Peak 5,180ft P300
Peak 6,180ft P500
Peak 9,978ft P300
Peak 9,737ft P300
Peak 9,180ft P300
Peak 9,100ft P500
Peak 8,888ft P300
Beach Ridge P300
Peak 8,818ft P300

Oct 19, 2018
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Profiles: 1 2


Day 2 of my Southern Sierra roadtrip saw me tagging a collection of unnamed peaks in the Sequoia National Forest, none of them far from the paved Sherman Pass Road. To keep the nighttime chill to a minimum, I had slept the night off this road not far from the Kern River at less than 5,000ft. Still, it got down to the high 30s, fairly chilly but probably not unusual for this time of year.

Peak 5,180ft/Peak 6,180ft

These two hadn't been on my radar before the trip began and were done on a whim as I started driving up Sherman Pass Rd from my campsite. They are located on the west side of the Rincon Trail. This motorcycle trail travels along an ancient channel of the Kern River before it was diverted to its current location to the west. The Kern River has cut a much deeper channel since that time, leaving a dozen peaks in a North-South line between the Kern River and the Rincon Trail. Both of these peaks are part of that collection. Peak 5,180ft is located just off the roadway about a quarter mile. The going up from the north side looks to be a brush-fest, but someone had cut a trail through the brush at some time in the past making things considerably easier. I was up and down in a short time. From the summit, Peak 6,180ft to the north looks much more impressive so I decided to pay it a visit as well. Though the South Ridge looks to be an interesting route, I decided on the easier way up from the east where I could use a mile of the Rincon Trail to reach a high saddle on the east side of the peak. Again, the cross-country looks to be brushy, but there is a partially clear route up from the saddle that gets through the thickest brush. The upper half of the peak is more open grass slopes with a rocky finish. There are nice views of the Kern River drainage from the summit, with the Needles standing out sharply to the north.

Peak 9,978ft/Peak 9,737ft/Peak 9,180ft

This was the main event I had planned for the day, a seven mile romp through high forest country. Shortly before reaching Sherman Pass, there is a paved road that forks south off the main road, leading to Mosquito Meadow and another motorcycle route, the Cannell Meadow Trail. These three summits had been orphaned on several other trips I'd made to the area and this seemed a good time to finish them. I parked about 3/4mi from the end of the pavement at a wide spot in the road. I then headed east up steep, forested slopes to the first summit, Peak 9,978ft about half a mile away. The summit had a modest summit rock to mark the highpoint with views limited due to forest cover. I then began a fun bit of forest wandering as I headed to the saddle east of Peak 9,737ft. The cross-country above 8,000ft in the Southern Sierra is pretty easy with forest cover since little is able to grow under it. I eventually crossed the Cannell Meadow Trail near the saddle and made my way up to the second summit. Peak 9,737ft had a large, rocky summit with class 3 scrambling and mostly open views. To the south could just be seen the third summit, Peak 9,180ft almost 600ft lower. I continued my forest wandering, this time down the rounded South Ridge of Peak 9,737ft, more easy going. A stiff, cool breeze was countered by a warm sun, making for nearly ideal hiking conditions. I crossed another trail at the saddle between the two peaks before making the final quarter mile climb up to Peak 9,180ft. This one had the best summit rocks, solid class 3 to reach < P21>a tiny perch with limited views. I descended the northeast side of the summit to reach the Cannell Meadow Trail which I was able to follow back over the saddle and down to Mosquito Meadow. The last 3/4mi of the hike was along the paved road to get me back to the jeep, for a three and a quarter hour outing.

Peak 9,100ft

It was just past 1p so I decided to tack on some additional summits on the east side of Sherman Pass, all of them fairly short. A spur dirt road got me to within a 1/3mi of Peak 9,100ft. The area around the summit had suffered from fire in the past decade, brush adding to the challenge to reach the rocky summit. There was a register left by Nathan Schultz in 2011, but it was sopping wet despite a decently sealed jar it had been left in. This was the only register I found on the day.

Peak 8,888ft

Another dirt spur off the Sherman Pass Rd leads to within half a mile of Peak 8,888ft. One has to first go over an intermediate bump to get a view of the peak, then an easy stretch down to a saddle and up to the summit. The views were weak from the summit, but by hiking a short distance down the south side, one gets a nice view looking into the Domelands Wilderness, Taylor, Rockhouse, Stegasaurus and other summits visible.

Beach Ridge

This summit is found just off Sherman Pass Rd about 1/3mi. A spur dirt road leading to a nice campsite gets you even closer. The hike up from the northeast side is somewhat brushy, but not too bad. Fire again has allowed the brush to thrive nicely. The views are mostly open at the grassy summit, with a good view of the smoke billowing from the Mountaineers Fire to the northwest. To the north one can see an array of summits in the High Sierra, around the Mineral King area, the Kaweahs, Olancha, and Langley far to the northeast. I was back to the jeep around 4p and decided it was time to call it a day.

Peak 8,818ft

Or so I thought. I took a shower where I'd parked for Beach Ridge, then spent about an hour writing up the day's events. With sunset near, I headed out to Bonita Meadow where I planned to spend the night, with plans for two easy peaks in the morning before the Smatko hike. I found that I could drive the jeep to within 1/6mi of this last summit, so I dashed up right at sunset to finish it off. The rounded, grassy and partially forested summit was uninspiring, but through the trees I caught a distance view of sunset on Olancha Peak to the northeast. Closer and to the southeast, Bald Mtn looked nice in the shade of the setting sun with a faint orange glow around it. I was back down in just a few minutes and finally called it a day. It would be quite dark before I found a place to camp around 8,800ft on the side of Peak 9,470ft. None of the day's peaks by themselves were memorable, but the collection made for a very enjoyable day with beautiful Fall weather...


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