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Emigrant Wilderness
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Emigrant Wilderness on 11/09/2008 11:33:17 MST Print View

4 Days & 42.7 Mile Loop
August 15th-18th, 2008
Tom Harrision Map: Emigrant Wilderness
Crabtree Trail Head at Grids 29-30 x 45-46
Temperatures: 80-70 degrees F Day, 55-45 degrees F Night

In Memory of Christopher Andrews

Emigrant Wilderness is in the Stanislaus National Forest & lies on Northern Boarder of Yosemite.

Crabtree Trail Head

Crabtree Trail Head 7145 ft.
Car Camping Available here with paved parking spots
Trail leading out of Crabtree was quite dusty & dry

Camping Lake

Camp Lake elevation 7630 ft. 2.6 miles from Crabtree

Unnamed Lake Near Piute Meadow

Unnamed Lake Near Piute Meadow which is marked on the map

Above and West of Piute Creek

Jeremy Above & West of Piute Creek

Horses at Piute Creek

An unexpected site at Piute Creek. Elevation 7570 ft.
These two riders had traveled some 20 miles in only 3 hours

East of Piute Meadow

East of Piute Meadow after ascending to 8000 ft.

Gem Lake

Gem Lake Elevation 8230 ft. 9.4 miles from Crabtree
Popular Destination. Many people camping, fishing, & swimming here
Note: 1.5 miles West of Gem Lake is Piute Lake

Jewelry Lake

Jeremy at Jewelry Lake Elevation 8399 ft.
No one camping here and less than 1 mile from Gem Lake
Fish were jumping

View from the Northern Shore of Jewelry Lake

View from the Northern Shore of Jewelry Lake Looking East

Deer Lake

Deer Lake Elevation 8461 ft. 11 miles from Crabtree

Making Camp in a light Sprinkle

Jeremy quickly setting up his MLD Poncho Tarp as it began to sprinkle on us

Senior Members of the Sierra Club

Camping on the Southern Shore of Deer Lake we met a group of Seniors who had been traveling cross country/off trail for the past week. They had setup this tarp to shelter them from the rain and were kind enough to invite us to wait out the brief shower. This was their only shelter for the night and just sleep out in their sleeping bags. Apparently, they were all long time members of the Sierra Club. The woman in the middle laying back has been a Sierra Club Member since 1968 and served as the personal assistant to the President of the Sierra Club. I can only hope that I will be able to keep backpacking as long as they have been.

Jeremy's Boil in a Bag Meal

Jeremy's Boil in a Bag Meal

Tools of the Trade

Tony's Tools of the Trade
UrSack, MSR Pocket Rocket & Titan Kettle

Jeremy & Tony at Deer Lake

Jeremy & Tony at Deer Lake

Placid Waters

Placid Waters

Touch of Pink

Touch of Pink


Jeremy Making Breakfast

Beautiful Morning

Beautiful Morning

Jeremy's GG Pads

Jeremy's Gossamer Gear Nightlight & Thin light Pads

Buck Lake

Buck Lake Elevation 8320 ft.

View from South Western Shore

View from the South Western End of Buck Lake

Meadow North of Buck Lake

Meadow North of Buck Lake

North West Edge of Emigrant Lake

North West approach to Emigrant Lake

Emigrant Lake

Emigrant Lake Elevation 8827 ft. 17.4 miles from Crabtree

South West End of Emigrant Lake

Looking at the South West end of Emigrant Lake

Planning off trail side trip

Jeremy Planning a Side Trip to Try to Kill Me

Cutting South West towards North Fork Cherry Creek

Cutting South West towards North Fork Cherry Creek

Jeremy Navigating the Rocks

Jeremy Navigating the Rocks

Looking Back Where We Were

A Glimpse Back

View from the Western Shore

View From the Western Shore
Location: Tom Harrision Map Grid Line 28

Destination Top of that Ridge to the Right

Destination: Top of the Ridge to the Right

Unexpected Dam

Unexpected Dam at the South Western End of the Lake
Start of North Fork Cherry Creek draining from Emigrant Lake

Off Trail Heading East

Off Trail Heading East

Surviving Jeremy's Trail

Surviving Jeremy's Trail
No particular trail up here, just shooting up the middle.
Pretty steep, kicked my butt, but what a view
Note: Dark Spot in the Upper Middle of the Photo is the Waters of the Lake leading to the Dam

Fraser Lakes

The Pay Off: Fraser Lakes Elevation 9201 ft.

Private Swimming Hole

Private Swimming Hole
The Large Rock in the Middle of the Photo drops steeply off on the right side and the water was deep enough for us to do cannon balls off of. So nice to be clean again.
I would love to come back here and spend the night and gaze at the stars.

Dry off at Lunch

Jeremy Enjoying Lunch while drying off in the sun

Cone in the Clouds

Cone in the Clouds

Looking Down at the Southern Shore of Emigrant Lake

Looking Down at the Southern Shore of Emigrant Lake

Zig Zag Navigation Down Sttep Slopes

Zig Zag Navigation Down Steep Slopes

Cutting Towards the Eastern End

Cutting Towards the Eastern End

Looking Back Where We Came From

Looking Back Where We Came From

Heading along the Southern Shore

Heading along the Southern Shore

Gazing Back

Gazing Back West

Looking North Across the Eastern End

Looking North Across the Eastern End...notice the dark clouds in the distance.


Contast of Elements

View from the Eastern Shore

View from the Eastern Shore

Jeremy Jams His Knee

Cutting Across this Grassy Area to get to the Northern Side where the trail was, Jeremy jammed his knee in a small pot hole in the grass

Asking for Directions

Asking for Directions from one of the Pack Mule Guides
Note: Guided Pack Mule Trips are available out of Kennedy Meadows and can take you to Emigrant Lake.
I am thinking of using them to get my wife and 5 yr old daughter out here to experience this amazing place.

Entering Mosquito Pass

Entering Mosquito Pass...beginning of our troubles

Caught in Hail and Thunder Storm

Caught in a Hail & Thunder Storm Halfway up the Valley
The weather was a maddening contradiction in trying to determine which way the storm was blowing. The lower clouds seem to be blowing NW, yet the cloud layer higher above seemed to be moving SE. The trail in the valley was very open and exposed, the rolling rumble of thunder getting closer and closer. We decided to get off the trail and decent near a creek near a cluster of trees. For some 45 minutes we squatted down on our sleeping pads while it hailed and then rained hard on us, marveling at the fact that only an hour and half ago we were basking in the sun.

Jeremy Modeling MLD Poncho Tarp

Jeremy Modeling MLD Poncho Tarp
As we sat on our pads, we were nervously trying to recall everything that we had read about what to do in the event we were struck by lightning and how to avoid getting struck by it. Half jokingly, I told Jeremy that the last thing that people might find was my camera with me taking video of us just before we got stuck by lightning. After the center of the storm passed over us and the hail and rain lessened, we contemplated what to do. Shoot for the pass ahead or retreat back down the way we came?

Tony Laughing in the Hail

Tony Laughing at the odd change of events facing us while wearing MLD Poncho Tarp & Rain Chaps with wind shirt for additional protection.
Either way, we were exposed on open ground. In vain, we looked North toward Mosquito Pass in the hope of seeing clear skies on the other side that would signal the end of the storm. Knowing that a decision had to be made, even if it was the wrong one, we decided to shoot for the pass because staying exposed as we were was not a long term option.

Sprint Across Mosquito Pass

Sprint Across Mosquito Pass Elevation 9370 ft.
After a few false starts back on the trail, the rumbling of thunder behind us causing us some doubt about our decision, we went as quickly as possible up the valley. The rain had lessened to a light sprinkle, the clouds still dark and heavy with rain. While racing across this pass, Jeremy further injured his knee.

Lunch Meadow

Lunch Meadow Elevation 9040 ft.
We descended into this meadow, relieved that we below Mosquito Pass and away from the lightning, but pressed on in an attempt to out run any chance of the storm catching up to us.
Jeremy pointed out to me that the Northern side of this meadow was composed of an older rock and that the granite of the Sierras was pushing up through this older layer of rock, seen to the South.

Lookng South West Across the Meadow

Looking South West Across the Meadow
A constant, light drizzle of rain followed us, but we remained dry and well ventilated in our MLD Poncho Tarps

Racing to Out Run the Storm

Racing to Out Run the Storm

Shelter at Sheep Camp

Shelter at Sheep Camp Elevation 8790 ft.
Approximately 12.4 miles from Deer Lake with side trip to Fraser Lakes.
MLD Poncho Tarp & MLD Soul Side Zip Bivy
Tired and thankful to be out of the rain, we hastily setup camp with the expectation that a storm would blow over us that night. Fortunately, the rains never came.

Horse Piss Camp

Jeremy named this place Horse Piss Camp, as the site that he setup at was saturated with Horse/Mule piss.
MLD Poncho Tarp & MLD Superlight Bivy.

Dinner and a Fire

Dinner and a Fire Tonight
There were quite a number of other campers here who had been brought in by mule trains from Kennedy Meadows. In particular, there was a group with an 80 yr old man who had come up with his sons, & grandsons. Apparently, the 80 yr. old gentleman had hiked in 8 miles from Kennedy Meadows to Sheep Camp! They were well supplied with Coleman tents and ice chests full of provisions. They greeted us after we setup camp with wine in a box and plastic cups to share with them. It was a welcome luxury at the end of a long day.

Leaving Sheep Camp

Leaving Sheep Camp to descend into Saucer Meadow, following the Summit Creek.
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, Jeremy rinsed off his MLD bivy in a stream to try to wash the horse piss smell out of his bivy. And then we were off, feeling a little stiff from the prior day.
The DRW Momentum fabric did a very good job of beading up the water, despite being fully submerged a few times into the stream.

Valley View

Valley View

Fetching Campers at Sheep Camp

Mule Train going to Collect the Campers at Sheep Camp

South West View from the Trail

South Western View from the Trail

Sharing the Trail

Sharing the Trail with Mules
The mule trains were a combination of supplies and ferrying campers up the trail. Some of the mule train trips were all inclusive, which meant that hot meals were provided.
I must admit that I was a bit envious of how easy those people had it, but I seem to enjoy suffering. That which does not kill you can only make you stronger, right?

Variations of Stone

Variations of Stone
Here is a good example of what Jeremy was saying about the older layer of stone in the distance and the newer granite in the fore ground being pushed up by the tectonic plates sub ducting.

Last Smile

Jeremy's Last Smile for the Day
North of Saucer Meadow we turned East at a Junction and headed into Lower Relief Valley. Elevation 7700 ft.

Deer at Summit Creek

Deer at Summit Creek

Looking Back at Relief Peak

Look back at Relief Peak

Looking South East Looking Iceland Lake

Looking South East from the Trail.
Just beyond those peaks are a series of lakes, including Iceland Lake, which is at an elevation 9112 ft.

Christopher Andrews

Christopher Andrews

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 SF Gate/Chronicle Reported by Meredith May

Snow prevented rescue of Hillsborough hiker

A San Mateo County hiker whose body was discovered Monday in the Emigrant Wilderness apparently slipped and fell into a ravine, according to his wife.
Christopher Andrews, 42, was cutting his five-day solo hiking trip in the Sierra a day short on Friday to avoid an incoming storm when he fell, said his wife, Amy Andrews of Hillsborough.
An avid hiker, Andrews sent a 911 distress signal from his SPOT safety beacon Friday afternoon, which sent his latitude and longitude coordinates to an emergency response center, which notified the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.
Rescuers were not able to start their search until Saturday morning, due to high winds and snow, she said.
Searchers on horseback, helicopter and on foot scoured the remote area, crossing flooded streams and eventually found Andrews near Iceland Lake on Monday afternoon. The area where he was found was so remote they had to rappel down to reach him.
His safety beacon stopped emitting a signal on Sunday, possibly due to battery drain, according to the sheriff's department.
"He's a very experienced hiker and he was cautious to get out before the storm, but I think the speed of the storm surprised him," Amy Andrews said.
The couple met at the software company Oracle, where they both worked and discovered a shared passion for the outdoors.
Their first date was in the Marin Headlands, and they were engaged in 1996 at Kings Canyon National Park. They married a year later.
Her husband enjoyed solo hiking and camping trips, Amy Andrews said, and he always was careful to bring his safety beacon. He enjoyed taking photographs, listening to classical music and standing in awe of nature, she said.
"We felt God in the wilderness," his wife said. "It was just a very deep, unspoken thing between us." The couple had two young children.

Quote from Christopher's sister on SF Gate Forum regarding this story:

I am Christopher's sister, and I feel I have to add in a word of clarification regarding the emergency beacon. Christopher was able to trigger it after he fell, but his body moved to block the signal. He was also out of sight from above and below, given that he was in a location that the rescue crew had to rappel down to. So, the beacon did give his position accurately, but since the search crew at first didn't see him, they thought he had walked away from that location. This can give some confidence to others who might want to use this type of beacon.

JEremy at Lower Relief Valley

Jeremy at Lower Relief Valley
Jeremy is sporting a Granite Gear Vapor Trail Pack with MLD Shoulder Pocket for his Water Bottle

East Flange Rock

East Flange Rock
Warm and Dry Stretch of Trail

Lunch ALong Relief Creek

Lunch Along Relief Creek
Concerned about the availability of water, we went off trail a few hundred yards and found this shaded area to have lunch and to tank up on water.

Looking Back North

Looking Back North after gaining elevation over Lower Relief Valley

Trail with a View

Trail with a View

Unexpected Fence for Cows

An Unexpected Fence for Cows

Jeremy's Torment

Jeremy's Torment
From early in the day, Jeremy's left knee was progressively hurting him more and more, which probably was a result of him injuring it the day before in the sprint across Mosquito Pass. Most likely an IT band problem.

Pain & Beauty

Pain & Beauty
The result was that with each step that Jeremy took, the mere action of bending his knee caused him intense pain. He was using his poles partially as crutches and taking rest steps to ease his pain. Having done a number of trips with Jeremy, he has never been one to complain or show signs of pain even when he was in discomfort. The fact that I could audibly hear his stifled grunts of pain with each step that he took concerned me greatly. I offered to carry some of his gear, but since it was the motion of bending his knee that was hurting him and that his load was already lighter than mine, weight was not an issue. Jeremy would endure a total of 13.7 miles of this by the end of the day.

Heading Up the Valley

Heading Up the Valley

Jeremy's Knee Gets Some Relief

Jeremy's Knee Gets Some Relief on Level Ground

Upper Relief Valley

Upper Relief Valley Elevation 8815 ft.
This was truly a beautiful place with carpets of green grasses dotted with small yellow and lavender flowers everywhere you looked.

Wandering Trail

Meandering Trail

Tony Entering Whitesides Meadow

Tony Entering Whitesides Meadow Elevation 8850 ft.

Open Space

Open Space

Cows in the Meadow

Cows in the Meadow
At the end of this meadow, we came across a father with his 12 yr. old son. They were doing a multiple day trip together, which gave us hope that our own children might be able to do trips of the same length and distance when they got older.

North Eastern View from the Trail

North Eastern View from the Trail Elevation 8750 ft.
Somewhere past the junction going to Meadow Lake.

Pressing on to Lake Valley

Pressing on to Lake Valley

Cutting South to Chewing Gum Lake

Cutting South to Chewing Gum Lake. Elevation 8750 ft.

Chewing Gum Lake

Chewing Gum Lake Elevation 8697 ft.

View from Camp

View from Camp

Welcome Relief

Welcome Relief at the End of a Long Day
Time to wash up, tank up, and rinse away the dust from our faces and feet.

Placid Waters

Ripple in the Mirror

Day's Damage

The Day's Damage
Since Jeremy's left knee was hurting him, this caused him to favor his right leg most of the day, which resulted in this lovely blister to add to his troubles.

Sleeping Out on the Rocks

Sleeping out on the Rocks under a Full Moon
That evening we were treated with the sight of a full moon rising from behind the peak that you see in the background.
Sleeping with my bivy open in my Marmot Atom 40 F degree sleeping bag, the full moon shined brightly in my eyes as I tried to fall asleep. Despite temperatures being in the mid-forties F, I felt cold spots on my legs. No doubt a result of my bag having sewn through baffles.

Little Joys

Little Joys, Full Moon and a Bright Fire
After building up and improving an existing fire pit, I was able to find some fallen logs that were termite eaten. The pyro that I am, I managed to gather up enough wood to last us well past midnight. There is nothing like staring a cracking fire, dancing in the night sky to lose your thought and to reflect on the day's events.

Warm Glow\

Warm Glow

Night Time Visitor

Night Time Visitor
This little guy was hiding in plain sight by my backpack, blending in with the white granite.

Foot Care

Jeremy Stopping to Do a Little Foot Care
Jeremy's knee was doing much better this morning as we set off from Chewing Gum Lake to make our way back to Crabtree Trail Head via a secondary trail which was not well marked or maintained well. After heading South East from Chewing Gum Lake on what we thought was the trail, we were reduced to following a series of Cairns. Frustrated by the lack of clear markers, I took time to build up some of these Cairns to be more visible. Unfortunately, I was helping to build a path to nowhere.

Damage Control

Duct Tape Damage Control
A the point that this photo was taken, it was clear that we were following a game trail at best. With Jeremy's knee still sore, he had no interest in marching back up the rocky terrain that we had rapidly descended. We both agreed to continue descending off trail and shoot for Bear Lake some 2 miles away.

Lost Off Trail to Bear Lake

Lost Off Trail to Bear Lake
As we cross large expanses of granite and crisscrossed a dry river that most likely drained out of Chewing Gum Lake, we came to a shelf that gave us a clear view of Bear Lake. Our only concern was reaching a point where it was too steep to descend and would force us to back track the way we came.

Fun Buckwack and Scramble

Fun Bushwhack & Scramble
Fortunately, we were able to make our way down with out too much trouble. There were a few times where we had to help lower each other down a section of steep granite rocks or to use our hands or a thigh to provide a foot hold for the other person to climb down safely. At one point, I had to stow my hiking poles and lash them to side of my pack so that I could use both of my hands to climb down certain sections. I was loving it!

Following Lily Creek

Following Lily Creek
The worst behind us, it was merely a matter of following the Creek to Bear Lake. To my dismay, as we were two thirds of the way down our scramble, we saw two adults with a handful of young boys. Had they followed the cairns that I had helped build up? I had yelled to them that we were lost and not following any particular trail. I did my best to yell out to them the path we were safely able to navigate down.

Muddy Grass Flats

Muddy Grass Flats

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Shoreline Trek

Shoreline Trek
We were supposed to be on a trail that was up on that ridge and further North.

Forest of Stumps

Forest of Stumps
From Bear Lake we traveled 1 mile South West and intersected the trial we had come in on at Camp Lake. Then we hiked 1.6 miles back to Crabtree on the same trail we had started our journey on.

Jeremy's Medicine

Jeremy's Medicine in Sonora, CA.

Other Photo Essays by Tony:

High Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney

Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced

Yosemite in Winter

Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Yosemite: Tenaya Creek

Ventana Wilderness

Edited by Valshar on 09/05/2009 11:13:33 MDT.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Nice photos on 11/09/2008 12:45:19 MST Print View

We just did an overnighter to Gem lake a couple of weeks ago. Nice area. Really enjoy all of your trip reports Tony.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Nice photos on 11/09/2008 14:47:05 MST Print View

yep and looks like they were warmer than us too

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Emigrant Wilderness on 11/09/2008 15:29:01 MST Print View

Great pictures, Tony! Thanks!

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Emigrant Wilderness on 11/10/2008 08:05:07 MST Print View

Again-great pictures Tony. That area is just like a home field: easy to get too, lots of options and a In & Out Burger on the way home in Manteca.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Emigrant Wilderness on 11/10/2008 08:15:58 MST Print View

Wonderful photos. What kind of camera do you use?

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:emigrant wilderness on 11/10/2008 14:49:22 MST Print View

what beautiful pictures. thank you for sharing....

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Emigrant Wilderness Photos: What Camera Did I Use? on 11/10/2008 15:01:26 MST Print View


This is sorta funny and embarassing, but I am using a 5.5 yr old Cannon Digital Elph S230 3.2 Mega Pixel Camera that is falling apart with the lens cover broken off.

On top of that, when I try to take a photos, there is a 50% chance that the camera will start taking video for 3 seconds vs. taking the shot.

The front of the camera is the size of a driver's license and is about an inch or so thick...think it weighs 9 oz with the battery.

In fact, I can not even buy rechargable batteries for it anymore.

I have been trying to figure out what camera to buy to replace it.

To be fair, I am using Photoshop Elements to use their idiot quick fix feature to clean up the shots and to bring the color out.

Overall, I love the camera and am holding off as long as I can before buying a new one.

I like that it has a small LCD, figuring that I get more shots per battery then.

Glad that everyone is enjoying the photos, just sorry that there are soooo many photos for you all to go through.

I have a hard time figuring out what to post and what to throw out, but still tell the story of what happened.

This one will be the largest so far with a little over 100 total shots.

Jay- This trip was the 1st time that I have been to Emigrant Wilderness....I am still a newbie in that I have only been doing this for 3 years, so it is exciting to think of all the places that I have not been to yet.

More photos to come.


Ed Engel
(Doorknob) - F

Locale: West of what you think is west
Photos on 11/10/2008 15:29:14 MST Print View

Keep posting photos Tony, I always enjoy the photos and the commentary. You help me realize I need to take the time to stop and pull out the camera.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Tony's Emigrant Wilderness Pictures on 11/10/2008 16:59:51 MST Print View


Given the time you invest in posting photos with good captions for your trips, I think you need your own website. I'd hate to see your effort wasted if something happened to this site.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tony's Emigrant Wilderness Pictures on 11/10/2008 18:50:15 MST Print View


Thanks for the vote of confidence in thinking that my photos are worthy of having their own website, but I am too lazy to figure out how to get one or setup one.

As I see it, if it were not for BPL, I would have never gotten out to these places lugging a traditional 50 lb load, so I am very happy to you all as my audience to share these photos.

Otherwise, they would just be pretty photos for my screen saver at work to hold me over before my next adventure.

And yes, it would suck hard if this site/server went down and all these photos were lost!


Edited by Valshar on 11/10/2008 18:50:56 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Tony's Emigrant Wilderness Pictures on 11/10/2008 19:08:19 MST Print View

Well Tony you have to join Jay, Josh and myself on some trips. So many places so little time. Nice pics!!

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tony's Emigrant Wilderness Pictures on 11/10/2008 19:22:20 MST Print View


Jeremy and I would love to join some fellow BPLers on a trip.

As it is we don't know anyone else who is crazy enough to weigh their gear on a postal scale to figure out how to save an ounce.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Tony's Emigrant Wilderness Pictures on 11/10/2008 19:56:21 MST Print View

Well we are doing a Point Reyes trip in January. Just an overnighter. 17 miles and just Saturday and Sunday. Jay mentioned that you live in the East Bay. Come with us, it will be fun!!

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Emigrant Wilderness on 11/10/2008 21:58:54 MST Print View

great pics and commentary. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Vassallo

Locale: Eastbay
Re: Emigrant Wilderness on 11/12/2008 16:52:24 MST Print View

Tony: Your photos are awesome. They truly show the beauty of the area. I never tire of looking at your photos and reading your commentary.
Linda V

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Christopher Andrews: A life lived, lost, and remembered on 11/13/2008 01:08:33 MST Print View

Now that I am done posting all of these photos, I wanted to take a moment to explain why I am dedicating these series of photos to his memory.

I did not personal know Christopher Andrews, but upon reading the article in the SF Gate/Chronicle of how he had backpacked alone into the Emigrant Wilderness, I was dismayed by the number of comments posted on the story of his death that were quick to question his judgment to go alone and to do so considering that he was a parent with two young children.

Someone even went to go so far as to declare:

"A. Never stake your life on a gadget like an epirg, gps or cell phone. Always assume these system will fail and plan accordingly. B. Do not hike solo unless you are prepared to have your wife and small children pay the price for your choices. C. "Into the Wild" is not what a father of young children needs to be pretending about. I feel so sorry for the family, but find the judgment of this man seriously flawed. As parents we all make these kinds of choices, and his was clearly selfish and wrong."

I do not wish to start a debate on merits or risk of hiking alone.

We are all adults and have to make that decision for ourselves, understanding the impact that it may have on our friends and family.

What struck me about the online debate that resulted was that there was a context to the story that was missing in the sterile message board postings of cyberspace.

I believe that the context that was missing was for people to have some understanding of what might have motivated Christopher Andrews to want to go backpacking in the Emigrant Wilderness.

Why do we climb mountains?

Because they are there.

Perhaps in some small way, these photos might provide some context that was missing in this tragic story.

My condolences to his wife, Amy, and their two young children.

-Tony Wong

Edited by Valshar on 11/13/2008 19:52:45 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Emigrant Wilderness on 11/13/2008 07:51:04 MST Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 05/26/2014 18:35:17 MDT.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Good pics on 11/14/2008 18:19:28 MST Print View

Tony: Thanks for posting these. As always, I do none of the photographic work, but get to be in most of the pics. As long as I keep organizing trips, you'll let me get away with it.
And thanks for dedicating the post to Christopher Andrews. I didn't know him either, but I share his love of the Sierra and his love of hiking solo.
As for more trips, I've already got next summer covered . . .

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Emigrant Wilderness on 11/15/2008 13:48:19 MST Print View

Trip reports like yours are one of the best things about BPL. Luckily, there are many other great things here. Thanks for sharing the photos, I know it takes alot of time to load photos and add comments. Keep them coming so I can do some exploring from my house in PA with my 2 yr. old on my lap.