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Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

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Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:05 am

It had been a while since we bagged three peaks in one day. I think it takes a while for you to forget how hard it was the last time. I once heard an old guide say “Mountaineers have short memories!”

“Sport” wanted to up her Ogul Peak count from a dozen to 15 in one day. We started early enough at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The trailhead starts next to the fire station. We did a poor job reviewing the beta on this climb and soon started traveling down the wrong trail.

I was following the trail on Acme Mapper. If you carefully review John Fedak’s report of this same climb he clearly writes, “The trail headed up between the Fire Station and neighboring condo complex, passed a ropes course, then legged up to a service road leading to this water tower. Past this point it was single track trail.”

In addition to this beta I had also downloaded the map posted by Kerry Breen. He clearly followed the correct “Granite Chief Trail” as well.

In my defense the trail they took is not on Acme Mapper. We followed the trail on Acme Mapper. Unfortunately there is a maze of use trails all the way up Squaw Creek. We never did find the trail that turns north up the slope.

We followed Squaw Creek up to the 800 foot headwall and then turned north along a creek to bushwhack our way up to the correct trail. This was a brutal, heinous, odious, wicked bushwhack. The vegetation was over our head. There was absolutely nothing resembling a trail and the slope was very steep. Eventually we worked our way to a 25 foot cliff and found a crack to climb.

1 Rope.JPG


2 Class 3 Bushwack.JPG


Good thing we brought along a rope and pro. The vegetation cleared once we were on top of the cliff. We soon found the correct trail and were on our way.

That off trail adventure set the tone for this trip. The day was very, very warm. We didn’t bring along any way to treat water. I only brought 2 liters of water. I would later regret not bringing along a water filter or at least a tiny container of Clorox Germicidal bleach. Sport, as usual, brought along plenty of water.

The Granite Chief Trail leads to the PCT where we turned south toward the ski lift to near the top of our first goal.

3 Ski Lift.JPG


Follow the PCT to the south side of the peak where there is a use trail to the summit of Granite Chief.

4 Sport Granite Chief.JPG


Once we conquered our first peak we headed west along the ridgeline. There was a bit of class two rock climbing to get off the summit of Granite Chief.

5 Rock Climb Granite Chief.JPG


Our next objective was Needle.

6 Needle.JPG


We were not in the mood to fight the rocks guarding the summit block so we dropped down and around the south side. This off trail travel was a real PITA. Try hiking on a steep slope of very loose sand through sharp painful brush. We eventually made it to the base of the summit block and found the class three chute up to the top.

7 Needle Chute.JPG


8 Needle BM.JPG


We were pretty tired after bagging Needle but the thought of coming back another day to summit Lyon kept us heading west along the trail-less ridge. Once again the hike became a steady, steep, sandy bushwhacking slog. The last few hundred yards of the ridge to Lyon was a talus hop.

9 Sport Lyon.JPG


You can see Needle and Granite Chief behind her.

Now we had to repeat the contemptible climb back to the summit of Granite Chief. Once again I would have benefited from carefully examining the map and report by Kerry Breen.

“Eventually we had to descend much further down the hillside, as tons of rocks and brush were too difficult for us to get through. Much to our surprise we ran into a trail close to the 8,200 foot level which wound up being a much easier way to go. Looking back on the trip the best way to do these peaks is to follow the ridgeline as we did on the way up, but then drop all the way down to this trail immediately after. The trail eventually connected back with the PCT…”

It was a tough hike but we made it back to the PCT and resisted the urge to take the tram back to the resort. When we reached the truck I caught up on my hydration while she wiped the dry blood off her legs.

The next day we wanted to take it easy so we took the kids rock climbing.

10 Landon.JPG


He is only 8 years old. After this he caught two rainbows at the dam on Caples. :D :nod: :thumbsup:

Thanks for reading our report.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby cefire » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:57 am

Nice TR VR! :D I'm gonna have to follow in your footsteps again and take this trip soon ;)

No equipment needed for the easiest routes up on these three, correct?
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Gazelle » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:14 pm

Very nice! I plan on doing needle and Lyon from the west next weekend already have granite chief. Then I can explore for petroglyphs and check out needle Lake.
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:19 pm

cefire wrote:No equipment needed for the easiest routes up on these three, correct?


Granite Chief is an easy walk up. There is even a trail.

The summit block on Needle has an easy class 3 chute on the northwest side. Somebody even stuck a little stick at the bottom of the chute. You will not need any equipment to climb this chute.

7 Needle Chute.JPG


The cliffs below the summit block on Needle have many climbing opportunities, but you can bypass these like we did by dropping down the south slope and hiking around the rocks.

Lyon is an easy talus scramble.

Lyon Talus.JPG


If I had to do it over again I would (Take the TRAM!!! Kidding) take my water filter. I would carry a liter or two up to the last water source. This is a small stream on the east side of Granite Chief summit just below the switchbacks that are north of the ski lift. The stream crosses the PCT. Look at Acme Mapper.

There is still flow in this stream. I would load up on water here and then load up again on the way down. This is a pretty long hike. Let me know if you have any more questions. If I don't know the answer I'll just make something up... :^o

Good luck!

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:29 pm

Yuberiver wrote:Very nice! I plan on doing needle and Lyon from the west next weekend already have granite chief. Then I can explore for petroglyphs and check out needle Lake.


Kristine,

Good luck on your planned climb. Be sure to post a report. I'm very curious about the petroglyphs. :nod: :nod:

I can share some info with you on what I know. I hear the people along Soda Springs Road are not very friendly toward outsiders. Parking can be difficult, but not impossible.

Good Luck!

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Gazelle » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:20 pm

You can actually go past the cedars to a forest service road up to lyon ridge, the tevis cup and westerns states run have a food station there, it is more of a Quad, small 4X4 road but gets you almost to Lyon so less mileage more exploring. Yes the cedars people are VERY protective of their area in my opinion with good right it is beautiful around there, but the painted rock trail is still a public trail and is on their land just had to do it last year went from old 40 donner summit to the cedars instead of squaw and had someone pick us up as yes one pretty much cannot park there. Did you go to Needle Lake? Did you see it? Would it be hard to get to?

Kristine
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby brvoyles » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:23 pm

Vaca Russ wrote:We were pretty tired after bagging Needle but the thought of coming back another day to summit Lyon kept us heading west along the trail-less ridge.


Good choice! I bailed at Needle a couple years ago...had to do it all over this year just to get Lyon. #-o

Were the pics taken Saturday? It doesn't look like there was much smoke?

Brian
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:45 am

Yuberiver wrote:Did you go to Needle Lake? Did you see it? Would it be hard to get to?

Kristine


Kristine,

No, we did not drop down to Needle Lake. She did take a picture:

Needle Lake.jpg


On the way back I noticed a use trail from the top of the ridge down to the lake. The trail looked like it went from around the peak between Granite Chief and Needle to the northwest down the ridge to the lake.

Yuberiver wrote: Yes the cedars people are VERY protective of their area in my opinion with good right it is beautiful around there Kristine


I do believe in private property rights but my understanding (what I read on the web...so it must be true :D :nod: :D ) is that there are public trails (to Heath Springs) that these people have posted as private property and they pay armed guards to patrol the area and harass anyone who wants to exercise their right to access public lands. :soapbox: This may be an example of the wealthy feeling a sense of entitlement (affluenza...Ethan Couch) or it may not be. :soapbox:

OK, I feel better now that I've completed my morning rant. :nod:

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Another Northern Sierra (Ogul) Triple Crown

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:49 am

brvoyles wrote:Were the pics taken Saturday? It doesn't look like there was much smoke?

Brian


Brian,

Yes, the pictures were taken on Saturday. It looks like most of the pictures were taken facing east. Frankly, I didn't even notice the smoke until some PCT hikers asked us if we knew the fire location.

brvoyles wrote: I bailed at Needle a couple years ago...had to do it all over this year just to get Lyon. #-o
Brian


We both should have consulted with Kristine. It looks like she knows a shortcut to Lyons. :nod:

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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