By: Ret Moore
A List Finish For Ret Moore
After sixty four years of climbing in the Sierra Nevada Range, I finally achieved my goal of climbing all 247 peaks on the SPS list - WOW! Well wow anyway. That statement is literally true, but somewhat misleading on several points. First, although two peaks (Whitney and North Palisade) were climbed prior to active service in World War II, it was not until after the war, marriage, starting a family and a business that I began climbing again in the 1970's. Second,. it was more than twenty years later than this, that I even thought seriously of completing the list. But, I suppose the inevitable happens if you keep going long enough. I have to thank Norm Rohn more than any other individual for getting me to zero in on the list completion. He pointed out that if you climb all the peaks on the list you will have visited every major area in the Sierra Nevada Range. You get not just peaks, but roads, trails, canyons and vistas. This made sense and weaned me away from my parochial view of just climbing what I thought were the "best" peaks in the range, even if it meant climbing them two or more times.
So on the morning of September 27, 2003, fifty three people gathered at the Lamont Peak trailhead to make the moderate accent. After an unusually long sign in and quick introductions, we started up the trail a little after our planned 8:30 AM departure time. Although only a use trail, it is well marked but rather steep up the nose of the ridge. Once on the ridge it becomes indistinct as it crosses the gently sloped ground south of the irregular ridge crest. However all paths converge on the narrow saddle that must be crossed before making the final climb up to the summit.
Though we started with 53 climbers, one turned back due to the heat and 2 more late corners joined us on the summit. So we had 54 celebrants on the peak toasting with champagne and sparkling cider, taking photographs and snacking. To my sorrow, it wasn't possible to get the entire group in one photograph. Steve Eckert sent me the next best thing - a panorama he had put together. But, even this did not include everyone. It was fine to see so many old friends, especially Jay Titus for he is the person with whom I have co-lead the most SPS trips. Also I could not help thinking of the many good friends who I have colead and climbed with in the past, who are now no longer with us.
There were fifteen prior list finishers present and of course we had the obligatory pose of all the "old hand" finishers together with the neophyte. Another pose which particularly pleased me was one which included my two grandsons and my grandniece. All this busyness ate up the time and we spent more than an hour and a half on the peak. So much so that some got restless and started down before the main group. Eventually every one arrived safely back at the trailhead and were checked off. This still gave us plenty of time to drive the 6 or 7 miles back to Chimney Creek Campground, where another six people were waiting for us to begin preparations for the big celebration.
The BIG CELEBRATION was not only a continuation of the one on the peak, but an 80th birthday party for Ret. It was slightly early, but we would not have gotten near as many climbers out if we had waited 3 days until the following Tuesday. Everyone brought hors d'oeuvres or salad and we had barbecued chicken cooked by the celebrated Chef Barbee, baked ham, black beans, wine and soft drinks. The "piece d'resistance" was two large birthday cakes provided by the McRuers which were decorated with a mountain theme and outfitted by Duane with candles in some occult arrangement which he claimed represented the number 80.
After the dinner dishes were cleared away, they seated me in the center of the large group, obviously intent on some mischief. My puzzlement soon cleared as Duane conducted a "Roast of Ret". A few touched some of my many foibles and fallacies such as our party attempting to set a new record for upstream travel on the Colorado River, but which traveled in the wrong direction, downstream. Or, the geologic field trip and climb of Mt. Morrison that I led, which set a record for longevity. The leader and some of the group arriving back at Convict Lake long after dark. In general though, the speakers seemed a little too complementary. Obviously not well practiced in the art of roasting.
When the roast was over, most of the group gathered around the campfire to discuss climbs or experiences, but some retired to their campsites or motels. Those who stayed were entertained by Sue and Suzanne who played their guitars and sang country and blue grass songs on into the night. In all, the day and evening was a very moving experience for me and one I will never forget.
Thanks to all of those listed below whose participation made this event possible and to Reiner Stenzel, Steve Eckert and Barbee Tidball who sent me copies of their pictures, some of which are included in this article.
Gary Bowen, Jan Brahms, David Busdeicker, Brian Constant, Brent Crookham, Cody Cunningham, Darrick Danta, Randall & Alice Danta, Brenda DeRamus, Ron Eckelemann, Steve Eckert, Katy Freese, Rich Gnagy, Dane Hartman, Vic Henney, Jim Hinkley, Leslie Hotherr, Pat & Gerry Holleman, Don Holmes, Ron Hudson, Adrienne Knute, Susan & Dan Livingston , Dave & Patti MacCormack, Igor & Suzanne Mamedalian, Gene Mauk , Linda McDermott, Mary McMannes, Duane McRuer [co-leader], Ret Moore [leader], Gary Raub, David Reneric, Greg & Mirna Roach, Greg Rzonca, Shari Shepard, Dave & Barbara Sholle, Don Sparks, Reiner Stenzel, Christie Stoner, Larry & Barbee Tidball, Jay Titus, David Underwood, Charlie Wagener, John & Liz Wagner, Joe Wankum, Sue Wyman, Ron Young.
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