With a free day in the Bridgeport area before the start of the Sierra Challenge,
I decided to head up to the
Sweetwater Range to tag a handful of unnamed summits, none
of them particularly outstanding. The highest, Peak 10,452ft, lands on the
oddly-designed "Calfornia non-Sierra 10,000-foot summits" list. I've got a few
of these left to complete, so this was an excuse to whittle away at it. It was
more of a driving exercise in the Jeep than a hike,
highly enjoyable save for the crappy views
due to the fires in and around Yosemite. None of the peaks required a hike of
even half a mile, so I've included the hiking and driving in one GPX file. The
main road into the area is well-graded Burcham Flat Rd off US395 north of
Bridgeport. Most cars can reach as high as Lobdell Lake, but various roads
branching off from there require high-clearance. There were several herds of
cattle lazing about, but otherwise I had the place to myself.
Shortly before reaching Lobdell Lake, a spur road forks on the right, going up
and around the west side of the summit. I parked where the road tops
out (it continues south to a saddle and beyond, not shown on the topo map) and
climbed easy scrub slopes 0.4mi to the open summit.
There was a register left by Paul Garry in 2015.
All of the half dozen parties to sign in had at least one recognizeable name.
The next three peaks are all past Lobdell Lake. Peak 9,380ft
is furthest, with a moderate road going nearly over the summit. There is a
small campsite where it comes closest, with about 100yds of hiking
through open forest to the summit. The highest point is among some
brush and rock, not terribly inviting.
The middle of the
three, Peak 9,558ft has no road going up it, but one does pass within 0.35mi on
the southeast side. I parked here and went up the sagebrush slopes (no
real bushwhacking, even when it gets thicker near the top). There was
a small cairn at the highest rocks under a bush. There are open views
to the north from the summit.
This peak overlooks Lobdell Lake on its northwest side. A spur road
gets one within 0.2mi of the summit on the northeast side. I parked
where the road normally ends at a campsite, but motorcycle tracks can be seen
climbing higher up the mountain. An easy hike, mostly through dry forest, gets
one to the open summit.
This one is the furthest south of the five,
with a spur road starting well before Lobdell Lake.
The spur road takes one within 0.2mi of the summit on the southwest side. The
Forest Service has blocked off the continuing road to vehicle traffic,
but it's easy to hike the sandy road to the open summit. There is
another point 2/3mi to the south of nearly the same height. During my visit,
this other point was
under construction for additional telecom installations (there's already a cell
tower on it), including a large crane, numerous trucks and a bevy of workers.