Blog

Extended Mountain Camp; July 2009

Jason was the "last man standing" for an Extended Mountain Camp from Sierra Mountain Center - the other two clients had canceled for one reason or another.  So we met one early Sunday morning, with a climate dilema.  Thunderstorms had been hitting us with clockwork precision every afternoon, making a lot of the taller alpine [...]

Tyndall and Williamson with Linda Emerson; July 7-10 2009

Linda has done a lot of trips with us over the years and keeps coming back for more climb. This time was Tyndall and Williamson and we had to do the trip before the area is closed for protection of the Sierra bighorn sheep. Guiding the trip was SP and SMC intern, Andrew Soloman, who [...]

East Buttress Adventures on Mt. Whitney

20090714-16.  David and Carolyn joined me for a three day trip up the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney.  We had beautiful weather and easy hiking to Iceberg Lake on the first day. We had a fantastic climb up the East Buttress, with a beautiful sunrise and warm temperatures - We reached the summit in our [...]

Temple Crag Climbing

Temple Crag / Dark Star is the massive buttress immediately right of the summit / Sun Ribbon Arete is the prominent knife-edge ridge immediately to the left of the summit / Moon Goddess Arete is the next distinct ridge, starting immediately above the pine tree top in the left of the photo / Venusian Blind [...]

Rock Climbing; 4-5 July 2009

Sonja and Vale joined me for the 4th of July weekend to experience multi-pitch rock climbing.  Previously they had been strong gym climbers with a bit of outdoor top-roping experience.  So I took advantage of their fitness and experience to head for several routes that I haven't climbed. On Saturday we went to the PSOM [...]

East Buttress of Mt. Whitney; 29-30 June 2009

Matt and Stacie came up from Oakland to climb Mt. Whitney with me in a blistering two days. This is not for the light of heart: on Tuesday we had breakfast at 3:00am and were on the move until we arrived in Whitney Portal at 7:45pm that evening. While we didn't break any speed records, [...]

Solstice Climbing on Premier Buttress; 21 June 2009

Damien and Dustin came up from San Francisco to climb Fred Beckey's Premier Route on the Premier Buttress.  This is my favorite route in the Eastern Sierra for the grade, with incredible finger cracks, hand cracks, an exciting 4-bolt ladder to aid through, slab climbing, face climbing, and even a chimney and off-width.  Whew!  Andy [...]

Whitney’s Mountaineer Route; June 18-20 2009

Larry and Mike joined me and our new intern Andy Soleman for a great climb of the Mountaineers Route on Mt. Whitney (14494 ft).  We still had threatening clouds rolling in after noon, so I voted for a 2:00am wake-up.  Since I'm the guide, my vote counted most, and we got up at 2:00am! I'm [...]

Girl Scout Troop 218 from Minden, Nevada; June 13 2009

Nine 4th and 5th grader girls (and one boy ) and some of their moms from Minden climbed with SP, Ali and Andrew for a day at Benton Crags. Hoping to dodge the weather which has been thunder stormy we headed out to Benton Crags after meeting at Tom's Place. The day turned out to [...]

Mount Langley; June 10-11, 2009

Normally June is a great month in the Sierra Nevada. But these days one never knows! For 2009 it has been cold with snow and rain in the range. Which makes it great for living in Bishop, but whole lot harder to climb in the mountains. Langley is also generally straight forward climbing to 14,042 [...]

Darwin and Mendel; 8-11 June 2009

Paul and I hiked into the Evolutions this week to climb the Northeast Ridges of Darwin (Class 4) and Mendel (Class 3). Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. The adventure started on Monday when our shorts-and-t shirt approach turned into 3 inches of fresh snow! Tuesday morning was crystal clear, and we excited made our way [...]

Evolution Valley Ski; May 3-9 2009

Seems as if it has been one of those years for ski trips; make plans, change them, have people drop out, more come in, adapt and then have the weather change it all. So it was with this trip. Started out as a Monarch ski, but as numbers dropped the logistics and expenses of flying [...]

Sometimes its more about the across: Yosemite High Route

On April 10th, Nick, Sung, and Tom joined me for a great five day adventure along the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park.  Normally, this tour follows the Crest from Mammoth Mountain to Tioga Pass, but a breakable crust made for challenging ski conditions and we decided to exit to June Lake instead.  Still, it [...]

Ice Climbing 4.4.09

Eric just finished up an ice climbing trip in Lee Vining Canyon. The ice is actually still in great shape despite pendulum swings in temperature. The sun is high, the ice is plastic, the climbing pretty pleasant in the sun but the trail is a melting out creating some big holes so you need to [...]

Minarets Circumnavigation 4.09

We have done lots of trips intot he Minarets over the years and all of them havebeen good. This area has a huge range of trips at all levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced. One variation is the trip over South Glacier Notch, Amphitheater Col and "The Gap" before heading down to Lake Ediza. [...]

Split Mountain in winter. Eric Owen & Michael Barrientos 3.09

Well, the approach may be better than getting there via the Red Cone Rd. Luckily I had SPs four wheel drive to do it in.The trail starts at a beautiful spring that later becomes a necessary refreshment before leaving. While there is a trail up to base camp, it is south facing and melted out. [...]

Hut trip with Sung and Dan 3.28.09

This was our last hut trip and we made it a two day starting on Saturday morning, spending one night and out on Sunday. The road to North Lake is melting quickly and I made the error of taking a sled. So we had to manhaul that over a few patches of black top. But [...]

Stacey Stapleton’s intro to Backcountry Skiing

Stacey found an old phone number for SMC , back when Sp ran SMG, in the depths of the web. She was thinking about snow-shoeing, but since she already knew how to ski we persuaded her that a set of randonnee skis might be a better way to go. Stacey was not entirely convinced, mainly [...]

20090218-19 Lee Vining Ice Climbing

After climbing the Dana Couloir in late summer conditions, John H. was keen to try out water ice climbing.  After a couple of false starts due to warm temperatures in December, we finally were able to make schedules and the weather meet to climb in Lee Vining Canyon.  We met at John's hotel in the [...]

Ice Climbing in June Lake

After living, breathing, and thinking skiing for the last two months, I jumped at Connie's call.  She was wondering if I was interested in coming down for the weekend and take Megan, Lohit, and Kartnik ice climbing in June Lake.  Of course I was!  But just in case, I packed my skis. We spent two [...]

Rock Skills for Rock Beekers: Buttermilks to Crystal Crag

From 11-14 October I worked with a geology team representing Occidental University, Central Washington University, and Penn State.  They're going to be heading down to Antarctica this winter to collect samples from the Transantarctic Range, and wanted to develop some 3rd-class and fixed rope rock skills.  I had glorious plans of climbing some of the [...]

Mt. Whitney in July – a late story

Back in July Braden and I had the pleasure of climbing the Mountaineers Route in just two days with a remarkable bunch of people, the Groff's and Dorsey's.  Monty Groff has a great trip report on his blog, with photos and videos.  I just want to add this link to get people thinking of next [...]

NE Face of Middle Palisade, 14,021 feet / 4271 meters

The NE Face of Middle Palisade is possibly the best 3rd class route in the Sierra Nevada.  Ben had an ambitious goal to climb the peak in one day, a little different from SMC's typical itinerary of 2 or 3 days.  We met way-early in the morning, did a quick gear check, and took off. [...]

Journal of a Rock Climb: NE Ridge of Bear Creek Spire

On 3 September, I woke up at 3:00am and started to hike into Dade Lake to meet Marcyn, my client for an ascent of the North East Ridge of Bear Creek Spire.  She wrote a journal piece about her trip.  All photos are courtesy of Marcyn. And a quick note about maps.  Sierra Mountain Center [...]

Banner Peak, Minaret Range, Mammoth Lakes, CA

On 12-14 July I climbed Banner Peak with Matt and John Wylie.  Here's Matt's report of the trip with my photos.  Cheers!  Chris This summer me and my dad decided to climb up Mt Ritter and Banner Peak. Several summers ago we climbed Mt Langley with one of the guides from SMC, Chris [...]

Chris’ Update for June

The lack of entries in the blog should be an indicator for the reader about how busy Sierra Mountain Center has been this past month. All of us have been moving from one trip to the next with barely enough time to wash clothes, buy food, and give our families a kiss. I’m not complaining [...]

Sierra High Route (Kearsarge Extension), 5-11 May 2008

The High Sierra Route is one of the classic ski tours of North America. Crossing at the widest and highest part of the range, this route runs through some of the wildest country in California. Then to top it off, Sierra Mountain Center charters a plane from Fresno or Visalia back to Independence, flying over [...]

Sierra High Route Solo, 1-3 May

Chris just skied the Sierra High Route, with the Kearsarge Pass extension, in 2 1/2 days!  You can read about his trip on his personal blog:  Climb. Ski. Run. Sleep. Repeat.