The Meysan Basin Traverse

2010 06 13.  Paul joined me two weeks ago for a three-day traverse across the rim of the Meysan Basin.  Two years ago we reached the bottom of the Second Tower on Lone Pine Peak's North Ridge, but woke up to a foot of snow and spent 10 hours retreating down terrain we had climbed in 5 hours the previous day.  The forecast this year called for clear skies, so we called for a rematch and ambitously planned to traverse to LeConte, Mallory, and Irvine.

Photos from L-R:  Paul finishing the approach to the First Tower; climbing along the ridge before the Second Tower; working around another gendarme on the ridge; admiring the Whitney Range on our first bivy.

We bivied at the top of the Second Tower, on a great ledge, and watched the sun set over the Whitney Range.

In the morning we continued up, winding through gendarmes to the Third Tower, then climbed up the summit wall in five pitches straight to the register.  From the summit it was a quick walk to the East Ridge of Peak 3987, which we dubbed Meysan Lakes Peak - it really made no sense to us that this one summit, towering over Upper Meysan Lake, was un-named.  Looking at the map, we really thought we were going to have only a few hundred feet of roped climbing on either side of the summit.  Instead we found hundreds of feet of third and fourth class, taking us 5:30 hours reach the other side.  Afterwards we had enough of the rope, so we voted off climbing LeConte or Irvine.  Instead we hiked across the LeConte plateau to Green Pass and slept there for the night.

Photos L-R:  Sunrise from Lone Pine Peak; Paul enjoying a moment on Lone Pine's summit; team photo; summit photo from Meysan Lakes Peak; looking back up the 4th Class West Ridge; looking back at our day from the bivy at Green Pass.

In the morning a quick 30-minute scramble reached the summit of Mallory, then we finally used the crampons and ice axe we'd been carrying all this time to descend the East Slopes back to the trail.  By lunchtime we were having burgers and beers at the Whitney Portal Store.

Photos L-R:  Scrambling along Mallory's summit blocks; on the last summit of our Meysan Basin Traverse; descending the East Slopes.

Statistics:  The Meysan Basin Traverse (incomplete) - the North Ridge of Lone Pine, East and West Ridges of Meysan Lakes Peak, and the South Slopes of Mt. Mallory.  VI 5.5.