We got to Onion Valley late on Friday night and I spent ~30 minutes taking pictures of the stars. They didn't come out that great.
5:30 a.m. at Onion Valley. There were several groups of skiers and one person sleeping on the ground in a familiar blue Helium sleeping bag.
On the trail...sort of. The trail was mostly underneath snow so we just headed up.
Climbing up over the first ridge, the Crest came into view. These are unnamed peaks, and Kearsarge Pass is just out of the right side of the picture.
Since I had a GPS, I was the de facto navigator, but I led us up the wrong side of the Independence Creek basin at first. This is where we corrected my mistake with some extra climbing.
University Peak (left-center) dominated the southern skyline for the whole trip. There were some crazy looking ski tracks coming down one of the chutes near the top.
Looking down into the Independence Creek basin
Getting closer to the crest
Looking back into the Owens Valley
Almost to the top. We were hustling because the snow was already starting to get soft around 9:00 and we didn't bring any snowshoes.
Tracks leading to the pass are on the right. The summer trail stays much further down to the left then switchbacks up out of the basin.
Big Pothole Lake. A long way down a steep, icy slope. A great place to practice self-arrest! Ha.
First view of the central Sierra from the pass. Charlotte Dome is barely visible within that spec of brown on the opposite end of the valley. I think the two prominent peaks in the left part of the picture are the East & West Videttes.
I gotta work on my summit pic poses. Somewhat awkward. In my defense, I had to hustle over there across icy rocks to beat the camera timer.
University Peak ~2 miles to the south of the pass.
Panorama looking west from the pass
Heading back down. Again careful not to fall into Big Pothole Lake.
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. ...heading back in 2 weeks.
Looking south from Onion Valley road
Sierra Crest from just south of Independence
Taken from a moving car...
Start Time: 6:12 a.m.
Kearsarge Pass: 9:08 a.m.
End Time: 10:29 a.m.