When I scrambled onto the plateau, Whitney and Russell came into view. Wow! The euphoria of this incredible sight swept over me. Photos simply don’t show the scale of how big and terrifying these mountains are up close. I dropped my pack to eat some gels and have some hot tea. I just sat and stared at this amazing spectacle for 15 minutes.
We made our way above the glacier and saw the beginning of the Red Rocks Shoot. This was our route to the summit. A couple of climbers went ahead of us up the shoot. We gave them a 15-minute head start so we would not be in the firing line of rockfall. I overheard one of them say to his partner, “That looks scary as hell!” The other climber nodded with a concerned look on his face. The same thought crossed my mind, but I decided not to overthink it.
Every summer, I do a backcountry Sierra trip that’s at least 60 or 100 miles. Last year I did a loop in Mineral King. Most of the time I go solo, but this year I talked my friend Manny into coming along. We decided on the North Lake to South Lake Loop, a trail that begins at a small lake just above Lake Sabrina, links up with the John Muir Trail, and ends at the Bishop Pass Trailhead.
Mount Silliman is on the Sierra Peak Section list. It’s a moderately difficult hike that begins at the Lodge Pole Campground in Sequoia National Park. From my hotel in Three Rivers, I got up at 4:00 am and got to the trailhead just after 5:00 am. It had already started out to be a warm summer, but a late storm the day before blanketed the area with 6 inches of snow. It was just beautiful.
Tom from Summit Adventure talked to me about the Men’s Life Renewal course he was putting on and asked me to join as a support person. It sounded like a blast. We took six guys into the Ansel Adams Wilderness near Yosemite. Over six days, we did some peak bagging, some solitude, and some time processing the big issues going on in life with one another.
When I came to the end of the crag system, I found what I had seen on some trip reports. There is a razor-sharp ridge that is about 40 feet long with exposure on each side but easily crossed by scooting on your butt. It’s like riding a horse. I had a rope with me in case I needed to rappel off, but I didn’t end up needing it.
Tom Smith from Summit Adventure asked me if I wanted to help him lead a Half Dome day hike with a handful of guys at the beginning of 2020. It’s on the Sierra Peak Section list, so I said, “Yes. Of course.” at the time, but one of the guys got COVID, so we postponed it to May 1. I drove in the night before and Tom picked me up at 5:00 am at the Summit Adventure Lodge.
Sawtooth Peak (South), not to be confused with Sawtooth Peak (North) in Mineral King, is an easy hike off the Pacific Crest Trail in the Chimney Peak Wilderness in the southernmost part of the Sierras. It was on the Sierra Peak Section list and it was too early in the season to get out to the High Sierras, so I did this one as a day trip. I knew this wasn’t going to be “epic,” but it was a lot of fun just to get out.
Idid Owens Peak with the kids on Saturday. Bec watched the grandbaby, and since Owens Peak was close enough for a day hike, it seemed like the perfect objective for all of us. It’s also on the Sierra Peaks Section so I sort of had to do it anyway. I didn’t realize that the big adventure was actually getting to the trailhead.
There is nothing special about Lamont Peak. It’s a sub-8,000 foot peak in the lower Eastern Sierras. It ended up on my list because it is part of the Sierra Peaks Section or SPS List for short. According to the Sierra Club, there are 247 notable peaks in the Sierras.