Climbing Split Mountain
June 30-July 3, 2011

My second attempt to summit Split Mountain - 14,058 ft (4285 m). Jesper's third.
We drove up to Big Pine on Thursday afternoon for a Friday morning start.
This is the view of the characteristic peak from Big Pine.

Click here for the attempt we did the year before!

A sketch for navigation of the snow chute where we turned around last year and the snow fields covering the last 1000 ft to the summit.

Aerial view of Split Mountain's two summits and the main chute dividing them.

About one hour in to the hike we turn a corner and can't see the trailhead and car anymore.

Already now we could see there were considerably more snow this year than last.

After five-six hours we have passed through the sections of the trail we call " the wall" and "the jungle".
The worst is behind us!

And after another 30 minutes we get our first glimpse of our goal.

The lower lake

Hmm.. it looked somewhat colder to swim in red lake this year... But we did anyway!

It took us 7 hours to get to Red Lake at 10,400 ft this year. Tough to find a nicer spot to pitch a tent!

The next morning, July 2, we had our alarm set for just after 4am, ate a hearty breakfast and left for the summit just before 6am.
(Can you see our friend the Sperm Whale?)

Jesper putting on crampons in the morning light

You will see this expression on my face in most of the photos to come... We could both feel the altitude, and it promised to be a looong and tough day.

Jesper at around 11,500 ft

Hans at 12,000 ft. This is where the steepest section starts. The narrow chute above my head is the path we will climb towards the north-facing ridge, in turn leading to the summit.

The air temperature was perfect, but since we were climbing in a bowl with snow surrounding us we had the sun reflecting from all directions, making for a very, very hot hour through this section

Halfway up the narrow chute. There's that face again...

After almost six hours we passed the spot where we turned around the year before.

At the top of the chute and entering the north face, Noon.
We stopped here for an hour melting snow for water and coffee, and ate a light lunch of soup, beef jerky and power bars.

Behind Jesper is one of the chutes leading straight down to the lake 3,000 ft below

... and the face again

View to the East..

..and to the West. We're climbing due south towards the summit at this point.

There it is - can see the summit from here!

At the summit, 2pm.
What an amazing feeling - Without a cloud in the sky we could see for hundreds of miles in every direction.
From desert in the East to hundreads of snow clad Sierra peaks in the West.

After scaling down the north face to the top of the chute we took another long break before climbing down the steepest part. The sun had started to dip behind the ridge, allowing the snow to firm up somewhat, and we felt very safe slowly tracing our own tracks back down.

Down towards the bowl again, and the lake below that.
We were back by our tent at 6pm.

A marmot kept us company the next morning as we had a lazy breakfast and packed our gear for the descent back to the car.

A last view of the mountain before we passed below the lower lake.
In the center of the image is the snow chute, on top of which Jesper posed in one of the earlier pictures.

Almost there - 30 minutes or so to go. Can you see our white car?

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