Mt Izaak Walton

8-10 Jul 2005 - by Aaron Schuman

Izaak Walton, early American angler and conservationist, deserved to have a mountain named for him. Charles Schafer, Bob Evans and I deserved a chance to try to climb that mountain.

July 8, we visited the Kaiser Pass ranger to pick up our permit and headed to Lake Thomas A Edison to catch the ferry. The permit office opens at 8:00 a.m., the ferry runs at 9:00 a.m., and in between is a lengthy stretch of 10-20 mile per hour roadway. No dawdling! We bought round trip boat tickets at Vermilion Valley Resort for $15.00 each and paid $3.00 per night to park in their lot. VVR owner Jim Clement is One Of Us, and backcountry users of the Sierra National Forest should line up to support his business.

At the far side of Lake Thomas A Edison, we hiked on trail alongside Mono Creek. We were obliged to ford the North Fork where it pours into the main branch. 2005 was a snowy winter, and the creek was chilly, thigh-high and swift. We hiked up a stretch of the John Muir Trail in the direction of Silver Divide. Above Pocket Meadow, we turned up a side trail toward Mott Lake. This trail is not maintained, but is still in excellent condition. Our Friday hike was only about 7 miles and 2400 vertical feet.

July 9, we scrambled across 1 mile and 2000 vertical feet of class 2 rock to the summit of Mount Izaak Walton. There are several feasible alternate routes on the south side of the peak. Climbers coming after us should select a line that appeals to them, and proceed without fear of serious error. There was a splendid view from the summit from Yosemite in the north to the Evolution Range in the south. We returned to Mott Lake, broke camp, and hiked down to a point just before the North Fork stream crossing.

July 10, we were moving at 7:00 a.m. The return ford was our first act of the day. We reached the boat dock at 8:00 a.m., and loafed there until the ferry departed at 9:45 a.m. The boat returned to VVR at about 10:15, and we regretted that the VVR kitchen had stopped serving breakfast, but wouldn't serve lunch until 11:00 a.m., so we ended up leaving without tasting their famous pancakes.

Pleasant weather, gorgeous scenery and great companionship - a perfect weekend climb.

click to enlarge FordingNorthForkMonoCreek-Bob.jpg click to enlarge FordingNorthForkMonoCreek-Charles.jpg click to enlarge LakeEdisonFerry.jpg click to enlarge MottLakeFromIzaakWaltonRidge.jpg click to enlarge MtIzaakWaltonSnowmelt.jpg click to enlarge MtIzaakWaltonSummit-Aaron.jpg click to enlarge MtIzaakWaltonSummit-Charles.jpg

Ed McNierney writes:

I won't dispute the merits of having a mountain named after Izaak Walton, but I will dispute his status as an American angler. He never set foot in America and is buried in Winchester Cathedral in his native England.

Lake Thomas A. Edison is indisputably named after an American, however!

Steve Eckert writes:

> 2005 was a snowy winter, and the creek was chilly, thigh-high and swift.

Looking at the pictures, ... two [the creek fording pix] jumped out at me:

We had a report a little while back about someone who fell while crossing a stream and ended up dead with boot laces wrapped around their neck. Not criticizing, since I've done this also, but just reminding that boots are better attached to the pack. Ron and I had trouble with those crossings and I'm glad you did them safely!

Reference: "Del had always carried his boots tied together over his neck when we were wearing our water sandals. The boots were twisted about his neck. My knife was in my pack 1/2 km upstream. Ian cut the boots off."

> I could be wrong, but it sounded to me like one of those overly paranoid precautions,
> such as never leave your toothpaste in your pack because it will attract bears.

I'm guessing no one knows for sure whether the boots or the water or trauma caused the actual death, but the excerpt above has made ME think and caused ME to stop carrying them that way! (I also know someone who hobbled out of the Trinity Alps without boots after losing them in a stream, so tie things on securely.)

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