Mount Sill Swiss Arete

Big Pine, California

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Mt. Sill is known to the local Piute Indians as Ninamishi or “Guardian of the Valley.” In 1903, Joseph N. LeConte named this peak on the first ascent after Edward Sill, one of his professors at the University of California. Walter A. Starr, Jr. described Mt. Sill as “the peer of all Sierra peaks in the extent and quality of its views.” Starr’s 1931 route on the north face is now used as the normal descent to the Palisade Glacier. The northeast ridge of this peak forms an impressive prow when viewed from the Palisade Glacier and is known as the Swiss Arete. Although other technical routes have been put up on the steep east face to the left of the arete, long-time Palisade climber Allan Pietrasanta notes, “The Swiss Arete eclipses all of the other rock routes on the peak.” Pietrasanta and Allan Bard included this route in their excellent series Shooting Star Guides, considering the route to be one of the “uncommon routes for the common man.”

Mount Sill: Swiss Arete Professional Review and Guide

"Mt. Sill is known to the local Piute Indians as Ninamishi or “Guardian of the Valley.” In 1903, Joseph N. LeConte named this peak on the first ascent after Edward Sill, one of his professors at the University of California. Walter A. Starr, Jr. described Mt. Sill as “the peer of all Sierra peaks in the extent and quality of its views.” Starr’s 1931 route on the north face is now used as the normal descent to the Palisade Glacier. The northeast ridge of this peak forms an impressive prow when viewed from the Palisade Glacier and is known as the Swiss Arete. Although other technical routes have been put up on the steep east face to the left of the arete, long-time Palisade climber Allan Pietrasanta notes, “The Swiss Arete eclipses all of the other rock routes on the peak.” Pietrasanta and Allan Bard included this route in their excellent series Shooting Star Guides, considering the route to be one of the “uncommon routes for the common man.”"

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Big Pine
Class: Class 5.6 - 5.8
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness; Kings Canyon National Park
Local Maps: USGS North Palisade, Coyote Flat
Grade: Grade III
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Sill: Swiss Arete

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May 2018