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Route to Ventana Double Cone

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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby mikesplain on Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:37 pm

Nice to see the VDC getting some visitation this year.
For instance, check out this recent blog post (with some fine panoramic images)-
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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby js_radford on Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:35 pm

[NOTE: I just went back to the original references in this thread to the fellow named Piero Scruffi and delved deeper into his doings ( I am astonished. He is a truly remarkable individual - makes me feel like a couch potato on my very best days! Maybe he did absolutely everything of which he wrote. I cannot doubt him, really, given his tough-as-nails image and wide-ranging high intellect and experience all over California, and worldwide. Luckily he is not burned out; he is still in business, just having posted a blog about Putin's take-over of the Crimea with historical overviews offered such as we never much get from our perhaps parochial media.]

I am just now seeing D Casey's queries about my use of Ventana Creek. The "throwaway" reference is to the lack of comment (casual comment thrown out similar to "Oh, I just hiked up the creek") on something that I think would have elicited serious comment if the hike really had been done. Otherwise, below are some descriptions of my experience on Ventana Creek.

MT MANUEL to VDC (1982): brush on the ridgetops was remarkably easy for a couple miles then got bad and I was detoured (next morning) down to Ventana Creek at about (36.285733,-121.747439). Going upstream I was delighted to discover an 85ft waterfall at about (36.289508,-121.724026), though topo sure doesn't show it. A deer trail provided easy passage up and around the fall. Later proceedings up a side chute I had spied by binoculars came to a dead end (36.289508,-121.724026) at a 15-ft vertical climb. Camped back by main streambed and the next day I hiked/climbed to VDC trail (3000ft up by 9AM). Had no idea if it was doable and lucked out to have only a last class 3-4 pitch at top to get up (100 ft climb with 60lb pack on 60+ deg. slope w/ just hard packed dirt and the odd small rocks protruding for holds, half of which I loosened in use - so could not go back down if could not continue). Came out on top, near as I can figure, at (36.298456,-121.715268). Thence to Pine Valley and out PRT in next 3 days.

VENTANA CREEK ACCESS from 1983 to 1994: On second trip, this time from Ventana Camp, I found the easy deer trail around the waterfall obliterated by 400ft mud slide (light brown scar on Google Earth at 36.289813,-121.724363). It was so steep and lacking in footholds or any resting spots that it stopped me all but one time over 8+ trips until last one in 1994. The alternate climb was up solid rock adjacent to the waterfall. It seemed too dangerous w/ no gear, no backup, heavy pack, though it was only about 15 feet of climbing exposed to sheer drop. The one ascent of the mudslide (easier going back down) got me back to my "lost world" above the fall. That was one of my best experiences in Ventana in 35 years. I did not climb rest of the way up VDC (didn't want to have to come back down), being delighted just to be in the area above the waterfall, a place so few people have visited.

EASY ROUTE VENTANA CREEK ACCESS to VDC SUMMIT: one trip was up the side stream from Ventana Creek (36.296467,-121.724130). It was easy going all the way eastward and then north to saddle next to top of VDC and then Class 1 saunter to the top and onto trail and out via PRT to Pfeiffer-BS station.

END OF (MY) VENTANA CREEK ACCESS: last trip in 1994 was blocked by winter flood removal of sloping log "bridge" (about here 36.281904,-121.727306) I had used for over 10 years to walk above a pool to bypass a small fall. [Why no mention of such by Scruffi? ("Scruffy" maybe is better name for that intrepid explorer!). He'd have had to climb IN the very steep and very cold cascade.] Another reason I stopped going was that I fell head first onto a boulder ("saw stars", bled for 30 min, heard/felt loud hammer blow to head) after turning back from lost log area. I wasn't permanently injured (no scar even) but it literally knocked some sense into my head about going off solo and not telling anyone I was even on Ventana Creek (or even in Big Sur) at all. That solitude was a big part of the "charm" but obviously has drawbacks.

ELLIOTT: I've never been back and REALLY wonder how you managed that "log-less" spot and if you climbed the huge slide area? I've always assumed I was never again going to be able to ascend Ventana Creek w/o doing some engineering and all the available log-trees were way too heavy to manipulate even if I could cut one down. The area around that blockage was cliffs at that point. I expect it can be negotiated for sure; but it would be a huge hassle and very difficult. Of course, I may have overlooked easier solution but after a couple of hours investigating, I left discouraged never to return (so far never).

SHANGRI-LA: The main reason I returned so many times to the 85ft waterfall is because the area above felt so much like a "lost world". It was/is a truly mysterious and special place and yet is only 5 (difficult) hours up from Ventana Camp. I only got back to it the one second time.
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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby Argyle on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:48 am

Another Elliot Robinson Epic!

Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby Elliott Robinson on Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:20 pm

So this whole conversation got me motivated to do something new. Went out to Ventana Double Cone on Saturday via Ventana Creek ...Much more serious than I thought. From the wading through Ventana Crrek to the steep escarpment up to the summit ridge Ventana Double Cone was incredibly spectacular with an amazing knife edge arete taking you to the ridge...didn't end up topping out on VDC though, decided to let good judgment seize the moment since the sun was setting and making sure I could find the trail down to Tin House Camp seemed like the right thing.. Turns out no trail, no path, no cairns, no tags. Alas. Decided the short cut to Mt. Manuel via Tin House Camp that was on the map was a classic bit of obliterated Ventana history (should have read the Trail Reports Forum, doh!) that trail, which looked so sensible on the maps, was clearly just a fantasy. I decided to head over to the next trail (on the map it looked like the main route down the backside of Mt. Manuel) so spent the night wading through the Little Sur on endless slippery stones to get to the far trail head. I was sooo convinced the trail would be a wilderness freeway...wrong, yep should have read those trail trail, no tags, no cairns (a miraculous faint tread appeared a few times near the top...I was so happy.) So when I got to just past the spot where the trailhead should have been, I grumbled and head up a limestone arete that seemed less bushwhacky. I assumed something promising would appear. Well, I scrambled and bushwhacked up about 1500 or so feet and traversed about 1/3rds of the distance. eventually though the bushwhacking got rough and I convinced myself I was missing something (like a trail that should be there). So, I went all the way down to search for that wilderness freeway again...but eventually realized that, yes, the backside of Mt. Manuel is a horrendous bushwhack with complex route finding. Egad. Fortunately spotty cell phone reception came just as my wife was callng SAR (love them to pieces, but want nothing to do with them) and I could text it off (very strange wilderness moment) and keep on with an awesome adventure. Between 43 and 44 hours of walking through complex terrain. My feet hurt and I have the worst case of chafing imaginable. Good fun!
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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby jdoelman on Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:14 am

When I was last on VDC I noted an entry in the log by Scrarufi dated February, 2009. I hiked to the VDC in early march 2009, as I recall I encountered 2-feet of very old, (at least a month) crusty snow which was unpleasant to walk on. Imagine stepping up 2-feet, then attempting to take a step but instead postholing down 2-feet again and again. When I read his account in the log, Scarufi did not mention the snow. The log entry does give some evidence that he made the trip (day hike) but it also makes me wonder. Scarufi's log entry is in a different section of the "log book" than the only other 2 log entries for that winter, one by a helicopter traveller, and the one other dated march 2009. There is very little evidence that Scarufi actually did this day-hike, but there is this log entry. During this time x-country travel was relatively easy because of the 2008 fire, a direct route from Mt. Manual, over kandlebinder and on to VDC would have been much easier than it is today.
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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby casey on Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:19 pm

js radford: i'm a little confused by what you mean when you say throwaway route in regards to hiking up ventana creek? Also, you said you hiked up Ventana creek 10 times, how did you get past the waterfalls when you did the route???

Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby Arrora on Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:12 pm

The route description loosely claims to travel along the little sur river (it does look like the little sur river) , then ascend kandlbinder and traverse south of the summit without actually summiting, then cross the VDC-window-kandlebinder rigdgeline again and ascend VDC from the north. This is rediculous. The route from the South Fork Little Sur River to the top of kandlebinder during 2009-2010 was easy. There would have been no reason to travel south of the summit of kandlebinder, that area is extremely steep and traversing it would be foolish.

There are no photos of the summit of VDC, why? There are no photos of the Ventana window. The claim of a "route" to VDC is not credible.

Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby shtunk on Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:02 pm

The photos do not support that Scarufi actually completed the hike BigSur-MtManual-VDC. In fact the photos lead one to the conclusion that Mr.Scarufi did not make it to the top and returned via helicopter.

Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby js_radford on Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:49 pm

It is rather painful to read Mr. Scaruffi's route descriptions of modes of access to VDC, some of it rather suspect given my experience. What he describes is possible but so sketchy and oddly described that I wonder if he really got where he said.

Look at his photos. The ones labeled "mountains to the east" are VDC for sure; why not say Ventana Double Cone? Yet the ones labeled Double Cone and the VDC fire lookout don't look like any view I've seen of VDC and I've seen it from all 4 angles up close as well as distantly.

Look at his GPS coordinates. They are nonexistent except for a couple of the jct. of PRT with Ventana Camp Trail and the BS River at Ventana Camp (which coordinates actually mark the top of a peak south of the jct. of PRT/Ventana Camp Trail). Why so darn few exactly indicated coordinates for such totally unnecessary locations and a total absence of coordinates along the really extremely difficult routes? If he really seriously wanted to prove a route and make it something to follow, would he not give the exact coordinates for the hard parts? Maybe a GPS unit is too weighty to carry?

His supposed routes are way too blithely sketched. I've hiked Mt. Manuel to VDC once (dropped down to Ventana Creek after traverse due east from Mt. Manuel until ridge turned N, and thence up western wall of VDC - entailing a little mountain climbing) and I've hiked up Ventana Creek about 10 times. His experience doesn't jibe with mine much.

Ventana Creek route: This is almost a throwaway route but in my book is rather difficult. Why did he not mention the 85-ft waterfall 3/4 of the way up? It is way out of the ordinary and quite a remarkable, almost never seen feature. Also, since 1994, there is at least one small waterfall that would be very difficult to ascend. How did he do that one? How did he get around the 85-ft waterfall? It involves serious rock climbing or else a treacherous climb of a steep landslide section immediately adjacent.

Ridge routes: I got lost trying to follow his directions of 2 different ridge routes. Apparently, assuming he did the routes, he wrote about them from memory w/o benefit of map (which he otherwise displays so why not use place names, as has been commented by others?). One ridge route seems OK for a while and then he loses me later on with badly described zigs and zags that didn't make much sense to me, reading descriptions on one hand with topo map on the other side.

Anyway, either Mr. Scaruffi' did not actually do these exact hikes or he is a phenomenon of goat-like heroics. Actually there is one photo of him showing a person at least willing to get really down and dirty (fearless, at least). (What was the chopper ride about - did he have to get rescued?)

In any case, beware using his descriptions to repeat his supposed feats. You'll get lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere come darkness, on a "day hike" that I expect would take far longer.

Of course, all my experiences have been laden with pack (40-60 pounds). So unburdened, maybe one could do a 20-mile, 4500-ft climb and return through some extremely difficult terrain in a day, and that was his "easy" route! Possibly. Likely? Really?
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Re: Route to Ventana Double Cone

Postby K Vandevere on Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:02 am

I'm not sure I see anything particularly remarkable in the trips described by by scaruffi/piero. Plenty of other people do those routes as well (although not necessarily while dressed for a trip to the mall). What I do find remarkable and unique are statements like the one about Pat Spring producing "filtered" water, or the passage implying that a trail exists "in theory" from the Double Cone Summit to the Tin House - and that only then must someone go cross-country to reach the trail near Pico Blanco. And while I realize that it's not essential that a person become a student of place names to have a good time in the Ventana, scaruffi/piero would save himself some time if he learned the name of the Little Sur River and didn't have to keep calling it "the northern creek coming down from Double Cone." A few basic place names would also make his descriptions a lot more useful to people interested in repeating his adventures (i.e. Ventana Creek, the Window).
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