American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada Range, Mount Chamberlin, West Pillar

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Mount Chamberlin, West Pillar. The 1400-foot vertical granite face of this peak is not fully visible from any road or major trail, and thus it escaped the recent heavy pressure of Sierra rock climbing until July when Mike Farrell and I made the round-trip in two days. The first day was, for me, almost more difficult than the Grade V route itself. With only a weekend to spare, I started from Berkeley, drove 360 miles to Whitney Portal, began hiking with Mike at four P.M. at 8600 feet, crossed 13,700-foot Trail Crest on the shoulder of Whitney at eight P.M. and angled to the base of the wall down a long canyon to Crabtree Lakes, camping at dusk. The next morning, neither of us had the patience to haul our big bag of food, water and clothing up the first chimney, so we just lowered it and left it there. With no sack to haul, we were committed to do the route in a day, and the climbing went very quickly. We ascended a prominent vertical pillar on the west side of the face by means of a single, straight-in crack system that lasted until the summit pitch took us out onto the prow. The 13 pitches took eight hours, and might have taken until dark if we had brought the sack. The climbing was consistently varied and spectacular on typically solid High Sierra granite. NCCS V, F10.

Galen A. Rowell

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