Climbing the North Arete of Bear Creek Spire

At an elevation of 13,726′, Bear Creek Spire dominates the head of Little Lakes Valley. It’s not the tallest peak in the cirque but it is by far the most stunning. Climbing the North Arete is considered one of the classics of the High Sierra.

Barber Peak Scramble

It was a short hike today, but the scenery and the terrain were amazing. The hike starts through a narrow slot canyon with fascinating rock formations everywhere, then passes through open desert before ascending Barber Peak. The mountain itself is a giant horseshoe, with our route ascending one side, then traversing across a large plateau before we descended the opposite side.

Sheep Hole Mountains High Point

Manny and I decided on short notice to catch another desert scramble. The Sheep Hole Mountains High Point is a tiny mountain range outside of Twentynine Palms. Route finding is pretty challenging, but the terrain was never more than class 2. It’s a great little short and steep hike.

Eagle Moutain Scrambling in Death Valley

We left the car, and within 10 minutes, we found ourselves scrambling up extremely steep terrain. In fact, as we approached the mountain, the drainage we were headed toward looked so steep that I wondered if it was climbable.

Zabriskie Point: Death Valley’s Most Beautiful Trail

This is the starting point of a network of trails that link Zabriskie Point, Manly Beacon, Red Cathedral, and Golden Canyon. There are a lot of choices. The 6-mile out-and-back trail we picked takes about 3 hours at a slow pace – winding through some of the most interesting terrain Death Valley has to offer.

Rambling and Scrambling on Pahrump Point

The summit ridge is the highlight of the route. Once we acquired the ridge, we had a god’s eye view of the entire valley with sharp drop-offs on each side. Walking along this “sidewalk in the sky” was pure euphoria. Words, pictures, and videos can’t describe it. You have to be there.

Pucker Your Butt Cheeks on Dragon Peak!

By way of confession, I’d like to say that Wes and I “slayed the Dragon” of Dragon Peak. That would be the macho mountaineering thing to say, but that’s not exactly what happened. We did get to the summit. And we did return. But “slayed” would be a little misleading. One could argue that the Dragon simply wanted to be a good sport, so she played dead and let us walk away.

106 Degrees on Iron Mountain

This is more of a confession than a trip report. When we finally got off trail, Manny mentioned that the last time he peed, he thought about whether or not he should pee into his water bottle, just in case he needed to reuse it. Yes, that’s how bad it got today…

Independence Peak is the Perfect Intro to Sierra Scrambling

I’ve always been a little afraid of Kearsarge Peak because it looked almost unclimbable with its steep, loose scree-laden slopes. Not because of technical challenges but because it simply looked miserable. I had envisioned slogging up a sand slope where every two steps forward came with a step backward in deep sand and scree. Fortunately, this was not the case

Slow Patient Endurance on Cardinal Mountain

Cardinal Mountain seemed like a good choice for a couple of reasons. I could do the hike in a day if I started early. The route is 20 miles and 8,000 feet of elevation gain, which was close to the limit of what I thought I was ready to do in a day. Completing this hike would help me build the kind of Zone 2 aerobic endurance that would enable more aggressive adventures this season.