Brenda V posted these on FB: (shared with her permission)
Her report (link here)
It was amazing. Winter ascent completed via the mountaineer route. We did the mix climb that was the 400 up and the walk around down. Perfect conditions...What a beautiful place. Thanks Scott Kunz for trail-angel-ing the fuel and for the pics on the notch!!
Here's the skinny..
As of right now people are driving right up to the hard gate. There are two icy spots on shade area's that need care. I had wish we known this before adding the 3.5 road walk. From the portal to E ledges you can barefoot. I used gortex trail runners from car to upper boy scout with micro spikes ascending. The snow bridges are rotting so use care when crossing. The willow section of the ELedges were not bad. Trail is pretty packed now.
ELedges to LBL is now packed. Lake is not frozen so filtering water before heading up to upper would be ideal so you don't have to melt snow.
LBL to UBL is a post holing nightmare. Try to hit that early morning or night when it refreezes.
UBL is frozen so you will have to melt snow. UBL to the IBL is a hell of a climb. We took the high route ascending and used the gully late afternoon. I don't recommend doing that unless it's refrozen and no fun as it's a terrain trap .
IBL up the notch is just perfect. Crampons and ice axe are a must. Watch for rockfall. It's an issue with early morning melt.
From the Notch we ascended the 400. Our plan was to assess and make a decision once at the top of the notch. We talked it out as we left our climbing rack back at camp. After looking at both options we started the 400. Let's just say if you are not experienced mix climber don't attempt. It is not full snow conditions. Once you start to ascend you are committed to route. There were only one exposed horn on the lower start with a bale sling. Other that that its slowly making your way up. I was able to find some solid snow to stick my tool in but it was sketchy as hell. I cliffed-out once and had to down climb back to thin snow. The rock is very chossy. As my partner said. "I puckered so hard I created a new worm hole"
Placing gear would of been really hard with these mixed conditions.
Now the traverse. It sucked!!! Loose rock, zero fall zone and tired legs never a great combo. Ice axe and crampons a must. No ice just mixed snow and loose rock.
We were very fortunate for the weather. We started for the summit at 5 am and returned to camp at 5pm. Our original plan was to hike out but I was physically fried. So we stayed another night hiked out early the following morning.
As with any climb conditions change constantly. A great source of beta came from the local hiker shop in lone pine. You can actually call and talk to them to get info. I highly recommend stopping in and supporting the local businesses as they have been hit hard by covid restrictions.
Hope this helps😊