Snow covered Sierra in the rear view mirror from Hwy 395. Saturday morning, driving to the Mono Craters to climb Crater Mountain. Spent Friday night at the Tuttle Creek Campgrond in Lone Pine.
Still on 395 just north of Bishop.
A view of the Mono Craters west side. Crater Mountain is the one in the middle. I'll be climbing it from the east side.
There was a dirt road on the east side. Had to drive around this tree that fell across the road. There was fresh tire tracks under the tree, it must had fallen recently.
Crater Mountain from the east side. If I had the crampons could have climbed up this slope. Decided to try and avoid the snow by approaching the peak using the ridge from the left.
This is as far as I could drive. It's at about the 8,000' level. Made it though a few smaller patches of snow, but this one was just to large and icy to get though going up hill.
Didn't bring the GPS that had the topo maps loaded thinking it was going to be easy. Didn't know there was going to be so much trees that I couldn't see where the mountain was. Grabbed the GPS unit from the truck. It only had the roads loaded on it, but was able to mark the truck's location so I could find it on the way out.
Looking up to the crater that is just south of Crater Mountain.
Crater Mountain should be behind this ridge.
My first view of Mono Lake to the north.
Part of the Sierra came into view to the south as I satarted gaining some altitude.
Due to the trees and not paying attention, I ended up on the slope I was trying to avoid. The snow was hard, had to stomp steps to cross this. The peak beyond the snow is a lower crater to the north of Crater Mountain.
A small cornice above.
Was happy to reach this spot clear of snow, was a little scary crossing the slope. From here I decided it would be easier and safer to climb to the ridge instead of crossing the rest of the icy slope.
Looking back at my steps kicked into the slope and the clearing I started climbing from.
This saddle is at the base of the south side of Crater Mountain. Cool view from here.
Crater Mountain from the saddle, almost there.
View to the south as I near the peak.
On the top of Crater Mountain. The summit is a shallow bowl with a lot of mini peaks on the rim. This view is from the southeast edge.
This piece of obsidian was on the north edge. This is looking across the crater to the south.
There was a great view of Mono Lake from the north edge of the crater.
This is the first of a three shot pano of Mono Lake. Looking at the west end of Mono.
Pahoa Island in the center.
And the east end.
Zoomed in on some cool looking craters below. Still looking north towards Mono Lake.
Looking across the crater from north to south. Going to climb the middle peak with snow.
Heading back towards my footprints in the snow as I make my way to the peak.
Me, Joe on the southeast peak with Mono Lake in the background. This shot shows most of the peaks on the crater rim.
There was a burned out section of trees to the northeast.
Sierra peaks to the south.
More Sierra peaks to the west.
Zoomed in on Mt Ritter and Banner Peak.
A view of the snow covered crater to the south.
My last look at Mono Lake from the saddle as I head down. Plan to follow the ridge down for a while to avoid the snow covered slope.
These tiny flowers were the only type of flowers out here. Lot of colorful little rocks on the ridge.
Off the ridge and on the flater area.
Back in the trees.
Good thing I brought along the GPS. It shows the truck about a 1000 feet away on the left.
I get a view of the truck though the trees. It would have been hard to find without the GPS.
Driving down to the main dirt road that runs along the east side of the craters. About to cross one of the three small snow patches on this section of road.
Was surprised to find that someone had cleared the road of that fallen tree while I was on the hike.
The spot I found for the night, there was lot of places to camp on the east side of the craters.
My room with a view. After eating dinner, I watched a DVD movie before going to bed.
The next morning I drove to Mono Lake to get some shots of the tufa formations.
On the walk to South Tufa. No collecting or climbing on the tufa.
At South Tufa, there was a foam along the shore line.
The last time I was here was about four years ago, it's nicer than I remembered it.