Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Day in Kernville

With the forecast calling for rain on Friday and Sunday, it was looking like it was not going to be a weekend for any serious climbing. So what to do? Stay at home and do chores? Well that sounds lame. Instead Teresa and I decided to do a bit of exploring. We have driven down highway 178 through Kern Canyon and past Lake Isabella a few times heading back from Bishop and Lone Pine, but have never stopped. So we decided to head up that way on Saturday to do some hiking and maybe some climbing.

We were in the car by 8am and on our way down highway 99. We pulled into Kernville 2.5 hours later. Its a quaint little town on the Kern River. Its well known mostly for white water river rafting, fishing and mountain biking.  It does also have some world famous climbing nearby, the Needles.

The Needles. Snowed in for now. We'll have to check these out this summer
We decided to try hiking the Cannell Meadows trail, which is a 22 mile hike into the hills above Kernville. It starts just a couple miles north of town and was easy to find. Being National Forest land, the trail allows dogs, mountain bikes, and even moto bikes. All we ran into were a couple of hikers and a tiny Chihuahua

Trail head
The hike was pleasant and very easy, sort of rolling into the foot hills on an old road.

Easy hiking
After a few kilometers Penny was having issues. She is defiantly getting older, it was a little sad to see our little buddy having such a rough time. So we turned around after about 4 km.

Penny before getting tired
We went back to the parking lot, ate some lunch, then decided to head over to Kernville Rock (a.k.a. Kernville slab) for some climbing for the rest of the afternoon.

Kernville Rock
The first thing we climbed was the "Lieback" a 5.5. Now I knew from the internet that this thing was sandbagged, and was more like a 5.8. It was a beautiful looking crack/dihedral system that does up the slab for 2 pitches.

Racking up the Lieback

Top of pitch 1! Hi!

The climb was TERRIFIC. Absolutely amazing. For sure harder than 5.5, but not very scary, and really not that difficult. Great gear, good hand jams, and a crimping/stemming crux move. We topped out, enjoyed the views of the river then rapped back to the ground.

Lovely views of the Kern River
I then flailed on a 5.10+ finger crack, and we called it a day. My research on Mountainproject indicated we should hit up the local brewpub so that is just what we did.

Yes, this is where the beta said to go
Deep fried pickles. Yum!
The beer and food were fantastic! We ordered some deep fried pickles. And some aweseome entrees, and a amber ale that was so good, I needed to have 2!
mmmm.. beer

pulled pork tacos... mmmmm
Kernville is  fun little place, on my list of favorite California towns. We'll have to head back sometime, climb the needles, hike a bit further, and sample some more beer

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