“Don’t worry about the anchor, I have a good stance” Kostas said reassuringly as Shay followed the crumbly crux face move at the top of the 2nd roped pitch, risking a 40 ft pendulum.
On March 2, 2008, after bivying on the slopes across the valley from the stone house, Kostas and Shay fired up toward the South Face of Lone Pine Peak to climb Autumn Ledges. Conditions were fierce with temperatures plummeting into the 40s during the day with wind gusts of 5 mph. However, as we all know, winter glory does not come easy so we persevered and fought through the worst that mother nature had to throw at us.
The route itself was alright. Most pitches started with a section of steep snow through which we would kick steps in rock climbing shoes and plunge our hands in as axes. We did the climb in 11 roped pitches total with 2 additional approach pitches to protect sketchy mixed sections.
Some beta on the breakdown of the pitches:
0) 5.4 pitch to the fir tree, we soloed this in boots and crampons as it was mostly covered with steep snow
1) ~5.8 grainy flared crack that takes you to a small ledge
2) ~5.8 grainy flared crack that takes you to a long ledge, go WAY left on the ledge and ascend another crack.
3) ~5.9 crumbly face move allows you to gain a big ledge.
4) Go right and up towards a steep imposing left-facing corner system. Step left into the corner and ascend a slightly muddy crack with awesome face holds guiding the way.
5-10) Follow the disjoint corner systems and ledges.
11) Kostas was a little run out on this pitch though its probably possible to go way right to gain another crack going to the summit.
As far as we can tell, we were the first to climb this route in winter. Although it is probably not a proper “winter” route, climbing it in winter allows some fun variety as one has to navigate multiple snow patches while on the route itself. Also, the approach and descent may necessitate the use of winter gear (i.e. it would probably be a bad idea to do it in sandals).