August 1999
Mount Conness - West Ridge via Young Lake
Gina Tan

Following my failed attempt to climb the west ridge of Conness last month and Peter McColgan's similar experience on the north ridge two weeks after mine, we decided to team up and make another summit bid via the west ridge this weekend. We plotted our approach and decided that Young Lake, although a longer approach, would be the best starting point (with an overnight bivy on Saturday). About halfway up the trail to Young Lake, we ran into Deb Colton's Confused hiking party and decided to combine our 2 teams into one--swayed by Florian's famed scrumptious snacks, Richard's guitar and bountiful libations (which included dinner AND dessert wine AND a flask of whiskey!), and Deb's reading materials! :-) Not to mention the promise of a tent over my head (since Peter and I decided to travel light, he brought a bivy sack and I was going to sleep under the stars!).

Following the gentle and easy hike up to Young Lake, Peter and I decided to hike further towards the base of Conness to stash our gear/water supplies and recruited the Sherpa services of Florian who willingly and happily came along! :-) On Saturday night we enjoyed a delicious vegan meal, prepared by our head chef, Richard, who is also quite a talented singer and guitarist. Dinner was followed by a lively singalong of the Scottish national anthem, and solo performances by Peter, Richard and Florian! Confused folks are so multi-talented! :-) Deb and I, hampered by an inability (at least on my part) to carry a discernable tune, refrained from the solo renditions!

Peter and I are planning to write a more detailed report of our West Ridge climb, with loads of what we hope will be great photos (his in color and mine in black and white), so I'm going to summarize briefly here by saying that we began our approach from Young Lake at 6 am, summitted the West Ridge around 7 pm and returned to Young Lake at 1030 pm, following the recent Confused tradition of not making the West Ridge from car to car in one day (another club in the making)! :-) We decided to make another overnight bivy at Young Lake. On Monday morning, we had an interesting encounter with a bear who ate all of our food (the ranger was justified in her disapproval of our plan to hang our food from a tree). So we lost all of our food but now have a great story to tell, and Peter has a memento in the remnants of his can of tuna! :-)

Footnote: The Yosemite Association has just published a collection of Phil Frank's Yosemite cartoons called "Fur and Loafing in Yosemite", which provides a fun sidenote to our bear experience! :-)


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