Old Slides, 2.

Mt. Dana, Yosemite National Park, June, 1962.

In the spring of 1962 I did a little bit of local rock climbing in the SF Bay area.   During one of those outings, I met a bunch of folks who I would continue to climb with off and on for the next few years.   One of these people was a high school kid named Doug who lived in Palo Alto or Los Altos.  

   Doug is shown climbing on a favorite local Bay Area route called "The Slabs."  

Doug and I decided to go to the Sierra in June of 62.    I had been looking at some possible peaks for us to bag and Mt. Dana near Tioga Pass looked like an easy one.   But it was high, just over 13,000 ft.    
Doug is practicing a self arrest here on the north ridge of Mt. Dana.   I believe that's Mt. Conness in the background.

This is the north end of Mt. Dana.   The north ridge at about 12,000 ft is as high as we got.   The summit, on the right side of the photo, eluded us, for Doug became ill from the altitude.    We dropped down to lower elevations off on the east of the ridge to find a more comfortable camp spot.

The highway heading toward Tioga Pass can be seen in this shot looking north from Dana.

Some of the country in the north of the park as seen from Dana's north ridge.  (I would camp on this ridge and climb the peak in June of '65.   Doug would join us for some rock climbing in this area in 1965.   I wonder what happened to him.)

Matterhorn Peak, Sawtooth  Ridge, 1962.

Sherm Rutherford and I wanted to do another longer trip and decided that Labor Day of 1962 would be a good one.   We took some vacation to add to the weekend as a means to get an extended time in the mountains.    The Sawtooth Ridge is in the northeast corner of Yosemite National Park and offers some great trips.   The peaks offer some exposure, but often straightforward routes and great views.     The high point in the ridge is Matterhorn Peak at 12,281.

We drove over Sonora Pass and then south to Bridgeport and then west to a trailhead at Twin Lakes.   We then headed up trails toward Matterhorn.
This was one of our early views of Matterhorn Peak.

A closer view during our approach.

Eventually we headed for a col or pass between Matterhorn and Twin Peaks.   This view shows Sherm plowing through the snow.

This shows me emerging from the pass with the last of the snow at a small tarn that must disappear in many seasons.   Incidentally, I am here using a new pack.   It is a Cruiser frame that I had purchased to replace my old Trapper Nelson pack.   The contoured aluminum frame was a major improvement.   I'm still using the red bag from the Trapper Nelson.   It seems amazing today that we could have carried more than adequate gear and food for 5 days with such gear, but it was not an issue at that time.  

Another view of the tarn and the end of the snow.   Keep this snow patch in mind; I'll point to it in a later view.

Here is Sherm in our camp with the back side of Matterhorn Peak in the background.   This was one of the more memorable camp spot that I can remember.     I don't remember what we used for cooking.   I'm sure that we must have had a small stove of some sort.  Perhaps Sherm can fill in this gap in my  memory.   I remember the details of the climb, but not the food; guess that's good.    As I recall, the climb was simple and directly past the snow patch over a series of simple and safe ledges to the summit ridge just to the left of the summit.    Then it was a walk to the summit itself.  I suspect that this shot was taken after our return.    Our camp here was at about 10,000 feet.   I recall wakening to frozen water bottles in the morning.

Sherm Sherm on the summit.    Note the white granite.    The quality of this rock is wonderful for climbing, something that I had never seen in the northwest.

Wes This is me on the summit of Matterhorn Peak.  That flag was there from an earlier party.

looking south This is the view to the south.   The snowy peak on the horizon, just to the right of center, is Mt. Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite.  

looking down at camp The snow patch with the tarn at the right end is the location of our camp.   That's Twin Peak seen above.  

Another view south from near the summit.   Shown here is the long ridge of "The Dragtooth."   Beyond that are the summits of East, Middle, and West Tooth.     In retrospect, we should have climbed the Dragtooth, for it appears to have a route that would "go" for our meager abilities and would have provided great views of Matterhorn.    Hey, an excuse to go back!   Sherm told me recently that he returned to the area a couple of other times, but he did not mention climbing any of the peaks.    Generally, he was not driven to the summits as much as I was.

Sherm After our climb of Matterhorn, we headed down the valley.   Our plan had been, as I recall, to loop around the entire Sawtooth Ridge.    However, as we got down the valley a ways, it became apparent that this was not a very good plan.   We (mostly me) had not done the homework for this route.    This view shows Sherm.   Note the home built pack frame.    Sherm was, at that time, a scout master for a group of kids who didn't really have a lot of funding.   So they built much of their gear.   This was the prototype.

Sherm looking back Sherm with his home built pack frame.   As I recall, he used a cardboard box for most of his gear that was then wrapped in an Army surplus poncho.    I don't recall him ever with a different pack for any of our treks.    I wonder if he ever got something new for a pack.

Mt. Lyell, 1961 and 1963.

I did two trips to Mt. Lyell, both memorable.    Mt. Lyell, 13,114, is a very famous peak.   It was at the Lyell Glacier where John Muir concluded that much of the geology of Yosemite was glacial in origin.      My first trip to the area was a real blister generator.    Sherm was on an extended hike in the area with some of the scientists from Varian including Bob Jepsen and John Helmer.     I had just jointed Varian and had no vacation time.   But my room mate at the time, Neal Brown, and I hiked in to meet them on the weekend.   I see in early notebooks that it was a really long weekend with 600 miles of driving and 26 miles of hiking. Still I remember Lyell as being the most scenic peak I had seen in California.

This was a 63 photo of the Tuolumne fork of the Merced River near what was known as Middle Lyell Base Camp.    

Another view near Middle Lyell Base Camp.

This the dominant view of Lyell as seen on the trail toward Donohue Pass.  Lyell is the peak on the left while that on the right is Mt. Maclure.  

A view of Lyell from further down on the approach from the north.

 A view of what I believe is Mt. Ritter.   That would be great country to visit again, but I bet it would be nearly impossible to even approach these days owing to National Park regulations and restrictions.  

Sherm This is a shot of Sherm on our approach.   We got as far as the Lyell-Maclure saddle after encountering severe Sastrugi I've ever encountered.   (See Mountaineering:  The Freedom of the Hills, First Edition, p 374.)    Sherm didn't want to go onto the rock proper.    I went on for a while, reaching a short but steep crack above a well protected ledge.   I remember having learned of this point in the route, the crux of the climb, from some climbing friends.   I "did the move" and climbed the crack that seemed to put me on a ridge that would take me to the top.   I could now see the dominant peaks to the south.    But I turned around at that point.   I've always wondered how close I was to the summit.

Mt. Shasta, 1965

Mt. Shasta was a peak that had caught my imagination after several trips next to it.     In the summer of 1962 we vacationed back in Washington.   Shon flew north and I drove north a few days later.   I remember driving to the ski area on the south side.   I then parked the car, grabbed a pack with a sleeping bag and water bottle, and hoofed it up the hill until it was too dark to see well.   I then crashed in the rocks until sunrise.   The next day I continued my drive north to Tacoma.    I repeated this ritual on other vacation trips.    I'm not sure, but I don't think that ski area is still there.  

We tried to climb Shasta a couple of times without success.    We finally pulled it off  in 1965.

Shasta This view from near the highway shows Avalanche Gully, the dominant feature that we climbed.    The route started at around 7000 ft at the base of the snow, moved up the gully until reaching a red band of rocks at about the 12,000 ft level.   We would then cross to the right of these rotten chunks of stone on snow that had a spectacular drop off to the east down to a dominant glacier.  Shortly after this, bare frozen ground was encountered that would take us to the summit plateau.   I was joined on this trek by Vance Hoffman, a friend from Varian.

Shasta This was a view from one of my visits prior to the climb.

Shasta camp This was our camp in the trees at about the 7000 ft level.   It appears that Vance is sleeping at this point.

Looking toward the Trinity Alps.

Vance We are close to the Red Band at this point.

Avalance gully Looking down our route from the 10 or 11K region.

Looking down on the glacier on the east side.    

Wes This was a view of me near the summit plateau.  We had encountered heavy cloud cover coming in and out, and took this opportunity to grab a photo while there were no clouds.   Clearly, my hands were cold while I had my gloves off to fiddle with the camera.

Vance near the summit This is Vance at about the same spot.  Note the way the wind is blowing his clothing.   Shortly after taking these photos, the clouds returned.   By now it was later in the day than we really should have been on the mountain, so we headed back down.

View down to a glacier between Shasta and a side peak called Shastina.

Shastina Shastina and some of the clouds that kept things interesting for us.

Finally down. Finally, we were off the mountain.   This last view shows a VW automobile sized rock that is sitting on top of snow, a testament from the previous winter to the name of our route.    It was good to get back to camp that night.   I recall that we both slept like logs that night after our 7000 ft day.