TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation | High Sierra Topix  

TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

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TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby nightowl » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:39 am

We wanted to squeeze in one more trip before the season ended, and we opted for Aloha Lake in Desolation because of its proximity to the bay.

After parking in the Echo Lakes parking area, we packed up and headed out. We were hoping the water taxi was running, but the flat hike along lower and upper Echo Lakes was quite enjoyable.
Hiking along the emerald green waters of lower Echo Lake

Having lunch at Tamarack Lame

Once the trail started to wind through the forest, we hit several patches of melting snow and ice.
Patches of snow in the forested areas

After 5 miles from the trailhead, we reached the southern shore of Aloha Lake. We wanted to climb Mt. Price the next day, so we continued along the eastern shoreline to camp closer to Mosquito Pass. You could tell the lake was low, as there were lots of sandy patches between the trail and the shoreline.
The dry shoreline of Lake Aloha

We found a great campsite with benches and a wind wall made out of logs soon after the turnoff the PCT. We were expecting temperatures below freezing, but Friday night pleasantly surprised us and was one of the nicest nights I've experienced in the Sierras. It was absolutely windless, and the sunset was so incredibly pink.
Sunset over our campground

The next morning we headed up Mosquito Pass, and once we reached the top we cut off the trail to the left and headed up the mountain.
Leaving Lake Aloha below us as we head up the ridge from Mosquito Pass

Having some fun bouldering up some of the rock faces

Heading up the final ascent, aiming for a notch to the right of the peak

We headed for the large notch to the right of the summit, and the loose rock, snow, and steep incline made it a challenge. Once we made it, we carefully traversed our way to the peak of Mount Price.
Taking a break on the ridge with the peak in site

Looking out on the other side of the ridge

Looking down at Lake Aloha from the summit

It took us a total of 2.5 hours of scrambling from Mosquito Pass to make it to the summit, and after a quick lunch, we headed back down. Coming down was much more challenging and tedious, but after 3 hours we were back at our campsite.

A lot more backpackers showed up Saturday evening, and there was now a slight breeze in the air. We woke up to catch the sunrise before hiking back out.
Sunrise over Lake Aloha

Being my first trip to Desolation, it was a great combination of off trail adventure combined with those classic Sierra sunrise/sunsets that can't fully be captured in photos. We were worried it would be cold since it was late in the season, but the weather was perfect, there were no bugs, and there were less crowds.

More photos/full trip report can be found here:

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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby balzaccom » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:41 am

Great report. This is our favorite time of the year to hike in Desolation!

check out our website:
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby cmon4day » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:21 pm

Nice TR. I like the picture of your camp with the tree. Awesome. I haven't done Mt. Price yet but its on my list.
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby cefire » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:28 pm

Nice TR!! Next time you visit check out Agassiz which is just next door to Mt. Price (along the same ridgeline). Really fun scramble and a very unique summit block :)
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby FeetFirst » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:24 pm

Wonderful photos! Thanks for the report.

I've always enjoyed the stroll around Echo Lakes if for nothing else to gawk at the cool little cabins and daydream about living in one.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby SNOOOOW » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:06 am

I agree with cmon...awesome sunset photo. Aloha is actually a backcountry reservoir (so it is man made) and they basically drain it completely this time of year. If that was your 1st time is desolation then you need to check out Aloha in July when that lake is big and full. Perfect for a nice dip on a warm day as the lake usually hovers around 67 degrees F. I need to do Price still, great report! :drinkers:
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby cloudlesssky » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:28 pm

Nice pictures and a great job taking advantage of the late season!

I made a point of stopping at Lake Aloha on my last trip through there. I'd hiked through a couple years earlier and thought it was spectacular. During the first trip there were people swimming and laying in the sun on the rocks. It left enough of an impression that I wanted to spend the night on my second pass through. I hiked most of the day from Meeks Bay and was rewarded with an awesome evening.

Lake Aloha at Sunset July 2015

The next morning was just as spectacular.

Lake Aloha July 2015
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Re: TR: 10/7-10/9 Aloha Lake to Mt. Price - Desolation

Postby kpeter » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:05 pm

Very nice report. I love seeing areas I have visited at times and conditions different from when I was there. Your group looks like it was having a really good time, and I also like that sunset pic with your tent!
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