Rock Creek and the Whitney backcountry

This trip was done sometime in the 1970's - maybe 1973. We had quite a crew. Stan and Sue Keith, Paul Gross and Rick Drake (old high school chums) and myself.

Day 1

We began at the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead and camped near some lake between there and New Army Pass. Like a fool, I was carrying a rope and climbing gear with vague notions of doing some climbing somewhere. We played around toproping something near our camp near one of the lakes (maybe Long Lake?).

Day 2

Up and over Army Pass and down into Rock Creek. A admired Mount Langley, which would have been an easily gained summit from the south (a talus stroll). Clouds were gathering and a storm getting ready to do something as we left the trail and hiked north into Rock Creek. We made camp, erecting our own snug tent city and weathered the storm quite well.

Day 3

A late start and an attempt by some of us to climb nearby Joe Devel Peak. We roamed up third class rock and benches on the east facing buttress, but one of our group was getting more and more uncomfortable with the exposure. We decided that we would all stay together, so we abandoned the effort. It was mid afternoon as well and time would have run out on us. Here was a lesson learned - peaks are lost due to a late start.

Day 4

This was one of the more pleasant days of the trip. I roamed alone up into Rock Creek admiring the Miter and wandering ledges along the west side of Sky-blue Lake. I had vague ideas of climbing Mount McAdie, and may have reached Arc pass, but I just don't clearly remember.

Day 5

Our group split up. Rick Drake and I agreed to do a hike through the regions to the south, while the others hiked around via CrabTree Meadow and out via a trip to the top of Mount Whitney. Rick and I made the sacrifice of hiking out to the car via Siberian Pass, Big Whitney Meadow, and Cottonwood Pass. I think we did the whole thing in one big push, arriving at the car that night making this our last day out. This area has some beautiful meadows and pleasant hiking, but has lost the alpine wonder of the Rock Creek area. We were eager and enthused about the idea of eating food in some restaurant. We also noted that on the fifth day of the trip, we were in shape and functioning like we wish we had been for the whole trip. This is something I have lamented first on this trip, and on many trips since. There must be some way to start a trip like this is the fine physical condition needed to really cover ground and enjoy the trip from the first day out.
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