A group was to head up Finger Rock trail and rather than ascend to Kimball Peak, there right of center, was going to veer off and make the Linda Vista Saddle their destination. I planned to start with them and then break towards Finger Rock Guard, the rock formation just to the right of the obvious thin rock spire known as Finger Rock. By the way, to the left of Finger Rock is Prominent Point, a spot I have yet to visit but probably will soon.
We follow a trail as it crisscrosses a dry creek bed for about a mile. ascending at a moderate rate and then....
….the climbing begins in earnest. As usual, I left the group to chase what I thought would be a "Strava" segment. I caught a guy who is serving at a nearby air base and later learned he had recently climbed Mount Fuji! How cool is that.
Rising higher, the usually fabulous views are obscured by incoming clouds from the southwest. Nothing thick just streaming in and where once Finger Rock was bathed in sun, it was now enveloped in clouds as shown later.
Images rarely demonstrate the steepness but this comes close. The 1.5 mile segment once the climbing became serious averages 19% which surprised me. It seemed steeper.
I reached a junction where continuing right takes one either to the aforementioned saddle or on to Kimball Mountain. The not so obvious left fork dives into a canyon prior to climbing very steeply toward Finger Rock Guard. The above image of clouds lingering in the canyon was neat.
Just like that, the clouds thickened and not only could I no longer see Finger Rock, I couldn't see much of anything. My shirt was soaked with perspiration so I donned a jacket and gloves to wait for....
….the group as they approach. The slickrock found frequently along the ascent was kind of slippery given the moist conditions and the scree that was present.
The group arrives but I abandon my plan for a couple of reasons, climbing to the top of the Guard and being surrounded in dense clouds kind of defeats the purpose and there is a labyrinth of boulders and a wall that have to be navigated. Doing so on wet rock surface is a bad idea. So....
….onto the Linda Vista Saddle where we enjoyed ok views to the south. Clouds continued to stream in and somewhat obscure the view.
But, Kathleen and Marianne had brought treats and gosh, were they good! Big thanks to them. After about 15 minutes we....
….headed down and what I saw across the canyon reinforced the decision I made to abandon the trek to Finger Rock Guard. Finished with 6.75 miles and 2700' of climbing.