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Free Soloing (almost) Mt. Emerson

July, 2012

Betsy and I are not hard core rock climbers, although some of our friends and family may say otherwise.  In general – no, pretty much all the time – we try hard to stay safe and alive while out in the mountains.  However we’ve been out there for years and feel pretty comfortable on moderate rock, so we decided to climb Mt. Emerson, an “easy” low 5th, mainly 4th class rock climb out of Bishop, without ropes.

We flew down Friday evening and rented a car at the Bishop airport (by the way, the Thai restaurant at the Bishop airport is very good).  We drove up to near Lake Sabrina early the next morning for the hour approach hike.

The toughest part of the climb is the start, a 5.4 rock climbing move before it eases up to 4th class for the rest of the climb.  We did bring harnesses and a rope in a backpack in case of emergency or even a non-emergency case a of fraying nerves.  We didn’t use the rope, but we found that we could put a cam into the rock with a piece of webbing that would protect the hardest move.  Once done with the move, we would reach down and pull out the cam.

So we kind of free soloed Mt. Emerson, but not really.

The first 5.4 pitch

Endless moderate climbing

Easy, but hang on tight

I know what you are thinking. Why isn’t she standing on the top?

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