When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a LIGHT HEART.
It truly amazes me what adventures can ensue with just a few ingredients:
3 100% SMILING WILLING participants
1 iPhone with Internet
3 Loaded daypacks
On our way home from Reno, Nevada passing through Owens Valley that sits beneath the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, we realized we had a few extra hours before heading back to work. Together we brainstormed some short excursions that we had heard about, but not experienced in the Mono Lake/Mammoth Lakes area. I got on the iPhone and within 15 minutes our 24 hours were planned, complete with maps (loaded on Topo Maps app), guidebook directions, and reservations at Mammoth RV Park.
First on the list was Travertine Hot Springs that is easily accessed just south of Bridgeport. There are several springs that are diverse, warm, beautiful, and public. On the day we visited there were a number of bathers enjoying the day.
Next stop, Black Point and the Black Point Fissures along the north shore of Mono Lake. We had directions, but had some trouble locating the trail head and the fissures themselves. The hike to the fissures is cross-country over sand and scratchy bushes, but is so worth the effort once you enter the slots. We explored, climbed, and leaped just in time to watch the sun go down.
After literally running the 2 miles back to the car, we enjoyed a magnificent dinner at Whoa Nellie Deli located in the Mobile Station at the Tioga Pass turn-off. Then headed to Mammoth Lakes to camp in the Mammoth Lakes RV Park that sports a pool, jacuzzi, showers, and flush toilets.
Crystal Crag is a big outcropping of rock that overlooks Lake George in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. It is a class 3 climb (requires hand holds with some exposure) and has been on our “to do” list for years. Needless to say, we were pumped in the morning to get an early start. The climb turned out to be fun, challenging, and we got a lot of good exercise. I was thankful to be with 2 safe, patient, and encouraging climbers. Teamwork at its finest! After reaching the top and taking the very funny and scary photo below of all of us on the summit block, the boys viewed other high points of rock to explore. AND of course we had to perform more maneuvers to reach the other pinnacles. It was a great day, full of smiles and laughter.
Check out the video of our adventure. If you have ever wondered what exactly does a “Class 3 Climb” look like, enjoy. Also the video music is really motivating, “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap. Have fun!