Wednesday, July 21, 2010
On July 17th Hunter Sibald and I hiked into the Palisades via North Big Pine Creek. We camped for the night in Sam Mack Meadows and in the morning hiked onto the Thunderbolt Glacier. Another team was in the col between Mt Winchell and Thunderbolt so we took a direct line onto the ridge. We climbed all five 14,000' peaks along the way. Thunderbolt Peak 14,003, Starlight 14,200', North Palisade 14,242' Polemonium Peak 14,200 and Mt Sill 14,162'. The traverse involved around 10 or so single rope rappels (we had a 50 meter x 8mm) and about 200' of belayed climbing on 5.7-5.9 sections (our rack consisted of 8 nuts and 6 cams). The climbing was exposed high quality Sierra granite with the bulk of it being 4th class-5.6 which we soloed in approach shoes. In Peter Crofts book "The Good, the Great and the Awesome" he gives this traverse his highest quality rating of three stars *** and a rating of IV (5.9) and we have to agree. The whole traverse took about 9 hours. As we sat on top of Mt Sill watching thunder clouds build along the ridge, we were joined by a dude who had just soloed the Temple/Gayley/Sill traverse via the Moon Goddess Arete. We hiked out that day and had dinner at Denny's in Bishop.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Yesterday John Train and I returned to Little Slide Canyon to climb the Polish Route III (5.10+) on the Incredible Hulk. On my fifteen previous trips here I've always stared in awe at the Polish Routes long sustained wide cracks. Could they really be that good? Our Day started in Truckee when John picked me up at 5:30 am. The beautiful High Sierra morning was made extra blissful because I was missing a staff meeting at work. The route went well with John (as usual) taking the lion's share of the leads. Some of the incredible pitches were more like Yosemite than the back country (see photo of John leading the first pitch). We had hoped to check out a finishing variation call "Escape from Poland" but the building thunder clouds dictated a sprint to the top. A few rain drops fell as we rappelled the back side of The Hulk and hiked in our TC Pros around to the base. Back at the truck we were both tired and satisfied. We had some mediocre mexican food in Bridgeport and were home at 10:30 pm.