Peak 12,719ft P300

Wed, Sep 2, 2020

With: Robert Wu

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


Robert and I had hoped to climb Dragon Tooth today, but after returning late from Center Basin Crags we had to admit we were too tired for another involved adventure. Instead, we decided on an easy half day outing to Peak 12,719ft, above Golden Trout Lakes and northwest of Kearsarge Peak across Lilley Pass. Though the distance is less than 3mi each way, there is nearly 3,500ft of gain which keeps it from being a trivial outing. We started from the Onion Valley parking lot (where we'd spent the night sleeping in our vehicles) at 6:15a, hiking the trail to Golden Trout Lakes that forks off the Kearsarge Pass Trail. The trail climbs steeply out of Onion Valley, peters out in some boulder fields along the edge of the creek, then resumes in the upper basin where the trail forks again. We turned north and crossed a marshy area to begin the climb up to Lilley Pass, a surprisingly tiring effort for such a short pass. Sand and gravel conspire to make it one of the more tedious climbs, nearly as tough as University Pass. We finally reached the top of the pass around 8:30a, where we turned northwest for the final 25min climb to the summit of Peak 12,719ft. There was more rock and less gradient on this section, making it an easier affair than the pass had been. We were treated to fine views today, with very little of the smoke and haze that had permeated the area the previous day. We had views of the Sierra Crest from University in the south to Dragon Peak to the west and Diamond Peak to the northwest. Kearsarge Peak can be seen across Lilley Pass to the southeast, about 100ft lower than our current perch. Robert was resigned to visiting this SPS summit out of necessity, almost, even though it looked most unappetizing from our vantage. I had climbed it more than a decade earlier, so felt no such compunction. We left a register here before returning to Lilley Pass where we parted ways. Robert headed over towards Kearsarge while I bombed my way down Lilley Pass, filling my boots with sand and gravel in the process. I took my time descending back to the trail and then down again to Onion Valley, feeling no need to rush my return. After getting back to the TH shortly before 11a, I showered in the parking lot before changing into fresh clothes and settling in for the 7hr drive home. It had been a short day and a half in the mountains on this trip, but it seemed a rather full one thanks to Center Basin Crags...

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