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Pear lake to Alta Peak

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Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby MountainMinstrel » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:42 pm

I will be heading to Pear/Emerald Lake this weekend and will be spending one day day hiking. I was wondering if there is a use trail from Pear Lake to Alta Peak around the East side of the lake. It is something that we are considering, but we may just spend the day checking out the Tablelands. It will be our first (intentional) off trail excursion. :paranoid:

Ken
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby Moondust » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:50 pm

Ken, a few of us went the opposite way last Saturday - from Alta Peak to Pear Lake. I think Tomcat may post a trip report soon. There was no well-defined use trail, but we managed to find a route that kept us in the 2+ range. Still quite a bit of snow between Alta and Pear, which may have helped or not, it's hard to say. I can send you a map with our GPS track on it tomorrow night, which hopefully will show the route we took. There are a few steep sandy sections, but they are not terriby difficult.

Alice
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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:35 am

I usually have a photographic memory of my old climbing routes but this one is a toughie. I did that climb in the fall of 1967. Pear Lake was my first overnighter and my dad and I climbed Alta Peak on the second day from the lake. My recollection was the ascent around the east side of the lake was pretty trivial (class 1 to 2). When you look at the topo the top area looks rather steep. I recall we found an all class 2 route that paradoxically makes the key move (to the easy south side) on a big bench (wide enough so as to render the potentially huge exposure a non issue) across the top of the big north face just beneath the summit mass--but I am not sure my memory of this route is perfect after 41 years (although memories are more or less photographic from about 1969 on).
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: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby Shawn » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:47 pm

Some years back I also did the Alta to Pear Lake route (the reverse of your plans). Basically, the higher you get above the lake right away the more it's a walk rather than a scramble. We happen to have taken a more direct route off of Alta to the lake which landed me on the shoreline with a major obstacle to get around. My choices were 1) climb back up and around the obstacle, 2) walk around three quaters of the lake to re-join the trail, or 3) jump in the lake fully clothed and swin around the obstacle.

That swim sure was refreshing! :o

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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Instead of me describing the route here is one from Pear Lake with pic's and map.
summitpost.org/route/157048/the-hump-trail-pear-lake.html
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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby tomcat_rc » Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:32 am

Moondustie and a group of us just did a loop of Alta Peak - although we went over Panther Gap on the up and then down to Pear Lake and out the Watchtower Trail. But I do not think the route would be different for the opposite way. We still had some snow in the cirque bowl which aided the down sections - that snow is melting fast and will be mostly gone in another week or two. I would agree with Shawn about the route. From Pear Lake - at the campsights/Solar Toilet - gain a route through the slabs here which is north and east of the lake. This will lead eventually to some seasonal tairns. From the tairns begin to cross east and south making your way through the table land until eventually gaining a use trail which tops out along the ridge east of the summit. Then cross over to the south side of the ridge to avoid the short boulder section and you should be up on the peak in no time.

View of Pear Lake from above- do not aim direct for the SE ridge - this view does not show the slab section NE of the lake
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view from the tarn towards the peak - but you will aim to top out more east of here:
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view of the tarn and lower table section - you can see not much left of the fast melting snow
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view of the eastern ridge from just below the summit blocks - you can see the use trail leading to where you top out - then cross to the south to quickly bypass this boulder scramble section.
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look north from the summit at appr 23d and you should be able to view Mt. Whitney - although the view to Moose Lake is obstructed.
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rest of pictures:http://tomcat-rc.smugmug.com/gallery/5342447_SNDLd#P-1-20
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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby Shawn » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:07 pm

Hey TC:

Your great pics are inpsiring me to go back and do the Alta loop again!

Looks as though we stopped at the same place to take a picture of the east ridge and descent route.
Also below you can see a picture of me planning our strategy for the rest of the day near Tharps Rock. ;)

East Ridge / same view
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Planning next moves...
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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:18 pm

Thanks everyone for the help. Unfortunately, we decided it was best considering the weather to forgo Alta Peak for this trip. :crybaby: We did get a chance to head up over the saddle to the N/E to take a look into the valley up there, but the weather was building so we headed back down to the Ranger Station/Ski Hut (a nice set up by the way). I will post a better trail report tomorrow.

ken
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Re: Pear lake to Alta Peak

Postby samboachie » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:43 pm

There is an alternate route(off trail) also down to Emerald Lake that is nice also - you take the same use trail that traverses down diagonally through that sandy ridge just a few hundred yards east of Alta(you can see it in the nicely posted photos above). After you descend the sandy area head northwesterly towards the ridge that separates Pear from Emerald, then descend down towards Emerald Lake but stay out of the middle drainage and away from the West side of the lake. Make sure you aim for the Eastern shore of Emerald Lake - it's not as steep and less brushy that way - it's class 2 at the most difficult portions.

You don't get all the tarns and slabs that you see doing the tablelands descent, but there are lots of nice flowers and some geological surprises embedded in the granite if you keep your eye out for them...plus you save a little mileage if you're the lazier type and looking for the easiest way down and don't want to settle for an out and back on the normal trail.
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