March 23-25, 2009
We were treated to clear weather in the Sierra backcountry over Memorial Day weekend this year. Chuck Raper, Patricia Twomey, and Dustin Wunderlich joined guides Rick Poedtke and Kurt Wedberg for a classic climb in the Palisades region of the Sierra.
Mt. Sill is one of the few Sierra peaks that was named by the indigenous Piaute indians who inhabited the Owens Valley. Their name for it was “Nee-na-mee-she” which is translated “Guardian of the Valley”. Today it is a classic 14er in Californa and the view from its summit is considered one of the finest in the entire Sierra.
Our route was the Apex Couloir on Mt. Sill. This route is also called the “North Couloir” but since there are so many couloirs that go by that name I prefer calling it the Apex Couloir. The snow conditions remain excellent in the Palisades right now. We were treated to four pitches of climbing at 40 – 45 degrees. We then exited the route to the right where we climbed a pitch of 3rd to low 5th class rock that led to one more pitch of 50+ degree snow. One final 4th class pitch led to the ridgeline on Mt. Sill where we scrambled up to the summit.
Here are a few pictures. The entire gallery can be viewed here: http://kurtwedberg.smugmug.com/gallery/8329693_LrcYi/1/545818744_wQKSG
The Palisade Glacier with Mt. Sill on the left.
Left to right: Rick Poedtke, Chuck Raper, Patricia Twomey, Dustin Wunderlich, Kurt Wedberg
Chuck and Dusty on the 3rd pitch of the Apex Couloir.
Chuck and Dusty at the belay ledge at the top of the 4th pitch.
Chuck and Dusty climbing near the top of the 5th pitch.
Chuck and Dusty nearing the top of the 6th pitch.
Chuck and Dusty at the belay station at the top of the 6th pitch.
Chuck and Dusty rock climbing on pitch 7.
Chuck and Dusty nearing the classic summit of Mt. Sill with a breathtaking view of the Sierra all around. It is easy to see why this peak is known for offering one of the finest views in the Sierra!
High five on the summit of Mt. Sill!
Summit photo. Left to right: Dustin Wunderlich, Kurt Wedberg, Chuck Raper.
May 18-20, 2009
By special request we organized a late season Level 1 Avalanche Course. As springtime is well under way here in the Eastern Sierra the warming temperatures and increasingly longer days guide people’s thoughts towards summertime activities. Up in the high country there is still lots of snow and avalanches are still a very real danger. It is easy to get complacent during this time of year even though the danger is still there.
A few pictures are below. The rest of the photo gallery can be viewed here: http://kurtwedberg.smugmug.com/gallery/8291502_bRHrW/1/542926864_dNqEr
View of the High Sierra at the South Lake Trailhead. Theres still a lot of snow in the high country!
Practicing a search for a buried person withh a transceiver, probe, and shovel.
Testing for reactive layers in the snowpack using a shovel compression test.
Examining snow crystals through a magnifying glass.
"Skinning" up Old Man's Bowl near Mt. Morrison where we will conduct some tests on the snowpack.
The reward for climbing up a mountain is making turns in the untracked snow!
North Palisade Peak, Clyde Couloir
Chuck Raper high in the Clyde Couloir
May 11-13, 2009
Our first trip into the Palisades this year was to climb the Clyde Couloir with Chuck Raper. The weather was clear with high winds. The route is in great shape at the moment. The bergshrund on the Palisade Glacier is easily crossed and the current snow conditions in the chute are supurb.
The entire photo gallery is here: http://kurtwedberg.smugmug.com/gallery/8202780_q54pC/1/535974139_p4ykZ
Mt. Langley, NE Couloir
Rick & Brian on the NE Couloir of Mt. Langley
Rick & Brian on the summit of Mt. Langley
May 1-3, 2009
Brian Bentrott, Rick Putnam, and Kurt Wedberg climbed the NE Couloir of Mt. Langley. This was a training climb for Rick’s upcoming Mt. McKinley climb in June. Under a windy and stormy day we climbed the 40+ degree chute to the summit of Mt. Langley.
The entire photo gallery is here: http://kurtwedberg.smugmug.com/gallery/8095299_4rxz8/1/527546726_5Nhjg