Month: August 2011

NE Face of Middle Palisade Peak August 12-14, 2011 – Another Crowd Pleaser

The team on the summit of Middle Palisade Peak

On August 12 guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg met two long time great friends of SMI John Rogitz and Fred Simmons plus Fred’s son James for a climb of Middle Palisade Peak.  Spectacular weather and good friends came together for a memorable climb of one of California’s 14ers.  Excellent snow conditions on the Middle Palisade Glacier led to the 1000′ 3rd class scramble to the summit.  A few pictures are below.  The rest can be found here:  Middle Palisade Peak August 12-14, 2011.

The creeks have remained high all summer. 6'3" Fred is up well past his knees.

SMI guide April cooking pizzas at camp with a mosquito netting hair net.

Polemonium in full bloom.

John geared up and ready on the pre dawn start for summit day.

Fred, John, and April on the Middle Palisade Glacier.

Jim surmounting the bergshrund of the glacier that leads to the start of the 3rd class rock climbing.

John and Fred negotiating the 3rd class rock climbing on the route.

April and Jim high on the route.

Jim picking is way high up on the route at 13,800'.

April leading up one of the last short pitches below the summit.

Jim on the final moves leading to the summit of Middle Palisade Peak.

Jim and Fred Simmons pose for a father/son summit photo.

John and Fred on the summit.

April reaching for the sky on Middle Palisade's summit block.

Summit photo on Middle Palisade Peak (14,012'/4271m).

Kurt jumping into Brainard Lake on the descent the day after reaching the summit of "Middle Pal".

Starlight Peak August 8-10, 2011 – Congratulations Ed on Completing the CA 14ers!!

On August 8-10 our good friend of SMI Ed Saenz visited us for his long anticipated completion of the California 14,000’ peaks.  Ed started this quest a few years ago and has steadily ticked them off his list.  The last of them was Starlight Peak (14,200’/4328m) in the Palisades region of the Sierra.  The crux of this climb is the “Milk Bottle”.  This pinnacle of rock is about 40’/12m high.  It is airy and exposed and offers a great sense of accomplishment.  Also joining us on this climb was Cory Cline who has been steadily “knocking off” the California 14ers.  This would be his 9th summit.  SMI guides Trevor Anthes and Kurt Wedberg rounded out the team.

The approach to this climb took us out of South Lake on the Bishop Pass trail.  After gaining Bishop Pass (11,972’/3649m) we traversed south towards Thunderbolt Col then down into Palisade Basin where we set up camp.  An early dinner was followed by packing and crawling into our sleeping bags in preparation for our climb the following day.

Starting daybreak we climbed into the mouth of the Northwest Chute, roped up, and began climbing the 3rd and 4th class terrain that leads to the Milk Bottle.  The day broke clear and calm with pleasant temperatures.  The team moved well and we found ourselves arriving at the Milk Bottle in the late morning.  Ed and Kurt arrived first.

Upon arrival they wasted no time in preparing to climb the Milk Bottle. Taking a belay from Ed, Kurt climbed the 5.7 pinnacle to the top.  The climb is unprotected meaning there is nowhere to place any gear until the top of the pinnacle is reached.  Anchoring the top are a sling plus a ¼” bolt so our climbing rope can be slung through a solid point allowing the others to climb the Milk Bottle with a “top rope” belay. Cory and Trevor arrived soon after and everybody took a turn climbing the Milk Bottle that makes up Starlight Peak.  Pleasant temperatures allowed us to stay on top for a while eating lunch and enjoying the view before descending back to camp.

On day 3 we packed up and hiked back out to South Lake.

That evening the team had the pleasure of celebrating Ed’s successful completion of all 15 California 14ers with a big dinner at Whiskey Creek in Bishop.  This is a big accomplishment for any Sierra mountaineer to achieve.  Ed also made it a point to help others along the way by raising money for two worthy causes:  Friends of Frankie and the Widows’ and Orphans’ Aid Association.  Friends of Frankie is an organization founded to help out Frankie Shouldice, who is a young boy currently suffering from leukemia.  Widows and Orphans Aid Association is a San Francisco based organization founded to help out families that have lost a parent who worked as an officer for the SFPD by providing financial aid and scholarship support. If you would like to donate to these worthy causes you may do so by sending checks made payable to “Friends of Frankie” or “Widows’ and Orphans’ Aid Association” to: Officer Ed Saenz C/o San Francisco Police Dept 301 Eddy St. San Francisco, CA 94102

Congratulations Ed on a job well done!!  A few pictures are below.  The entire photo gallery from the climb can be found here:  Starlight Peak August 8-10, 2011.

The team at Bishop Pass on August 8. From left to right: Trevor Anthes, Ed Saenz, Kurt Wedberg, and Cory Cline.

Cory followed by Ed on the approach to Thunderbolt Col.

Trevor cooking up a delicious dinner of fresh pasta and vegetables on August 8.

Evening light on the Palisades Crest. Above is Starlight Peak, North Palisade Peak, and Polemonium Peak.

Trevor and Ed on the Northwest Chute.

Trevor and Cory traversing across 3rd class ground on the climb of the Northwest Chute that leads to Starlight Peak.

Ed happy to be getting the first rays of sun on our climb.

Cory taking advantage of secure footing on the 3rd class terrain in the Northwest Chute.

Ed nearing the top of the Milk Bottle.

Ed standing atop the Milk Bottle!!

Ed lowering off the Milk Bottle after tagging the summit!

Cory sitting on top of the Milk Bottle.

This makes 9 of the 15 California 14ers accomplished for Cory!!

Trevor takes a turn standing on top of the Milk Bottle.

After setting up the top rope Kurt takes another run at the Milk Bottle.

Kurt making pizzas back at camp.

Ed and Kurt happy back at the South Lake trailhead. Congratulations Ed!!

SMI Salutes Jansport Founder Skip Yowell

Jansport founder Skip Yowell speaking at his retirement party.

44 years ago Skip Yowell helped found one of the iconic companies in the outdoor industry when Jansport was formed.  From its early days in Seattle it has grown into one of the largest and most successful outdoor companies ever.  Skip has been there the entire time through many changes.  During Skip’s career at Jansport he remained active in the outdoors climbing in the Cascades, most notably on Mt. Rainier.  With Skip’s help Jansport worked closely with the guides at Rainier Mountaineering Inc to help develop and test gear.  They also collaborated to do a yearly 5-day climb on Mt. Rainier specifically for people who work for Jansport dealers affectionately known as the “Jansport Seminar”.

In 1987 SMI founder Kurt Wedberg was a college student working at Adventure 16 Outdoor and Travel Outfitters who are a Jansport dealer.  Kurt got the opportunity to be a participant in a Jansport Seminar where he climbed with a number a famous mountaineers.  Skip was on that climb and that formed a friendship that continues to this day.  This trip was made possible by Skip, Adventure 16, and the folks at RMI.  Kurt would eventually become a senior guide at Rainier Mountaineering Inc working there during the summer months between 1991 – 2006.  Since that first climb on Mt. Rainier Kurt has amassed 120 climbs of this great peak.

Through the years Skip has always been a big supporter of Kurt’s guiding career from his time on Mt. Rainier to forming Sierra Mountaineering International.

In addition to staying at the helm of Jansport Skip was always a great advocate for the entire outdoor industry.  Among other things he served on the board of Big City Mountaineers.  This well respected organization has been a leader in helping inner city and under privileged youth get introduced to the outdoors.  SMI works closely with their Summit For Someone program that helps raise money for Big City Mountaineers.

After 44 years of representing Jansport and the outdoor industry so well Skip is retiring.  SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg are currently attending the bi-annual outdoor industry trade show.  This show is where all the outdoor manufacturers display their products for retail shops, guides, and the media.  Jansport threw a retirement party for Skip at the trade show.

Skip will remain an ambassador for Jansport while pursuing other interests.  We wish Skip the best as he enters a new chapter in his life.  Skip remains one of the biggest icons in the outdoor industry and will always be considered a good friend.  All the best to you Skip!!!