The normal erratic fall weather pattern in the Sierra has continued to bring us intermittent warm weather followed by cold snaps and light snow. Earlier in October as much as 2 or more feet of snow had fallen along the crest of the Sierra. Warm weather would melt the snow that deposited on sun exposed slopes but anything in the shade has remained. This made Thor Peak a good choice for a climb. It is a nice day trip requiring much lighter packs than an overnight trip would and the Stemwinder route is south facing meaning it received a lot of sun exposure so the rock would be free of snow. Stemwinder is a nice entry level alpine rock climb. The moves are rated up to 5.5 with easier sections in between. The rock quality is superb with firm white granite and little loose terrain to be concerned about.
Richard Piotrowski and Kurt Wedberg teamed up to make a nice day of it. The weather included high clouds and some winds that signaled an approaching storm. That evening the area received several inches of snow and effectively made this route much more of a mixed climb for the next few months.
A few highlights are below. The rest of the pictures can be found here: Thor Peak via Stemwinder October 29, 2010.