“Choose-Your-Adventure” Post-Trip Wrap

It was just before sunset when we reached the summit of Alta Peak, an 11,204-foot mountain deep in Sequoia National Park. The Gear Junkie’s Choose-Your-Adventure Sweepstakes trip — an adventure-travel contest won in December by Matt Eder of Portland, Ore. — was reaching its climax early. It was Saturday, Feb. 21, and anticipated weather moving in the next morning prompted the group to make an early attempt at the tall pyramid of rock overlooking Emerald Lake.

Guide David Cressman nearing the summit of Alta Peak

REI Adventures’ Sequoia Winter Mountaineering Clinic is a three-day trip that combines instruction in snow camping, mountaineering, and backcountry travel skills with the ascent of a bonafide 11,000-foot peak. Our group, including Choose-Your-Adventure winner Matt Eder, his friend, Heather Gough, guide David Cressman, and two REI corporate adventurers, Courtney Coe and Tim Loftus, trudged under heavy packs and in deep snow for miles each day. We dug out tent platforms, made a kitchen in the snow, and ate dinner each night under an utter black Sierra sky.

Watch for my full trip report later this week, including a gear report and photos from the after party, sponsored by LazyMan, where we celebrated the weekend’s accomplishments. For now, here are a few photos from the adventure, an epic three days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Sequoia National Park.

Heather Gough under heavy pack snowshoeing toward camp on day 1

Guide David Cressman below Alta Peak

Stephen Regenold (Gear Junkie) striking a pose on the snowshoe in; summit of Alta Peak in background

The group trudging onward and upward on summit day

Pulling the cornice on the summit ridgeline

Group shot (sans Tim Loftus)

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.