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Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

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Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby canyonfish » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:22 pm

I hesitated as to where to post this, please re-direct me if needed.

As a Fresno resident I covet the clear days when I can see deep into the range from the valley floor. I'm frankly surprised I haven't yet crashed my truck while studying the view when it's there with particular clarity.

I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking at: Moving my eyes from north to south, I can make out Shuteye Ridge (and the Clark Range behind on a clearer day) the notch of the San Joaquin canyon, Kaiser ridge and peak rising from the San Joaquin to the south, Dinkey Wilderness high peaks (this is more of a guess based on my raised relief map) with the unmistakable Goddard rising behind (positive on that one). Further south it seems that you can see into the back of the Kings River drainage, this is probably the most dramatic to see on a clear day as those peaks rise in such dramatic fashion from Kings Canyon to the peaks above and behind. Further south I'm a little weaker, probably because I am less familiar with the Kings drainage compared to the San Joaquin. I believe the Kaweahs are visible down there, though.

So two questions come to mind:

I'm almost positive that Mammoth Mountain is visible up the San Joaquin "notch" on a clear day, I believe I saw it from 180 right after exiting 99 the other day. I found a local news article that claims it is visible, I just want to confirm that is indeed what I see. According to my raised relief map it pretty much has to be, and I have seen the unmistakable flat of the central valley many times from the top of Mammoth (I'd like to night hike that at some point on a clear night and see if the lights of Fresno are visible from the top).

My second question is does anyone know of a photo or sketch of the Sierra as seen from Fresno (or some other point in the valley) that identifies all of the peaks and ridges in view? Seems like someone must have put that together.

Thanks for any input you all have. In the mean time I will hope for many more winter storms with clear days to follow.



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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:24 pm

I too enjoy that view mightily and we've had a few really clear crisp days to savor lately. I'm not sure about Mammoth Mtn. The San Joaquin Divide in that area is very low but I'm not sure the angle is just right. I'm pretty sure the Ritter Range is visible. Clark Range for sure along with Shuteye. As you go southward you then see Kaiser Pk, then the high area around Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, then Goddard looming from behind over the LeConte divide and Woodchuck Country. Mt Gardiner is in the back up the Kings R. slot, then comes Mt Brewer to Table Mtn to Milestone Mtn etc. then the Kaweahs and the southern GWD including the distinctive pyramid of Sawtooth Pk. It's a reminder of the years I would chase those summits as well as my subsequent years (and present) chasing the big fish in the lakes below those summits.

Regarding the two questions, again, I'm not sure about Mammoth. I don't have a map handy to see if in fact the line-of-sight avoids the Ritter Range or other high ridges in front of Mammoth. Regarding a photo with a labeled skyline, I recall a friend once sent me a copy of a very old magazine article with something like that, but I could be wrong.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:48 am

If you have a smart phone there are several apps that identify peaks. Search for "peak" or "peak ar" in the app store. The reviews are mixed on some of them.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby balzaccom » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:51 am

PHOTOS!!!

I love seeing these shots.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby Sierra00 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:14 am

This website identifies peaks visible and also the general view from whatever viewpoint you choose:
http://www.heywhatsthat.com/

Go to the View drop down box and scroll down to Fresno. Way down, as they seem to include in the list every location that anyone has entered into their database. Or better yet, go to the New Panorama drop down box and create your own by putting in your lat/long. It takes about 2 minutes to be calculated and the map to come up. Once it is done, make sure the Visibility Cloak and All Summits boxes are selected.

They show a list of about 30 peaks visible in their Fresno entry, and aren't including Mammoth Mt., but you can put in your own exact location and see what comes up.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby ERIC » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:19 am

Wow, cool link! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby canyonfish » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:49 am

I might have to spend the $3 and buy one of those peak finder apps. Though that might dramatically increase my chances for a car wreck.

I put a string over my raised relief map (love that map), lining it up directly with the 180/99 interchange. Pincussion peak appears to be the only potential visual obstacle of Mammoth, but it is too low and has trees, the peak I see is void of trees. I had orginally though that maybe I was seeing Iron Mouuntain, but it looks like Whiskey Ridge would block Iron. Not sure how accurate this is, but my string touches Whiskey Ridge and bends to touch the top of Iron. Mammoth seems like it just far enough south to pop up above the southern shoulder or Whiskey Ridge, it just barely passes the string test. It looks like it may stay visible for a few miles south of that point in Fresno before it is blocked by the shoulder of Kaiser. Looks like a 4 degree field of view up the canyon and that's it.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby canyonfish » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:01 am

That is an awesome link. Love the red shading in plan view. According to this map, Mammoth is not quite visible, but I wonder if I raised the elevation of that spot to the height of the elevated freeway if that would change things. At that distance I bet 30 feet in altitude would make enough of a difference.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby canyonfish » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:16 am

Got it. I move the point of origin to 41/99 interchange and elevated 50ft up, and sure enough the top portion of mammoth mountain is visible! I'm sure there is some sort of margin error on this thing, and I haven't measured how far above ground the freeway is. What a great tool.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby SSSdave » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:34 am

On clear days late spring when in that region I like to look out with binocs towards the Sierra. South of Fresno down US99, take the Avenue 368 exit east at Traver and jog south a bit to Avenue 352 towards Woodlake. Very nice telephoto views towards the Great Western Divide and Kaweah Peaks Ridge.

Before those apps came out, I would do all that manually. I still receive occasional hits on my website from people around the world for this info page:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Information ... sight.html

Not a few email me as to why they can see distant peaks that from calculation alone deny such. However from day to day bending of atmospheric light comes into play.

Although the new apps make all this much easier, it is worthwhile understanding a bit of the math behind the results.

Another sub page calculates angle of view so one will know what is visible with a given camera lens:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Information ... _view.html
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby SweetSierra » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:41 pm

With the exception of Goddard, the upper reaches of Kings Canyon, and Sawtooth Peak, I've never found a site or information about the other peaks visible from Fresno. So thanks for this. I grew up in Fresno and loved looking at the Sierra on clear winter days.
Heading to Yosemite from Fresno a couple of years ago on a strikingly clear day, I saw a cleft in the range and prominent peaks beyond and wondered what it was---perhaps the Clark Range?
The view was from the open, grassy oak woodland on the way to Oakhurst before the climb into the mountains. I couldn't stop to study it but I had to watch the road because I was so distracted by seeing an angle of the range from the valley that I hadn't seen before.
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Re: Sierra Skyline from Central Valley

Postby sekihiker » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:33 pm

I live in a county island in Fresno County surrounded by metro Fresno/Clovis. I've spent a lot of time looking eastward on clear winter days and have picked out Mt Goddard and the Kaweahs, but little else. It's going to be fun using the diagram I made at heywhatsthat.com to learn the names of some of the other high points. I'm surprised at how many of the peaks on the Great Western Divide are visible/identifiable far to the south, including Midway Mountain which I climbed in 1999. It's nice to have names for the high points north of Goddard like Brown and Eagle Peaks and Nelson Mountain, peaks I hope to visit next summer where I'll search for the rare plant, Lewisia leeana. It's fun to know Castle Peak, which I climbed a couple of years ago, and Spanish Mountain, that I visited last summer, are visible.

Thanks for the really cool link, Sierra00. :thumbsup:
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