Mount Agassiz, Columbine Peak and Dusy Basin

I have been to the Palisades twice before but never via South Lake so I figured this would be a great opportunity to see Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin. I started at around 6:30 am and headed up the nice trail, coming across spectacular reflections in the tarns near Long Lake. I continued up through more lakes and then the final switchbacks up to the pass. From the pass, I headed up the talus slopes to the summit of 13,891 ft Mount Agassiz. The talus was not very loose helping to make relatively fast time up the slope, arriving at the top 2:40 after beginning at South Lake. I spent nearly an hour on the summit snapping photos and chatting with a couple from Bishop who arrived at the summit 30 minutes after me. The views in the morning sunlight were amazing!  Check out many more photos here.

Eventually, I got going again and made quick time back to Bishop Pass and then into Dusy Basin. Part of the appeal of climbing Columbine Peak is the traverse across Dusy Basin, famous for its alpine lakes with views of the sheer walls of Mount Winchell, Thunderbolt Peak, and North Palisade towering above. I picked a route across the Basin and took many photographs of the lakes near Isosceles Peak, which is aptly named. I continued on through boulders and slabs to Knapsack Pass where I began the climb up Columbine Peak. I went up the arete directly from Knapsack Pass which proved to be more difficult than the advertised class 2/3 climbing for a sustained period (almost until the summit). I found out on the descent that the easier route is on the south side of the ridge, but some class three climbing is still unavoidable. To get to the easier route, follow a use path around the base of cliffs towards Barrett Lakes/Palisade Basin from Knapsack Pass. At the point where a gully is crossed begin heading up and the easier route is apparent (gravel and talus). Taking this route on the way down saved some time and energy and I was happy to not have to down climb some of the sections I had done on the ascent.

Columbine Peak features the best view of the west side of the Palisades subrange and a great vantage point of other surrounding peaks, Palisade Basin, and Dusy Basin. The return trip through Dusy Basin was just as spectacular and I stopped to take many photos. Once atop Bishop Pass I jogged the remainder of the way back to the trailhead at South Lake, arriving 9:26 after beginning. This is a fantastic area and I hope to return soon for more photography, climbs, and adventure runs.

Many more photos here!

Not too late for snow in Sammamish!

I got a call from my mom in Sammamish, WA this evening and she told me that it was snowing hard with several inches of snow on the ground. Sammamish is my hometown and is located 30 minutes east of Seattle near the Cascade foothills and typically receives more snow than Seattle proper. However, snow anywhere in the Western Washington lowlands is not a common event even in the depths of winter, let alone at the end of March! The culprit for the snow is the infamous Puget Sound Convergence Zone (PSCZ), which creates an area of focused precipitation in the central Puget Sound region as winds wrapping around the Olympic Mountains collide. The unseasonably cool airmass combined with the rapid precipitation rates within the PSCZ dropped snow levels down to sea level near Lake Sammamish and resulted in heavy snow this evening. The PSCZ is especially favorable for accumulating snow fast on the plateau of Sammamish which is between 300-600 feet above sea level and tonight was no exception. The precipitation fell largely as rain further west in the larger cities of Bellevue and Seattle.

Happy Chanukah!

Yesterday was the first night of Chanukah and to celebrate here is a hilarious video of NBA stars wishing their Jewish fans a happy festival of lights!

Today was the last day of classes of the Fall semester! It’s unbelievable how fast it flew by. Now I have to study for one final, take it next Tuesday, and then fly home to Sammamish for the winter break!

Great Arnold Clip

Such a great clip! Arnold tells it!

I saw American Gangster with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe yesterday. The actors’ performances were great and I thought it was a good movie. Otherwise, it’s basically business as usual around here. I am recovering from the small sickness and I had some good runs this week, but I have some pain in the ball of my foot right below the second toe :( From prior experience, foot issues can be quite annoying so I’m going to take this with extreme precaution and give it a few days with no stress on it.


Today I worked out at Arrillaga and ran – the double. I feel pretty dehydrated or something right now so I am drinking plenty of water. First I went to Arrillaga and worked the back muscles. It was a good workout as I hit basically all the exercises I like to do in a relatively short period of time.

After the gym workout, I went to hear that Constitutional Law event, but I was a little disappointed by the poor planning. The allocated room was to capacity so they had people fill an overflow room. The problem was that the projection of the speech from above was incredibly choppy and the feed would fade just when you wanted to hear something. Eventually I just gave up. I didn’t even get the free gift :(

Later this evening, I went on a 48 minute run including the Oak Creek trail. I felt pretty good here too. The rest of this evening has flown by. I haven’t accomplished much and it’s 11 pm. I’ve got a hefty amount of reading to do so on that note, I’ll see you later…