Mount Lola hiking trip, July 30-31, 2005 (ii)

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This is sort of time-lapse photography -- skipping past the ugly ridge traversal, past finding a trail (trail? trail! TRAIL!!) that apparently led to the peak and wasn't on our map, past dropping our packs at what would become our campsite for the night, past deciding to go for the peak despite the sinking sun and Kady's increasing foot pain. This is Independence Lake, to our east, looking back as we approached the peak.


We skirted many small patches of snow along the peak trail, but there was one section where we simply couldn't ignore it: a field at least 50 feet long, and extending to a sheer drop on the left and most of the way around the mountain to the right. Also with a fairly steep, 20-30 foot rise. Rob broke out his rope and dusted off his mountaineering skill. I kicked snow steps, more for the walk back than for scrambling up, because sliding down steep snow onto non-snow sucks.


More time lapse: The final 200' or so of ascent was painful (for Kady) and emotionally draining. But we made it! This is us at one of the wind shelters on the peak. Here, I look stoned.


In this one, the Pixy Stix are kicking in.

In the foreground of these pictures, you can see the evil pain-causey shoes.


Third time's a charm: I look vaguely normal.


Peak view, looking east (note Independence Lake). The boulder in the middle foreground, right, has a gnarly, sheer drop-off on the far edge. It's the left-hand terminus of the snow field mentioned above.


Peak view, southeast. Note boulder.

According to, this is the farthest north point from which you can see Lake Tahoe, and I believe it's the lighter patch in the far distance near the center.


Peak view, south. Truckee and Interstate 80 are about 10 miles This Way.


Peak view, southwest.


Near-peak view, southwest and slightly downhill. The ridge down the center holds the continuation of the trail, which goes back down the other side of Mount Lola to White Rock Lake and ultimately to the Pacific Crest Trail. We didn't go that far; we turned around at the peak.


Peak view, JSO west.


Peak view, north. I had to skip west due to the setting sun. The ridge of Lola continues to the north at nearly the same height as the peak; there's a "Lola North" within a stone's throw that's the highest point in Sierra County (the peak proper is in Nevada County). We didn't visit it. Oh well.


Peak view, JNO east. Picture us slogging through that middle-foreground forest and breaking out into the open area on the right. Yeah, that was pretty much our morning.


Kady shows off her l33t peak climbing sk1llz.


Rob is a l33t p33k g33k too.


Some random dork acting as though 9,148 feet is an achievement.


This is photographic proof that they made me shotgun Pixy Stix. (I had brought a few up to the peak for a sugar boost, but the straws were starting to leak, so I was elected to drain them.)


Pixy Stix are so strong, they can turn you into a pirate. Yarr!

Seriously, I think I was just trying to make a face at the sugar rush or something. I blame the Arrogant Bastard Ale for weird-facing me out. I didn't have any left over for the sugar.


Someone went to a lot of trouble to build a really nice wind shelter up on the peak. There were actually two, but this one was nice enough that it could serve as a mini-house in a pinch if you secured a tarp to the top.


The wind shelter even had a fireplace!


Peak view, northeast. Sun too low for good lighting.


Heading back downhill. The trail was clear, well-used, and bordered by more beautiful wildflowers.


Wildflowers. I believe this is lupine, but I could be wrong.


The trip back down the snow field was ... interesting. Rob had chugged most of our bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale and was at least mildly tipsy; I was hopped up on Pixy Stix; and Kady ... well, Kady's feet hurt. Fortunately, we coped. Between Rob offering an anchor point with his rope, and the snow steps that I'd kicked up the worst of the slope, we made it down without looking like dopes. Maybe they should elect us Pope.


And then ... the mosquitoes. dun dun duuuuuuun

The sun set, and despite being up on a ridge, we got proper swarmed. Guess we weren't quite far enough from Cold Stream for safety. Everyone had their own little armor to retreat to; the hammock was Rob's.

Mosquito armor continues on next page >>

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