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North America, United States, California, "Wallace Stegner Spire"

“Wallace Stegner Spire.” In the summer of 1992, Peter Cummings and I explored the granite towers and drainages to the south of Hamilton Lake in Kings Canyon National Park. The most spectacular tower in the region, however, was marked by a smooth and flawless summit. Since we were not carrying any bolts, we had to suppress our desire to climb it at that time. Over Labor Day of 1993, Richard Swayze and I made the 17-mile hike into Hamilton Lake, crossed a third-class pass into the Eagle Scout Creek drainage and approached the spire, which shows on the Triple Divide Peak topo as the summit just east of P 9550. We saw a nice crack system leading up the east arête, and we chose this for our line of ascent. The first pitch followed a steep jam crack to a horizontal crack. We continued up 5.9 climbing to a belay at the base of a shallow corner. From here, a long pitch of face climbing, past two bolts, led to a belay at the base of a steep jam crack. A short pitch up this crack (5.9) ended at moderate slopes just below the summit area. We named the pinnacle for the great Western writer who died in April of 1993.

Bart O’Brien