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Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

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Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby lambertiana » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:21 am

I want to do Alta Peak soon, but I would prefer to approach it from the north in order to avoid the long ascent on the south facing slope that most people take. Is there a decent route up from Pear Lake or Emerald Lake?

I have done a lot of class 2 so that would be no problem. I have done a little class 3, but I'm not terribly comfortable with it so I would prefer to avoid class 3 if possible.



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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:32 am

I did the trail to alta and the cross country to pear lake. They are about equal in my book - the routefinding takes a while. There are washes you can walk down but they cliff out sometimes. The trail is longer

Walk up the granite slab from the east side of pear lake and angle southeast. There is a use trail part of the way out. Fairly straightforward to do.

I wouldn't do it from emerald.

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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby Guy Cooper » Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:20 pm

I did Alta the traditional way up then I descended down to Pear. From the summit I followed the spine of the ridge NE for a ways until I felt the descent down to the lake looked doable. On the way I ended up hitting some small cliffs and had to take off my pack, drop it down about 10 feet and scramble down/around the cliffs before heading roughly north along the long talus slope until hitting the granite slab to the E of the lake at which point it is easy and straigtforward. I imagine it would be a lot easier to find a good route starting from Pear, I think it would be a pretty straigtforward route. I would plan on heading up the slabs and just following the talus up to the low point on the ridge and then traversing the ridge up to the summit. On the other hand, I would also say that the ascent up the S facing slope really isn't that long, although it could seem really long if it is done in one day because of course the approach is pretty lengthy. Beautiful views up there, and sunset at Pear is gorgeous. Happy hiking.

btw I'm also from Visalia, nice to know there are other folks on here (I'm pretty new to this forum) from v-town.
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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby Shawn » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:08 pm

Some years ago I also did to "Alta Loop"; a hike to Alta Peak and then descend to Pear Lake and exit.

In the image below I've marked my approx descent route to Pear Lake via the red line. As I got to the shore of Pear Lake, a very large rock outcropping blocks the otherwise easy walk on the shore to the trail. The very large rock outcropping appeared benign until I actually got to it and realized my mistake. Thus my choices were to ascend a ways, walking all the way around the lake, or swim around the bloody thing (it was a hot day and the water felt good :) ).

Anyway, the green line shows the route I should have taken, I was in too much of a hurry to descend. If I were to reverse the loop as you intend, I stick to the high ground on the green line (+/- a bit).

The blue line is about where the trail is adjacent to the lake.

YMMV.

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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby lambertiana » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:13 pm

Shawn - I went with a friend on Saturday, and we took a route that started along your blue line, and then we stayed high and went along the eastern wall of the upper basin above Pear Lake. Then we traversed across at the top of the slabs until we saw a chute that looked like we could make it up to the top of the ridge. From there is was an easy traverse along the south side of the ridge to the summit.
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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby Shawn » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:18 pm

Very cool, nice job. :thumbsup:
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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:10 pm

Although using a topo is often so much an advantage for making routes, even many well experienced mountain enthusiasts tend to make their way by what their eyes see alone. The north side straight descent down from Alta is a good example of why that is sometimes foolish and can get a climber in trouble.

First there is the steep section between 9800 and 10200 one is not going to be able to see from above. Very common landform in Sierra glacially formed cirques and canyons. And then once one reaches the lake, as Shawn noted, there is not an easy way around the lakeshore on either west or east shores. See my red arrows. Issues a map savvy person would notice immediately. The map magenta line shows an obvious easy route.

The crux at the top of the Alta ridgeline which one must choose a chute, obviously should be evaluated by eyesight as a map does not provide enough detail. But below the headwall just rambling down would not be wise.

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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby ndwoods » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:40 am

Just a bit of trivia about this area....coming out of Moose Lake one early season trip and b4 passing the route to Alta Peak, we went thru a little tiny meadow....not sure if Alta Meadow? Anybody who's been thru there may know more than me cuz this was a number of years ago....but that little tiny meadow with a use trail thru the middle of it had the best display of wildflowers I have ever seen in the Sierra...bar none! The wildlflowers were chest high and the use trail was basically grown over with wildflowers and we had to wade thru them... and there were butterflys everywhere in the meadow. My husband and I were both blown away! I've never seen anything like it anywhere else...:)
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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby SweetSierra » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:21 am

That sounds like Alta Meadow. When I went through it this year there were still some wildflowers in bloom.
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Re: Alta Peak from Pear Lake?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:47 am

Alta Meadow is on the south slope of Alta Peak, and not in any way "little tiny." It extends from the end of the maintained trail up the peak slope, and out to the trees in the other direction. There's a spring right before the trail ends.
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