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.

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.

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.

I’m Back on Kearsarge Peak, Like I Never Missed a Beat

Kearsarge Peak wasn’t the most exciting summit, but being here was like coming home after spending a year abroad. Three weeks ago, I was flat on my back, thinking I had injured my back permanently. Now I’m here and hiking up steep elevations with ease. It felt like a miracle. I asked a lot of people to pray for me, so I’m pretty sure it was.

Mount Goode Day Hike

Friday morning, I got on the road by 4:00 am, got to the South Lake Trailhead by 8:30 am, hiked to the summit, and drove home the same day. The hike is only eight miles round trip to a beautiful summit – although I almost hiked to the wrong summit that most people call Mount “No Goode.” It’s an easy mistake to make. As I approached the summit, that false summit looked higher than the real one, but this was an optical illusion.

Mount Carillon Stands in the Company of Giants

When I scrambled onto the plateau, Whitney and Russell came into view. Wow! The euphoria of this incredible sight swept over me. Photos simply don’t show the scale of how big and terrifying these mountains are up close. I dropped my pack to eat some gels and have some hot tea. I just sat and stared at this amazing spectacle for 15 minutes.

Five Guys on Middle Palisade

We made our way above the glacier and saw the beginning of the Red Rocks Shoot. This was our route to the summit. A couple of climbers went ahead of us up the shoot. We gave them a 15-minute head start so we would not be in the firing line of rockfall. I overheard one of them say to his partner, “That looks scary as hell!” The other climber nodded with a concerned look on his face. The same thought crossed my mind, but I decided not to overthink it.

Mount Silliman: Don’t Get Killed from a Non-Fatal Injury

Mount Silliman is on the Sierra Peak Section list. It’s a moderately difficult hike that begins at the Lodge Pole Campground in Sequoia National Park. From my hotel in Three Rivers, I got up at 4:00 am and got to the trailhead just after 5:00 am. It had already started out to be a warm summer, but a late storm the day before blanketed the area with 6 inches of snow. It was just beautiful.

Crag Peak (+Smith Mountain): Scooting My Way to a Fun Day

When I came to the end of the crag system, I found what I had seen on some trip reports. There is a razor-sharp ridge that is about 40 feet long with exposure on each side but easily crossed by scooting on your butt. It’s like riding a horse. I had a rope with me in case I needed to rappel off, but I didn’t end up needing it.