Back in June I took my first serious trip into the Sierra Nevada since childhood, in the always excellent company of Greg Russell. Our goals for the trip were vague and shamelessly hedonistic: to spend time in great scenery, have mellow fun, and take what photo opportunities might present themselves. The area we chose for this undemanding plan was the Minarets in Ansel Adams Wilderness, both for the spectacular landscape and because I have family connections with this group of mountains and had wanted to see them up close for years. one of the outstanding pinnacles, Ken Minaret, is named after my grandfather, Kenneth Adam, along with his climbing partner Kenny Davis. My grandfather was not a major figure in the history of Sierra mountaineering, but he pops up around the edges, notably in the Minarets and for having achieved the first ascent of the Royal Arches, a classic route in Yosemite Valley. By the time I knew him, his serious climbing days were done, but he and I spent countless hours in the Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe, hiking peaks in the company of improbably small and pampered looking dogs, fishing, messing about in boats and generally exploring. There’s no question that he was a major influence on my life, and though it’s somewhat overshadowed by the higher and pointier peaks of the Minarets, just as he was somewhat overshadowed by the great climbing pioneers of his day, I couldn’t have asked for a finer moment than to watch the morning alpenglow on his namesake mountain and remember all the miles we hiked together.

Alpenglow on Ken


4 thoughts on “Minarets

  1. This is a really nice ode to your grandfather, Jackson. It was a great trip–definitely one of the highlights of my year, and it makes me anxious to spend as much time in the high country as possible.

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