Spring has arrived, the Sierra snows are now melting in earnest with fair weather ahead, the passes are starting to open and thoughts naturally turn to What to Do in the Sierra this Summer. The 14th annual Sierra Challenge is set for late August long after most of the snows have melted, the mosquitoes have had their run, water is plentiful as is sunshine and plenty of daylight hours. 10 new peaks have been selected for the 2014 event including a few of the lesser-known 13ers, a couple obscure prominence summits and a trio of summits honoring Sierra women, a rarity in the range. We're going to visit Northern Yosemite, the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Bishop Pass and the Kings River, Piute Pass and the Glacier Divide, yet another return to Taboose Pass, Center Basin, the Whitney Area and more.
The all-new 2014 Sierra Challenge gives you ten days in August to challenge your stamina and your sanity amidst the beauty that is the Sierra Nevada. Leave your heavy backpacks and marginal camp foods behind. Climb some impressive peaks with a daypack and enjoy fine Eastern Sierra cuisine at day's end. Join us for one day or all ten, to test your legs in the backcountry or just to meet fellow enthusiasts. We already have several dozen folks signed up this year, always room for more.
For those who aren't familiar with the yearly Challenge, in a nutshell - we drive up and down the Eastern Sierra for ten days and climb 1-2 cool peaks each day. Mostly carrying a light daypack, sometimes crampons/axe. It's primarily a hike/scramble event, with little technical rock climbing. It's generally a pretty exhausting day, but most participants would use the word "fun" somewhere in their varying descriptions. This is not a race, there are no official sponsors, and there are no prizes. There are no qualifications to join in the fun - everyone is welcome. The link above will give you all the info.
Pat Hadley, an accomplished athlete who taught art and coached boy's cross-country at Valencia HS for many years, died tragically from a fall during last year's Challenge. She left behind hundreds of saddened friends, students and family members who had been touched by her in so many ways. Meeting her husband afterwards was one of the most difficult moments of my life and I can only guess at how horribly difficult it was, and continues to be for him. One of the things he told me was, "Please don't stop climbing because of this. She loved doing this and would be heart-broken if anyone stopped on her account."
In memory of Pat we will have a special memorial atop Patricia Peak on Sunday, Aug 17. It is a fairly short hike and scramble designed to maximize participation. All are welcome.
Looking forward to joining the Sierra Challenge 2014 event in 74 days on August 15. Just need to pick up my training routine to get this 64 year old body in decent shape. There will be some underlying sadness this year as we lost a popular and rugged member, Pat Hadley during the SC 2013 event. A knee injury prevented me from joining SC2013, but I did meet Pat briefly during the SC2012 event. I look forward to day 3 this year, when our community of climbers reflects on this special person! Hope to get a chance to meet some family members on that day. Her smile on the above picture shows her enjoyment and elation from climbing with friends.
Here's wishing all my fellow Challengers an amazing and safe time cavorting about the heights. If you listen closely to the breezes on 17 August, you might catch a few notes of the Call of the Moose. I'll be sure to get somewhere high that morning, even if I may not be close.
Much love to all my guys and gals. Climb Hard. Be Safe.