day lasted 10 hours and we traveled a total of 12 miles.  El Capitan was only 9901 feet, but this was our most exposed climb and very enjoyable.  Great group of people and we hope to continue climbing with them.


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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen