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John and Pat's 2005

 Yellowstone, Tetons and California Trip


This website contains pictures taken during John and Pat Dickinson’s 2005 trip to Yellowstone, the Tetons and Inyo National Forest in California.  We started the 5,736 mile road trip by car on July 16 from our home in New Hope, MN and returned home on August 16, 2005.

Pat and I had never been to Yellowstone or the Tetons and since I was planning to drive to California in August to complete a climb of Mt. Ritter anyway, we decided to visit Yellowstone and the Tetons on the way.  Our daughter Natalie, who lives in Fort Collins, CO, was available to join us for the California portion of the trip so we picked her up before heading to California.


We spent a total of 8 days in Yellowstone, four nights and five days of which were in the backcountry.  Pat and I climbed Mt Washburn (10,243 Feet) and I climbed Mt Sheridan (10,308 Feet).  We saw numerous geysers, hot springs, pools, mud pots, waterfalls and a variety of wildlife.  My favorite geyser was not Old Faithful but was the Sawmill Geyser.  Although the Sawmill Geyser was considerably smaller than Old Faithful, it erupted every few seconds and with a varied pattern, sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes spurting to the left, sometimes spurting to the right, sometimes a narrow stream and sometimes not, you get the picture. We both really enjoyed the views and waterfalls of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon as well.  As far as the hot springs and pools were concerned, the different water temperature resulted in the different colorations.  My favorite was the clear blue.  It reminded me of the deep clear blue waters of the Caribbean.  The crowds were not too bad at the “attraction spots”.  It got a little frustrating however when people would stop in the middle of the highway to look out their car window at a deer of all things.  We did get caught up in one extended delay of about an hour when a herd of Bison decided to cross the road we were traveling on.  Traffic was backed up for a mile or so and people were abandoning their cars in the middle of the highway to walk ahead and get a “close look”.  Fortunately, we did not see any Bison-Person incidents!

I was thoroughly impressed with the Teton Mountain range and immediately fell in love with the place.  The geology of the high rugged peaks shooting up directly from the valley floor with no intervening foothills was awesome.  This is a mountaineer’s and technical rock climber’s nirvana.   A strong mountaineer can leave the Lupine Meadows Trail head at about 6800 feet, summit a 12,800+ foot peak and be back at the trailhead for supper.   We spent 7 days in the Teton area.  Two nights and three days were spent in the backcountry in Garnet Canyon.   Our base camp in Garnet Canyon was in an area called the Meadows (9,200 feet).  Pat and I hiked up to the saddle (11,400 feet) between Middle and South Teton the day before I made the climbs.  I climbed Middle Teton (12,804 feet) and South Teton (12,514 feet) in the same day and returned to our base camp and we hiked out that day as well.  Needless to say, it was long day.  We also spent two days and one night in the backcountry at Surprise and Amphitheater lakes.  Our base camp was at Surprise lake (9550 Feet) and we hiked up to Amphitheater Lake (9698 feet) where I climbed Disappointment Peak (11,618 feet).  The next day, Pat and I climbed an unnamed peak (9,900 feet) near Surprise lake and had tremendous views of Grand, Middle and South Teton, Disappointment Peak, Cloudveil Dome, Nez Perce Peak and Teewinot Mountain before hiking out that afternoon. When we were not in the backcountry, we camped at Colter Bay and did some hiking to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, etc.  We spent the better part of one afternoon scouring the Pilgrim Creek rock bed in search of rocks for Pat’s collection.

After we left the Tetons, we headed back East to pick up our daughter Natalie in Fort Collins, CO before we headed to California.  Nat accompanied us for the California portion of the trip.  I had two objectives for the California portion of the trip.  One to climb Mt. Ritter and leave a memorial plaque at the summit for Otto Loenneker who died last year (2004) on Ritter’s Southeast Glacier while we were preparing to Climb Mt. Ritter. If you are not familiar with the circumstances of Otto’s death, a narrative of the tragedy can be found at  During the days after Otto’s funeral, it became clear to me that I had to return to Mt. Ritter and complete the climb that he and I started out to do.  Exactly one year after the date that we had originally planned on climbing Mt. Ritter, I completed the climb and placed a plaque in his memory at the summit (  The second objective was to explore the Devil’s Post Pile/Rainbow Falls area a few miles Southeast of Mt Ritter.  This area is just West of Mammoth Lakes, CA and portions of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails run through the area.  Pat and I had hiked a Southern portion of the Pacific Crest Trail earlier in 2004 ( and were interested in seeing what the trails were like in this area.  More details of the Post Pile and Rainbow Falls can be found in the Trip Updates and the Trip Diary.  We also decided to leave the Mammoth area a day earlier than originally planned so that we could spend a day in Yosemite, since Natalie had not been to the park before.

Pictures Organized by Topic

An assortment of the pictures that we took on our trip are grouped in various topics. Use this link to access the Topic Menu.  From the Topic Menu, thumbnails of each picture are provided to use as poke points to access an expanded view of that picture.  Use your browser’s forward and back buttons to navigate through the pictures and return to this page.

Trip Diary and Updates

Pat kept a daily diary of each day’s activities that she would type up when convenient.  The Diary is organized by day and can be found by clicking here.   During the trip we prepared and sent out several updates via email.   The Trip Updates can be accessed by clicking  here. 

Contact Information

If you wish to contact us you may do so using the contact information below.  We enjoy answering any questions you may have about our trip.  We also enjoy hearing about trips that you may have taken.

John and Pat Dickinson



Last revised: September 22, 2005