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25 June 2012

Mt. Willey: A Ladder Matter

The  "ladder matter" in the title of this report refers to the complex of ladders on the south end of the Willey Range Trail.  Anyone reader who has hiked this segment of trail is keenly aware of that which I speak! :-)

Those who follow my postings on Facebook have already seen photos of this trek to Mt. Willey via the ladders.  These same photos are presented here as a courtesy for followers of my Blog who choose not to participate in the Facebook experience, but who might have an interest in seeing the snapshots.

There's really not much of a story to go along with these photos.  It had been nearly 8 years since I'd clambered to the top of Mt. Willey (4,285 ft elevation) via the south end of the Willey Range Trail.  The afternoon of 24-June-2012 seemed like an opportune time for a reunion party to reacquaint myself with this route.

It was already beyond noon by the time I'd made the final decision about doing this hike.  However, I knew it was less than a 30-minute drive to the trailhead. Also, with the long days of June, there would be more than enough daylight hours to complete the mission.

The Willey Range Trail was accessed by hiking a combination of the Kedron Flume Trail and Ethan Pond Trail.  
The round-trip mileage for this trek was about 5.4 miles.  The elapsed time from the trailhead to the summit of Mt. Willey was about 2.25 hours.

The composite photo below shows the infamous "Willey Ladders".  Some of the photos in this collage were taken on the ascent, and some on the descent portion of the hike.
(As always, to enlarge a photo, simply click on it.) 
The "Willey Ladders"

The views from the top were as marvelous as ever.  The photos below show some of the vistas from this peak.
Looking Down Crawford Notch from Summit of Mt. Willey

Mt. Carrigain as Viewed from Mt. Willey

Crawford Cliffs and Presidential Range

Zoomed Photo of Mt. Washington and Surrounding Peaks

Mt. Willey's Summit Cairn

To sum it up, this was a very enjoyable adventure!  The views were wonderful, and climbing the ladder complex was an experience which was as invigorating as I had remembered it to be when I did it 8 years ago. 


Summerset said...

Looks like you had a great day for views and photos! I haven't been on that side of Willey since last fall, but I should think about another trip in the next few months to check out Kedron Flume, too. That summit cairn photo reminds me of the one I took in February, where just the smallest bit of the top rock was showing in the snow pack. Even though we had a low snow winter, it is interesting just how much snow builds up.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset,

You’re so right about even during our low-snow winter of last year, there was still some significant build-up on the high-peaks. Maybe it’s just my misperception, but it seems to me that Mt. Willey is a “snow magnet”. Maybe it’s due to its location??

When you hike the Kedron Flume Trail, if you have the time and inclination to do so, you might want to consider taking 5 minutes or so to follow a very faint herd path up the north bank of the brook that feeds Kedron Flume. You will find more cascades beyond what can be seen from the trail.

Thanks for posting your comments!


Anonymous said...

The views from other peaks in the Willey Range are very worthwhile, but it's hard to beat those airy views from Mt. Willey. You did a nice job of capturing those views with your photos.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Anonymous! I'm also of the opinion that the best views in the Willey Range are from Mt. Willey. As you indicate, the other peaks are certainly worthwhile destinations. However, if for whatever reason you are forced to choose just one peak in this range, then Mt. Willey would be the one! And besides, if this peak is done as a singleton, then you get to experience the ladders which I think are a fun component of the overall Willey experience!

Thanks for taking time to post your comments!


Rita Wechter said...

Those ladders look like lots of fun! Looks like a beautiful spot for some "stair climbing" exercises!

Also, the last photo of your hiking poles on the summit cairn is very artistic.

Another fine post!


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Rita!

Guess I never equated the “Willey Ladders” to something you might find in a gym, such as a Stairmaster. But yes, this would be a fantastic alternative workout. Do you know how much I dislike working out indoors in a gym?! :-) Using a gym is certainly better than not working out at all, but if one has the choice, it seems so much better to do something outdoors, such as the “Willey Ladders”!


Steve Smith said...

Great ladder and view shots, John! Love the view over the Pemi. That's certainly the more interesting approach to Willey.


1HappyHiker said...

Glad you liked the photos Steve, and I agree that it is indeed the more interesting approach to Mt. Willey.
It’s a “Git-R-Done” route that doesn’t fool around! :-)

Thank you for posting your comments!


Karl said...

Hi John,

You certainly picked a nice day for this reunion. You had great views over to the Presidentials. Your closeup of Washington doesn't even look like a zoomed in picture, you did a great job taking it. I love the ladder shots. I assume they are steep and if so, you certainly captured this well. Curious what kind of boots you're wearing? Looks like my Asolo GTX 520's which is what I wear as well (if I'm right). If they are, what do you think of them? I love mine!


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

Thanks for the compliments about the photos!

And regarding the boots, you have a very keen eye! Yes, we apparently own and love the same model of boot! As you correctly identified, my boots are the Asolo GTX. It’s a great boot, and I hope that the folks at Asolo don’t mess around with the design and attempt to “improve” the boot. As the expression goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”! :-)


Jes Stolpp said...

Can't wait to be there this sat!! enjoyed the pix

1HappyHiker said...

Jes . . . best wishes to you for good weather and a terrific hike!