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Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

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Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

Postby ToddC » Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:10 pm

Leaving in a week for a 4 day backpack over Bishop Pass into Dusy Basin. The plan is to scramble up Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill while there. Any updated info/advice on conditions going up either of those peaks given the the last few weeks of dustings in the high country? I would think much melting is going on but would like some first hand accounts if anyone's been. I am looking to improve my class 3 skills (nerves more than anything else) so I am particularly interested in what any and all of you might have to say about Knapsack Pass to Potluck Pass to Mt Sill. Thanks.



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Re: Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:11 pm

I don't have current info on conditions, but got pix from a few years ago.

We went over Thunderbolt Pass, but here's Potluck Pass:
http://snownymph.smugmug.com/gallery/21 ... 9079_bFgvw

We did Knapsack Pass a few years ago:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/553576540pyDthI
sorry about the ads, that's why I quit using webshots. :retard:
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

Postby ToddC » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:27 pm

Thanks for the links. I have actually seen them before searching for trip reports and pics of the area. Your website with all trips is awesome. Do you remember if the "lowering" the packs down Potluck Pass is mandatory, meaning, the only way? Or was that just the best option considering the down climbing you had to do to get down the pass? I was planning to backpack over Potluck Pass and camp there the night before attempting Mt Sill so I'll be hauling a pack as well.
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Re: Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

Postby quentinc » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:28 pm

It was some time ago I did this, but I remembered being surprised Potluck Pass was even considered Class 3, and I'm only an average climber/scrambler. I never took my pack off. On Sill, you can completely avoid class 3. You can always move over to another gully if the one you're in starts to look hard. There's a tremendous view from the top. Have fun!
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Re: Mt Agassiz and Mt Sill

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:40 pm

I'd guess this reply will come too late, but, I wonder: If you're doing a 4 day backpack via Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin and a climb of Agassiz and Sill, how does Potluck Pass factor in? Unless this is some kind of shuttle trip, it seems as if 4 days, including the two summit climbs that the trip will be up and back to either Palisade Basin or Dusy Basin (and I'm guessing the former from the post). Either way, there is no reason to cross Potluck Pass because most efficient approach to Sill, either from Palisade Basin or doing the long traverse from Thundebolt Pass, crosses ridge that trends southeast from Polemonium Pk (or more specifically pk 13920+ SE of Polemonium) at about 13400' well above and NE of the true Potluck Pass. One pretty much gets to Potluck from the west but turns just before reaching it and ascends to cross the shoulder higher up. From here you drop into the high hanging valley directly south of Sill. That crossing is strictly class 2--not even remotely 3rd class. As noted above class 3 on the final summit climb can be avoided, if one feels a compelling need to do so, by simply evading small cliffs and switching chutes when needed. However, even if one chooses a fairly direct route (there are many options), the class 3 encountered is very low 3rd class indeed, consisting of a few scrambling moves up small broken cliffs with big holds and solid rock and potential falls that are no more than the 10' range. The one advice I'd give if the summit of Sill is to be done from Dusy is to leave early. Many parties end up coming back in darkness. I didn't think it was all that long a hike, but if one doesn't like boulder hopping, I suppose this could take awhile--I seem to recall quite a bit of that.

My memory of the Dusy to Sill climb is quite vivid, even if it was nearly 25 years ago (Labor Day weekend 1984). Sill is pretty much the finest view I've ever seen from a Sierra summit and that dayhike was pretty theatrical owing to delays from a rare route mess up by my dad who was trailing my brother and I by about a 1/4 mile after leaving Thunderbolt Pass and hiking with one of my friends. It was not one of my finest moments as a leader as my dad angrily pointed out--I had let the group get too strung out then I simply waited for them, taking an hour long nap with my younger bro somewhere near Potluck (my dad and friend had followed voices partway up the SW chute of N Pal before realizing their error). Making the dash for Sill when the others had to turn around for lack of time, and then descending to fish the Barretts before reascending and overtaking the other three before they reached camp at 11393 wasn't particularly gallant, either, but it did represent one of the finest physical efforts of my youth, even if the leadership aspect was sorely lacking. My mom blamed the whole thing (my dad not getting the summit of Sill) on my bringing one of my buddies along and she urged me strongly to never take anyone else along on the annual peak bagging trip with my dad. This was a request I honored until my dad's last two peaks which he climbed in 1997 and 1998 with my wife as the third party member.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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