The 2005-2006 Winter brought a lot of snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Laurie and I had originally planned an ambitious backpacking trip which would cross over Shepard Pass north of Mount Whitney and then moving into Sequoia National Park. However, in July the pass was still covered with deep snow. So we changed plans and decided to day hike the eastern side of the range.
July 9th. First up was a visit to Onion Valley and Kearsarge Pass. I first crossed this pass in 1975. The Onion Valley Trailhead is the highest access point to the Sierra backcountry. A good paved road leads to the trailhead and a campground. The trail to the pass covers five scenic miles.
July 10th. Mount Starr, 12,835 feet, was first climbed was named after Walter Starr. Starr, along with Alan Chickering, made the first recorded ascent in 1896. The High Sierra guidebook by Secor described the route as Class 2. The route was a bit more difficult because the summit is festooned with granite boulders and towers. While all of these obstacles can be avoided, they obscure the true summit. We had to climb several in order to orientate before eventually found the summit.
July 11th. Bishop Lake, 11.0 For our next hike I decided to head north to the Bishop Pass area. The Bishop Pass Trail is very popular since it leads to Kings Canyon National Park. On the east side of the pass South Lake and Long Lake are the two most visited lakes which are reachable by day hikers.
July 12th. Yosemite National Park was our final destination. We spent the day sightseeing and taking short day hikes. We were lucky and managed to get a spot in the Tuolomne Meadows lodge tent camp.
July 13th. We decided to climb Mount Dana, 13,157 feet. Mount Dana is one of the better know peaks on the Sierra crest in Yosemite National Park. The peak was first climbed in 1864 by Charles Hoffman and William Brewer. The peak is located south of Tioga Pass. We climbed the peak’s northwest slopes starting at the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. The only obstacle was a large snowfield which encompassed a long section of deep sun cups.
Next: Eagle Cap