Starlight Peak (14,200 feet)

Brian, Paul and some guy with obnoxiously colorful clothing

With its highly aesthetic 5.6 summit spire, Starlight Peak is often considered the sweetest summit in the High Sierra. Me, Rick Kent, Paul Allegretti and Brian from Big Pine would be climbing the peak via its Northwest Chute.
Mount Goode across Long Lake

Hiking the beautiful Bishop Pass Trail from South Lake, we popped up to Bishop Pass and took a break at the lake below Mount Agassiz.
An unnamed lake in Dusy Basin

Passing through Dusy Basin, we marveled at a lake Rick and I had camped at earlier that spring. It was time to head up to tonight's camp at Thunderbolt Pass! A great place to bivy!
Our camp at Thunderbolt Pass

From our camp, we enjoyed dinner while studying the start of the next morning's route, which we'd approach via a short hike from the pass.
The base of the Northwest Chute

Rising early the next morning, we got into the Northwest Chute via a short class 4 headwall. From there, the class 3 & 4 scrambling up the chute was delightful, including a particularly sweet climb past a snowmelt waterfall. Absolutely wonderful soloing over typically good rock. But just above the initial headwall, Brian decided he wasn't comfortable on the terrain and elected to return to camp. The three of us continued up.
CP heading up the Northwest Chute

Soon, we reached the Starlight-North Palisade col. And from that exposed vantage point, we had a striking view down to the Palisade Glacier and the east side of the Sierra crest.
At the Sierra crest

With a large gendarme blocking access directly onto the crest, we traversed counter-clockwise around on exposed ledges, then did a funky final move that put us on the crest just below the Milk Bottle, which is the nickname for the awesome summit spire.
Traversing around toward the Milk Bottle

While Paul was man enough to solo up the semi-exposed Milk Bottle, Rick and I took a belay. Great stuff, and what a summit!
Rick Kent on the summit

Before heading down, Rick signed another one of my many bonus names on my behalf...this one, William Wonka. (Hey, I've always loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!)
William Wonka?

Curiously enough, we downclimbed our route and returned to our camp at Thunderbolt Pass before Brian did?!?! He said he was fine, but moving slowly.

*Photos courtesy of Rick Kent