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Scrambling Above Spiller Creek, August 2003

Yosemite National Park, California

(click on any photo for a full-sized version)


True Wilderness.  The northeast corner of Yosemite is a spectacular timberline area that sees far fewer people than the Tioga/Tuoloumne areas.  We traversed this region in a quick two day jaunt up and back from Green Creek, crossing several high passes along the way.

A Grudge Peak

In October 2001, I attempted a solo climb of Whorl Mountain, a magnificent but relatively unknown 12,000' peak in the northeastern corner of Yosemite National Park.  I was turned back about 300 feet below the summit by an exposed traverse that I wasn't prepared to attempt, but the route up the mountain to that point was a very fun scramble well within my capabilities.  I descended the mountain and decided to climb neighboring Matterhorn Peak instead.  It was a great trip, but not getting to the summit was a little bit of a disappointment.  The following summer, I learned from another report of climbing Whorl Mountain that an easier route led around the tricky traverse that had turned me back, and from there up to the summit.  I immediately put Whorl Mountain back on my "to do" list. 

In August 2003, I hooked up with Dave, a telemark skiing buddy, to hike into Spiller Creek and "give it a Whorl".  Because I had already hiked or skied up Horse Creek Canyon multiple times, I suggested a longer approach from the Green Creek trailhead, bagging multiple high peaks along the way, including Virginia, Twin Peaks, Camiaca and Whorl.  We dubbed it the "Spiller Creek Sufferfest", since the proposed itinerary had us traveling about 10-12 miles per day with at least 5,000' of elevation gain each day (with a heinous 5-hour drive to and from San Francisco on each end).

Ultimately, the weather played a huge factor in altering our plans.  Rain, dense fog, the occasional hailstone and threatening dark clouds conspired to thwart our plans for standing on most of these peaks' high points.  I did, however, manage to get on top of Whorl Mountain, but the other summits would have to wait for another day.

Photos and Trip Report (continued)

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