|Jan 21, 2007 (Sun)
|Elevations: 4607 feet, 4442 feet, 3820 feet; Order of Height: 14, 18, 46
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes, Ewart Tempest, Brian Connell
This is an account of an epic day climbing the Santanonis in the dead of winter... cold, long, and tedious!
As part of our winter 46er work, the Santanonis had to be completed. We mulled about doing this as a two-day backpack, and mulled, and mulled... and then the weather then decided. It had finally turned decidedly like late-January should be: frigid! The camping spirit drained out of us, and we decided to make a go of it in a very, very long day.
We arrived at the trailhead slightly behind schedule. It was a cold winter night (it was 3:30am, after all!), and the temperature was around -20C (-4F). Perfectly clear, with thousands of stars above. About 6 inches of fresh snow had fallen the day before, and the trailhead was deserted. With all the fresh snow still on tree branches, we would likely get dumped on today! We tried as much as possible to get dressed and ready IN the car, rather than outside in the cold!
Bare-booted to the start of the trail to Duck Hole; switched to snowshoes there to preserve trail quality. Snowpack not that deep, maybe 6 inches to a foot at most. Upon reaching Bradley Pond (and the start of the Herdpath), I started following my GPS tracklog from my 2003 summer climb of the Santanonis. This proved to be very useful with the mostly untracked herdpath route! Snow conditions were good, except for some tricky slide-sloping snow-over-ice-crust stuff partway up to Times Square.
Arrived Times Square a bit behind my planned schedule. We decided to tackle the 'worst one' first (i.e. Couchsachraga). Did that, then went on to Santanoni, and finally Panther. Temps were frigid but day was mostly clear; excellent views. Tracklog again proving very useful in negotiating snowed-in herdpaths. We were pretty late in getting the peaks done and it was solid nightfall by the time we returned to Bradley Pond. A long, boring trudge out and we were finished. Tough!
See the image gallery link below for a more detailed writeup and the set of pictures.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: January 2007 Santanoni Range Climb