Sierra Mountain Center

California’s premier mountaineering school and guide service – Bishop, CA

Archive for the ‘Whitney’ Category

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We have been working with Rock Creek Pack Station to set up the JMT in stages as a pack supported trip. This allows people who want to do the JMT but do not want the heavy packs to spread the journey out over four years and to have a relaxed memorable vacation along the way.

This year our first section was from a start at Kearsarge to a finish at Onion Valley. Along were Geoff Snyder, Donna Smith, Mardi Swords, Martha Moore, Phil Moore and SP as hiking guide. We also had a full time cook Andy and packers Mark and Terri.

The trip started with some ran and thunderstorm activity that nearly shut us down on ourWhitney climb, but we hung out in the tent as lightening lit the summit up and hail hit the tent.But it cleared enough to give us time to get up and down. Climbing Whitney had been cook Andy’s goal since Day I. So in cowboy boots, cowboy hat, leather canteen and a slicker he headed tot he top getting lots of stares from REI equipped hikers. But we all made it in near record time.

From Whitney on we had great weather, fantastic scenery and thanks to Andy fantastic food.

This is the trip for anyone who wants a really relaxing holiday.

Next years section is from Onion Valley to Bishop Pass.

Written by SP Parker

September 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Hiking, Whitney

Hiking with Pack Stock. The JT Part I; Cottonwood to Onion Valley.

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We have been working with Rock Creek Pack Station to set up the JMT in stages as a pack supported trip. This allows people who want to do the JMT but do not want the heavy packs to spread the journey out over four years and to have a relaxed memorable vacation along the way.

This year our first section was from a start at Kearsarge to a finish at Onion Valley. Along were Geoff Snyder, Donna Smith, Mardi Swords, Martha Moore, Phil Moore and SP as hiking guide. We also had a full time cook Andy and packers Mark and Terri.

The trip started with some ran and thunderstorm activity that nearly shut us down on ourWhitney climb, but we hung out in the tent as lightening lit the summit up and hail hit the tent.But it cleared enough to give us time to get up and down. Climbing Whitney had been cook Andy’s goal since Day I. So in cowboy boots, cowboy hat, leather canteen and a slicker he headed tot he top getting lots of stares from REI equipped hikers. But we all made it in near record time.

From Whitney on we had great weather, fantastic scenery and thanks to Andy fantastic food.

This is the trip for anyone who wants a really relaxing holiday.

Next years section is from Onion Valley to Bishop Pass.

 

Written by SP Parker

September 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Hiking, Whitney

2 Day Mountaineers Route on Whitney

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This week I was lucky enough to get to do our most popular trip in a two-day mega push with Luc Peltier.

SMC Trip coming down the ledges.

On our first day, climbing a little higher than usual, we made it to about 12,000 ft.  At one of my favorite spots we set up camp: a set of rock ledges with snow melt for water and a great view of both the North Fork drainage and Mt. Whitney.

During the day the weather was warm, and the snow felt soft under our feet.  Expecting a change in weather that evening and for the next day we weren’t surprised when the temperature started dropping with the sun.  That night the mercury stooped into the single digits, wind blasted our tent, and snowfall accumulated into a couple of inches of cold fluffy powder.

Creek crossing on the way up.

Creek crossing on the way down.

Morning came much too early, at 3:30 a.m.  I was up to start melting the ice block that was going to be hot water for our breakfast.  Two hours later, after a slow cup of coffee, we headed out to see if we would get lucky in the inclement weather.  The snow was now firm from the night’s freeze, and we made it to Iceberg Lake in less than an hour.  Still not knowing if the precipitation and wind would stop us from making the summit, we started up the Mountaineers’ Gully with one solo climber ahead of us.  The farther we climbed, the better the weather seemed to get. It was still cold and windy, but the snow had stopped and we were making good time.  At the notch we had clear skies and there was no doubt now that we were going to make it.

Starting to look good for the climb up.

At the summit for the second time this season, we were again huddled inside the stone shelter to warm up and refuel.  Going back down always feels fast after the long push up steep slopes. We were back in camp by 1 p.m. after leaving the summit at 10 a.m.  By this time, snow had started to fall again, temperatures were cold and the wind had picked back up.  We climbed inside the tent, lit the stove and waited to make soup and coffee to power us for the 4000-ft descent back to the cars.  The hike out was relatively uneventful despite tired legs and the relentless snowfall that kept up all the way down to the portal.
Grateful to be back at the cars, we decided to support Doug and the Portal Store by grabbing a beer in a warm environment.

Getting a little power for the way down.

Nice work, Luc, on your two-day Mountaineers’ trip.  Thanks for a fantastic time!

Written by aalrich

June 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Mount Whitney with a group from Japan

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This has been one heck of a spring in the Sierra. One day is a perfect spring day; the next four are full on winter. The snow pack is still not melting and we have had to cancel trips because of the quantity of snow.

But we have been lucky on Mount Whitney and managed to get to the summit on all of our trips including this one. We have worked with Katsuhiro Yamashita, a Japanese IFMGA guide, before and this year he brought a group of five women and one man to climb Whitney in a quick one week trip from Japan. All of the group was older with the youngest being 59 and the oldest 69. One woman had also climbed all of the Seven Summits as well as a host of other peaks.

We left Whitney Portal on June 26th. This spring has been typified by strong winds and this trip was no exception and was with us all of this trip. Above Lower Boy Scout Lake it is solid snow, but we were lucky to find bare ground for camp at Upper Boy Scout Lake..

Overnight we had cloud and sprinkles and were not sure about the 27th. We left early and made good time with easy cramponing on firm snow. Travel up the Mountaineers Gully went well with the snow but the final section to the summit was definitely hard than without snow. We were on top by midday in a very strong wind but with fantastically clear skies. We were able to be able to see all the way tot he Coast Range, the San Bernadinos and barely, San Jacinto above Pal Springs. These days there are few times you can do this!

The snow had softened a lot by the time we headed down so it was hard work back to camp. But all went well and by midday on the 28th we were back at the Portal enjoying Doug’s burgers and fries.

It was great to work with this group and in particular the ladies were tough.  No one was taller than 5 foot six inches, were not used to carrying a big backcountry pack and had to adapt to the carry out your own waste system. Some had not been to four thousand meters before, but everyone smiled, had a great time and was happy to be in the mountains of California.

Written by SP Parker

June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

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