Mount Sill

3 Aug 1996 - by King Kelly

This past weekend a friend and I climbed Mt Sill. We started our trip from the South Lake trailhead. The hike up to Bishop Pass was on a nice trail, and although there were lots of mosquitoes, our mosquito repellant worked well enough that they didn't bother us too much.

At the top of Bishop Pass, we turned southeast to hike across country toward Thunderbolt Pass. We stayed pretty close to the base of the mtns, so we were climbing over boulders most of the way. Once we got to the top of Thunderbolt Pass, we climbed down into Palisade basin and set up camp. It was mid-afternoon at that point, so we had plenty of time to soak our feet in the stream and check out the scenery.

On Saturday, we headed off toward Potluck Pass. It was easy to get to the top of that pass, a little harder to get down the other side. We had to climb down one pretty long crack, so I got a chance to try out some of my newly-acquired rock climbing skills. Eventually we reached the base of Mt Sill.

Our guide book said that you could take any one of the chutes to the top, so we chose the closest and started climbing. About halfway up we ran into a guy coming down who said that he had reached the top of the chute and couldn't get across to the summit because there was a big gully in the way.

We decided to traverse across two chutes so that we would be sure to reach the summit. Our guide book called Sill a class 2 climb, but we were on class 3 rock most of the way. We reached the summit (14,200 feet!) around 2:30 pm. It was really windy, so we signed the summit register, took a couple of pictures and headed back down.

There were a couple of tricky spots on the way down, but we were able to go pretty quickly. It took us about 3 hours to hike back, so we got into camp around 6 pm. It was a long day, but it was a lot fun.

Sunday, we got up around 6 am and hiked out. It took a little under 5 hours to get back to our car. It was a great trip; the weather and the route couldn't have been better. From our camp in Palisade Basin, we were pretty close to the routes to Thunderbolt, Starlight and North Pal, so I'm eager to try one of those on a future trip.


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