Mule Peak P300 ESS
Onion Meadow Peak P750
Peak 7,540ft P300
Table Mountain
Dome Rock ESS
Yokut Spire ESS / CS

Thu, Oct 13, 2016
Table Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 Profiles: 1 2 3

With four days in the Southern Sierra, I spent the first day along the Western Divide, making a series of short hikes to various summits. Yokut Spire turned out to be the highlight of the day, a fine class 3 scramble with considerable exposure.

Mule Peak / Onion Meadow Peak

These two summits are found south of Slate Mountain, along the crest that forms the Western Divide. Mule Peak sports a manned fire lookout with fantastic views. Views on the higher Onion Meadow Peak are limited and not worth much. I drove up to Crane Meadow where the 3/4mi-long Mule Peak Trail starts. While the dirt road is in good condition, it is extremely dusty and the water bars were almost two much for the low-clearance van. I spent a little over two hours hiking both peaks from Crane Meadow, first going up to Mule via the trail where I met a young ranger who I chatted while taking pictures, signed the register and headed off. He tried to dissuade me from heading cross-country north off the summit, "Lots of manzanita..." but the brush proved a minimal hindrance. I found myself dropping to a saddle along the crest with a barbed-wire fence denoting the boundary with the Tule Indian Reservation that lies west of the national forest. I followed the fence down to a road (one can pick up this road out of Crane Meadow to drive closer to Onion Meadow Peak, if one so chooses) that skirts around the east side of Onion Meadow Peak. I followed the road until I was about half a mile from the summit, then reverting to cross-country travel up the south side. There was a moderate amount of brush on this peak, but with careful route choices there was really no thrashing. As mentioned, I found the summit disappointing and beat a retreat after taking a few pictures.

Peak 7,540ft - Table Mtn

After returning to the van, I repositioned it a few miles further south to go after these two minor summits since I was in the area. The unnamed summit has a bit over 300ft of prominence but Table Mtn falls far short and is very un-table like. Neither summit has any views whatsoever. I spent an hour and change making a loop over both of them, using a combination of cross-country and dirt roads. The largest incense cedar is said to be in the area, some 12ft in diameter, but it wasn't obvious and I didn't take notes that would allow me to locate it. Bill Peters is probably wondering why he ever bothered trying to get me to learn about trees.

Dome Rock

From the parking area on the north side of this small granite dome, it takes less than five minutes to reach the broad summit. Signs warn of climbers in an effort to dissuade folks from chucking rocks off the top. I don't think there were any climbers on the polished South Face today, but I still didn't throw rocks. There is a good view of The Needles to the north and the Kern River drainage to the southeast. Lots of haze today to make things seem further than they really are.

Yokut Spire

This was awesome, put simply. I used the Slate Mtn Trail near Quaking Aspen to reach the spire, heading cross-country after about 2mi on trail. The spire lies at the north end of a rocky, pinnacled ridgeline north of Slate Mtn. It is somewhat detached from the ridge, connected at a notch, with about 40ft of prominence. The notch can be approached from the west or east. The west side of the notch has some brush but is class 2. The east side is beefier, class 3-4. I used the west side on the ascent and the east side for the descent (it features a cool little tunnel, too). The crux starts immediately from the notch, a class 3-4 crack system with good holds. I left my pack at the notch because I thought it might get harder higher up. Above, the route grows quite airy but the rock is solid and the holds bomber, making it easy class 3. Totally worth a visit if you are anywhere near the area and enjoy such scrambling.

McIntyre Rock

I totally botched this one, found north of Slate Mtn, near The Jordan Peak lookout. I had gotten the name from Jenkin's map in her guidebook, but had mis-located it about a mile SE of the actual location. I followed a road to its abrupt termination and then an overgrown path through the remaining part of the road to within a quarter mile of the summit I'd identified. Cross-country through forest got me to the top with some views. I was disappointed to find no large rock outcrop like I expected. I did find a large signal reflector on the west side of the mountain, but it was only a few hours later before I discovered I'd climbed the wrong point. Maybe I'll try again in the morning after my outing to Castle Rock...


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