Rattlesnake Mountain P500
Peak 4,730ft P300

Aug 16, 2021
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX


I'd spent the night camped at Horseshoe Meadow following the Sierra Challenge. Due home today, I was up early to do a couple of summits in the Alabama Hills, found just west of Lone Pine and south of Whitney Portal Rd. Both are relatively short and involve scrambling up to easy class 3. The smoke today was heavy, sitting low in the valley and marring views (probably unhealthy, too). I was done with both of them by 7a to begin the 8hr drive home to San Jose.

Rattlesnake Mountain

Access to this one is easiest from the southeast, off a spur road from Horseshoe Meadows Rd. Any vehicle can use it. I got started about 5:45a, an hour before sunrise, but just enough light to forgo the need of a headlamp. I went up about as direct a route as I could, working around boulders and up moderate slopes, climbing more than 500ft over the course of about half a mile. I found no register at the highpoint. On the way back, I initially started on the same route, but then discovered what looked like a use trail. It turned out to be more than that - someone had actually done some significant work putting in switchbacks and making a decent trail of it. I followed it down to its start on the east side, marked by a duck. No signage, nothing other than that one small duck to note the start. From there, it was only a few minutes' walk across the flats to where I'd parked on the southeast side.

Peak 4,730ft

This summit is found closer to Lone Pine. I parked off Whitney Portal Rd on the northwest side. The crossing of Lone Pine Creek was not easy and could be really difficult earlier in the season (in which case, it'd be better to approach from the west off Horseshoe Meadows Rd - a dirt spur road can get you within about a mile and a quarter). From Whitney Portal Rd, its about half a mile. I went up a gully on the north side that proved class 3. There might be easier ways, but I didn't look for them in particular. The sun rose as a red orb through the smoke a few minutes before I reached the summit. I found an easy class 3 summit block and views that were pretty awful, really - too much smoke. I went back down the same way, finishing up by 7:10a. Time to call an end to my month-long roadtrip and head for home...

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