Peak 8,195ft
Peak 8,308ft P300
Peak 7,940ft P300
Peak 8,025ft P300
Peak 8,213ft P900
Peak 8,170ft P300

Sun, Oct 29, 2017

With: Tom Becht
Iris Ma
Matt Yaussi
Scott Barnes

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2


My goal today was a visit to Peak 8,213ft, a P900 on the east side of Bartolas Country deep in the Southern Sierra. We had gotten to my other goals the previous day and this last one had very little interest to Tom. We had seen it from a distance the day before when we were atop Butte Peak and there was little to get excited about - a tree-covered hill that was decidedly unpeak-like and not much to look at. Being the highest summit between Taylor and Bartolas Creek was hardly enough to get Tom to care much. "If it had 1,000ft of prominence, I'd probably care," he remarked. "Really?" I replied, "You'll care about 1,000ft, but not 900ft?" Just as quickly he shot back, "Yup, that's my limit." Good to know what a man's price is, I suppose. Luckily, Iris, Matt and Scott weren't all that particular and would happily indulge me. I need more friends like them. Tom would join us for the morning effort, but then planned to head out on his own after that.

Peak 8,195ft / Peak 8,308ft / Peak 7,940ft / Peak 8,025ft

The five of us drove in two vehicles about 9mi from our Poison Creek campsite south through Big Meadow to Long Meadow where we hiked a four mile loop. It was a very geometric arrangement, with a peak at each of four corners of the square we navigated, a mile on each side. None were particularly outstanding, but there were various rock outcrops crowning each. The highest, Peak 8,308ft, had the best summit, three in fact, with the middle one being higher. I went to the west one first where I found a survey tower and figured I'd found the highpoint until Matt, still down in the forest, pointed to a higher point to the east through the trees. That proved to be the highest, though Matt went over to a third outcrop further east to enjoy some additional scrambling. There was some other fun as we descended the west side of the third summit, Peak 7,940ft, taking us down a narrow slot with a tunneling move to bypass a chockstone. In all we spent something over three hours on the effort, rambling through forest logged in decades long past, chatting or enjoying the solitude as the mood fit.

Peak 8,213ft / Peak 8,170ft

Tom had had enough of this sort of random forest wandering and chose to start back out the road for home, stopping to tag Cherry Hill on the way (more random forest wandering, but "At least it has a name", he quipped). The rest of us piled into Matt's car and headed east another 4.5mi into Bartolas Country. Near the end of our drive we found a spur road not shown on the topo map heading further in our preferred direction of travel, getting us another half mile closer to our goal. From our starting point, Peak 8,213ft was about 1,200ft above us and a little over a mile to the ESE. Though longer, the hiking up the slope was much like what we'd done earlier, perhaps a bit more open among the trees that cover most of the slopes. I was aiming for a large, obvious rock outcrop overlooking the west-facing slope we climbed, thinking it was the highpoint. The summit turned out to be much more mundane, about a quarter mile to the northeast, almost lost among the trees. We identified the highest boulder in the area easily enough and then went about climbing it from just about every possible side to make sure we didn't leave any routes untried. The more interesting part of this hike was the traverse we did next, heading SSW to Peak 8,170ft, a bonus peak a mile and a quarter away. There were some modest rock scrambling along the way and other outcrops overlooking the South Fork of the Kern River drainage to the east. We paused as Matt headed off to climb one of these, though we weren't gracious enough to wait for his return before continuing on - he would catch up soon enough. We reached the bonus peak before 1:30p, finding it has better views looking east and south over Bartolas Country and the Kern River drainage.

We stayed only a few minutes at the second summit before starting down, having lunched at the higher point earlier. We descended to the north and northwest, following a combination of dry drainages and old logging roads down through the forest before returning to Matt's Subaru by 2:15p. Though we still had hours of daylight remaining, we called it a day since we had lots of driving to do. More than an hour of this was just to return to camp at Poison Creek and our other vehicles. Iris suffered another bout of motion sickness during this time as seems her fate, growing increasingly nauseous and quiet as the car bumped along, turning corner after corner through the forest. We past by several vehicles enroute, the first we'd seen all weekend. One was a Forest Ranger who stopped to ask us if we'd seen a guy on an orange motorcycle. Seems he was out looking for a scofflaw but was likely well off-track. After showering, I started on the long drive back to San Jose, more than 6hrs all told. It had been a fun trip so was well worth the trouble...

Matt's Video


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