When I turned 60, I set a goal for 2009: Climb California's fourteeners plus two of my favorite thirteeners, Humphreys and Norman Clyde. Middle Palisade was an overnight trip because I was planning to climb Norman Clyde on the same trip. I dayhiked all the other peaks.
Fast forward to 2019. I was working hard finishing the Sierra Club SPS List
, but I was wondering whether I could climb the 15 California fourteeners after my 70th birthday. Here is how it went:
April 24, 2019: Mt. Whitney (mountaineers’ Route), Mt. Muir (from the trail), and down the main trail.
June 5, 2019: Mt. Shasta (Avalanche Gulch) with a 55-minute ski descent to the car.
June 21, 2019: Split Mountain (the usual route up from Red Lake).
July 5, 2019: Mt. Langley (via New Army Pass with Ben).
July 9, 2019: White Mountain Peak (via the trail with Paul).
September 14, 2019: Middle Palisade (up some class 4 rock where the old class 3 route had collapsed).
October 3, 2019: Mt. Russell (East Ridge).
July 24-26, 2020: Mt. Williamson (West Face with Amin and Paul) and Mt. Tyndall (North Rib with Amin and Paul).
July 30-31, 2020: Mt. Sill (North Couloir) and Polemonium Peak (from Mt. Sill).
August 21-23, 2020: Thunderbolt Peak (Southwest Chute #1 with Sean), Starlight Peak (Northwest Chute with Sean, Amin, and Daryn), and North Palisade (traverse from Starlight with Sean, Amin, and Daryn). We got separated on North Palisade, and I ended up soloing a 100’ 5.6 chimney to the summit. That
was a fitting grand finale!
This project was really fun, but the peaks all seemed harder and took longer than in 2009. I won’t be doing this again at 80 or even at 75. It’s probably time to scale back a bit.