We experienced a picture perfect day on the North Ridge of Mt. Conness to kick off the alpine rock climbing season in the High Sierra! With summertime now upon us the high alpine climbs of the Sierra Nevada are at their finest. Longtime friend of SMI Michelle Kemmer joined us for a climb of the ultra classic North Ridge of Mt. Conness on July 9. Consisting of 6 pitches of moderate 5th class climbing plus an exciting rappel in the middle of the route this peak is pure alpine bliss. From steller granite to magnificent views of the alpine lakes, meadows, and granite spires in Tuolumne Meadows the North Ridge of Mt. Conness never disappoints!
The breathtaking approach!
The approach begins at Saddlebag Lake, which is a short distance off the Tioga Pass Road. The hike takes us past alpine lakes on a trail decorated with native wildflowers as it ascends to the base of the North Ridge.
The beginning pitches and rappel of the North Ridge of Mt. Conness
We then roped up where the terrain narrows and becomes more exposed. A few short pitches in the difficulty range of 3rd to low 5th class led us to the first tower where two rappels lead to the upper end of the route.
The top half of the North Ridge of Mt. Conness!
After short rappels the route presents four pitches of fun 5th class climbing on high quality granite with excellent hand and foot holds. Each belay station on the ascent reveals more exhilarating views en route to the 12590’/3829m summit!
SMI guides are ecstatic to be back guiding trips in the Sierra! We have spent this spring during the pandemic staying in shape, keeping sharp with our skills, and honing our craft. With things starting to open up again we are ecstatic to be once again outside sharing adventures in the Sierra Nevada with our guests.
The Sierra Nevada is our home, our back yard, and our favorite mountain range in the world. The possibilities for adventure and solitude are endless. Try ticking off some of our California 14ers on our Palisades trips, or the exhilaration from one of our classic alpine rock climbs. Learn to transfer your indoor climbing skills to the outdoor realm on one of our rock climbing programs, or discover pristine destinations in the Sierra Nevada through one of our customized backpacking trips! Whatever your desire the Sierra Nevada has it all!
During the month of July join any SMI trip in 2020 and receive a free custom SMI UPF 50+ Buff!
After spending two days working on alpine rock climbing skills with Erin, Christy, and Vicki it was time to put some techniques into practice on some real alpine climbs. Our first objective was the North Ridge of Mt. Conness. Mt. Conness is located in Tuolumne Meadows on the edge of Yosemite National Park. The North Ridge is an enjoyable classic Sierra alpine climb positioned high enough to offer views as far as Half Dome into Yosemite Valley and many more prominent peaks in all directions. This climb has it all including fun climbing on high quality granite, two rappels off the 2nd Tower along the route, and exhilarating scenery throughout.
The group divided into two teams led by SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg. The goal was much more than just to climb the route in good style. It was to pass on as many climbing techniques as possible to help the team develop efficient climbing habits for use in alpine terrain where time, weather, and route finding are all critical to a safe and successful climb.
The climb went extremely well. A few pictures are below. The entire photo gallery can be found here:
On August 5 Scott Bushman joined Kurt Wedberg for an ascent of the classic North Ridge of Mt. Conness 12,590′, 3837m. Mt. Conness is located near the border with Yosemite National Park. The mountain is flanked by the Conness Glacier on its north side with the North Ridge forming one side of the glacier’s border. Rock quality of this granite peak is superb and the views are outstanding offering an excellent vantage point straight into Yosemite Valley. Scenes of Half Dome and Mt. Lyell are two of the many well known features that stand out during this climb.
The approach is on a broad ridge that leads to an increasingly narrow path. Eventually a tower is reached requiring a rappel before several pitches of enjoyable climbing lead to the summit. The difficult rating is anywhere from 5.6 – 5.8 depending on the exact line taken.
Sierra Mountaineering International was founded by Kurt Wedberg in the fall of 1995. We are specialists in all types of mountaineering guiding and instruction year round in this inspiring and beautiful mountain range. We are also positioned to guide expeditions to high peaks on all seven continents. Our friendly and personable expert guide staff brings together the collective experience of 100+ global expeditions plus 25+ years of Sierra mountaineering into every trip we do. We invite you to come learn why hundreds of our clients repeatedly return to us for more new and exciting adventures in the Sierra and destinations worldwide!