After reporting from Mt. Everest for the past couple of months it is with great pleasure to be sharing news about our climbs going on in the Sierra right here in our back yard!
The Sierra received a below average snowfall this past winter/spring. As a result the snow melt is ahead of schedule. Right now at the beginning of June when most climbs would normally require ice axe and crampons to travel over snow, we are instead traveling over dry trails, dirt, and rocks. Conditions more normally associated with the summer months of July and August are already prevalent here in the Sierra. For our summertime kit we have exchanged our heavier crampon compatible boots for lighter summertime footwear and put away in our gear closet some of our winter/spring gear including avalanche transceivers, snowshoes, winter temperature rated sleeping bags, and puffy down parkas.
On June 6-8, 2012 SMI guides April Mayhew, Doug Nidiver, and Zach Schneider led a team of eight climbers to the summit of Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route. With ideal weather and a solid group 100% of the team was successful in reaching the summit. The route requires climbing up the mountaineers chute located on the north side of Mt. Whitney. This chute, angled at 25-35 degrees consists of walking over a dirt trail mixed with some occasional scrambling over rocks that requires the use of hands and feet.
The team camped at Upper Boyscout Lake at 11,300’/3444m on June 6. After a nice dinner of Thai food the group went to sleep early in preparation for the summit bid early the following morning. Clear skies above and mild temperatures dominated the day making for ideal climbing conditions. Reaching the summit the group was blessed with beautiful views and comfortable enough temperatures to spend 45 minutes on the summit. It was then time to descend back to camp for another nice dinner. June 8 was devoted to packing up and returning to Whitney Portal where the cars were parked.
This group was put together by Todd Phillips who is a pastor at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwell, Texas. Todd is a veteran with SMI with his groups having been with us in the Sierra and internationally on Aconcagua. Team members raise money and awareness for one of their ongoing ministries of building water wells in the country of Liberia bringing clean water to a country that has a high rate of health issues related to the lack of clean water sources. For more information about Todd and their cause visit www.lakepointe.org.
A big congratulations for a successful climb to Daniel Bobst, Paul Fleming, Heath Hill, Andrew Hodges, Todd Phillips, Sam Sneau, Richard Stahr, and Brian Young. Well done!!
For a Spot device track of the climb here: http://www.trendhr.com/trendhr/index.php/news-a-articles/ceo-blog/442-wheres-d-dubya
Sounds like you had ideal conditions and everyone on the team appears to have made the summit via one of the most difficult routes to the summit if not The Most Difficult. Congratulations to all and thank you to the church team for helping Liberia conserve water so it is safe to drink …cook…and bathe with…since the country gets six months of substantial rainfall it would be a shame to see healthy rain water not be collected and maintained health for the population’s consumption. The wells the church provides for collecting rain are a wonderful gift to the citizens of Liberia.
Going forward I see SMI has Mt. Kilamanjaro and Mt. Elbus on its calendar. I sure hope SMI can log reports from both of these destinations as they did on their Mt. Everest climb…I would love to follow both expeditions via SMI’s TRIP JOURNAL. Thank you for your journals so far….I love reading them.