Ice/Snow Climbing At North Peak with Craig Levra

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This expert adventure is brought to you by Craig Levra, CEO of Sport Chalet.

Chuck Blackwell, expert mountaineer and sales representative for Petzl, Arc’teryx, and Scarpa hosted senior buyer Paul Smedley, accountant (and staff photographer) Denis Callet, and me on a spectacular snow and ice climb at North Peak, which is north of Mammoth Mountain, just inside Yosemite National Park. The hike in began at 6am at 6,500 feet.  We reached the snow at 9:30am (and 9,800 feet), and reached the vertical summit of 11, 800 feet with 4 pitches at 2:25 PM.

It was an unforgettable day with a tremendous adrenaline rush, and exaltation for what was accomplished.  Chuck is a pro, Paul very calm, and Denis took excellent photos.  All the gear, footwear, and apparel from Sport Chalet worked perfectly. The thrill of this matches the thrill of exceeding sales plan, and I can’t wait to get back and do something even more challenging.

Chuck says fewer than 50 climbers per year attempt this route.  It was Unbelievable!


I’m paying close attention to Chuck and listening carefully to his instructions.  Paul is in the zone and ready to go.

Chuck Blackwell, Paul Smedley, me, and Denis Callet at the trailhead.

We are headed to the third vertical column (shadow) from the left.

But first we have to scale the rock wall. My new Scarpa Zen climbing shoes made the difference.

We are headed up the first pitch. All snow.

Now the second pitch – transition from snow to ice and now, this climb gets very serious. When you get here, there is no going back.

Now the third pitch and all ice.  As Chuck climbs, the ice chunks fall from
right to left, so we’ll stay on the right.

Fourth and final pitch from the summit - now it gets flat.

The summit is very narrow, and we need to head down so we aren’t in the dark
on the descent - so 30 minutes of enjoying the view, resetting the gear, water and
power bar and now good to go.

At 8,500 feet on the back side heading down – this was no cake walk either – the
summit is in thecenter.  Notice Paul in the middle of the picture – well worth all the
preparation and hard work. Let’s do it again.

Sport Chalet

We’re experts on a mission to help you excel at all the things you’d rather be out doing. Sport Chalet has 54 retail stores offering the hottest brand name apparel and equipment for beginners to pros.

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