Thunderbolt Peak (14,003’/4268m) and Starlight (14,200’/4328m) July 19-21, 2012

The team ready to hike the Bishop Pass trail en route to Palisade Basin. Left to right: Nathan Fletcher, SMI guides Doug Nidever and Nathan Wylie, Chuck Fields, Matthew Peacore, Rob Filback, Randy Hill, and SMI guide Kurt Wedberg.

There are 15 peaks in California above 14,000′ in elevation.  13 of these “14ers” are in the Sierra Nevada.  We have many clientele who come to climb these lofty peaks.  This group assembled was here to “knock off” a couple of the California 14ers.

On day 1 the team hiked over Bishop Pass (11973’/3649m) then turned south climbing over Thunderbolt Col and down into Palisade Basin where camp was set.  An early dinner was followed by final packing and preparations for the climbing in the morning.

On day 2 the team rose early with the intention of climbing Thunderbolt Peak via SW Chute #1 then traversing along the crest of the Palisades to Starlight before descending back to camp.  SW Chute #1 consists of 3rd class climbing requiring the use of hands and feet mixed in with easier terrain.  Where the notch tops out the route turns south and ascends two short pitches of 4th class rock leading to the final summit block.  A rope was put up to allow all team members the opportunity to climb the 5.8 summit block then the team packed up and began traversing towards Starlight.

The traversing is a fun mix of scrambling, down climbing, and rappelling.  The climbing is exposed in spots but never rising above low 5th class in difficulty.  While a rope is used for protection and safety many people who climb these routes with us have had minimal formal rock climbing training.

After arriving at Starlight the climb involves ascending the “Milk Bottle”, which is a short 5.7 friction face climb.  Once again we anchored a rope in place and each team member had the opportunity to ascend this beautiful pinnacle of rock.

With the climbing finished the team descended back to camp and enjoyed a nice dinner before having a well earned sleep!  On July 21 the team packed up and headed back to the parking lot arriving mid afternoon.

Congratulations to all for a job well done!  A few pictures are below.  The rest of the pictures are here:

Thunder Peak and Starlight July 19-21, 2012

The team traversing towards Thunderbolt Col with Duzy Basin behind.

Descending to Palisade Basin after Thunderbolt Col.

Evening alpenglow on the Palisade Crest.

Randy climbing the final 4th class pitches to the summit of Thunderbolt Peak.

SMI guide Doug Nidever climbing the summit block on Thunderbolt Peak.

Rob standing atop the summit block on Thunderbolt Peak.

Randy and Matthew on the traverse to Starlight with the Palisade Glacier far below.

The team pauses for a quick food/water break during the traverse from Thunderbolt to Starlight.

Standing on top of the "Milk Bottle" that is Starlight Peak!


3 comments on “Thunderbolt Peak (14,003’/4268m) and Starlight (14,200’/4328m) July 19-21, 2012

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