Exploring California

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John and I just got back from our California travel, exploring Yosemite Valley and Mount Shasta.  This summer's experience added another perspective to our evolving mountaineering experiences.

Yosemite, Sierra Nevada

Massive rock

Camp night - tent facing Half Dome

Camp Ground

John before our breakfast time


Driving to the Yosemite valley, you see huge and tall rocks before your eyes.
The park is surrounded by magnificent boulders and rocks. 
People,including me, lit up eyes  looking at the magnificent rocks and boulders surrounding the park.

A natural creation indeed! 

Pausing on North Dome before descending

Click to see photo slide

Hiking up is more awesome.   The valley has many interesting up and down landscapes.  We decided to explore the not much visited parts of the valley, North Dome and Indian Rock, passing through snow Creek.  After a long backcountry long hike, we camped overnight in between the two.  Our camping ground was the right choice.  The tent was facing opposite Half Dome and a few more steps to the right, North Dome and El Capitan were visible.  We had a first class view of the whole valley!  I always looked around to see bears and perhaps have a chance to take their pictures.  Unfortunately, we didn't see one.  In between our hikes, we paused many times for photographs and enjoyed the beautiful sceneries.   I guess we did about a 19-20-mile loop. On the way down, we passed by other wooded and rocky trails. The Yosemite Falls section, even without the water, still offered a spectacular view with it's high rising boulder.  As we were half way down, others hikers also passed our way  My husband became a "consulting" person; hikers on their way up asked him about the distance to the top.  About 4 or  miles before reaching down, there are varied trails that people can choose to hike up and still have incredible views.    Yosemite is really a spectacular destination for all.  When our time permits, I would like to go back to hike other sections of the valley. (Update:our second trip to the valley)

 

Mount Shasta, Cascade Range, Northern California
Second Highest Volcano in the US
14, 162 feet

Base camp

Base camp
Base camp
about  9,700 feet
Day 1-Hiking up and briefing for the 2nd activity

Day 2/3 of the Seminar
Day 2/3-A lesson on rescue techniques, anchor, and rope management- haul systems, rigging, climbing and putting prussick on belay ropes

Day 4-Summit day, resting at 12,000 feet
Day 4-Summit day, resting at 12,000 feet

Mount Shasta is a volcano in Northern California outside of Mt. Shasta City. Summit passes are required for anyone climbing above 10,000 feet, and ascents to the mountain is year round.  Just recently, I  made a valiant attempt to join my husband on a four-day glacier seminar in Mount Shasta.  The class included a training in crevasse rescue, rope climbing, self arrest, and protection using appropriate anchor devices, under the guidance of two experienced mountaineers; two other people completed the team.   Friendly group, they are like the "cool" and the "right on" group, often hearing the expressions from them.  

The Mount Shasta trip was a big challenge and a humbling experience. Part of the seminar must involve good teamwork. One has to be aware of certain rules like  coordinating time with the team members, waking up really early in the morning and getting things organized fast in time for each day's activity. It also goes that one must succumb patiently to the mountain's landscape- rock, ice, and glaciers. 

When ascending and descending on rocks, everyone in the team must be on rope attached to the harness.  Wearing a helmet is a must and having a warm hat under helps when it can get really cold. 

Sun setting down, day 2
Click here for more photos

Going up can be fun but also upredictable.  The ascent and descent on Mount Shasta was challenging.  Time pressured, (had to be on the summit at 9AM) I could only depend on as much physical strengths I had.  Even with crampons, it was strenuous to step on hard ice and hike through cascading snow caps. Repeating silently "one step at a time" to myself was helpful. I guess with another kind of weather and icescape, the walk wouldn't be as hard. 

The team stopped at 12,000 feet and decided not to go further.  No doubt, they could have continued easily without me (The guides' rule-no one must be left behind).  At around 8:30AM, we started our descent.  I commented, "I wish there was an easy way down." "It's mountaineering," the guide replied. True. Exploring where to go up and down was part of the experience. 

 

In the end, our team made it down, safe and sound.  The guides gave us a final briefing, getting our feedback about the four-day experience in the seminar.  After a long exhausting hike, we still managed to smile and exchange words.  Then, we took a group picture and said our good-byes.   Overall, I enjoyed the Mount Shasta adventure and the experience of working with a team.

Group picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seminar was truly a learning process; I still have a lot to experience. Mount Shasta has brought another chapter to our mountaineering life, and we'll always enjoy revisiting this part of our lives through notes and photographs we captured. Hopefully, we can try the top 'floor' next time. 

Hike Note
September 8, 2002

Other Related Sites:
Joshua Tree
www.shastaguides.com
USGS
http://www.gorp.com/gorp/resource/US_Wilderness_Area/Ca_MT_SH.htm

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