Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#13, #14 Mt. Field (and Willey)

#13, #14 Mts. Field and Willey via Avalon, Willey Range and A-Z trails, May 25, 2009

Mileage: 8.4 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,050

Trailhead: Crawford Depot (next to Highland Center on Route 302) 

Lessons learned:
    -  If your group decides to split up, have a plan B that everyone knows. 
    -  Know what the summit looks like - research where it is so there is no doubt. (See "Year of the Hike 2" entry.)

Today I hiked with Rich, Sue, Pam, Charlotte and Sandy.  Charlotte had blisters on her feet and did not make it to Mt. Willey.  The weather was cool but clear and there was still quite a bit of snow cover close to the summit, which made going slow. 

Avalon trail was shorter than A-Z to Willey Range, but steep and rocky.
We chose the Avalon and Willey trails up because it was shorter but the Avalon trail was very steep and rocky so we did not save any time by hiking this route.  We did not bring traction so footing was slippery and we decided not to take the spur up to the top of Avalon. We all had lunch at the summit of Mt. Field and when we were done, we headed to Mt. Willey.  
Mt. Field's summit. Not very spectacular.

Sue, Pam and Charlotte started later and fell far behind us; they decided to turn back and head for the car. We had not discussed this scenario before the hike and wondered where they went.  We heard them yelling to us but could not understand what they were saying.  I was concerned but assumed given Charlotte's blisters, that they headed back.
 Sandy, Rich and I got to where we thought the summit of Mt. Willey was but it was only marked with a rock with a small arrow. The GPS beeped and we were where we felt the top was.  

View on the Willey Range trail headed toward Mt. Willey
At the summit of Mt. Willey (or were we?)
We took photos and went back to Mt. Field.  We returned via the Willey Range –A-Z trail.  
Not knowing if we actually reached the summit that day bothered me for over a year, until I hiked it again in the fall of 2010, this time via the Willey Range trail from Ethan Pond trail.  I retraced my steps from the 2009 hike to find that we had found the summit; that same area was now marked with a cairn.

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