Thirty-one years ago, 18-year-old Daryn Dodge and three friends, all fresh out of high school, climbed Clouds Rest and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park—losing much of their food and a night's sleep to hungry bears in the process.
Little did he know what those two youthful ascents would lead to: On July 25 this year, Dodge, now 49 and a family man, became the 67th Sierra Club member to summit all 248 peaks on the Sierra Peaks Section list when he reached the summit of Cirque Peak, near Mt. Whitney. Below, Dodge nears the summit of Disappointment Peak in the eastern Sierra.
"I guess I'm sort of a goal-oriented person," says Dodge, an EPA toxicologist in Sacramento and a former competitive long-distance cyclist. Before that sport took a toll on his knees, he was regularly a top finisher in doublecentury (200-mile) races in Northern California, and he completed four Paris-Brest-Paris "brevets," covering 745 miles in 90 hours or less.
Dodge says he enjoyed short hikes with his dad when he was growing up in the Bay Area, but what really opened his eyes was a high school trip with the Yosemite Institute. "That was the beginning of everything," he says, "when I took a weeklong trip to Yosemite with other high school kids in 1977. After that I was hooked."
Dodge became a committed peak-bagger the following year with his ascents of Clouds Rest and Half Dome. "During the summers I'd try to get out every other weekend for 3-4 days, which was usually enough time to climb several peaks," he says. "I discovered the Sierra Peaks Section online in 1994, and it really fit in with what I wanted to do."