Adventures in EvolutionMichelle PeotMarch 2012                                 First chick ascent of the Evolution Traverse
The High Sierra           Mt Humphreys, Basin Mt, and Mt Tom from the Buttermilks
The AreaSierra Nevada Range• ~400 mi in length• Predominately granite• Most stable weather inAug-Sep, t-storms in Jun-Julb...
Red Dihedral on the HulkThe Area | Bridgeport                      (5.10b, 12 pitches)                         Incredible ...
The Area | Yosemite (Tuolumne)                          N Ridge of Mt Conness (5.6)Third Pillar of Mt Dana
The Area | Rock Creek/Pine Creek                   N Buttress on Merriam Peak (5.10, 10 pitches)Bear Creek Spire          ...
N Buttress on Mt Goode (5.9,    The Area | Bishop                 pitches)W Face on Cardinal Pinnacle (5.10a,4 pitches)
The Area | Big Pine   PalisadesTemple Crag
The Area | Lone PineN Ridge on Lone Pine Peak (5.5)                                  Keeler Needles & Mt Whitney
The Pioneers                                  Peter Croft                     Glen DawsonNorman Clyde                     ...
Evolution Traverse
The Mystique   How we got spanked on Evolution Traverse (Shay of    pullharder.org, 2007)   “16 hours car-to-car; 22 mil...
The Route                          5.6                                  5.8• 5.9, VI                                      ...
The Route | History1966Gordon Waddell does Spencer to Huxley.July 1997Peter Croft and Galen Rowell climb Mendelto Haeckel,...
My Background   Climbing       Been climbing on/off since the mid-90s       Since ~2006 increased focus on trad/alpine ...
The Prep   First (half-assed) attempt in Sep 2010     Base camp support from Jascha     Bailed before the Mendel summit...
The Prep   2011 conditions    and my dismal    ability to    forecast snow    levelsRaw data from skiiinfo.com   Data fro...
The Prep   Surprisingly early start to    the alpine season given    the winter’s record    snowfall                N Rid...
The Prep   Spent much time on Temple Crag    to avoid sloggy conditions                                     Moon Goddess ...
The Prep           Sun Ribbon (5.10a) | Galey | Sill traverse
The Prep   Last minute Evolution    crux recon and bivy    gear stash 1.5 weeks    prior
The Approach               Darwin and Mendel from Lamark Col
The Approach  Darwin Canyon 2010   Darwin Canyon 2011
The Approach                  Darwin Canyon                  Darwin                  Benches               Base camp at Da...
The Climb                            Darwin Canyon            Darwin            Benches            13,360 from Darwin Benc...
The ClimbLooking into Evolution Basin fromthe ridgeline on 13,360                 Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
The Climb Self portrait en route to 13,360                Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
The Climb            Mendel from the 13,360 summit (5.6)
The Climb            Ridge traverse to Mendel
The Climb            Mendel headwall (~25 ft, not 5.9)
The Climb            Darwin from Mendel
The Climb            Picket fence to Darwin (5.8)
The Climb      Darwin summit block
The Climb       Chimney section off the Darwin summit (5.9)
The ClimbMore down-climbing off the Darwin summit
The Climb            Traverse to 13,332 (5.9)
The Climb            Golden slab (photo from recon)
The Climb            Bivy #1 with the evening’s            entertainment, This American Life
The Climb            13,332 summit
The Climb            Haeckel from 13,332 (class 3)
The Climb            Looking toward Wallace from just            below the Haeckel summit
The Climb            And…the wall
The Climb               5.6                       5.8                             5.9                     5.7            A...
The Climb            Emma
The Climb            Fiske from Wallace?
The Climb                                             Warlow from Fiske            Photo courtesy of Laura Molnar
The Climb            Bivy #2                                             Huxley from Warlow            Photo courtesy of L...
The Climb            Morning light from bivy #2
The Climb            Huxley, the final obstacle (~5.7)
The Climb            The last summit!
The Descent              Hike back on the John              Muir Trail through              Evolution Basin
The Descent                  Darwin Canyon              Darwin              Benches               First real food in 2.5 d...
Summary~22.5 hours of climbingover 2.1 days
Tips   Go as light as you can taking into consideration your limits and    conditions.   Be efficient at route-finding, ...
Questions | Beta    user name fossana    on summitpost and    mountainproject   slides will be    posted on    slideshar...
Gear List   80’ of 7mm Mammut Pro Cord – did 1 pack haul, 1 pack lower and 1 rap   3 nuts (sm, med, lg) – didn’t use   ...
More Eye Candy | TRs   Josh Garrison’s video covering 3 attempts:    http://vimeo.com/15555114   Patituccis’ blog:    ht...
Many Thanks Tothe following people for beta, encouragement, company on  recons/training climbs, and tolerating my obsessiv...
Many Thanks To especially the Limits episode (Apr 2010)
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Adventures in Evolution (Mar 2012 Boulder presentation)

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First chick ascent of the Evolution Traverse (5.9, VI). Presentation given to CU Boulder Alpine Club and at Neptune Mountaineering; includes an overview of High Sierra climbing.

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Adventures in Evolution (Mar 2012 Boulder presentation)

  1. 1. Adventures in EvolutionMichelle PeotMarch 2012 First chick ascent of the Evolution Traverse
  2. 2. The High Sierra Mt Humphreys, Basin Mt, and Mt Tom from the Buttermilks
  3. 3. The AreaSierra Nevada Range• ~400 mi in length• Predominately granite• Most stable weather inAug-Sep, t-storms in Jun-Julbut not as regular as theRockies• High concentration ofquality alpine routesbetween Bridgeport andLone Pine (~150 mi) Map from UC Davis’ Information Center for the Environment
  4. 4. Red Dihedral on the HulkThe Area | Bridgeport (5.10b, 12 pitches) Incredible Hulkphoto by Luke Stefurak
  5. 5. The Area | Yosemite (Tuolumne) N Ridge of Mt Conness (5.6)Third Pillar of Mt Dana
  6. 6. The Area | Rock Creek/Pine Creek N Buttress on Merriam Peak (5.10, 10 pitches)Bear Creek Spire photo by Jed Porter
  7. 7. N Buttress on Mt Goode (5.9, The Area | Bishop pitches)W Face on Cardinal Pinnacle (5.10a,4 pitches)
  8. 8. The Area | Big Pine PalisadesTemple Crag
  9. 9. The Area | Lone PineN Ridge on Lone Pine Peak (5.5) Keeler Needles & Mt Whitney
  10. 10. The Pioneers Peter Croft Glen DawsonNorman Clyde Barbara Lilley Galen Rowell Jules Eichorn Vern Clevenger
  11. 11. Evolution Traverse
  12. 12. The Mystique How we got spanked on Evolution Traverse (Shay of pullharder.org, 2007) “16 hours car-to-car; 22 miles; peaks reached: 0/9” (Warren C and Dave J, 2009) “Cycling through 3 partners over 3 attempts…” (Ryan H in reference to Josh G, 2011) “The best traverse I have done.” (Peter Croft in The Good, The Great and the Awesome; FA on attempt #3) 17 documented successful ascents prior to my 2011 attempt (all by men)
  13. 13. The Route 5.6 5.8• 5.9, VI 5.9• 10 mile approach overLamark Col (3,600 ft ofgain and 1,600 ft ofdescent)• 8 mile ridge traverseover nine 13K ft peaks• ~16 mile hike out 5.7
  14. 14. The Route | History1966Gordon Waddell does Spencer to Huxley.July 1997Peter Croft and Galen Rowell climb Mendelto Haeckel, with Croft continuing on alonefor the last 4 peaks.August 1998Peter Croft and Dayle Mazzerella traversefrom 13,360 to Spencer.June 1999Croft returns to complete the full traversesolo.Source: Croft’s The Good, The Great, and the Awesome: The Top 40 High Sierra Rock Climbs
  15. 15. My Background Climbing  Been climbing on/off since the mid-90s  Since ~2006 increased focus on trad/alpine climbing  Comfortable leading ≤ 5.10 trad  Enjoy exposure, soloing, and mega days Work  Work full-time as a data geek for a search company in Glendale CA, but fortunate to work remotely
  16. 16. The Prep First (half-assed) attempt in Sep 2010  Base camp support from Jascha  Bailed before the Mendel summit due to (chronic) hip flexor issues Major focus on the Aug 2011 attempt  Made the decision to do the traverse alone and unsupported  Ton of climbing (trad, sport, bouldering, alpine soloing) with a focus on alpine speed and endurance  Planning & logistics (balancing weight and comfort/safety)  PT
  17. 17. The Prep 2011 conditions and my dismal ability to forecast snow levelsRaw data from skiiinfo.com Data from skiinfo.com (in cm)
  18. 18. The Prep Surprisingly early start to the alpine season given the winter’s record snowfall N Ridge of Lone Pine Peak (5.5), 30 May
  19. 19. The Prep Spent much time on Temple Crag to avoid sloggy conditions Moon Goddess Arete (5.8)
  20. 20. The Prep Sun Ribbon (5.10a) | Galey | Sill traverse
  21. 21. The Prep Last minute Evolution crux recon and bivy gear stash 1.5 weeks prior
  22. 22. The Approach Darwin and Mendel from Lamark Col
  23. 23. The Approach Darwin Canyon 2010 Darwin Canyon 2011
  24. 24. The Approach Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches Base camp at Darwin Benches
  25. 25. The Climb Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches 13,360 from Darwin Benches
  26. 26. The ClimbLooking into Evolution Basin fromthe ridgeline on 13,360 Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
  27. 27. The Climb Self portrait en route to 13,360 Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
  28. 28. The Climb Mendel from the 13,360 summit (5.6)
  29. 29. The Climb Ridge traverse to Mendel
  30. 30. The Climb Mendel headwall (~25 ft, not 5.9)
  31. 31. The Climb Darwin from Mendel
  32. 32. The Climb Picket fence to Darwin (5.8)
  33. 33. The Climb Darwin summit block
  34. 34. The Climb Chimney section off the Darwin summit (5.9)
  35. 35. The ClimbMore down-climbing off the Darwin summit
  36. 36. The Climb Traverse to 13,332 (5.9)
  37. 37. The Climb Golden slab (photo from recon)
  38. 38. The Climb Bivy #1 with the evening’s entertainment, This American Life
  39. 39. The Climb 13,332 summit
  40. 40. The Climb Haeckel from 13,332 (class 3)
  41. 41. The Climb Looking toward Wallace from just below the Haeckel summit
  42. 42. The Climb And…the wall
  43. 43. The Climb 5.6 5.8 5.9 5.7 And…the wall
  44. 44. The Climb Emma
  45. 45. The Climb Fiske from Wallace?
  46. 46. The Climb Warlow from Fiske Photo courtesy of Laura Molnar
  47. 47. The Climb Bivy #2 Huxley from Warlow Photo courtesy of Laura Molnar
  48. 48. The Climb Morning light from bivy #2
  49. 49. The Climb Huxley, the final obstacle (~5.7)
  50. 50. The Climb The last summit!
  51. 51. The Descent Hike back on the John Muir Trail through Evolution Basin
  52. 52. The Descent Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches First real food in 2.5 days
  53. 53. Summary~22.5 hours of climbingover 2.1 days
  54. 54. Tips Go as light as you can taking into consideration your limits and conditions. Be efficient at route-finding, moving quickly unroped over 4th and easy 5th class terrain, and rope/gear management if you plan to use them. Consider your water options (snow melt versus dropping down 500’ to Haeckel Col). Acclimate. A full day at the Darwin Benches helps significantly especially if you are a flatlander. Note to self: Have your food plan perfected and make sure your camera is fully functional. Have fun. It’s an amazing climb no matter how far you get.
  55. 55. Questions | Beta user name fossana on summitpost and mountainproject slides will be posted on slideshare.net (same user name)
  56. 56. Gear List 80’ of 7mm Mammut Pro Cord – did 1 pack haul, 1 pack lower and 1 rap 3 nuts (sm, med, lg) – didn’t use ATC guide / locker Camp XLH 95 harness 40’ 9/16” tubular webbing – way too much Lightest pair of climbing shoes I could find at the Gear Exchange Western Mountaineering VersaLite (10 degree bag) 2L MSR Dromedary bag (for melting snow) + 100 oz hydration bladder Black Diamond Speed 40 pack Montrail CTC approach shoes Camp Corsa ice axe (left this at Lamark Col on the hike in) Cheap closed cell foam pad cut down to ½ length and minimal width* Rab Storm Bivi* * Cached on recon
  57. 57. More Eye Candy | TRs Josh Garrison’s video covering 3 attempts: http://vimeo.com/15555114 Patituccis’ blog: http://dolomitesport.com/2009/12/climbing-the- sierra-nevadas-evolution-traverse/ Alan Cattabriga’s TR: http://neice.com/2010/09/the- evolution-traverse/ My TR: http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Evolution- Traverse-How-I-Owe-it-All-to-an- Apple/t11143n.html
  58. 58. Many Thanks Tothe following people for beta, encouragement, company on recons/training climbs, and tolerating my obsessive ramblings:Alan C, Vic L, Peter C, Mike C, Ben H, Jason L, Ian C-B, Tricia L, Matt S, Tai D, Em H, Todd T, Joe L, Lisa R, Wills Y, Jascha L, Joan P, Miguel F, Sandra S, Janel C, Jessie M, Yoshiko and Jim M, Nathan W, Laura M and especially Emma
  59. 59. Many Thanks To especially the Limits episode (Apr 2010)

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