Panorama Peak

Wed, Aug 11, 2021

With: Tom Grundy
Chris Henry
David Schaper
Sean King
Austin Orville
Kevin Lei
Andrew Schaper
Robert Wu
Jonathan Mason
Emma Lautanen
Megan Ely

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


Day 6 was the easiest of the 2021 Challenge, designed to get us back early for our afternoon cook-off at the Church of Grundy in Bishop. Panorama Peak is unofficially named and lies on the west side of the Sierra Crest, about a mile and a half southwest of Bishop Pass. An easy day usually means a large group at the start, and this was no exception. We had some folks heading to nearby Mt. Goode instead (or as a bonus), and Clement, having already been to Panorama, planned to visit Sky Haven instead. The Bishop Pass Trail starting from South Lake is one of the most popular on the east side, as it affords one of the easier routes over the Sierra Crest as well as perhaps the most scenic. Our 6a start nearly coincided with sunrise, though the hike to the pass would mostly happen in the shade. I started off in the back of the pack, giving me time to chat with a number of folks on our way to the pass. The lake surfaces were calm as we passed by Hurd Peak and Long Lake, offering nice reflections of Mt. Goode and other summits. The pile of deer carcasses below Bishop Pass has been reduced to a scattering of bones, the flies that kept vigil here for several years now gone. At the 2hr mark, we met up with the Schaper brothers (who had started earlier) atop Bishop Pass, before descending partway into Dusy Basin. Panorama Peak can be seen as an extension from the Sierra Crest, forming the northwestern boundary of the large basin.

I found myself alone not long after leaving the trail, about half a mile from Bishop Pass. There are various ways to reach Panorama, and our large group explored most of them, it seemed. One option stays closer to the crest above 11,800ft before traversing easier slopes to the southwest. I used what seemed an easier option, dropping to around 11,600ft and then traversing southwest and west from there. I climbed up the peak's east slopes, an unexciting pile of granite rubble, to get myself to the summit shortly after 9a. There were already a handful of folks when I arrived, more arriving as we hung about the summit. The ill-fated SRC had left an aluminum register box on the summit in 1991. The register was left by Gordon MacLeod in 1980, now with 25 pages of entries - fairly popular as Sierra peaks go. The views are stunning, and today was a good day to take them in. To the east stretches the length of Dusy Basin, framed by the Palisades peaks behind it. Two miles to the south rises Giraud Peak, of nearly the same elevation, across Dusy Creek, with many, many peaks in the distance. The view west is framed by the Black Divide across LeConte Canyon. And a surprisingly good view of the Devils Crags far to the southwest.

I had already been to the obvious bonus peaks in the area - No Goode and Goode, but there was a point on the Sierra Crest that is found in the PB database as Peak 12,689ft that I was interested in visiting, mostly to see if it had a register. I was surprised to find several others interested in this detour which garnered no bonus credit, though I probably shouldn't have been - it was still quite early in the day and there was no need to be rushing back. So Tom, Austin and I headed off for the non-bonus, with a few others bound for Mt. Goode. It took us an hour to get from one summit to the other as we made a descending traverse off Panorama to the northeast, across a drainage and then ascending to the slightly higher Peak 12,689ft. We found a register dating to 1989, this one far busier with 50 pages of entries. It's popularity is no doubt due to its close proximity to Bishop Pass. Rather than return to Bishop Pass, we decided to descend a steep, rubbly chute to the northeast that would allow us to drop to Bishop Lake more directly. It wasn't the greatest of routes, but it worked, and with careful attention to where the three of us were descending, managed to avoid dropping rocks on each other. It was easy cruising once we reached the lake, and it would take us almost an hour and a half to find our way back down the trail to South Lake and the TH. It was shortly before 1p when we returned, back before the rest of the crew save Robert, who managed to get to Mt. Goode and back an hour before us to take the stage win - well done, sir!


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