The California 14ers encompass three distinctly diverse alpine environments. Most of the peaks including Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states are in what John Muir described as the "Range of Light," the Sierra Nevada, distinguished by its granite needles and craggy ridgelines. Only two summits are located outside the Sierra. White Mountain is the highest summit in its namesake range, the arid White Mountains, which lie to the east of and parallel to the Sierras, across the Owens River valley. In northern California rises Mt. Shasta, the southern-most Cascade volcano, a classic big mountain with glaciers and snowfields.
Many people make a goal of climbing one of the California 14ers, typically choosing Mt. Whitney or Mt. Shasta. Some even try to climb all of them in a year. An ambitious climber might enchain a few of the 14er Sierra summits in a day.
Hans Florine wants to do all but one of the summits in less than six days
That's 14 peaks over 14,000 feet, with big vertical gains and long hiking mileage, plus over 400 miles of driving tossed in. In 1998, Florine and two partners did the circuit in less than ten days. This year, he will do the peaks solo and do all the driving himself. He will not be able to do Mt. Williamson, the second highest peak, as it is under a multi-year closure to facilitate big horn sheep mating.
Florine is well known as the poster boy for speedclimbing. In the competitive arena, he's been a World Champion and has won the speedclimbing event at the X-Games three times. Outside, the big walls of Yosemite are his playground. Among his multiple speed records there, one of the most significant is his four hour and 22 minute ascent of El Capitan's Nose route with Peter Croft. A normal party would do the route in two to four days. He is one of two people to solo El Cap and Half Dome in a day the other is Dean Potter and he has also done, in 20 days, 20 of the "50 Classic Climbs of North America" (Steve Roper and Al Steck, Sierra Club Books).
Stay tuned from September 20 to September 25, as he sends up-to-the-minute audio reports on his progress.
Hans' predicted start, stop, and transition times:
Wednesday September 20, 2000
03:00 - Leave Glacier Lodge parking trail head.
08:00 - Arrive on top of Thunderbolt Peak.
09:00 - Arrive on top of Starlight Peak.
09:45 - Arrive on top of North Palisade Peak.
10:45 - Arrive on top of Polemonium Peak.
11:45 - Arrive on top of Mt Sill.
16:00 - Arrive on top of Middle Palisade Peak.
20:30 - Arrive back at GL parking trail head.
Thursday September 21, 2000
05:00 - Leave Red Mountain Creek trail head.
10:20 - Arrive on top of Split Mountain.
13:45 - Arrive back at Red Mountain Creek trail head.
14:00 - Drive to White Mountain, if I'm feeling OK, start in on it. If I'm feeling good drive to Tyndall trail head instead of White. If I'm feeling GREAT do both.
Friday September 22, 2000
Climb Langley or if I'm feeling good go for Russell, Whitney, Muir.
Saturday September 23, 2000
Climb Russell, Whitney, Muir, or if yesterday dictates - climb Langley.
Sunday September 24, 2000
Climb either Tyndall or White, which ever I hadn't done earlier. Or head to Shasta if I'm ahead of things.
Monday, September 25, 2000
Drive to and climb Mt Shasta! Attend 18:30 Birthing Class in Berkeley!
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