zScapes Ramble On
High Sierra Peaks 7 Days 39 Miles
On to the third decade! Our 21st year and we broke from the past and did a hybrid trip of backpacking, car camping and peak climbing. As this is a " George's choice" year, he wanted to add tagged peaks in the Sonora-Yosemite area, along with the high point of Nevada. Bonus- His Dad (Geo Sr) was able to join us, which was his 5th trip.

  • Day 1 ** Elev +2633/-223 ** Grouse Creek Lake 8855ft ** N38.24691 W119.70899 ** Pesto Ravioli w/Smoked Salmon
  • Day 2 ** Geo Elev +2385/-466 & Elev +223/-2385 ** Relief Peak 10808ft ** N38.23700 W119.656 ** Cheese Burgers at Kennedy Meadows
  • Day 3 ** Mz Elev +1736/-1736 & Geo Elev +2498/-4182 ** Night Cap Peak 10641ft ** N38.30710 W119.6913 ** Thai Curry Shrimp w/Corn on the cob
  • Day 4 ** Elev +3234/-3234 ** Sonora Peak 11459ft-N38.35380 W119.6355 ** Stanislaus Peak 11233ft-N38.38420 W119.6661 ** Bridgeport dinner at Virginia Creek Settlement
  • Day 4 ** Driving- Queens Mine 9188ft ** N37.88861 W118.31609
  • Day 5 ** Elev +4639/-4639 ** Boundary Peak 13140ft ** N37.84619 W118.35 ** Brats and beer
  • Day 6 ** Driving- White Wolf 7875ft ** N37.86988 W119.6493 ** Family dinner style at the lodge
  • Day 7 ** Elev +2174/-2174 ** Cathedral Peak 10911ft ** N37.84821 W119.40618 ** Road home

Grouse Creek Lake & Relief Peak
  • This was one of the interesting parts of the trip, as we were not really clear on where Grouse Creek Lake was, even after using Google Earth to make a best guess
  • Once in the general area we were perplexed, but after a bit of searching we decided on a campsite close to water and what would turn out to be the lake outlet
  • One fine point however, the lake was not there!!! Dried up, gone, nice grassy hills but no lake
  • All three of us made it up to a tarn below an access ridge to Relief Peak (bone dry as well) and then George and I made our way up to one of the ridges
  • Beside the great views of Granite Dome and the surrounding area, there was what we guess was either a weather station or communications relay station
  • The ridge from here got dicey and even George turned back, but was determined to make the peak so he descended back to the tarn and took a more direct route to gain a closer ridge and the peak!
Night Cap & Sonora/Stanislaus Peaks
  • Night Cap attempt from the Sonora Pass Road (H108) via our Chipmunk Flat camp site
  • Discovered a hanging valley with evidence of severe avalanche activity and a Whitebark Pine graveyard of flatten trees
  • George had to abandon once he attained the ridge below Night Cap due to instability and was forced to drop down to the Huckleberry trail and exit via Kennedy Meadows
  • Next day was the twin peaks of Sonora & Stanislaus, with George making both and your truly ascending the easy one!
  • Off to dinner with Barry in Bridgeport as pay back from a much appreciated lift into Twin Lakes in 2004
Queens Mine & Boundary Peak
  • A bit of a rough task to find the right road off the Grand Army Highway (Nv-SR6) but we prevailed even after driving dow the wrong one !!!
  • Camp site was about as far up the road was reasonably navigable and in the middle of numerous sealed mine shafts
  • Attempted Boundary Peak the next day with a successful ascent by Geo and some nice pics of Bristlecone Pines and a Clark's Nutcracker
  • Bristlecones are majestic trees and are part of a family of the oldest living organism with the famed Methuselah just miles away in these same White Mountains
  • Germinated in 2832 BC, this tree is 4839 years old and the location is a guarded secret to prevent vandalism
  • An even older tree, Prometheus, was cut down in 1964 to determine its age and would have been over 4894 years old today
White Wolf & Cathedral Peak
  • No better place then to enjoy the high Sierra in al her glory
  • John Muir said it best, " This I may say is the first time I have been at church in California, led here at last, every door graciously opened for the poor lonely worshiper" , as he was the first to scale this peak
  • As we ascended I could sense what John Muir felt as he scrambled up towards the peak and the reverence that surrounds you in places like this. It is to be experienced
  • George made it to the bottom of the summit block but decided to not chance the short class 5 section without protective gear
  • Time to head home with many good memories
May our paths & errands meet

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