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later climbed Mon, Mar 15, 2004|
The next morning we woke up to cold temperatures and clear skies at our camp at Lake Aloha. Both Eric and Mike were in favor of hiking out in the morning and driving home, having been worn out the day before. After pleading to reconsider, I finally gained the compromise that I could have three hours to go climb Pyramid Peak while they hung out at camp. Though I would have rather had most of the day to explore the region further (after all, didn't we just get here yesterday at noon?), I was going to take what I could get.
I followed the PCT southeast for about a mile until I could skirt around its eastern shore. Though the water level was quite low (PG&E lowers it in late summer and it looks more like a bunch of connected pools rather than a single large lake) I could not find a way to get across it without going all the way around the spillway. Once around the lake I headed southeast then west up the East Face of Pyramid Peak. The lower half is fun enough over good granite, but the upper part is trying boulder/talus climb. A couple hours after heading out I was on the South Ridge, just below the summit. An easy hike to the top finished the climb.
At the summit I was surprised to see a bivy site built nearby, complete with a rock windscreen that looked like it took some time to construct. The register was nothing but a tin can full of business cards and loose sheets of paper, hundreds of signatures going back only a year or two. This was one popular summit. In disgust at the condition of the register, I burned the entire contents, an act that I am not proud of years later, and have regretted ever since. Oh well. If you had added your card in the hopes it might be preserved at Bancroft Library someday - I'm sorry. The summit itself is the highest in Desolation Wilderness, but only by a few feet. It commands great views from Lake Tahoe in the north to Carson Pass, Round Top, and beyond to the south, many indistinct peaks I could not recognize.
On the descent I followed the North Ridge down until I reached the first small saddle, then dropped down onto the East Face. I got lost a bit navigating back around the lake and ended up further east than I intended before realizing my mistake and correcting it. I made it back to camp about an hour later for a roughly three hour roundtrip. The three of us packed up our gear and headed back out, the end of a rather quick visit to the area.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Pyramid Peak
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