BD employee Tom Santoro climbing trip report from the Sierras
Tom Santoro works in our QA Lab and sent us the following report and photos from his July 2009 trip to the Sierras where he enjoyed some of the sweetest granite trad climbing in the States.
From: Tom Santoro
Subject: Trip Report: Sierras
Date: Jul 29, 2009 09:02:12 AM MDT
I had never been to the Sierra’s before and it was definitely about time.
The trip revolved around my 3-day permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek – gateway to the technical climbing routes on both Mount Whitney (14,505’) and Mount Russell (14,088’). With all the spray in the BD QA lab about “perfect, golden, high sierra granite” since the first mention of my plans, it was hard to get through the six months of work between the purchase of my permit and the actual date of ascent.
I flew into San Francisco and met up with my good friend from high school, Sebastien, who is now a graduate student at UC Berkeley. We formulated our plans over >3.2% beverages and decided to head to Tuolumne for a couple days prior to our shot at Whitney.
In Tuolumne Meadows we climbed Cathedral Peak, Eichorn’s Pinnacle and the Direct Northwest Face of Lembert Dome (highly recommended). Turns out the other QA guys were right – the amount of hype is all well deserved.
Next we headed to the town of Lone Pine at the base of the Whitney Portal. I have to give a big “thanks” to Doug at the Whitney Portal Store/Hostel for letting us crash on the floor (all beds and rooms were booked) prior to our hike into Whitney.
Although we didn’t get a shot at Russell due to a number of unforeseen circumstances (bummer - Mithril Dihedral looks RIDICULOUS), the East Buttress of Whitney was a fantastic route and did not disappoint. With great weather on the day of the climb and my partner Seb and I feeling on top of our game, the route felt super mellow and really fun. Summiting, we were greeted by hikers who had made the trek to the highest point in the lower 48 (“we’re not worthy!” amongst other comments regarding our harnesses, racks and pirate hats).
Before heading back to Berkeley, we spent one more relaxing day at Lover’s Leap and waiting in line for Bear’s Reach (while reminiscing on Dan Osman’s 4 minute and 25 second speed solo ascent of the route).
I’ll definitely be headed back to the Sierra’s soon…