Burst Rock 2x
Peak 9,219ft 2x P300
Peak 9,300ft P500
Peak 9,140ft P300

Jul 6, 2023
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Burst Rock previously climbed Apr 2, 2011
Peak 9,219ft previously climbed Apr 2, 2011

Sonora Pass had opened a week earlier, so I decided to pay my first visit to the East Side of the Sierra this year. Today was the first day of the road trip, involving about 4hrs of driving from San Jose. I picked a small collection of summits on the west side of Emigrant Wilderness, starting from the Gianelli Trailhead out of Pinecrest/Dodge Ridge. The peaks are roughly in an east-west line, about two miles from the 1st to the 4th, all of them above 9,000ft. I had been to the two nearest ones some years ago as a spring snowshoe outing starting from the ski area. I had no idea if the roads to the TH were open today, but I figured since nearby Crabtree CG and TH are very popular (and mostly paved), that the Forest Service would get those open for the 4th of July holiday. I was mostly spot on, finding the roads clear all the way to Crabtree, and within 3/4mi of Gianelli. Snow was still blocking the road starting just below 8,400ft on a south-facing slope. Somewhat to my surprise, almost all of the day's route would be over snow, with very little trail visible below. I carried crampons and axe, but never used them, and luckily I didn't need the snowshoes I'd left in the Jeep. The snow was nicely consolidated, especially in the morning, getting sloppy in the afternoon, but never any postholing, thankfully.

I spent the first 50min in reaching Burst Rock, the only named summit in the bunch. The north side is steep and cliffy, overlooking the Stanislaus River drainage. I roughly followed the trail up the SW Ridge, finding only pieces of it periodically. The summit block is class 3 up the east side. Without the excellent handholds, it would likely be a sketchy class 4 effort. Peak 9,219ft is another half mile to the ENE, along a high connecting ridgeline (Burst Rock has only 40ft of prominence), taking about 20min. Views west are marred by smoke from prescribed burns taking place in that direction, but elsewhere it was very clear - lots of snow and quite picturesque. I took a break on Peak 9,219ft's snow-free summit rocks, taking in the views and answering a few emails/text at one of the few places I had reception all day.

Peak 9,300ft, the highest summit of the day with more than 500ft of prominence, is found a little over half a mile to the ESE with a 300-foot+ drop between them. Powell Lake near the saddle was mostly frozen over still, as were the few other smaller lakes I happened upon over the course of the day. Less than 30min saw me to Peak 9,300ft, whose summit also had a snow-free rock outcrop. The last summit, Peak 9,140ft, was more than a mile further east with a 400-foot drop enroute. It was the least interesting summit of the day, completely snowed over with no real discernable highpoint. I wandered east of the point marked on LoJ a sufficient distance to call it good, and headed back. Peak 9,140ft was so blase that I forgot to take any pictures from the summit. The return was almost an hour faster because I didn't have to go back over Peak 9,219ft and there was more downhill, of course. About 5hrs for the 8.5mi outing with 2,500ft of gain.

I finished up before 2p, leaving me with something like 6hrs of daylight. My boots were pretty wet and my feet beat up a bit, so I didn't feel like doing any more hiking. I went back down to Pinecrest and then went looking for a suitable place to camp for the night. It was much too warm at Pinecrest (78F), and similar up at Kennedy Meadows. I ended up driving to Sonora Pass where it was a much more comfortable 63F. More fun tomorrow...


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