Eastern Sierra - Cloudripper and Green Lake
Shosh Moalem

Photos: Webshots - "Snow Nymph"

On Fri 12noon I was driving to Bishop. Thunderstorms started at 12 noon from East Yosemite and all the way south of Bishop in the High Sierra. The mountains looked very dark. I met Snow Nymph on Sat and we started backpacking at 8:15am from South Lake 9755'(2973m). It was sunny with clear skies. We hiked up 3.5 miles to Green Lake 11054'(3369m), arriving at 10:20. After setting up camp, we repacked our daypacks and left at 11:30am for Cloudripper 13525' (4122m). The trail started up a ridge to Grunion Plateau, then it was flat for awhile. We turned up a scree gully and started our cross country route to Cloudripper. We arrived at Cloudripper Jr. (2.6 miles) 13354'(4061m) at 3pm.

After making our way to the register, we were disappointed to find out Cloudripper was another 300' down and 500' up. We signed the register and enjoyed the views of the surrounding area. We ate lunch while Snow Nymph tried to figure out why the GPS was 200' short. I pointed towards another peak that seemed to be lower but afterwards we realized it was Cloudripper. Snow Nymph's GPS said .50 miles, not .50 feet. The sky was not promising. By 4pm it started sprinkling. We headed back, with a quick detour to the saddle overlooking the Bishop Lakes trail. The weather was changing fast. We continued descending, and it started hailing big balls of hail about 4:30! Lightning and thunder was 2-3 seconds apart. Lightning was all over- North, South, East, West and the thunder rumbled long and loud.

Our goal was to get down as fast as we could. Approaching Grunion Plateau, the thunder and lightning settled down, and it stopped hailing. Now we were hiking in rain, wearing shorts and rain jackets. Snow Nymph forgot her packcover and her backpack was soaked through, and so were my shorts (we didn't take the time to put the rain pants on with thunder and lightning ripping above us). Fortunately it wasn't cold. We got back to camp at 6:20pm and went directly to the tents to dry off before getting chilled.

The rain came down hard again, then stopped at about 8pm. Half of my tent was in a pool of water. I got out to build a wall of boulders and dirt to prevent the pool from getting bigger. Then the rain turned to a light drizzle, and then stopped. Sunday morning was hot, with no breeze, and Green Lake had beautiful reflections til we left at 11:10am. Since we had a short hike out we spent the morning relaxing at Green Lake with a colorful exhibition of wet clothes and gear drying off. I took a dip in the lake and we hiked out, chatting with hikers along the way, arriving at South Lake at 12:45pm. I adopted the name -CloudRipper Jr!!


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