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The Summit of Starlight Peak - is probably the finest summit block in all the Sierra's. It is no more than a two foot
square of real estate atop a thirty foot pinnacle. The climbers rating is 5.4, and requires a layback move near its base to gain
access to the shoulder. Above, you see Mike, peering down the opposite side of the monolith. To the northeast, Palisade
Glacier, the largest in the Sierra Nevada, lies 1,000 feet below. To the southwest, far below lies Dusy and Palisade basin. No
doubt, Starlight peak offers the classic summit that most mountaineers dream of.
We had a beautiful summit day on September 2, 2006. Norman Clyde, who completed the first summit of Starlight Peak on July
9, 1930, was not so fortunate, and was forced to make a hasty retreat due to an approaching thunderstorm. You certainly
would not want to be on this summit with lightening in the area.
Starlight Peak - Summit
Photo by Mike Koerner
Photo by Sean French
Summit view of North Palisade. The knife edge ridge presents plenty of
challenge for climbers making the traverse in either direction. On the
day of our summit, we met up with climbers who had just made the
traverse from North Palisade to Starlight. When they got to us, they
were in such a hurry, that they were uninterested in climbing the summit
pinnacle of Starlight.
View of Palisade Glacier far below from the summit area of Starlight
Peak. You can also see the summit of Mount Sill near the top right hand
Dave climbing the summit block of Starlight Peak. The ridge of
the shoulder of the monolith offers good foot holds and ample
hand holds. We found that getting started on the pitch was the
most difficult, but once on the block, you will find the exposure
nothing less than exhilarating.
It was a long day for us on Starlight. As you can see in the photo
above, the sun is nearly down, and we are still high up in the chute.
Thank goodness for good headlamps. They came in very handy for
making our way back to camp.
Each take their turn on the summit block. Sean on the left, then Mike, and finally Dave. It took extra time for each to make the
final climb, but each can tell you, that it was worth it. We protected the climb by throwing a rope over the shoulder of the block,
and then wrapped it around the monolith from below. We were glad to have the security of the rope, and would certainly not
have stood on the top without it.
Photo by Mike Koerner