Palisades, Sierra Nevada, California

Mt. Sill - Swiss Arete

June 21 - 24, 2005

Dave Svilar, Darren Rainey


Dave = skinny, tall pack ---------- Darren = fat, short pack

A respite from the June gloom shrouding Western Washington was needed.  We wisely packed up and headed south towards sunny California.  However, instead of the beaches of SoCal we opted for a climbing trip to the high Sierras.  Unfortunately what we found was an area that looked more like what the Cascades were supposed to look like at this time of year - buried in snow.  Our preference was for short, simple approaches and easy, sunny climbs on solid rock.  Living in Colorado had made me soft.  The first sign of threatening weather was enough to send me scrambling back to the car.  We backed off on a climb on Temple Crag because the rock was not perfect, and were spanked by the high altitude rock climbing on Sill.  At one point while belaying Darren on the second pitch of Sill I actually entertained the idea that I was a decent alpine climber.  No more than two pitches later we were passed by a group of three girls. 

Darren contemplates how we're going to get all our stuff back into the Civic.


Tenuous Crossing.  Shortly after laughing at Darren take so long to cross the log I crawled across on all fours.


Darren approaches the enormous south face of Temple Crag.  Three classic aretes loom above.


Dave contemplating the retreat from Temple Crag.


Darren's tent overlooking Third Lake and Temple Crag.  The tent proved too small for me, as did the sleeping bag I had on lone from Darren.  The Toys-R-Us bag extended comfortably to my nipples and packed down to the size of a 5-gallon bucket.


Palisade Peak from "high camp" some 1,500 feet above our own camp.  The area was more suited to skiing than rock climbing.


Dave stares up at the route.  All the rock climbing took place above 13,500 feet.


Darren smiles while finishing the first pitch.  The girls scrambled this portion in their boots.


Darren scampering over the relatively flat portion of the arete.


Summit shot with snowy Sierras in the background.


Darren flattens the pesky suncups with this posterior.  After arriving camp we were much more tired and wet than we had ever planned for on the trip.


Doing what we do best back at camp - relax.


Overlooking Third Lake and Temple Crag.  Our camp was located on the horseshoe-shaped bend on the lake.


Darren has a look back at the aretes we did not climb.


Irresistible cactus flowers lining the trail.


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