Mountain Monday: A Long Drive

A journey up and over to hidden gems in the Eastern Sierra

By Meggan Wenbourne

I live at sea level ... this was a big hill.

I live at sea level … this was a big hill.

It was a long weekend filled with amazing rock and borderline choss piles. It involved climbing in places I didn’t know existed and climbing in places I hold near and dear to my heart. We climbed in wind tunnels, on the tops of giant quartz crystals and in the desert heat. It involved bugs, lots of bugs and it also involved altitude and comfort zones being pushed.

The forecast didn’t look spectacular, but we were going anyways. Tuolumne Meadows to Crystal Crag outside of Mammoth Lakes to Benton Crag on the eastern side of 395. We came out of the weekend feeling sufficiently satisfied, cut up and absolutely exhausted.

There’s something to be said about the Eastern Sierra and there’s a lot that needn’t be said at all. It’s a magical place that lifts up out of nowhere – no foothills like the west, no gradual ascent, just up. With a little bit of snow left on only the highest peaks, it’s apparent this summer is going to be dryer than we all think.

A last half day spent in Tuolumne Meadows, racing the rain as it climbs up and over Cathedral Peak toward our little tucked away pocket of dry granite. I’m happy as a clam and ready for the next adventure. For now, my elbow needs a break and my bug bites need to heal.

The wind tunnel from day one in Tuolumne. Toes shots are my favorite :)

The wind tunnel from day one in Tuolumne. Toes shots are my favorite 🙂

Feeling the mountain air after a meandering hike up the granite slabs.

Feeling the mountain air after a meandering hike up the granite slabs.

A look at the peak of Crystal Crag- David Bowie was bound to walk out at any moment with his band of muppets.

A look at the peak of Crystal Crag- David Bowie was bound to walk out at any moment with his band of muppets.

A look at our objective in the evening light.

A look at our objective in the evening light.


Meg-IndiansMeggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.

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