Swiss Arete 5.7

 
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Mt. Sill


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
Mt. Sill - Swiss Arete July 29/30 2017
Tuesday August 1, 2017 1:31pm
My buddy Tully and I took off from Orange County Saturday (7/29/31) morning up to Big Pine with the intent to climb the Swiss Arete on Mt. Sill. This was our first time climbing together and had been in conversation several weeks where we initially met on mountain project partner finder (I know... totally sounds gay). We stopped in Lone Pine to carb up on a big burger and several beers before landing close to the Glacier Lodge trail head. As always, the hike in to Sam Mack Meadow was gorgeous. I believe it is about 8 miles and we bivy'd there for the night.

Mt. Sill is the Shark Fin looking Peak. Took this back in November 2016.

Mt. Sill way back there. Shark Fin looking... Took Pic 11/2016
Mt. Sill way back there. Shark Fin looking... Took Pic 11/2016
Credit: Esparza

Temple Crag and Third Lake
Temple Crag and Third Lake
Credit: Esparza

Sam Mack Meadow
Sam Mack Meadow
Credit: Esparza

Bivy spot just above Sam Mack Meadow. Bad mosiquitos but have Whiskey.
Bivy spot just above Sam Mack Meadow. Bad mosiquitos but have Whiskey.
Credit: Esparza

The alarm went off at 3:30am on Sunday morning. We ate, organized our gear and set off up glacier trail around 4:30am. All went smoothly for about a mile or so until we hit the snow below Mt. Gayley (which is a big pile of rock poop it seems). Tully had boots and crampons and was moving just fine. Me on the other hand, hadn't learned a lesson, and only had micro spikes for my approach shoes and an ice axe. I was gripped on the steepness but managed to make my way to the glacier notch area where the crappy loose gully gains the col between Mt. Gayley and Mt. Sill.

I'm not a big snow fan.
I'm not a big snow fan.
Credit: Esparza

Heading up to Glacier Notch
Heading up to Glacier Notch
Credit: Esparza

View of the approach to Glacier nothch, Mt. Sill and the Palisade Cres...
View of the approach to Glacier nothch, Mt. Sill and the Palisade Crest. Amazing :-)
Credit: Esparza

Once passing through the loose rock, one gains the col and another damn snow field has to be dealt with.... The L colouir of Mt. Sill. Unfortunately this is part of the Descent!

Crossing the Sill L-Colouir
Crossing the Sill L-Colouir
Credit: Esparza

After all this, I guess about 10 or so miles of hiking, dealing with snow and loose rock, one arrives at the Swiss Arete which is awesome solid granite. 6 pitches of really easy, fun climbing get you to the summit which we did around 1:30pm.

Swiss Arete.
Swiss Arete.
Credit: Esparza

Tully leading Pitch 3. Super fun 5.6 with holds everywhere...
Tully leading Pitch 3. Super fun 5.6 with holds everywhere...
Credit: Esparza

Selfie game strong with the cop glasses. lol
Selfie game strong with the cop glasses. lol
Credit: Esparza

Summit of Mt. Sill. Woohooo....  Where are the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini ...
Summit of Mt. Sill. Woohooo.... Where are the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Girls? Thought they were waiting for us!!! Oh well, better go then.
Credit: Esparza

Gorgeous views to the west!
Gorgeous views to the west!
Credit: Esparza

Storm clouds on the horizon.... yikes!
Storm clouds on the horizon.... yikes!
Credit: Esparza

We hung out at the top for about ten minutes then started our way down. It is a bit sketchy coming down and have to do a rappel to get back to the steep snow gully between Apex peak and Mt. Sill. Coming down the snow gully was slow for me.... I am just too cautious these days.

About to descend the snow gully.
About to descend the snow gully.
Credit: Esparza

Sick view of the Palisade crest and glacier.
Sick view of the Palisade crest and glacier.
Credit: Esparza

Me, the slow guy, coming down the L-Colouir.  Tired!
Me, the slow guy, coming down the L-Colouir. Tired!
Credit: Esparza

After many hours we made it out of the snow fields and on to the talus above Palisade glacier.

Talus field above Palisade glacier.
Talus field above Palisade glacier.
Credit: Esparza

Finally hit the trail and made it back to our Bivy spot around 6pm or so.

On way back to the bivy spot.
On way back to the bivy spot.
Credit: Esparza

Oh..... Forgot to mention.... The mosquitos are F'n gnarly as F! Packed up our sh#t and started hiking out of Sam Mack Meadow around 7pm. About 8 miles later and 11pm found us at my car. We were pretty worked but the fun wasn't over. Fortunately we had some Sculpin's in the car which were mighty tasty. Next part of the story is driving back to civilization. Dropped Tully off at his place in Fullerton around 5am Monday morning and got to my moms in Westminster at 5:30amish. unloaded all my crap, did a load of laundry, took a shower and got back on the freeway.... made it to work at 8am in Van Nuys and was busy as sh#t. Got off work at 5pm, went to my apartment in Studio City and crashed hard. The End....


  Trip Report Views: 1,384
Esparza
About the Author
Esparza is a trad climber from Westminster, CA.

Comments
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guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Aug 1, 2017 - 01:52pm PT
Dropped Tully off at his place in Fullerton around 5am Monday morning and got to my moms in Westminster at 5:30amish. unloaded all my crap, did a load of laundry, took a shower and got back on the freeway.... made it to work at 8am in Van Nuys and was busy as sh#t. Got off work at 5pm, went to my apartment in Studio City and crashed hard. The End....

Congratulations you did it hard man style!!

Thanks for posting up.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 1, 2017 - 04:38pm PT
Wow, you are on a roll!
Thanks for taking us along!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 1, 2017 - 06:48pm PT
Way to get it done! As for the descent, how would an axe for a tiller and one of these work? Death on a plate?

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Aug 1, 2017 - 09:24pm PT
Great job! The day at work must have been brutal.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Aug 1, 2017 - 09:41pm PT
Awesome Urban Radness!
Mike.

climber
  Aug 2, 2017 - 08:47am PT
Nice going, Mike what a surge you're on! Thanks for the share. Stay safe out there...
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
  Aug 2, 2017 - 10:31am PT
Nice report. Nice climb. Nice peak. Love those snow cups!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 2, 2017 - 10:51am PT
Sill on left.  1982.
Sill on left. 1982.
Credit: mouse from merced
Good TR and a fine adventure on a shoestring with a found partner. Such good luck. You must be living right.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Aug 2, 2017 - 01:00pm PT
Well now, that is a righteous way to spend a weekend! Good on ya.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Aug 2, 2017 - 09:54pm PT
hey there say, esparza... say, wow, this was really neat! thanks so much for sharing!
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Aug 2, 2017 - 11:24pm PT
Nice job! Way to get at it.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 3, 2017 - 07:03am PT
Nice send! great report. thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Man I love that part of the Sierra.
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
  Aug 3, 2017 - 12:36pm PT
Sweet! Nice job on the Swiss. And thanks for the current photos! Heading up that way this Saturday to do the L couloir from the South Fork via Lake Elinor. Snow travel is preferable to scree travel!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 3, 2017 - 05:18pm PT
I used to guide that route for Allan Bard now and then.

Really pretty peak. Very easy climbing. I can't remember anything harder than 5.5, but there might be a 5.7 move hiding somewhere.

Glissading the discent was always fun, until the snow got a little thin and a guy hit his tail bone on a rock and broke it. Not a good bone to break.

He didn't even know it until he got home. He just knew that it hurt.

Thanks for the photos. Brings back memories of wine bouldering with Allan and Doug Robinson and the clients.
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Mt. Sill - Swiss Arete 5.7 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Ryan Crochiere