Sivels Mountain P500
Speckerman Mountain P750
White Chief Mountain P300
Mt. Raymond P300
Peak 9,083ft P500
Peak 8,664ft P300
Greys Mountain
Graham Mountain

Aug 26, 2021
Mt. Raymond
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX

This was the first of two days, a short visit to the Sierra National Forest, just south of Yosemite NP. The peaks lie in the middle elevations of the Sierra, from just under 6,000ft to over 9,000ft. Most of the region is heavily forested, so views tend to be limited. The area probably seems more hunters and OHV users than hikers. Still, it's not without its charms and I very much enjoyed exploring the Forest roads in the Jeep. With an abundance of roads in the area, most of the hikes were short.

Sivels Mountain

This was the lowest of the day's summits at 5,842ft. To reach it, I used Sky Ranch Rd (Forest Road 10) off SR41 near Yosemite Forks. Lesser roads FR6S11 and FR6S11C take one to a saddle about 1/3mi southeast of the summit. A 12min hike through forest gets one to the summit where damage from the 2015 Sky Fire is evident. Partial views to the west through the snags are possible only because of the fire.

Speckerman Mountain

This was the most prominent summit with 760ft of prominence, located about 3mi north of Sivels Mtn. FR5S38 branches west from Sky Ranch Rd at Kramer Meadow. I attempted to drive the Forest road around to the southwest side of the summit where it gets closest, but was stopped by downfall. Instead, I climbed it from the southeast near Grouse Meadow, taking about 20min to get to the top. The summit was burned over in the 2017 Railroad Fire, though it seems a fair portion of the surrounding trees survived to help regenerate the area.

White Chief Mountain

I returned to Sky Ranch Rd and continued north, forking off on FR5S06 and FR5S48 to reach Harts Meadow. Here I discovered a bit of fun in the Star Lakes OHV route, a 3mi route that goes to the summit of Mt. Raymond, above Star Lakes. It's a rough, narrow 4WD-only road that I found challenging but fun. I stopped after the first mile at a saddle to tackle White Chief Mtn to the south. The route up the North Ridge was a rocky, mostly open ridge scramble taking less than 15min. The summit has poor views, but through the trees on the north side can be seen the Clark Range in Yosemite.

Mt. Raymond

Back to the Jeep, I continued on the OHV route, but did not get very far. A very high wind event sometime during the winter had brought more than half the trees to the ground, many of them large, mature pines. The blowdown was massive and it would take a great deal of effort to clear them - in late August, no work had been done and none was likely to happen for the rest of the year as most of the Forest personnel were focused on the late summer fires burning throughout the state. I would have to hike about 2mi each way to Mt. Raymond, easy enough if the road had been cleared. That first 1/3mi was incredibly arduous, up and over, or squeezing under the large trunks that lay across the road. There were so many that I had trouble figuring out where the road lay. Past the blowdown section, it was an easier effort, with only the occasional downfall that one would normally expect in the season. I reached the top about 50min after starting out, finding the partially open summit an inviting place to take in views to the south and west. Heavy trees blocked views to the north and I never did see Star Lakes. On the return, I went out of my way to avoid the blowdown section. It required extra elevation and mileage, but it was much easier without all the logs to scramble over.

Peak 9,083ft - Peak 8,664ft

I returned to Sky Ranch Rd and followed it east and north for another five miles or so before forking off to the northwest on FR5S49. I eventually parked near the end of a spur road below a saddle between these two peaks. This left me with 3-4mi of enjoyable hiking through forest and partially open ridgelines to the summits, in turn. I left a register on Peak 9,083ft as the highest of the day's summits before returning back along the ridge to climb the lower summit. The views from the two summits were the best of the day, with sweeping vistas looking north across the South Fork of the Merced River into Southern Yosemite. I spent almost 2hrs on the outing.

Greys Mountain

I returned again to Sky Ranch Rd, then south on FR5S39 which connects with Beasore Rd. Greys Mtn is found about a mile off paved Beasore Rd, with FR6S99 getting one within about 1/3mi at a saddle SE of the summit. A small weather station is found where I parked. The hike to the summit took less than 15min, slowed by a large amount of downfall enroute. Someone had left a few rocks atop a boulder that marks the hightpoint, buried in forest.

Graham Mountain

It was starting to get late and the sun would set before I could get to this last summit. I returned to Beasore Rd, then south on Central Camp Road and FR6S06, about 45min of driving. It was 7:30p before I started out, but luckily this last one took only 12min to reach the summit. No views. Another ten minutes had me back at the Jeep. I would drive back north to Beasore Rd and find a place to camp near the next day's first summit. Not big on miles, but it ended up being a pretty full day...


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