Laurel Mountain via the Northeast Gully

Laurel Mountain is an 11,000+ foot mountain nestled against the crest of the Sierra Nevada not far off of Highway 395 north of Bishop, California. It also happens to be the home of the first roped rock climb in the Sierra. The route - the Northeast Gully.

Rick Kent and I decided to climb this classic and historic route one Sunday morning. With an easy technical rating, we blew off ropes and went for it. No worries - it was a blast. A ton of scrambling, a few short technical sections, awesome coloration, and expanding views as we climbed! One of my favorite Sierra climbs ever!

As we made our way up the mountain, the sun warmed our backs and views over to Mount Morrison opened up. Mount Morrison, afterall, is where Rick and I had met in the summer of 2004. He'd been on his way up, me on my way down, and we bumped into each other and chatted a few. The rest is history. We've enjoyed dozens upon dozens of hikes, climbs and canyoneering adventures together since. Climbing trips to the Cascades, the Andes, Mexico, we did our first technical canyon together...good stuff!

(And now Rick's headed to Denali while I sit at work - cuz I hate expedition climbing)

Soon reaching the summit, the views expanded on over to Bloody Mountain and the peaks above Mammoth. We sat on the summit to enjoy a bite to eat.

The day before, we'd climbed the southeast face of Mount Emerson. Finished that stupendous climb, I'd proclaimed it the finest Sierra route I'd ever done. Now I wasn't so sure. This rivaled it.

Eventually packing up, we started down the standard hiking route up the mountain. While not an aesthetic route, it was quick. We were back at our vehicles at Convict Lake within a couple hours. There, we enjoyed the sun and soaked our feet in the cold waters of the lake. Another fine weekend in the Sierra Nevada!

*Photos courtesy of Rick Kent