I had this general idea for a while, but conditions had coalesced into a "must do" outing in March, partly because I had been cooped up indoors studying for my Civil Engineer PE licensing exams (I was taking all of them for my first time in April, and not having a BS in Civl, nor having worked recently in a design office had me nervous!), and mostly because of some upsetting developments in the condition of my knee. I desperately needed a night in the mountains, some days of sweating and gasping in the cold, and a nice environment for reflection on my future. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any takers for the weekend for this idea, and as it was my only weekend I felt I could take off from PE studying, I was insistent on doing the climb anyways, so I decided to do this as my first solo outing in the Sierra.
The trip was a great success, and although I didn't have any partners for the climb, Mike D., Andrew G., and Jonathan C. joined me on the drive up, but split off for their own ski descent ambitions on Mt Emerson's North Couloir and Zebra Couloir. Snow conditions were horrible, but doable if you didn't give up, and the avalanche danger was low at the time. I brought a rope & light rack, but found none of it necessary, although I did appreciate having the rope to rappel one particularly thin and snowy section. This would have been a perfect weekend of recharging from life if my car hadn't caught fire on the drive home, but eh, what can you do? At least I got out!
The Knee(Sorry for the rant. To me this is relevant for the climb. If you don't care, skip ahead to the next section which is back on topic).
I knew something was wrong with my left knee since 2010, before I had gotten much into trad climbing and was still mostly scrambling cycling, skiing, and jogging. At the time I figured the locking and instability was my rebuilt ACL loosening up. I was not in a sufficient insurance situation to dare get it diagnosed as I knew I couldn't afford treatment, and I didn't want to have a pre-existing condition once my employment and insurance situation improved. So I wore a brace, stopped jogging and skiing, and over the years saw my abilities to do long days of hiking and scrambling in the mountains slowly diminish. Recovery took longer, and my knee got more sore and stiff on the long rides between Berkeley and the Sierra. However, rock climbing rose to fill the gap . . . until last winter. I was getting strangely sore after climbing, and needed a post-climbing IPA a little too much for pain relief rather than relaxation. In January, climbing at Arch Rock with my good friend, Nic, burnt me out in a day with only a few pitches of 5.10 climbing, and I was left with a lingering background pain that wouldn't go away. My insurance situation still hadn't changed in the past 3 years, but at this point I knew I needed to see an orthopedist. The X-Ray results were not good. My ACL was fine, but I was in much bigger trouble than if it was merely my ACL.