Painted Lady

It's 2 a.m.
just out of the truck
having trouble focusing
t-shirt weather at 9k feet
my eyes want to close

1/3 Moonlight guides my feet
plodding upward - west

It's 4a.m
11k? swithbacks
alpine lakes emerging below 
a jagged skyline rising above

light sweat -  breeze
a simply rugged landscape reaches out beyond Kearsarge Pass
into the dark pre-dawn sky

downward - north - 
toward the waking lakes - faintly glowing with morning reflection


Marveled, we begin to chat
The Painted Lady is our mission
though timeless objectives surround
experiences for the taking.

The view west sweeps down through Kings Canyon
oh look...another one.

bright now
upward - east - upward - north on the PCT / JMT switchbacks
we encounter people - "no, we didn't start from Mexico"

The rope on my pack begins to heavy
atop Glen Pass we stop to eat
the trail begins to lively

we head east - off trail
to the Painted Lady

The North Arete
broken granite - engaging - 
carefully choosing our way toward an obvious flake system she holds outstretched
8 pitches & simul-climbing on a shortened rope
a gorgeous view north as loose rocks occasionally plummet down from above
our belays are safe under roofs, off to the side

Fiddlesticks summits in post-hobnail boots
for the first time, again.

back to the truck is brutal
but lost in an acute - heightened reality amongst a broader unknown purpose

Familiar & Meaningful

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