Birthday Cake on Tehipite Dome

19-20 Jul 2003 - by Mark Spencer

Every year my wife Shirley and I climb a new peak to celebrate our birthdays. This year we chose Tehipite Dome. We planned on 2 days for the 28 mile round trip. Scattered thundershowers on the hike in settled the trail dust along the heavily horse traveled Rancheria and Crown Valley trails and made for pleasant walking. At Crown Valley, the half-way point, we picked up the Blue Canyon trail and left the horses behind. We picked up a few gallons of water at a creek at 7200 ft. going up toward Kettle Ridge and followed Ron Hudson's shortcut at the 7700 ft level of the trail. Although the forest was dense and difficult to navigate, we encountered no brush and arrived on the north shoulder of Tehipite Dome at sunset. The large amount of bear scat along the trail had us expecting night visitors, but we had a quiet night with thunderstorms echoing off the walls of Tehipite Valley. By morning the rain had cleared and we followed the sandy ledges out the east side of the dome and scrambled up to the arete near the small pine. Once on the arete 4th class moves led up onto the sloping friction slab. We carried 30 ft of 7mm rope just enough to protect the passage. On the summit we ate birthday cake while enjoying fantastic views of Tehipite Valley, the Gorge of Despair, Tombstone Ridge and The Obelisk, and Kettle Dome. All too soon we had to retrace our steps back down the friction slab, back through the woods, and along the Blue Canyon trail to Crown Valley. We finished up along the dusty Rancheria trail and finished with a sunset swim in Wishon reservoir on the way home. What a great birthday!

Statistics: Tehipite Dome 7708 ft. 28 miles round trip / 5500 ft total gain and loss

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