Without any definite plans coming up, I was happy to get a text
from Kristine asking if I was interested in a return to Slinkard
Valley in Mono County to tag more summits on its periphery. With
plans forged for Monday, I headed out Sunday from home around noon when my
wife headed off for a get-together with old work friends.
Ebbetts and Sonora Passes were temporarily closed due to a cold
storm that dumped about 4 inches of snow over portions of the
Sierra, leaving me with Carson Pass as the most expedient route.
take about 4hrs to get myself to Markleeville, leaving me with
something less than 4hrs of daylight for a few peaks.
I had hoped to do this peak on my previous visit to the area.
It's located at the mouth of Pleasant Valley, a few miles west of
Markleeville. On that previous visit,
I was stopped by a difficult crossing of Pleasant
Creek and as it was getting late in the day, I didn't have much
energy to pursue it. I came back with a different approach from
Indian Creek Rd that worked nicely. I found the road gated about
1.5mi from the peak, but it wasn't a big deal - I would simply
walk about 3/4mi along the road before heading off cross-country.
The crossing of Indian Creek was trivial after which I started up
to the peak's Northeast Ridge. The slopes are only modestly brushy
and I found only a few short sections of bushwhacking on the way
up. Once on the ridge, views open up some, though there are
plenty of trees to block them. It took about an hour and a quarter to
reach the summit, finding the highpoint on a small rock outcrop
buried in the trees - not much in the way of views, but some. I
particularly liked the view looking northeast to Markleeville. It
appeared that little snow fell in this part of the range, at
least below 8,000ft. On my return, I made a more direct descent
back down to the creek, but this proved to be a somewhat brushy
affair that I came to regret. Oh well, it was an adventure anyway.
This summit is located east of Markleeville off SR89 going
over Monitor Pass. The dirt road going up Loope Canyon was in
good shape, but the lesser road I used to get closer had lots
of downfall, eventually stopping me a short distance from the
saddle east of the peak. It mattered little, taking only 10min to
get to the top from where I parked. There is the
concrete foundation of a structure
that once stood on the summit, perhaps a lookout. There are fine
views of the Sierra Crest from the summit, with some fresh snow
on display, but much of the view was washed out by the sun getting
ready to set. I was done shortly after 7p, and decided not to
pursue a third summit nearby that I had in mind - time for a
shower, a beer and off to my campsite for the evening...