Mount Goode, Giraud Peak, Thunderbolt Peak, Columbine Peak, Mount Sill


By: Tina Bowman

Mountaineering is returning to national Sierra Club trips! Last summer Bill Oliver was the climbing leader for a trip to the Palisades; this year Doug Mantle was the climbing leader, and I was the assistant. The main trip leaders were Margi Wailer and Anne Muzzini. The group went in from South Lake on Saturday, July 28, camping the first night at Bishop Lake. Some then climbed Mt. Goode. Coming in late because of a friend's wedding, on Sunday I met the other eleven of our group in Dusy Basin. Our camp for the next two nights was at the lower end of Dusy Basin, with a packer arriving Sunday afternoon with a multitude of bear barrels.

Some practiced climbing and rappelling near camp while others enjoyed the delightfully warm water of the Dusy Branch and nearby lake, conducive to cleanliness and happy spirits.

While some explored the lakes and Knapsack Pass, seven of us climbed Giraud on Monday, taking the fourth class northeast ridge, a good climb. Jan St. Amand had pulled out her new Petzl "Reverso," a device that can be used for belaying, rappelling, short ascents, and even purifying water! (Maybe it could be trained to carry a heavy backpack, do you think?) Unfortunately, she also pulled out the instructions, which were too much in the midst of a climb. Doug had her use his ATC, and he used a dulfersitz when he needed to get below the crest of the ridge for a short bit. Jan never did get to use her new device, but her new yellow Bibler tent served as a beacon to guide us back to camp each day. We descended the class 2 route and endured the sand slog to get back to Dusy Basin. Stashing eleven of the sixteen bear barrels, we moved on Tuesday via Knapsack Pass to Palisade Basin, camping at the long thin Barrett Lake south of lake 11,468-more warm water! On Wednesday six of us climbed Thunderbolt. Doug successfully got the rope over the summit block; five of us used prussiks and an etrier to conquer the block. Dale Stuart, however, climbed the block on belay. Thursday saw many of the group climbing Columbine Peak with Doug; I stole away to meander up Sill from the south. Friday saw five of us headed to the U-Notch at 6 a.m. Doug, of course, led the fifth-class pitches up from the notch; I followed and started belaying others up while Doug was setting upper belays. The wind through the notch was wreaking havoc when I threw the rope, sending it out towards the glacier where it kept snagging. Some down climbing and whipping of the rope eventually got the rope to the two climbers below. Up on the ridge, we traversed on the south side to the summit with a short belay to get on the very top. Since we arrived at 2 p.m., Doug kept our time on the summit brief. One double-rope rappel put us at the first belay spot, which all but Doug then descended from on a single-rope rappel back to the Unotch. Doug went down a little ways to the spot he had originally belayed me from and rappelled from there. We held our breath for a moment, but the rope cooperated and came down. Unfortunately, the cheese for lunch and most of my snacks that we had left at the notch had disappeared. We still had a bit to eat for a late lunch and headed down the chute and back to camp by 7 p.m.

Saturday we went over Isosceles Pass back to Dusy Basin. On the north side of the pass we belayed others down, first a few who then passed packs down past the third-class section and then the rest. We had used harnesses (and helmets) on the climbs, except for Goode and Columbine, but here I tied the participants in with a bowline on a coil, which no one aside from Doug knew how to tie properly. Descending to a camp at the lake south of lake 11,388 in Dusy Basin, we retrieved the bear barrels from the far end. Despite cold water, many of us had a dip in the lake and spent a relaxing afternoon. Sunday we were on our way back to Bishop Pass and home, most of us getting to the cars by 12:30.

Throughout the trip we enjoyed excellent and plentiful food planned and overseen by Anne. Because the paying participants shared commissary duties, I felt a bit guilty about not having a part in that, but perhaps they'd heard about my cooking. It was a great trip, and we're already planning a national club trip to the Minarets for next year. Hooray for the rebirth of mountaineering in the national Sierra Club!

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