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The last day of the 2022 Sierra Challenge saw us at the Cottonwood TH for the relatively easy outing to unofficially named Bullfrog Meadow Peak. The peak lies in the Golden Trout Wilderness to the south, west of Mulkey Meadow and just south of Bullfrog Meadow, about 13mi roundtrip with 3,000ft of gain. Nearby Peak 10,100ft would add some extra mileage and gain to the totals as a bonus peak. Not surprisingly, we had a large gathering for the 6a start, including the trio from the pink squad who had coordinated their wardrobe to be as colorful as they could manage for this last outing. Dylan had more than 15hrs on the next closest competitor (Sean C) for the Yellow Jersey, so this was really just a formality. For the Polka Dot Jersey, Chris held a half peak lead over Tom, so his strategy was to simply follow Tom and keep him from sneaking in an extra peak. Tom would have to be satisfied with the Green Jersey lead which was unassailable by this time.
We followed the trail system south, up and over Trail Pass and then down to Mulkey Meadow. At a trail junction in the large meadow, I turned left with a group of participants, continuing for another mile or so. Some of us had plans to visit Peak 10,100ft, the reason for taking the fork we did. For those heading to Bullfrog Meadow Peak, the right (west) branch would have been a better choice. The pink squad followed me when I left the trail, heading southeast and then south for the bonus peak. Others stopped on the trail to consult maps or phones, recognizing that we weren't heading to Bullfrog Meadow Peak. We paid those stalled at the trail little mind - they would figure it out soon enough. The four of us climbed out of the meadow and onto the forested slopes leading to Peak 10,100ft.
We passed just east of an interesting point on the way. Pt. 9,800ft+ looked to be class 3, but none of us were interested enough to check it out. Further south through forest and granite boulders we caught sight of Peak 10,100ft which would turn out to be yet more interesting. The summit ridge is a collection of granite blocks neatly stacked along a ridgeline to give us a challenge. The direct route up the northwest spine looked hard, so we moved left to tackle it from the north side. This was a class 3-4 effort on large, solid blocks softened by lichen to keep us on our toes. It took about ten minutes to work our way up through a crux section to the top where we arrived around 8:45a. Though it has little prominence, it proved a fun little summit where we left a register while we taking in the views. It was a fairly clear day with views stretching out over the Southern Sierra and Golden Trout Wilderness, far south past Olancha and Kern Peaks. To the west could be seen the modest Bullfrog Meadow Peak rising up across the southern extent of Mulkey Meadow, and it was to this we next turned our attention.
Three of us went back down from the summit rocks via the same route, Tom following the ridge and pronouncing it an easier way to the summit afterwards. We then headed back north and northwest through forest. I got ahead of the others who were taking a more leisurely pace. I crossed over sandy Mulkey Meadow without seeing the others behind me. I headed into more forest and up slopes that would bring me to the summit of Bullfrog Meadow Peak from the east. This was an easier affair, though it did have class 2-3 summit rocks that would provide views looking over much of the surrounding forest. I found Mason, Emma and Lucas at the top, looking like they had nowhere in particular to be. Seven others had been to the summit and already left. There was no register here, so we got out another one and added all the names of the folks that had preceded us. 15min later, the pink trio showed up for a total of seven. Their names were dutifully added before we left the new register under a small cairn. I had had lofty plans to visit other bonus peaks further west, but had not the desire nor energy to do so now.
Our group of seven split up as we descended the peak via slightly varying routes. I went off the northwest side down to Bullfrog Meadow where I picked up a trail on the meadow's northern edge. I was on my own for a long while, but eventually caught up with Mason, Lucas and Emma around Trail Pass. They had Adam and Megan in tow with them, and the six of us would stay mostly together for the descent back to Horseshoe Meadow. It was close to 1p by the time we returned to the TH and found the after-party in session over by Jim's RV and Evan's camper. We expected the pink shirts to be shortly behind us, but when they didn't show after an hour, we wondered if they'd gone off for other bonus peaks. They hadn't, and were just taking it easy today. They eventually made their return around 1:45p, the last of the day's adventurers to come back to the fold. We had some celebration and congratulating the jersey winners before folks began to trickle off towards home. I would spent 4-5hrs driving myself out of California and halfway across Nevada before finding a cool spot at Currant Summit on US6 to spend the night, sometime after 9p. It wasn't yet time for me to head home as I was off to Colorado for a few weeks. Adventure never sleeps...
This page last updated: Sat Sep 10 16:29:09 2022
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