Temple Crag, Mount Gayley
By: Timothy Keenan
Timothy Keenan and Doug Mantle led the attempts on Temple Crag (12,900') and Mount Gayley ( 13,510') Oct. 12-13, 1996. They were joined by Matthew Richardson of Claremont, Brad Jensen of Altadena, Diana Tung of Altadena, Lynn Robinson of Pasadena, and Sue Holloway of San Diego.
The group left the hikers' parking lot, just east of Glacier Lodge on Glacier Lodge Road out of Big Pine, CA, about 6:45 Saturday morning. We headed up the South Fork of Big Pine Creek, passing north of Willow Lake along an indistinct path, making base camp late morning on a bench at 10,100.' The changing season was awesome to the senses, wildflowers making a last attempt at seed, trees in glorious bursts of autumn color, and birds and rodents scampering and tittering in fall frenzy. By 12:30, we headed towards Temple Crag, then picked our way through a series of ledges on the southern flank, summitting just before 4:00 In the afternoon.
The return to base camp down scree and across talus was tiring, but the accomplishment of crossing 30 feet of scary, airy "third class" to Temple Crag's true summit gave us all an extra shot of adrenaline we could use! We returned by a guiding light from Lynn, arriving just before headlamps were necessary. After hiking 5,900' and 9 miles we were beat!!!
Sunday we arose early, departing for Gayley shortly after 6:00 am. Making our way across talus by lamplight was interesting, but the route up to Glacier Notch was excellent. We continued up the Yellow Brick Road to the summit, all enjoying the crisp clear sky and the entire Palisades Crest stretched north of us. We returned along the creek, breaking out a belay along a short stretch of cliff. By 2:30 pm, we were breaking camp, and headed out along the mountaineers path towards Big pine Creek's south fork, arriving back at the cars just after 6:00 pm, with 3,640' of gain that day. What a trip!!!
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