The day after climbing the Matterhorn I was still craving more mountain time. Linking the West Ridge to the North Ridge of Mt. Conness had been on my mind for a while now and figured it would be another fun adventure. I arrived at the Saddlebag Lake trailhead around 7:30am. I packed my running vest and started running towards the West Ridge at 8:10am. I ended up getting a bit lost and took a quite convoluted path rather than a direct way to the ridge. Ooops. Along the way I met a father and son heading to climb the West Ridge. The kid was only 11 years old! What an inspiration!
Eventually I found my way to the West Ridge and stopped to enjoy the view for a few minutes. A little marmot poked its head up from the rocks and then disappeared into a small cave. Imagine living on Mt. Conness! I began climbing and was awestruck by the quality of the rock and the movement. I felt as if I was clawing my way up the back of a giant granite dragon! The joy of jamming fingers and toes into cracks hundreds of feet off the ground, while the wind whistles all around, while there is not another soul in sight, and while the mountain you are clinging onto feels like the fossilized bones of a prehistoric creature is unlike any other sensation.
When I reached the top I was still giddy with excitement. I devoured an apple and immediately began traversing down the North Ridge. I stayed as true to the ridge line as possible and tried to find all the interesting and technical variations as I could. When the ridge came to a natural end I trampled down a gully and hit the trail. I jogged my way back to the dam.
My primary goal was to have an enjoyable alpine experience and I was also pleased to have finished in 5 hours and 32 minutes. I am not sure if this is the speed record because I lost a lot of time botching the approach and taking in the scenery, however I couldn’t find any evidence of someone doing it any faster. Regardless, what a wonderful day!