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 Post subject: Cleaver Peak
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:57 pm 
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Location: under a cat
Matt suggested climbing Cleaver Peak earlier in the week, though it was clear that he had an ulterior motive after bailing off the Sawtooth Traverse a couple weeks back (he wanted to scope out the other end of the ridge, obviously). I did some quick internet research and confirmed that Cleaver Peak appeared to indeed be awesome, so that solidified our weekend plans. Lluis called to find out if we were going anywhere interesting that weekend and ended up tagging along. Everything looked good until Friday when the weather forecasts suggested there might be thunderstorms (and Matt decided that this was going to be epic so we needed to hit the trail at 4-5am). We finally hit the road around 5pm, stopping for some Z Pies in Placerville despite the protests of Matt and Lluis. Toxo wanted to go there, so we did (and the waitress was a hottie, too). After that it was just lots of driving all the way to Twin Lakes outside of Bridgeport. Matt directed us to the secret bivy spot revealed to him by Fossana, so that we didn't need to drive very far to hit the trail in the morning (Twin Lakes area is not particularly dirtbag friendly).

The possibility of bailing for something easier was discussed due to the weather forecast and general reluctance to get up early, but we ultimately just decided to sleep in and see what hand fate dealt us (i.e. go up there anyway and hope for decent weather). We rolled into the trailhead parking around 8:30 am and headed up the Horse Creek Trail (while not paying nearly enough attention to the maze of trails around the lake). After a bunch of switchbacks, we finally popped up in the canyon and got a view of the Sawtooth Range.
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We only went a few miles on the trail before blazing a path into the bush heading for the talus slope that would take us up towards Cleaver Peak. But there was a creek in the way.
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After a bit of bushwhacking, we hit the talus and started going up, up, up...
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The Sawtooth area (Hoover Wilderness) is a scramblers paradise.
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At this point we left Lluis, who decided that he was going to turn around and wait for us at the car (he made it up to the slabs eventually and got to see the mountain before heading down though). We veered a little too far left and ran into some bushwhacking.
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But it got us where we wanted to go.
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The upper slabs proved to be much more comfortable terrain than the bushes, trees, and loose talus. It got a bit breezier as well, which made the heat more bearable.
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Eventually, a nice view of the mountain appeared and we began to scope out possible routes up.
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The face seemed to ease up as we got closer, but we put on harnesses just in case.
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We managed to mostly avoid the easy ledges (3rd class), opting instead for 4th-5th class variations unroped. Each of us took different lines zig-zagging up the face.
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Until we ended up on top.
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Looking East across the Sawtooth Traverse:
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Toxo climbing up into the summit area to join us:
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South into Yosemite:
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Blacksmith and some lake (Robinson?):
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The Cleaver:
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Matt wanted to go down into the valley on the south side of the ridge and hike the long way (9+ miles) back to Twin Lakes. We argued that either downclimbing or rappelling to reverse the route would be faster. Finally, we settled on hitting the north (lower) summit and going from there.
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Matt and I hit the north summit (though we roped up for it since we carried all that shit up there), while Toxo opted to sit around and take pictures.

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On the traverse over, I found the easy way down, so we ended up downclimbing more or less the way we came up...
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Until we finally reached the slabs and could basically just walk out.
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A few more views of the Doodad...
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And Matterhorn popping back into view...
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Before we hit the annoying loose shit.
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We decided to descend a more direct way back to the trail. Matt went right around the lake while Toxo and I went left through the talus. Matt was faster, but ended up with wet feet (even though we had to cross water twice to get to the trail our feet were nice and dry). He took off down the trail before we crossed the final creek and we didn't see him again until we got down.
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Toxo was a little dehydrated, but we finally made it down around 9:30pm after getting lost in the maze of trails around the upper lake since we refused to pull out headlamps until we were actually lost. Eventually we figured out where we were supposed to be, but had to wander through nearly the entire campground (filled up almost completely with RVs) until we found the parking lot with Lluis and Matt waiting for us. In retrospect, I guess we should have pulled out the headlamps earlier and paid more attention to the trails at the beginning. Oh well.
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Apparently Lluis hurt his knee on the way down, so we just bummed around on Sunday, found a new interesting spot in Tuolumne, and hit the beach.

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 Post subject: Re: Cleaver Peak
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:02 pm 
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The King Cobra gave Matt a bloody nose, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Cleaver Peak
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:53 pm 
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aahz wrote:
The King Cobra gave Matt a bloody nose, btw.


Yeah that cheap malt liquor will do that sometimes :yuck:

Looks like good times.

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 Post subject: Re: Cleaver Peak
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:38 am 
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Nice.

Fossanna seem to be a real wealth of mountaineering Beta.

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 Post subject: Re: Cleaver Peak
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:57 am 
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Bump for possible transfer to Trip Reports.

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