HIGH SIERRA TRAIL TO MT. STEWART (12,205'), EAGLE SCOUT PEAK (12,040') August 30 to September 2, 1996

Leaving home a bit early for this Labor Day weekend SPS scheduled trip, I drove alone to meet a few others for their ambitious peak climbs. I thought they had agreed to me signing off mid trip, as I did not plan to finish the list, so didn't "need" these other peaks. They were to do Picket Guard and another. Too much for me!

Hiking Little Baldy, I viewed some Sequoia groves.

Meeting the group at Crescent Meadows, we took the High Sierra trail through Bearpaw Meadow and then to Hamilton Lakes for our in-transit camp. I was a bit faster, so went ahead at times. The next day, we crossed over Kaweah Gap into Nine Lakes Basin for our base camp.

Having the time, we climbed Mt. Stewart, an easy class 2 scramble, and I took my usual photos on the climb and at the top. We had climbed the wrong peak, but I discovered the error by checking out a nearby likely bump. It had the register.

The others were corrected, sparing them having to return. I suppose some peak climbers are not so thorough, and many seem to climb the wrong summit. In this sport, it's your own standards, and if you say you've climbed it, and your name is not in the register, no one really cares. Before GPS and all, there were no ways to determine whether you have truly been somewhere as you've said.

We descended back to camp, and I liked the ambience, with shared food, Lipton's chicken noodle soup being my contribution.

The next morning, we climbed Eagle Scout Peak. I captured the sights while climbing, and also the views from the top. You have the sight of a small glacier on the side. The others left to climb Mt. Lippincott, which I had already climbed. I returned to camp, where I saw another climber make his way to us, intent on the coming peaks that they would do.

My last day, I had enough. I wished for civilization and home. A freshly cooked steak sounded really good. I left the group, and took the High Sierra Trail back to my car. It was an easy drive home, and I recall getting some breakfast for dinner on the way.

The leaders perhaps did not like me leaving the group, even though I had officially signed off. Some say there is still some liability, and it is not very sociable, by some. Many peak climbers do this, but I was to receive a letter upon my signing up for another trip. They formally asked me not to attend. I am not a very fun person to be with, but I am well aware of the local chapter ban. I tend to be somber and safety conscious. No rampant joking, as others may do. Then, I do sign off.

This was to spell my elimination, in hindsight, from achieving my 175 peak emblem accomplishment. I have been only four peaks from that goal for a decade, now. These leaders had scheduled the peaks that I "needed," but I was refused to attend. The whole local chapter had also barred themselves from any peaks that I would have led in the past 24 years, now. If we cannot climb together in friendship, so be it. Terrible how things have soured, but people will be people. I could go on and climb the peaks I need alone, but I see it as a needless risk. Climbing is meant to be done in good company, and I do not do this to have enemies. My offers are up for congenial people, so if there be none, I will not carpool or climb together. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered. Exercise in such beautiful surroundings is a pleasure for me, but most people do not like it. That I have gotten this far without causing injury or loss of life, that's good, by me!