Trip Report: Climbing Up and Down the Eastern Sierras

I went on a short trip March 2 - 11, up to Bishop and Lone Pine in the Eastern Sierras of California.

March 3-4 I took an ice climbing course with my buddy Ryan. We boondocked in the Volcanic Tablelands just outside Bishop, and commuted up to June Lake for the Ice Climbing course. Due to the weather, we only got 3 climbs in each, on Saturday, as the conditions were too treacherous otherwise. 

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Ryan went back down to Ridgecrest on Sunday, and I stayed on in Bishop. I worked from a cafe, and from the rear balcony, Mon-Wed.

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Then my friends from the Bay Nico and Kyle arrived and we climbed Owens River Gorge. Friday we caravaned down to the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine, and climbed and rode bikes Friday - Saturday. 

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Serenity was in 'metal tent' mode; that is, none of her furniture was built and no systems were working. No electricity, no water, no ventilation, just a big empty box. 

She did great. 

Some lessons learned:

  • The insulation worked well. With 2 people in 0* sleeping bags, we slept fine and she didn't freeze even with nightly temps down to the low 20s. 
  • That said, on Monday early morning, when it was just me, and the outside temp got to 16F, my water bottle started to freeze. This won't be an issue once I get more thermal mass, can warm up my water tanks, can cook inside, and can safely run a propane heater.
  • Cooking outside at 0430 when it's 20F and windy is definitely not fun. Getting propane plumbed up inside (and proper ventilation) is a top priority.
  • Three climbing dudes in one small metal box without proper ventilation smell something fierce. It took a week for the musk to air out after my trip.
  • The 'compost' toilet works great. No smells as long as you use enough coconut coir, and as mentioned I had no ventilation for it whatsoever. (I'm going to add a vent fan for it anyway, but it's nice to know it's not strictly necessary). Also, there's nothing quite like setting it outside in a spot with a nice view.