Alpine Climbing

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. The long hike up the lower South Fork of Big Pine Creek existed only in the radius of the light from our headlamps.  We entered the Willow Lakes basin as the sun came up, and took our first break at Brainerd Lake.  In a short time we were above Finger Lake and at [...]

By |2019-06-06T07:24:48-07:00October 5th, 2008|Alpine Climbing|

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 provides maps of many of our routes through our website.  These maps are for informational purposes only. No one should rely on them for navigational tools.  The routes shown are optimal and do not reflect seasonal variations.  Sierra Mountain Center strongly recommends purchasing actual maps or mapping software, and having strong navigational skills when traveling [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:39-08:00September 18th, 2008|Alpine Climbing|

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 Simmons and had a great trip. We met our guide in Bishop. He was the same person we went up Mt. Langley with, so we were happy. We hiked in the 6 miles to Ediza Lake on Day 1. Most of the trip was uphill and steep, so we were tired. But our spirit’s were [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:39-08:00July 31st, 2008|Alpine Climbing|

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 – its summer time after all! My adventures started on 21 May, when Paul and I attempted the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. This III 5.4 climb is a fantastic early summer route, when lingering snow on the ridge provides us with water and allows us to bivouac 2/3rd of the way up on [...]

By |2019-02-06T11:17:07-08:00June 30th, 2008|Alpine Climbing|

Winter Mountaineering – the North East Ridge of Mt. Williamson, March 12-16 2008

Mt. Williamson, standing at 14,373 feet, towers over the Owen Valley, and any climb on it is a serious undertaking of several days. So when you add the cold temperatures, snow, and unsteady weather of the winter such a climb becomes an expedition. And the North East Ridge, running 7 miles long and gaining 8000 feet of elevation from start to summit, is not taken lightly. I met David and Michael in Independence on 12 March, and we left town as soon as we had split up the food, fuel, and gear we would need for a five-day climb. Our plan was to spend three days climbing up the North [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00March 31st, 2008|Alpine Climbing|

Mountain Camp September 1-5

This was a custom camp that Malcolm Bordelon put together for a group of friends. Unfortunately Malcolm got sick right before the trip and was unable to climb to the summit of Mt Dade. We followed the usual Mountain Camp itinerary, climbing at Benton Crags the first day and then hiking to camp at Mills Lake and did snow skills later that day. Unfortunately snow is in pretty short supply this year and it was more ice skills, but it gave everyone the skills needed for next day's ascent of Mt Abbott. With Chris Simmons and SP guiding the climb of Abbott went just fine. Melting snowpack has exposed more [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00September 21st, 2007|Alpine Climbing|

Black Kaweah with Linda Emerson 8/13-17/07

In a range of mainly granite peaks Linda seems to be collecting the loose ones. Last year we did Devils Crag and other peaks of the Black Divide. This year it was Black Kaweah. Black has a reputation as hard to get to and hard to climb. Not because of any 5th class rating, but because of it’s looseness and difficult route finding. On the other hand it has a summit register going back to 1924. That alone is enough to make anyone want to climb it. We drove to Wolvertson and meet our packer ‘Rowdy” (who was actually pretty quiet) from Horse Corral packers on the 13th of August. [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00September 21st, 2007|Alpine Climbing|

North Palisade, Le Conte Route, with John Kreutzer and Scott Taylor 7.20.07

John first contacted SMC a few years ago about doing the Le Conte Route but it took a while to get it together and actually make it happen. John and Scott hiked in a couple of days early to acclimatize and SP hiked in and met them there late. This is not the usual way we do our trips, but it worked out well here. Camp was in Palisade Basin at one of the small tarns high up under Thunderbolt that we often use for the Fourteeners Camp. We left camp at first light and hiked across slabs towards the gully that leads to the top of u-Notch. We often [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00August 8th, 2007|Alpine Climbing|

Whitney Portal Climbing, Whitney east face and Fishook Arete on Mt Russell with John Rutledge 6/22-25/07

Last winter John and SP hauled huge loads up the east ridge of Mt Williamson only to get to the East Horn, a few feet shy of the summit height only to be shut down by snow, ice and bad pro. This summer John decided to take things a little easier and not beat himself up winter climbing and to try Whitney and Russell. John has not done a lot of technical rock, but is strong and a fast learner so we decided to jump in fully and try a couple of hard climbs. But first we tuned up at Whitney Portal doing a linkup of premier Buttress, 5.8/A0 and [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00August 8th, 2007|Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing|

Mt. Banner Northeast Buttress with Joe Maher and Candy McNulty 6/28-30/07

This was Joe and Candy's third trip this year. They are in line for "client of the year" award! But we are starting to run out of the known classics so we are digging deeper to find the lesser known routes of the Sierra. We have done Banner via the easy route from the Ritter-Banner col but the east face is big so there has to be something good there. The East Corner is described as being longer and harder than the east Buttress on whitney so we opted for the NE Buttress which is a little shorter and allegedly easier. We talked our way past the inquisitors at the [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00August 6th, 2007|Alpine Climbing|

The North Ridge on Mt Conness with Kelly Farmer

Last year Kelly did the ice couloir on North Peak with us. This year we did it's neighbor, North Peak but by a pure rock route. The North Ridge is one of the easy classics of the Sierra with a short (by Sierra standards) approach to straight-forward, but spectacular climbing. We started from the Saddlebag Lake parking lot at 7.00am and were on the summit at 1.30, dragging our tired bodies back to the cars at 6.00pm. It is a long day and the descent seems to take as long as the climb. The ascent has a little bit of everything in it, a rappel, downclimbing, easy scrambling and some [...]

By |2016-12-23T19:52:43-08:00August 6th, 2007|Alpine Climbing|