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Thursday, September 9, 2010

High Sierra Peakbagging, July 2010



As if I hadnít driven enough miles road tripping up and down the West Coast this summer, I decided this was the year for me to finally do some peak bagging in the High Sierra. Having ample free time on my hands, the desire to wander unencumbered by rigid itineraries and limited vacation days and to explore an entirely different mountain range served as the primary impetus of this trip.

Once again without a partner, the bounty of classic technical rock climbs the Sierras are famous for was not in the cards for me. Instead I focused my attention on a sampling of peaks that in my opinion give a good (birdís eye) overview of the range.

As such, I selected four relatively popular peaks that seem to dominate their respective regions of the High Sierra. From north-to-south, the peaks I chose were Mount Lyell, Mount Ritter, Mount Sill and finally Mount Whitney. Lyell is famous for being the tallest peak in Yosemite National Park while nearby Ritter is arguably the most prominent peak in the range. Farther south in the Palisades, I originally planned on North Palisade but instead settled on the nearby and slightly lower Mount Sill for an outing suitable for a solo climb. Sill has the best summit view in the Sierra according to some, so I didnít feel I was really sacrificing much. Whitney, as everyone knows is the tallest peak in the lower 48, and as such must be included by default.

If I were to do this trip again and/or had more time Iíd consider tacking on a couple additional peaks. One in the far north of the range, just outside Yosemite Ė Matterhorn Peak perhaps? The view of Sawtooth Ridge and vicinity (which Matterhorn is part of - at far left) certainly gets oneís attention when viewed from hwy 395 north of Lee Vining. Also, having largely ignored the Evolution Range (and another here) en route to the Palisades I think a climb of Mount Darwin would fill the void between Mammoth Lakes and Big Pine quite nicely.

Anyway, here are the reports in chronological order:

Mount Lyell via the Lyell Glacier
Mount Ritter via the SE Glacier
Mount Sill via the North Coulior/Northwest Face
Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route
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