Sierra Mountain Center

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

Boundary Peak 9.2.12

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Boundary Peak is the high point of Nevada and we get a number of people who are doing all of the high points of the 50 states wanting to do it. This was the case with Jayme and Don Holcomb.

This was a warm up before Whitney, but with no good  trail and the dry desert air this might actually be harder.

We stayed at SP’s Nevada place just on the other side of the highway the night before and got a dawn start up the trail, watching the sun come up over the ranges tot eh east.

We were 4.5 hours up and 2.5 down which is a great time and along the way we saw a band of mustangs which was great end to the day.

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Written by SP Parker

September 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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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

Tim and Phil on their climb 7/11/12

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OUTSTANDING, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, any variation of adjectives.

On a scale of to 10, an 11.

Written by SP Parker

July 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

Brian on his Whitney Climb 6/4/12

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I want to thank your Team for a great Climb on Mt. Whitney this past week.  Aaron and Luke did a fantastic job for us.  These two young men were friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful.  It was a pleasure having these two guide us on the mountaineers route.  At every step along the way, Aaron and Luke made us feel as if our success, safety and enjoyment was their top priority.
Connie has been extremely helpful and responsive in setting up details of this climb.
I would recommend these guides and your company to anyone wanting a first rate experience.  This was an outstanding adventure I will always remember.
Thank you all for helping  make it so.

Written by SP Parker

July 30, 2012 at 12:30 am

Tom on his Mount Whitney trip 7/10/12

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The summit to Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route was amazing. Sam is a great guide and we were fortunate to have him lead our group.  Daniel and I will have this special memory forever and I want to thank you for your patience with all of my calls and answering all of my questions.
I hope to do another tour with SMC.
Todd

Written by SP Parker

July 30, 2012 at 12:29 am

Clarence King, Mt Cotter and Mt Gardiner with Linda Emerson 7.2012

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This is the eight trip that Linda and SP have done as Linda works her way to completing all of the Sierra Peaks list. We intended to do this trip two years ago and then last year, but things got in the way. The third time was however a charm and went just perfectly with no fuss and no drama. Just what a guide wants.

We were slated to go in on Monday using the services of Pine Creek Pack station, but that day was stormy and unsettled so we delayed a day – much to the joy of Cricket, the packer, who had just come out from a big storm in French Canyon. We were on the trail early and made short work of the 11.5 miles over to beautiful Rae Lakes. Here we waited for Cricket to show with our packs. He finally arrived tired and sore with his horse Leroy limping after cutting a fetlock on the descent from Glenn Pass.

So we shouldered the packs for just an hour over into Sixty Lakes Basin and set up camp just as two Bighorn Sheep rams crossed the ridge behind us. They had no fear and not a lot of curiosity about us. Too many other more important things to do.

Next day we set off about 6.30 to Clarence King. This was about a 10.5 hour day up the southwest side and back the same way. First climbed by Bolton Brown in 1896 and at that time was probably the hardest climb in North America with a 5.4 summit block. The summit is a superb gently sloping block with spectacular drops all around.

Day three was a similar get up when you wake up day and we headed over to Mount Gardiner. From CK the approach looked like ugly talus but it turned out to be pretty solid and the NE gave delightful scrambling. The last 300 feet to the summit is a genuine knife edge and once again we used the rope for security. Back down the same way we went and took a high line back to Sixty Lakes Pass and along the way discovered a superb wall of clean grey granite studded with black chickenheads allover. A flat ledge at the base completed the perfection. If only it was not two days to get here….

Day four we headed to the closest peak, Cotter. This also turned out to be a perfect scramble on great rock.The only fly in the ointment was that someone had stolen the summit register. This is now an issue on lots of Sierra Peaks. Proponents of  it claim it is litter or they are stolen for historical value. These registers are a link to the past and those who have gone before and are the history of our climbing community and brethren. When Linda and I climbed Black Kaweah one of the rewards was to see Norman Clyde’s entry alongside that of Walter Starr junior written in his own blood. Now it is stolen from everyone. Leave them there. They belong on the peaks not in a basement.

We were back in camp before 11.00am so we decided to start on out again over Glenn and Kearsarge Passes. We spent the night under whitebark pines and a bright half moon just shy of Kearsarge Pass and were down in time for breakfast at Jenny’s cafe in Independence.

All in all this was a perfect trip.Not a breath of wind for five days, clear perfect nights and day under the peerless cobalt skies of California. The clear green lakes and gleaming white granite. What else does anyone ever want?

 

Written by SP Parker

July 30, 2012 at 12:28 am

Posted in Alpine Climbing

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