Peak 9,050ft P300

Jul 31, 2023
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It had been several months since I'd been away from home for more than a single night. Lord knows I had better intentions, but it seems I enjoy being a homebody more than I have in the past. Probably an age thing, but who knows. In any case, the Sierra Challenge was quickly approaching and I needed to get out for some warm-ups before the main event. I headed up SR108 to Pinecrest for a 10mi hike out of the very popular Crabtree TH. Leaving San Jose around 6a, I was able to start the hike by 9:45a under blue skies and what promised to be a warm day. I had been to the area a month earlier to the nearby Gianelli TH for a couple of unnamed summits to the east in Emigrant Wilderness. Today's goal was Peak 9,050ft, a summit with more than 400ft of prominence above Bear Lake, in the same Wilderness.

I was surprised how many parties I came across - more than a dozen - while I plied the first four miles on the trail system. It's a delightful trail, with only modest elevation gain and loss as it travels south and then east into the Lily Creek drainage. A dusty trail through forest to start (it's popular with equestrians and they have a pack station in the area), after about a mile and a half the views to the south open up across the drainage. Granite begins to dominate the scenery as it does for most of the Emigrant Wilderness. The trail between Camp and Bear Lakes has not been maintained as well as the first 2.5mi, but still easily passable.

I left the trail at Bear Lake, crossing the it's outlet before starting up the peak's West Ridge which I followed to the summit. Initially, it looks like it could be a brushy affair and have some cliff issues, but it never became a bushwhack nor cliffed out, and I found the cross-country up the ridge quite nice. It had a combination of low brush, forest, slabs, some snow, and other features that added to the route's charms. I spent a little over an hour on the cross-country portion, about 2hr40min all told to the top. The summit has a small plateau composed of granite slabs, the highpoint found at the NE edge. There was a duck on the highest rock, but no register. Views stretch across a large swath of the Wilderness with the Yosemite Border on the horizon to the southeast and south. I took the time to answer a few texts and emails from the summit, then left a register before starting back down.

My return was much the same as the ascent, with some variations on the cross-country portion getting me back to Bear Lake. It was pretty warm by the time I returned to the trail around 1:20p, and it would stay warm for the last hour and half that I spent plying the trails again. It wasn't yet 3p when I finished up. I was to meet Tom Becht in Pinecrest for dinner at 5:30p, so that would give me plenty of time to rest up, shower, and write this trip report, too.


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