September 3rd-5th, 2004|
Trailhead: Bishop Pass (South Lake)
Distances and Elevation gain:
We realized that it would quite a long wait before we could start so we decided to have lunch, sitting on the very loose rocks at the top of the chute. We had no idea how small the belay stances would be that we might have to share but after about 2 hours, we decided to wait no longer and head up.
When we finally got to the route, we efficiently did the 3 pitches. I found them much harder than Snowburd claims and I'd rate them 5.2, 4th class, 5.4 [Ron's trip report rates them 5.4, 4th, 5.6]. The top is an interesting pile of boulders that required some exciting class 3 moves (not a big deal on rock shoes). After getting to the top, we signed in the register (first entry 1991) and quickly set up rappels. As we had only one rope, we had to do 3 rappels... an airy overhanging 25m rappel to a ledge, a short vertical 20m rappel from a small flake, and a final easier 30m rappel to the notch [with 2 ropes plus a safety line, the Sierra Club group only need to do 2 rappels].
We were about 30 minutes from our camp in the Palisade Basin. The major talus was behind us and these boulders, while big, were not enormous car-sized blocks, but maybe more like big 36 inch TVs. I stood on one with a nice flat top and it instantly pivoted. My foot fell through very fast and then the boulder kept rotating until my foot became totally trapped underneath. The pain was intense. Besides pinning me down just above the ankle bone, it also caused my foot to be twisted at a weird angle. I tried moving the boulder with my bare hands but it was useless.
Fortunately I was not alone and my climbing buddy hearing my cries realized something serious was wrong. I wasn't your normal "oh shit" type curse. I was loud! He came quickly and tried to move the boulder with his hands, but only succeeded in bring it up a fraction before letting go and causing the pain to get much worse. I was starting to think about all those poor unfortunate hikers who had gotten trapped and their outcomes. In my case there was one big difference I was with someone.
Arturo switched to his legs and pushed really hard, in a leg press type maneuver. I reckoned I had only one or two shots to drag my leg from underneath the boulder before his strength gave in, so I heaved my stuck leg with both hands and it slowly came free. Instantly the pain stopped, as did the noise ;-) Thank goodness for Arturo's bootcamp sessions!
Needless to say we canceled our Sunday plans for Starlight, but slowly hiked out instead. The ankle and lower leg are still pretty swollen, but nothing is broken.