Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mt. Givens Day Hike 2015

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

So why am I posting another hike to Mt. Givens?
1.     I have different camera lenses this time around and…
2.     I want to talk a bit about off trail navigation required by this hike.

Last time (2014) I used a 35mm f2.8 Zeiss lens with my Sony A7 and a Sony Point and shoot, 30X zoom for the photographs. This time I used an adapted Canon 17-40mm f4, a Zeiss 55mm f1.8 and the Sony G 70-200mm f4 lens. Unfortunately, there was considerable smoke from fires to the north and the “Rough Fire” to the south in Kings Canyon. There is an obvious smoke layer in some of the photographs.

I was happy with the Zeiss 55mm lens BUT it is possible to get blurry shots hand held even with a lens this fast. I took a 55mm shot of Mt. Givens from White bark and was able to blow it up big enough to make out the radio antenna on top. I have ordered the A7RII, which has in body image stabilization, which will bring out the full potential of this lens.

I continue to be happy with the Canon Lens, which I bought used. I don't see myself replacing it with the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm lens especially since I will soon have image stabilization for that lens with the new camera. The Canon lens has autofocus with the Sony through the adapter.

The 70-200 lens is heavy to carry on the mountain trails and sometimes I wonder if it is worth the bother carrying it with me. The results are spotty with some great shots and others that are not sharp at all. Yes, I know that even with optical steady shot (OSS) I should be using a tripod with this lens. The tripod is another heavy item on mountain trails. Other than wildlife, I think it may be better to go with the new Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 in the mountains. It is lighter and smaller. I'll keep the 70-200mm lens for places I can drive to.

If you notice on the map, the last half mile outbound is an off trail climb. There are assorted Cairns which tend to disappear about half way up. I set some waypoints beginning with my truck. My second waypoint was where I followed a more direct use trail, which led off the main Dusy Ershim trail. Eventually this trail comes back to the Dusy Ershim Trail before the off trail climb begins. There is a cairn at this location to mark where the climb departs from the main trail. I set another waypoint at this spot and about half way up the climb. The Garmin Oregon GPS allowed me to select Mt. Givens as a “Go To” location and it helped me pick the most direct route when I selected the electronic compass. My climb off trail was fairly direct.

Once I decided to leave Mt. Givens, I selected my mid climb waypoint and again selected the electronic compass which continually monitored the direction of my descent. As you can see, I hit the exact spot midway down the descent and the alarm rang to inform me of that fact. As I continued to descend, you can see I drifted pretty far off my outbound trail to the east. At some point I remember being almost 500’ off course to the east for the next waypoint. I eventually headed west far enough to hit that waypoint also (The spot by the cairn). What I had failed to do outbound was set a waypoint where the use trail rejoined the Dusy Ershim Trail. I couldn’t find this spot inbound and had to stay on the longer, rockier and dustier main trail.

I know some of you folks have an excellent sense about where you are but I have to rely on instruments. In fact, I wear “a belt and suspenders” by carrying a compass also. My Suunto watch also has “track back” and “find back” features. I noticed the photo of my Ambit shows the altitude about 100’ less than the actual altitude of Mt. Givens. The overall distance on the Ambit was about a mile less than my Garmin Oregon also. I have a word of caution about the Oregon however. After resetting the trip distance and routes prior to heading out on a new hike, recheck the trip computer a couple of hundred yards down the trail. Sometime my GPS adds the driving distance from my home and averages the speed too!

The Photographs are from 17mm to 200mm

 Edison Lake In Center

 33 Miles Of Hell To Courtright Reservoir
 I would Rather Walk Than Drive This
 Deer Lake In Front With Huntington Lake In Background

 Free Range Cattle I Saw Tracks Almost To The Top Of Mt. Givens
 Cairn Marking Where Climb Depart Main Trail
 First Sight Of Radio Tower
 Locator Spotting Scope On Top Of Mt. Givens

 Time Out/Distance/Altitude

Mt. Givens From Whitebark Vista

Trail name Padre    

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