This is a classic sierra scramble up a stunning peak. It’s different than many of the backcountry climbs for a few different reasons. For one, it’s not really backcountry- you are less than an hour from your car and the route starts barely off the trail. The route itself is mostly slab climbing/walking up a large face for thousands of feet, and the much of the rock is limestone and shale. This feels different than the granite ridge climbing often experienced in the high sierra.
Reason # 1
The continent itself.
Antarctica has to be one of the least accessible places in the world. Just being here and getting to stand on the continent is a pretty special feeling. Knowing that I get to see things most people will never have a chance to see. My very first season I worked at the South Pole station. As I flew from McMurdo (the main station) to the pole, I could hardly comprehend the scale of what I saw. At times glaciers span practically to the horizon on both sides. There were so many more dramatic peaks and valleys than I had imagined.
3rd Class, Summit 12,995ft, mileage varies depending on route
Onion Valley out of Independence CA
You have the option to make this a climb into a circle. I chose a counterclockwise circle heading to Dragon Peak first, traversing to Gould and then dropping down to Kearsarge pass to hike back to the trail head.
To reach Dragon Peak from the east you start out on Kearsarge pass trailhead but promptly veer right onto golden trout lakes/dragon pass trailhead. While an official trail, expect to focus on navigation at times, as you make your way to the dragon basin. Sections have been damaged by erosion and flooding. Once you gain the upper lakes you will be rewarded by great views. Dragon peak and Dragon tooth are both very striking and worthy of their names. You can read about my ascent up dragon tooth HERE.
This is a little quick report on a backcountry scramble up Hurd Peak.
The trail starts out of South Lake in Bishop CA.
If you have ever been at south lake before Hurd Peak is likely the first mountain your eyes will be drawn to. It poses a striking presence at the back end of South Lake and dominates a lot of the skyline from this vantage point. The hike begins out of south lake proper. You will eventually take a trail spur towards treasure lake. Hurd peak is in view for much of this approach and when you decide to turn off cross country towards the peak is really individual preference.
Before too much time passes, I want to wrap up sharing about my 2020 Sea Ice work in Antarctica. In my last post about Antarctica, I introduced the idea of the sea ice and outlined a few highlights of early season sea ice work. In this post I’d like to talk more about late season sea ice work and some of the science that takes place on the sea ice.
This was an amazing girls weekend with two good friends in July. We headed in for a couple of nights at Hilton Lakes out of Rock Creek (Sierra NV). We had our eyes on Mt. Huntington with an option to add Mt. Stanford. There was limited details on the route except what was listed above and a vague description of a few access options (mostly from pioneer basin on the west). Ultimately it ended up being a bit of a bigger day than we had anticipated but also more awesome than expected.