COLUMBINE PEAK (12,652') June 30 to July 2, 1990

Another weekend saw a few of us with different goals, but sticking together just the same. We met at South Lake to backpack over Bishop Pass into Dusy Basin. The others had their sights on North Palisade, but I felt that I wasn't up to that for my 2X.

We set a nice camp on the far side of the basin, and savored the sunset and Sierra dawn.

They had to leave early, as their peak route required a lot of climbing. I slept a bit, and got moving to do some exploration. I had read that Columbine Peak had a great view of the Palisades, and being a photographer, wanted to capture that. I ambled toward the peak, choosing a good route. Shortly I reached the top, and met two others up there. I began to shoot my photos, and indeed the vista was good. You see all of the western side climbing routes of these coveted peaks, and I forlornly wished that I had climbed North Pal, again. I took a few photos of the register. Someone had left a box of slides. Photos from some deceased's trips.

Starting down, I chose a new route for myself. It would take me back to my camp more directly. I figured to follow some ducks, then saw it seemed to head into a dead end chute. I kept going, hoping for the best. Soon the chute emptied into a tall cliff, and I thought that I might be done. It might have been that I would have to reclimb the peak! Lucky for me, I found an exit from the chute, into another chute to the left, with only class 3 downclimbing.

Soon, I was ambling over the basin to my camp. I waited for the others, who had a successful, but scary, climb. They reported that the LeConte Route, as it was known, did have a lot of exposure, and that they used ropes. I had wished to do this route someday, but I will have to settle for my 1972 U-Notch couloir ascent, much more difficult.

Having a good social hour in camp, we enjoyed another sunset and then got up early to backpack over Bishop Pass and then to South Lake. We came home early after this last easy day, another sociable climb with a great bunch of people.