How do you measure Summer? Someone once decided that the longest day of the year marks the start of summer. Summer partiers count July 4 as their kickoff. Sierra climbers watch the snow-line retreat and mix in a little consideration to the monsoonal thunderstorm forecast and come up with their own definition entirely. By the latter algorithm, we’ve already had a couple months of summer up here. This particular Sierra Mountain Guide has been out and about, covering dry ground and making the most of a relatively quiet (until just recently…) electrical weather forecast. This first big round of rain and lightning is the perfect turning point at which to do a little catch-up and reflection. Let us begin this recollection just after Memorial Day.
The last day of May, Howie, Neil and I went out on a huge day to scout a more efficient and safe way to negotiate a big new SMG endeavor. Howie did some more scouting more recently. Stay tuned…
On the first of June Thomas G. and I did the big and neo-classic SE Face of Mt. Emerson.
|High on Emerson.|
SMG all-stars Chad B and John W and I knocked out a traverse of Mt. Russell-in-A-Day (MiRAD? Well, am I?) Check out about a gazillion of Chad’s pictures.
Jon A and I traversed the Palisades and documented it here and here:
Most of us Sierra Mountain Guides got together in mid-June to “train”. Mainly we heckled each other, hassled Howie’s 1 year old, Cosmo, and roasted in the sun. We did some good rescue skills and procedures review and had some great technical discussions. We are all better guides for it.
On two separate trips, Brian S. and Sean M. joined me for some customized rock instruction. These guys each took forward leaps in their climbing abilities and confidence. To their credit, each of these dudes came in with a fair to considerable prior experience. Soliciting professional oversight and conjuring the humility to receive that mentorship has done each of them a great service.
Jeff B. came down from Alberta, CA to climb on our solid rock and sunny skies. His first impression of climbing here, distilled when I suggested we meet at a relatively relaxing 8am, was casual yet athletic. In the end, I think he left with the same impression. Good rock, good weather, huge relief!
|Jeff near the top of the North Ridge of Independence Peak. “Well, in Canada…”|
|North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. “… we may have helis and huts and such. But the Sierra kicks ass, eh?”|
We approached, fished, bouldered, sent the East Buttress of Whitney and the Fishhook Arete (with a descent of the East Ridge), all in 4 days. We had some cold and wind and tons of high-altitude time. Tess pulled it all off without a struggle. From the moment we left Whitney Portal, every step up was a new altitude record for her. Just awesome!
|Granite, water, desert, sliver of snow. East Buttress, Mt. Whitney.|
|Granite, water, desert, sliver of snow. East Ridge, Mt. Russell|
Next up, without any pictures unfortunately, was an attempt at ticking off the classic Evolution Loop Trek. Kim and Sean came out for a vacation. When it turned out that the full loop, given their intense travel schedule and a death in the family and the altitude, would be a bit much, we quickly and smoothly adapted. We did some camping, some day-hikes, some fishing, and some rock-climbing. Now that’s a vacation!
|Barbara (with the bucket) and Jed (behind the camera) “working” hard. What feels like summer more than clingy wet clothes after a hot dusty day?|
|Classic view of a classic pitch on a classic route in classic conditions. With the classic reaction: “Damn, that was big!” Venusian, Temple, Sierra, CA, USA.|