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BFR, futbol, Snacking Bear
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Mt. Tinemaha (7/2/21) #58976 07/04/2021 8:24 PM
by BFR
Stayed the night in Bishop and left the hotel around 3:50am and arrived at the trailhead just after 5am. Navigating to the Red Lake TH wasn't as bad as expected. The ~12 miles on dirt consist of around ~8 miles of hardpacked dirt followed by ~4 miles of rougher terrain. As others have reported, having a vehicle with high ground clearance is a must.

The "trailhead" is sort of funny because there's virtually nothing there, nor can you easily spot the trail (nor is the "trail" up to Red Lake truly a trail).

Started the hike around 5:30am. I decided to move directly up to the trail at around 7,200' rather than take the more circuitous trail that goes off starting in the other direction. The trail is definitely difficult to follow at various points due to historical erosion, burns, etc. In some spots there are cairns to help and in others there aren't. The hike was pretty sun exposed in the morning and the July heat wore on me. It wasn't until around right before Red Lake that the temperature cooled and I reached Red Lake at around 8:30am or so. Stopped to have a granola bar, and then began the arduous route into the cirque leading up to Tinemaha which is effectively a boulder field / moraine. As you travel into the moraine, the boulders are pretty solid, but there's virtually no respite. Tinemaha isn't the obvious first or second peaklet on the right as you move through and I got closer the peak came into view. Rather than look to attain the col between Tinemaha and Peak 12,536', I found a chute that looked more direct and class 3 and decided to try that. I was pretty confident from sight that it would go and it ended up being pretty enjoyable. Attained the ridge and reached the summit around 11:20am, 5hr50min from start. It was a warm cloudless day. There were two registers (one from 1989, barely filled and one other one which was empty). It seemed like most climbers were SPS baggers and there were only a handful of ascents per year recently, fewer in the past. The summit had great views down to Owens Valley, White Mountain, Prater, Bolton Brown, Birch Mountain, Split and Cardinal Mountain. Virtually no snow. I ate some leftover pizza from The Pizza Factory in Bishop (which is oddly much worse than the one in Lone Pine) and then began the descent at 11:35am. Descending the boulders wasn't too bad and reached Red Lake around 1:15pm. As I was coming down I encountered two climbers who I had seen at the trailhead and were attempting to climb an alpine route up Split the following day. Coming down was pretty straightforward and when I got to the point where the trailhead was visible, I decided to leave the trail and go directly toward the car using the sandy slopes. Reached the trailhead at around 3:40pm (10hr10min car to car) where I only saw the car of the climbers. Then reversed the dirt roads and got back to LA around 8pm. Nice day!

While the trail to Red Lake wasn't as bad as some other trails on the lower slopes (Baxter Pass rings a bell), I still am not excited to come back for Split. Now that I've been up there I probably have the least amount of enthusiasm for Split as compared to the other 14ers I have yet to climb.

Sunrise, looking down to Red Lake TH (you can see my truck)
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Split comes into view (Red Lake in foreground)
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Route up to Split is snow free
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Heading into the moraine beneath Tinemaha
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Heading up (took the chute to the right)
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Reaching the ridge
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Summit register first page
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Pizza Factory pizza at the summit
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Heading down (Red Lake in distance)
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Finishing up
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Liked Replies
Re: Mt. Tinemaha (7/2/21) #58977 Jul 4th a 11:24 PM
by bobpickering
Hey, Ben! Be sure to start HERE when you go back for Split. A poor trail goes up just left of the brush by the stream, and then turns left onto what was once a constructed trail. It’s better than what I did the first time.
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Re: Mt. Tinemaha (7/2/21) #58981 Jul 5th a 09:45 PM
by Snacking Bear
Snacking Bear
Hey Ben ( I guess that is your name grin)

Thanks for sharing! I love seeing all the content you post. Love to see you hard East-siders tackle these big peaks.

Split was my first 14er, and in some very abstract ways, my 100+ mile approach from Yosemite on the JMT still strikes me as easier than the climbers who slog up the Red Lake drainage. Both Birch and Tinemaha are on my list, as maddening as those endless front range slopes are there's something kind of pure about starting at the base of a mountain at the start of an ascent.

Thank you again.
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