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Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closure

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Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closure

Postby franklin411 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:58 am

Edited:
Hi all,
I'm planning a trip to the Eastern Sierra leaving 9/9 and returning 9/13. I decided I wanted to just drive up 395 and dayhike peakbag out of the major trailheads, since I've only been to Onion Valley and Whitney Portal so far. I'll be solo and my comfort level is Class 1 or easy Class 2, up to 20 miles/5000' of climb a day max. I want high peaks, so 11k-14k. Also, for safety's sake, I prefer well-visited peaks to isolated spots where I might not be found in case something goes wrong.

9/9: I'll drive up to the Sierra and car camp at Onion Valley

9/10: [I think I'll probably just end up taking the safe(er) course and go for Rixford]
I've long lusted after University Peak, so I might have a go at it via University Pass/Robinson Lake. I don't want to do any class 3, though, so I wanted to make sure there was no Class 3 crux move getting from the pass to the ridgeline. If I chicken out of University, I could do a long dayhike to Rixford or Bago. Drive to my next destination that evening.

9/11: Never been to Bishop, so I thought I'd bag a peak from there. Here's where it gets sticky--I noticed Cloudripper from a few trip reports and it looked like a good dayhike via the North Slope via Green Lake. I found a good trip report describing the route, starting from the South Lake parking area and heading south to the north slope. But then...blah...

South Lake Road and parking area will be closed 9/8-10/30 for repaving. Parking is only allowed on South Lake Rd below Parcher's Resort, adding 1 mile + a few hundred feet of climb one way. Talk about a downer! What to do? Try one of the other routes? Suck it up and walk up a road for a mile? Find another peak out of Bishop? There's nothing really special to me about Cloudripper. It just has a cool name and a route that I felt I could do. Suggestions?

Anyway, after doing...something out of Bishop, drive up to the Mono Lake area.

9/12: Do Mt. Dana, which seems like a pretty straightforward affair (~5 mi r/t from the highway).

Now, I've never been to Yosemite before, but I've also never been to Horseshoe Meadow. I figure I'll have a fair amount of time left on 9/12, so either:

A. Drive through Yosemite and hit the quickie tourist stuff for the rest of 9/12 and a few hours on 9/13 until it's time to head back to LA

or

B. Drive back down 395 to Horseshoe Meadow on 9/12, get up super early on 9/13 (like 3-4 AM), and try for Cirque Peak

Any tips/advice/comments appreciated, but the area where I need the most help is the thing out of Bishop. I considered doing White Mountain, but I'll have a rental passenger car and I really don't want to have to deal with a flat tire out there. I'll save it for sometime when I have an SUV.

Thanks!

Link to the Inyo NF road closure:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/news ... PRD3852102



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Re: Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closur

Postby BrianF » Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:40 am

A few thoughts:
First, keep an eye on the smoke situation. Much of the east side has been heavily impacted by smoke from the Rough Fire so conditions will vary depending on winds and where you are. It appears that the southern end has been less impacted so Cirque Peak may be a good option on the way up and has tremendous views.
Mt Gould by Kearsarge pass is another good peak in that area, if you are concerned about the 3rd class summit blocks, just skip that last 30'
Cloudripper also has fantastic views of the Palisades. There is a trail directly from Parcher's resort to Green lake so there is no need to go to South lake.
If the smoke isn't an issue, another good option is Mt Morgan (South) out of Rock creek. Simple class 2 and tremendous views, Could be an alternate to Cloudripper if you are not excited about that one
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closur

Postby seanr » Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:51 pm

I'll reiterate the tips already given and add a few more ideas.  With the potential smoke issues it would be wise to have even more options in mind and flexibly go where conditions and how you are feeling dictate.  It's just a guess until we see which way the winds blow, but the stuff farthest south and farthest north might have better odds of not being impacted much by smoke from the Rough Fire. From south to north:

Horseshoe Meadow has easy trailhead sleeping at a high elevation for acclimatization.  Cirque ought to be a nice hike.  I bet you could do Mount Langley via Old Army Pass in under 12 hours. It is fast going if adjusted to altitude and Cottonwood Lakes are scenic along the way.

From Onion Valley, heading up from Kearsarge Pass to Gould and then more or less following the ridge to Rixford would be scenic.  You may even feel brave and get to the summit register on Gould and put a hand on the summit block.  Bago has awesome views and is easy trail most of the way.  All three could be done in a long day.  The Rough Fire is west of this area, so watch wind and smoke forecasts. University Peak via U Pass is class 2, but sustained, rough class 2 that may wear on you through the long boulder field above Robinson Lake and then scare you a bit going up the steep, loose slope to the pass.  Getting from U. Pass to the summit is easy. Then to keep the hike short you have to descend the same stuff unless you drop down U. Shoulder to Kearsarge Lakes (also stiff class 2) or alternately drop down to the JMT from Center Basin for a very long day.  U. Peak could be valuable experience and is scenic, but at the same time, it might be better with a partner or with more experience under your belt.

Cloudripper would give you great views of the Palisades. It can alternately be reached via scenic N.Fork Big Pine Creek and 7th Lake. As mentioned, the South Lake closure is somewhat trivial in terms of reaching the summit.  From the same area, Bishop Pass is scenic and we'll traveled, as is Dusy Basin.  Mt. Agassiz would be a great and very scenic experience, but you could possibly find locating and staying on the easy to moderate class 2 route challenging.  There are landmarks to look for to make staying on route likely.

Also from Bishop, North Lake is a convenient, high trailhead with two scenic trails to choose from.  Lamarck Col (dry)/Mt. Lamarck/NW Lamarck area would give you great views of the Evolution region. Piute Pass trail is scenic, as is Muriel Lake and Humphreys Basin. There are some class 2 peaks around, but with some serious boulders to get to many of them.  Pilot Knob would provide great views for a somewhat long trail hike and a class 2 scramble.

As mentioned, Morgan is a good option from Rock Creek Lake area. Ruby Lake, Mono Pass, and Mount Starr would make for a scenic outing from Mosquito Flat.

Minarets area is stunningly scenic and not to be missed. You could do Volcanic Ridge (moderate) or maybe Banner from Lake Catherine (long and possibly intimidating).

Dana is nice and easy. Nearby, North Peak has an easy and gorgeous class 2 route via Saddlebag Lake and Conness Lakes.  It is better than Yosemite for a peakbagger IMO, especially in September. You really ought to get to Yosemite sometime, but it might be better when there is more water and you have more time. If you go, for great views, consider Clouds Rest from Sunrise TH or Mt. Hoffman. Lembert Dome/Cathedral Lake would be shorter options and give you a taste of Tuolumne Meadows area. Mist Trail from Happy Isles is worthwhile, but crowded.  4-mile trail to Glacier Point, Panorama Trail, and Mist Trail to the shuttle at Happy Isles makes a quick, outstandingly scenic loop for fit folks.

There are worthwhile peaks not included, but I find this helpful when looking for ideas: http://sierrapeaks.org/SPSPkXlsht.htm

Good luck!
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Re: Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closur

Postby LightRanger » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:46 am

If you decide to skip the extra walk to Cloudripper, Mount Lamarck immediately came to my mind for what you're looking for, like seanr mentioned:
http://www.summitpost.org/mount-lamarck/151232

For that last day you said, I would drive 120 West as far as Olmstead Point to look down Tenaya Canyon. Then maybe tag Cloud's Rest, or something else around Tuolumne.

Here's a photo from the summit of Cloud's Rest on Saturday:
Image
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Re: Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closur

Postby franklin411 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:02 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone! I apologize for not replying sooner--I had posted this in the hiking forum and didn't notice that it got moved here. I ended up changing the plan to leave one day later (tomorrow) because it saved me big $$$ on the car rental: Wed-Wed was $150, but Thurs-Mon was $40! With the fire situation, I thought it would be smarter to save the $110 and use the $$ for another one or two trips before the El Nino gets going.

The options out of Bishop look great--I wish I had gone out there last trip! Unfortunately the smoke forecast is really really bad--it's actually worse in Bishop than it is at Cedar Grove for the next 36 hours if NOAA is to be believed.

And now there's the Tenaya fire too...ugh.

So now I have two good plans:
1. If I have my way, Horseshoe Meadow Friday (Langley hopefully, Cirque if not), check the smoke forecast Friday to determine our next move. Bishop if possible, Onion Valley failing that, and I guess drive most of the way home failing that. I could always spend Friday night on the north side of the San Gabriels and do either Mt. Baden-Powell or Mt. Baldy via the north Devil's Backbone.

I actually thought about doing Telescope Peak in Death Valley as a backup, but then I realized the stupidity of going there in the middle of a heat wave when I can just as easily go when it's more pleasant in a couple of weeks!

2. A friend of mine might come with me. If she does, she'll probably want to see the big trees, so Mineral King. I got to within 200-300 feet of Sawtooth before being clouded off last year, so it would be a productive trip. I want Langley more, but I'd rather hike my second choice with company than my first choice alone. So maybe do Sawtooth Friday, and find something out near Farewell Gap (never been there).

Thanks again!
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Re: Help with 395 Peakbagging Trip + 7 wk Bishop road closur

Postby franklin411 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:25 pm

OK, I'm back! My friend couldn't make it so I went solo. I ended up doing Mt. Langley as a dayhike yesterday. Started at 3:30 AM and got back to my car at 3:10 PM. Luckily there was another guy who left for Langley around the same time I did, so we teamed up a bit. We ascended via New Army Pass and got confused a bit--the Forest Service had a flyer posted advertising their wonderful new Class 1 Langley Trail via New Army Pass, but there's no clearly marked trail connecting the Langley Trail to the New Army Pass Trail. Instead, the most obvious trail goes from Old Army Pass. Now, I realize that most people use Old Army Pass, but still...if it's official policy to treat NAP as *the* trail in that area, then why not post signs and connect the dots?

Anyway, we descended about 600 feet from NAP down towards Rock Creek but realized that we had to be on the wrong trail once it switchbacked South. We went cross country to the nearest high point, which was a pillar of rocks 600 feet higher to the NE, and found the trail.

Then we followed the big cairns, got a little confused at the 10-20 foot area of Class 3 (another "huh?" Why would you build something advertised as a Class 1 trail and leave 10 feet of Class 3 scrambling that will stop a lot of people maybe 1/2-1 mile before the summit?), and then made it to the summit.

We returned via Old Army Pass and Cottonwood Lakes.

I didn't end up doing White Mountain/Bishop as I had planned. My feet are actually pretty good considering I did about 24 miles yesterday, but I knew I would be too used up to do *and enjoy* a 14 mile hike today, so I just drove home last night.

I'm happy with the outcome: Next trip will be for Bishop only! Thanks again for the advice!
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