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The Thumb (5/13/22)
#59593 05/16/22 03:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 241
Likes: 28
BFR Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 241
Likes: 28
Met up with fellow Whitneyzone forum contributor Aadi. This was my first long Sierra day for 2022 and it was a beast. We started from the Birch Lake TH around 6am and made our way through defunct cattle pastures, stepping through petrified cattle dung and incessantly checking my gpx. Once past the pastures, the trail up to Birch Lake is rather straightforward and fully exposed with no tree cover. We took a detour to mostly avoid the bushwhacking getting up to the lake. Once we reached the lake (which was fully frozen) we headed to the far end and made our way up some talus which included a short 3rd class section. Then it was mostly low grade mixed terrain to a steeper snow filled ramp that topped out at around 40-45 degrees (as confirmed by Caltopo). As we were ascending the steepest part of the ramp (which was super soft and doable without crampons), we were passed by a solo hiker (who happened to beat us to the first summit in 2022 and first summit since September). After attaining the dry rocks, it was then a long slog across an upward sloping plateau to the summit. The summit afforded expansive views of the Palisades crest as well as Birch, Ed Lane Peak, Split Mountain, etc. After spending about 15-20 minutes on the summit, we made our way down. We glissaded down the couloir and took advantage of the soft snow to get down more quickly. Somehow we got a bit lost but regained the trail a few hundred feet lower. We summited around 2pm and got back to the car around 730pm.

Sunrise over the Inyo mountains
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Birch, Ed Lane and The Thumb
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The Thumb comes into view (with ramp to summit plateau on the left)
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Aadi finishes the bushwhacking
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Frozen Birch Lake sits beneath the 13ers
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Aadi makes his way through some mild 3rd class terrain
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Ramp to summit plateau
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The interminable summit plateau
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Aadi signs the register
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Me with the Palisades crest (nerdy hat fail plus poor look with gloves tucked underneath my jacket)
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Disappointment Peak, Middle Palisade and Norman Clyde
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Aadi on way down
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Me about to descend the ramp
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Post-glissading
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Aadi negotiates the downclimb
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Last edited by BFR; 05/16/22 03:17 PM.
2 members like this: futbol, bobpickering
Re: The Thumb (5/13/22)
BFR #59597 05/18/22 09:00 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 37
Likes: 8
J
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J
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 37
Likes: 8
Nice trip report. I have not heard of this trail, so thanks for getting this on my radar.

Re: The Thumb (5/13/22)
BFR #59611 05/21/22 06:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 55
Likes: 5
C
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C
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 55
Likes: 5
Had a blast on this trip. Thanks for letting me tag along Ben! Now I just gotta ping Bob soon to see if Humphreys is gonna pan out this summer...
.


Aadi Duggal
Only in the Sierras for the summers frown
Re: The Thumb (5/13/22)
climby_climber #59612 05/22/22 08:30 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 630
Likes: 48
Online
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 630
Likes: 48
Nice job on the Thumb! The Humphreys trip is still on.


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