|5 am and excited for the high five.|
|Sunrise above Little Rock Creek Lake.|
The trail up to Little Rock Creek lake was full of downfall and encroaching brush, but it still went quickly, and I was soon following the intermittent climber's trail to the upper lakes. There are several routes with cairns, but I generally stayed low, and was able to bypass all the lakes on the south side, which I think is the best way. After a quick water stop, I finally stepped onto scree at the base of El Capitan and quickly scrambled up to the ridge crest, using ledges just right of the twin gullies. From the crest, a little boulder hopping had me on the summit, well ahead of schedule. The morning had been smoky, but a west wind gradually cleared things out as I traversed to the Lonesome Bachelor and worked up the Southwest ridge (stout class 4). From the Lonesome Bachelor summit, a bit of boulder hopping down, then a long climb put me on West Como. T'he traverse to East Como was continuously challenging and engaging, but even with some sub-par routefinding, I made it to East Como well ahead of schedule and in good spirits.
|At the base of El Capitan, transitioning from bushwacking to talus hopping.|
|A High five on the High five.|
|Looking west to the Lonesome Bachelor and El Capitan from West Como.|
|Looking East from West Como to Middle and East Como. |
Miles of boulder hopping.
|On East Como, ready to head home.|
This is a good traverse, but treat it with caution since descending from East Como peak is tricky. I think it could go much faster, certainly under 9 hours, especially with a little more snow for glissading. Here are a few routefinding tidbits:
Lonesome Bachelor: From the base of the southwest ridge, ascend the ridge crest, climbing several short class 4 steps, until a 20-foot tall vertical step is encountered about 200 vertical feet before this summit. This step can be climbed directly (5.6), but it is easier to walk 100 feet to the right on a broad ledge until a chimney/left facing dihedral is encountered. Climb up a short chimney (10 feet) until you can walk back left on ledges with no handholds. From here, a vertical but easy chimney leads to easier terrain. A second step will be encountered, but it can be surmounted with 4th climbing up and right of the crest.
|This is the first step than can be passed on the right.|
|The crux of the Lonesome Bachelor. Climb the right dihedral|
for 10 feet and traverse left to the chimney on a narrow ledge.
Lake: 1.15. base of peak; 2ish; El Capitan summit: 3.40. lonesome bachelor: 4.50. west como: 6.15ish. east como: 7.30. trail: 8:40ish car: 9.28.