Sierras Summer 2003

Alan and Alison's first Sierra Adventure
Why we like to camp at over 11,000 feet. Simultaneous alpenglow and moonrise!
Alison at a 12,000 foot cirque lake. Frozen over. She used a rock to chip through the ice and get water.
We bagged a peak crossing between drainages. This is the view from the top.
Every once in while you even get a good view hiking on trails.
Our lunch site the first day.
Alan at one of the first of a million beautiful lakes -- getting ready to head cross country. Goodbye trails. Woo hoo!
This is what happens when your altitude limit is 11,000 feet. Alison at the beginning of a 16-hour "adjustment period" (sleep!). She only awoke briefly in the evening to eat dinner. The next morning she was frisky and ready to take on the mountains.
The next morning: off to do some serious scree and talus and bag our first summit.
Looking back down at our first night's campsite. Some beautiful tarns at 11,200 feet. Cold and windy. When we woke in the morning the tarns were frozen over.
Alison collecting water at a very high and very frozen lake. Note how easy and cool it is to rest your water container on the ice!
Alison en route to our first summit of the trip. Steep talus, yes?
When you're ultralight you can bag a 13,000 foot summit with your full pack on. NO problem!
Sky Pilot, the mountaineer's flower. It only grows between 10,000 and 13,000 feet. This is a small cluster near the summit. We saw a lot of Sky Pilot but not much in bloom .

Alison on the final push to the summit.

The happy couple, pearched precariously on the narrow tippy tip of the tippy top at almost 13,000 feet. And yes, we signed the register. Alison's first Sierra Summit!
View from the top. Doesn't get much better than this.
Looking in another direction from the summit. Well, maybe this is better!
Alan convincing Alison that the 2,000 foot descent down the talus and scree gully will be a "piece of cake!"
Down from the world of scree, talus and Sky Pilot. After 2,000 feet straight down Alison's legs were so tired she involuntarily sat down when we hit solid ground. Her reward--a refreshing swim in a high altitude lake, lunch, and a delightful walk along this stream.
Alan complying with Alison's hankering for a mountain trout lunch. Crystal clear water and Alan is stealth fishing.
Time to climb again, this time past yet another gorgeous lake and off to an even better and higher one.
Our beloved nest, a Henry Shires Virga Tarptent. Only 90 seconds to get a catalog pitch. The mosquito netting preserved our sanity the previous night when darkness forced us to camp in a lower, wetter, and bug- infested valley.
Pull up a chair and watch the show. Our view from the tent that night!
The show continues if you turn your head to the right. More superb alpenglow.
Up bright and early in the cool morning before the sun hits. Over another cross country pass.
Not only what's on the other side of the pass, but also a survey of our 13,000+ ft route out the next day.
A rugged queen of the talus.
We had almost a whole day to kill. We took a long excursion to some remote lakes, exploring, skinny dipping, lunching, and napping. Getting some high quality down time in before climbing out.
Our mountain philosopher marmot. He shared camp with us on our last night. He wasn't phased when Alan almost stepped on him.
An encore performance. More alpenglow and moonrise on our last night.
The crux of our trip: Alison working her way down the last of some Class III granite. Directly across from us were a group of climbers already on their way up. The smile doesn't neccesarily reflect Alison's level of comfort with technical climbing of this nature. But, by the end, she was doing much better.
Looking back up where we came down. The ridge is well over 13,000 feet.
Alan standing in front of the last of the lakes we encountered. We were smelling pretty ripe by this point and a nice dip was just what the doctor ordered.
Lots of and lots of wildflowers. Alan stops to take some nice photos of the scenary.
One last look at the high Sierra's....ahhhh...what a great trip we had....!!!
And our reward when we finished, the absolute best meal of gourmet fish tacos and seared ahi tuna that we have ever had at the Mobil Restaurant--literally in the middle of nowhere.