Apocalypse Climb | Mt Langley

blair is all smiles | but where's the view?
After coming out of the Palisades, Blair and I took a day off to get re-organized and went back in to tag another 14'er, Mt Langley.  Blair was the freakin' energizer bunny - just kept going and going!  We got to the bivy site at Cottonwood Lake #5 in only 3:45 (7 miles, 1120' of elevation gain to 11180 feet elevation), and he said, "Want to keep going?"  So we carried our packs all the way to the top of Old Army Pass, another mile and 800' elevation gain to 12,000'.  And Blair asked, "Want to go to the summit?"  So we set up the tent, tossed all the unnecessary stuff inside, and took off again.  We stood on the summit at 7:00pm!!

looking north | mt whitney and mt russell
Apart from Blair's amazing stamina, what made this trip crazy-special was the smoke from a forest fire on the west side.  Early in the morning we mistook the plume of smoke for a long cloud.  As we gained altitude we could see the smoke tower from the fire site, but before we made it the top of Old Army Pass it had settled into the valleys on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, casting a red pall over everything.  On the summit we could make out Trail Peak to the south and Mt Russell to the north, but everything else was obscured.  Turns out there was a fire in the Sequoia National Park that was started by Monday's lightning storm, and spread to 25 square miles on Tuesday.

mt langley smoke free
Even more crazy, in the morning we awoke to clear skies, with no sign of smoke from the day before.  A little confused, we packed up and headed down, and eating burgers in Lone Pine at 1:00pm.

Summary | The South Slopes (2nd class, 2 miles and 2060') of Mt Langley (14026') from Old Army Pass and Cottonwood Lake #5, 27-28 June 2010, with Blair S.
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