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Ascent of Starlight Peak on 2016-09-08

Climber: Dave Covill

Others in Party:James Graham
Jeff Graham
Jill Webster
Amy Jo Ness
Alex Barber
Date:Thursday, September 8, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Starlight Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:14200 ft / 4328 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was the start of a week long expedition to The Palisades. There were 6 of us, and we used 3 guides from Sierra Mountaineering International. We felt that having the guides would ensure being able to top out on T-Bolt and Starlight, and facilitate route-finding. We were very pleased with our guides, and the cooperation of owner Kurt Wedburg. See http://sierramountaineering.com/

We met on Tuesday Sep 6 2016, day after Labor Day, at Mammoth Lakes at James' Graham's condo. Group included friends from Colo Mtn Club Dave Pellegrini, Mike Zyzda, Jill Webster, James Graham (recently relocated back to L.A. area) and James brother Jeff from S.F. We drove down to Bishop CA Wed AM and met the guides at Jack's Diner for an early breakfast, having staged a vehicle on Tuesday for Dave P & I at the Taboose TH about 15 miles S of Bishop. More on that later.

We hiked in from South Lake USFS TH to Bishop Pass, then contoured S across Dusy Basin to Thunderbolt saddle a mile+ across talus then dropped down to our home for 4 nights at a high alpine tarn just under 12,000'. I had been there 7 years prior with fellow COHPer Jim Retemeyer, when we climbed N Pal.

We awoke early, like 4AM, and set up the Tbolt couloir gully. Not too bad. We roped up when we were high for some Class 3/4 terrain, and found ourselves at the base of the spire atop Tbolt. I should point out that Mike and Dave P went separately with guide Ross Hill to N Pal that day.

After summiting Tbolt, we rapped down to Starlight and climbed some moderate low 5th Class terrain, mostly steep chutes and chimneys, to the base of the Starlight pinnacle "The Milk Bottle".

Amy scampered up quickly and again set a top rope from an existing sling setup, with a fixed handline next to it. I went first up, and found the going much easier than on Tbolt. I didn't touch the handline. I must say it was way more exposed than the Tbolt spire, maybe 20'+ up instead of 12-15'. No; I didn't stand on top.... But I did get my chest up onto it. The register lies down below at the base where you belay from.

The group ascended after me, and we rapped down some to the top of a brutally steep gully. This gully appears amazingly steep from the valley below by our lake. The guides called it the Starlight Couloir. We made our way down 4th Class terrain for 2,000'; making use of several rappel slings enroute. We got off the last rappel as it became dark, and made it to camp at about 8:45PM. Very long day indeed.

I was pleased; this was the big reason for me coming to the Palisades. Both Tbolt and Star in a day. Cool.....
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