Loper Peak
Peak 10,220ft P300
Peak 10,540ft P300
Scepter BM P500

Wed, Oct 10, 2018
Loper Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile

I was in the Sierra National Forest for a few days before I was to meet some folks over the weekend for a climb of the Obelisk. I planned to do some rather mundane summits on my own, a chance to stretch my legs and take in the cool Fall weather. It was more than a leg stretch, this first day, with some 24mi and 5,500ft of elevation gain that would take me about 10hrs. The weather turned out to be more cold than cool - freezing temps when I started out, and with overcast skies most of the day, it never got above about 50F.

I had driven in from San Jose the evening before, getting to bed in the back of the jeep after 11p. The cold kept me in my sleeping bag until nearly 7a and I still had almost an hour of driving to the Woodchuck TH above Wishon Reservoir. Consequently, I didn't get started until 7:45a, but it was still darn cold. I spent the first 2.5hrs plying the trail into the John Muir Wilderness, all of it through forest with nary a view. I got a view of Loper Peak from the south at a meadow on that side of the peak and left the trail soon thereafter to climb the South Slopes to Loper's summit in another hour's time. The cross-country was fairly easy, save for the steep slope. Most of the day's 6.5mi of cross-country was on the easy side. Loper's summit was rocky and open to views in all directions. I found a generic benchmark on the summit rock but no register on this or any of the peaks I visited. Sadly, I'd forgotten to bring some spare registers in my pack.

Loper is connected to the higher Peak 10,220ft about a mile to the northeast by a high ridgeline. The part starting immediately from Loper's summit is a bit of a tough scramble so I dropped off to the side before returning to the ridge where the going gets easier. This second peak was forested with poor views. A couple of small rocky pinnacles appear to mark the highest point, both of them easy scrambles. I next dropped to a saddle just north of Woodchuck Lake before climbing up to Peak 10,540ft from the west. This summit, too, was mostly forested, but it offered some views east to Blackcap Basin and the White Divide. Most interesting was Mt. Goddard rising high behind the divide with a fresh coat of snow from a recent, minor storm. I again dropped to a saddle, this one Crown Pass, before climbing the last summit, Scepter BM. This was the highest point of the day and easily the best views. In addition to similar views northeast and east, it had views looking south that included The Obelisk and Kettle Dome (our objectives for the weekend) as well as the backside of the Monarch Divide including Eagle Peaks.

I put my fleece back on to ward off the chill as I left Scepter BM to return to Crown Pass and pick up the trail that would take me back down to Wishon Reservoir. I had something like 4hrs of hiking on the trail to get me back by 5:45p and I was pretty beat by the time I finished. The cold temps meant I sweated very little and I consumed only a single quart of Gatorade in all that time. My shower water was only lukewarm, but better than the 55F outside temp. Time to rehydrate and eat some dinner...


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