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Old 06-14-11, 01:29 PM   #1
big john
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Climbing in the Eastern Sierras

Our club had a weekend in the Lone Pine area and 19 riders made the 4 hour drive to try some of the most difficult climbs in California. I borrowed a 30 tooth cassette and did 2 of the 4 featured climbs. I love riding in the mountains but I've never done these monsters before and it really kicked my butt.
First we did White Mountain road to the Ancient Bristlecone forest, a 22 mile climb with at least 6600 feet of gain.

Early in the climb.

A view near the top, looking west. Lots of snow still up there.


Sunday I went up to Whitney Portal with a small group of 50+ riders. Here is a shot near the bottom.


Near the middle of the climb.


Relaxing before the descent.
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Old 06-14-11, 01:33 PM   #2
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Some of the others went to Horseshoe meadows, a similar climb to White Mountain.


The roads are so high it looks like the view from an airplane.


I am not really built for this stuff but for anyone who loves climbing this is a great place to spend a few days.
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Old 06-14-11, 01:33 PM   #3
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Nice! I didn't hear anything about this... I guess once you leave the Valley, you're an outsider.
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Old 06-14-11, 01:35 PM   #4
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Nice! I didn't hear anything about this... I guess once you leave the Valley, you're an outsider.
It was on the club website. I wish you had come along, there were many levels of riders and we all had a great time.

I hope to get some more pictures from the others and will post them here if I do.
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Old 06-14-11, 02:38 PM   #5
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I wished I lived closer to you guys John. It looks like hard fun.
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Old 06-14-11, 03:32 PM   #6
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Good description, George. I just got a few more pics, here's one of me.


My friend Laura, a very strong woman.


Another looking back photo from the Portal ride.
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Old 06-14-11, 05:02 PM   #7
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Looks fun! I may have to make a trip out there before Everest.
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Old 06-14-11, 06:05 PM   #8
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Hey John, I think you should get that picture blown up and hang it on the wall. Not kidding. I know I would.
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Old 06-14-11, 06:39 PM   #9
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Great photos! I may get out there some time. I live in NM and NJ and don't get climbs like that in either place.
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Old 06-14-11, 07:58 PM   #10
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Looks fun! I may have to make a trip out there before Everest.
You're doing it again? Is the White Mountain road the hardest climb?
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Old 06-14-11, 08:21 PM   #11
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Our club did 3 rides near Lone Pine this weekend as well, Horseshoe Meadows and Whitney Portal on Saturday and Kennedy Meadow. 3 Amazing/Brutal climbs the studs rode compacts with 34 x 28, I needed a 30 or 32t on the rear but had a 28. All three climbs should be on the Bucket List for all "serious" Roadies, i.e. you still race, you used to race, you think you could race....I was stunned by the effort, the scenery, and the descents were impressive and very fast. My suggestion is to do one of the rides per day, in the order listed...
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Old 06-15-11, 10:29 PM   #12
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Here is a website that you should love. All the climbs. Glad to know that Schulman Grove is open. Thought it would be snowed in until August. I'm planning on riding these climbs in July
http://www.bikecal.com/bill/columns-....asp?bRecNo=13
I did the White Mountain double last year. The first climb is 20 miles and 6100'. Gee...only 160 to go
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Old 06-16-11, 12:19 AM   #13
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Okay, time to learn the local lingo. The Cascades and Rockies are pluralized. Sierra is not. When you pluralize Sierra, everyone knows you're from SoCal. Nice photos.
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Old 06-16-11, 11:57 AM   #14
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You're doing it again?
Yes, I think so. It's a sickness. it's a good thing that my wife is understanding- its the same weekend as our anniversary.

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Is the White Mountain road the hardest climb?
Of the ones in the race, yes. The bottom part is tough but not too bad. The last 3 miles is really hard. For the race they put up 10k and 5k to go signs. In a normal race you'd see that and it'd be almost over, but at the 10k sign you still have about 3000' to climb so its like another 45 minutes or hour to the finish.

I think Onion Valley might be a harder climb for most people when each are done as indivual climbs. It's steep and unrelenting- there's no breaks at all and the grade is pretty constant once you get off the aluvial fan. I prefer that so for me its easier.
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Old 06-16-11, 11:59 AM   #15
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Okay, time to learn the local lingo. The Cascades and Rockies are pluralized. Sierra is not. When you pluralize Sierra, everyone knows you're from SoCal. Nice photos.
Pretty much everyone I know in the SF bay area, even us native bay areans, says "sierras".

But either works for me.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:53 PM   #16
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Did Schuler bring beer?
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Old 06-16-11, 05:22 PM   #17
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Did Schuler bring beer?
No, Mike brought his home made beer in a small keg. He bought some containers that were used for soda fountains and makes beer in them.
At the motel pool the sign said "No bottles" but they brought the keg over there and drank in the afternoon.
Everyone said Mike's beer is good but I wouldn't know. How's the taint?

Oh, yeah, Schuler was sick and couldn't make it up White Mountain but he flew up Whitney Portal the next day.
David (don't know if you know him) and Laura did all 4 climbs, but not together. David also rode back to Lone Pine after climbing Onion Valley by himself. He got back after dark.

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Old 06-17-11, 07:54 AM   #18
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Looks like all good fun big john!

Thanks for posting the photos!

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Old 06-17-11, 11:27 AM   #19
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Okay, time to learn the local lingo. The Cascades and Rockies are pluralized. Sierra is not. When you pluralize Sierra, everyone knows you're from SoCal.
Interesting. We are 5th and 6th generation "Northern" Californians. Thought about your comment, so I reviewed some of my great grandfather's letters. He refers to them as the Sierras. So does John Muir.
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Old 06-17-11, 12:45 PM   #20
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Pretty much everyone I know in the SF bay area, even us native bay areans, says "sierras".

But either works for me.
I don't have a problem with either, but it was upon moving to the Bay Area 37 years ago that I was thought an ignorant cuss for saying "sierras," which is what everyone said when I was a small child in Fresno.

"Sierra" is a word for saw in Spanish, and since the jagged peaks of mountains can resemble a saw, it became a word for "mountain range," or sometimes "mountains" (plural). Sierra Nevada essentially means "snowy mountain range." People who say "sierras" generally don't mean multiple mountain ranges, people who say "Eastern Sierras" aren't refering to multiple eastern mountain ranges. But we are English speaking people, and "Sierras" is so commonly used, it is hard to say it is wrong.

What is more important is that the Eastern Sierra is a beautiful place, but you get even more beauty when you go places a road bike can't take you. Whitney Portal, Onion Valley, and Horseshoe Meadows are great launching places for hikes. There are many other places that are great starting places for hikes, such as Tom's Place, South Lake out of Bishop, and the Mammoth Lakes area. I can't go there and just take my road bike, I have to go places where cars can't go, too much beauty to be found along the trails.
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