June 5-6, 2002. The approach: Alberto Alesina and I started hiking from the overnight parking lot at the trailhead of the North Fork of Big Pine Creek at 16:30 on Wednesday June 5, 2002, and reached a comfortable camp just below First Lake around 19:00. On June 6th we had a leisurely hike up to base camp, above Sam Mack Meadow. After lunch and a nap at Sam Mack Meadow, we hiked higher up for a couple of hours and found a nice sandy flat ledge with a view of Mount Sill to pitch our tent. Later that afternoon two exhausted climbers who had hiked in from the trailhead set up camp right next to us.
June 7, 2002. The climb: We woke up at 4:00 and left camp at 4:40. By 6:30 we were at the base of the gully leading to Glacier Notch, which was a much easier scramble than we had expected. At 8:30 we had ascended the lower part of the L-shaped Couloir and were gearing up to traverse left across class 4 terrain to gain the Swiss Arête. Alberto led this first pitch and was soon on the arête. I took over the lead for a long pitch of 5.5-5.6, leading to just below the "step-around move" - or at least we thought so. Alberto tried to surmount a 5.9 roof to the right before realizing this could not possibly be the step around move! A short pitch later, we were at the correct location. Alberto led around the arête to the right, and up a 5.6 chimney. Nowhere did the route seem harder than 5.6. After that we were on easier terrain - two pitches of hard class 4-5 rock later we were standing on the summit, at 14:00. A marmot was waiting for us.
June 8, 2002. The hike back: We woke up late and took our time packing up camp. We left around 9:00 and slowly made our way down the snowfields to Sam Mack Meadow. We stopped numerous times on the way down to enjoy the views, and were back at the car at 13:00.