Scrambled and Stymied on Silliman

22 Mar 1997 - by Rich Calliger

We (Mike, Almora and I) made it about 80% of the way to the summit but alas we did not beat the clouds closing in on an otherwise perfect-weather morning with incredible views of the distant snow-clad peaks and the exquisite snow-capped rocks of Silliman Creek. We made the correct decision of course, as lots of lightning and thunder greeted us that early evening and most of the night. For a day-hike, a 6AM start is mandatory to make the summit at this time of year (we started at 7) and beat the (possible) storm.

But it was all flash-and-bang- and only a few sprinkles that marred an otherwise perfect weekend (Mar 23-24 1997) in Sequoia National Park. Snow level was at about 6200 with depths of 6-9 feet higher up.Run-off was in progress as temps hovered around 30F at 2AM with highs into the mid 50's.

A note- the last several trips we have been carrying the snowshoes just to, obviously, strengthen some muscles here and there- well!! THIS TRIP- we finally needed and used them. Post-holing was getting a little dangerous - and we also cramponed up several slopes with them as well- small wonders never cease.

Our alpine attempt for Sunday faltered as we slept in till 6:30 instead of 5AM; to no avail anyway, as I got called back to the bay area Sunday and left early.

An hour or so after departing from Silliman-Lodgepole TH, my vehicle started stuttering and stammering slightly-- then a lot more severely-- when I stopped to find out why-- mystified.. Then-- upon opening the hood -- I found a straw and twig nest (birds??) nestled among the "limbs" of the ignition system, with several eggs (yes, now steaming hot & scrambled over easy) dripping down the block, apparently causing an injector to overheat from the straw packed around it or some other intermittent short to ground??? I cleaned out the mess and the problem seemed to have disappeared..

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