Mount Patterson DPS From Both Sides

  • Updated: November 16, 2014
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

November 15th & 16th, 2014
Mount Patterson (11,673’)

We planned to do Patterson Saturday and Glass Sunday but things went a little cockeyed...

Patterson is a DPS peak that's up north of Bridgeport.  I hadn't gotten around to climbing it since generally I if I'm going to drive up there during the summer I'm going to go into the Sierra and snow can make winter access a problem.  Now I was getting closer to finishing the DPS list and so felt a bit more motivated With the lack of snow we thought we had a decent opportunity and Kristen and I set off Friday night for the long drive.

This was the first trip where I got to use my new Jeep lights.  Sadly I only had two of the four due to Jeeperformance in Yucaipa repeatedly dropping the ball.  Still it was a bit of an improvement.

The left is just my aftermarket J.W. Speaker 8700's while the right is two of the Rugged Ridge LED bars
As always with DPS peaks the Sierra Club guide allows you to be lazy.  I'd eyeballed the peak when I originally planned the weekend but I pretty much figured between the guide and my GPs maps we could figure it out.

The Sierra Club DPS guide (at the time) for this peak mentions you turn before Sweetwater Summit.  My map showed some a road that looked like it could be the right one but when we got there we found the gate above.

If I was smart at that point I would have driven further down the road and maybe used common sense.  Instead we went back south, took the first road that went off in the right direction, and tried to make it through...

Yellow is where we should have gone.  Red was where we went first.  If those were your No Trespassing signs I deeply apologize
Several hours, locked gates, dead ends, and one downed tree requiring a hatched to get by later we retreated and tried driving to the other side of the Sweetwater Summit.

Ok, yea, maybe that's it

This road made a whole lot more sense.  I sheepishly drove in finding we actually passed right by the no trespassing sign and locked gate I pictured above.

Those are my tire tracks from hours ago
There was even a cabin near the trailhead.

It was open and well taken care of if slightly less than welcoming to those of certain political slants. 

Liberals Progressives Keep Out

It was a neat cabin but we were in a hurry and so didn't stay long.  I had a bad feeling we were already skunked but I was feeling a desperate urge to hike this weekend so we kept pushing forward.

We stopped right about here because the road was getting a little narrow.  We backed up a short distance, parked off the road, and started walking.

Due to my little adventure earlier it was now early afternoon.  I knew we were probably screwed timewise but the route is fairly short and straightforward so I kept trying to argue maybe we could make it if we reached xyz.

By the time we were climbing the ridge in the picture above it was clear there was no way we were going to make several thousand more feet without turning this into an epic.

We retreated.  We briefly went up the other side of Sweetwater canyon towards a mine we could see but that was too far back for how late it was.

Back at the car we drove down the road until we found a car camping spot with a firepit and set about making dinner and trying to keep warm.

The fireside festivities were cut short when it started snowing on us.  We dove for the jeep and sacked out for the night.

The next morning we found a bit of ice still on the ground.

Kristen upon being told it was 13 degrees
We discussed our options but I really wasn't excited to redo the same approach we'd done the day before to get Patterson.  At the same time I was less excited for Glass which was further south and easier to combine with other peaks.

We decided we'd drive around to the other side and climb route on the west side and try and salvage at least that much of the plan.  So back we went.

The western approach is a lot more driving and a lot more 4WD.  However you can drive a lot closer and a lot higher.  Dirt bikes can even drive to the summit itself.

There was one section I briefly though might roll the jeep (it's marked as Bad on the topo) but we managed past that.  What did eventually stop us was ice on the road sloping towards drops.  I didn't trust the Jeep factory tires and didn't have any chains with me.  We decided to walk from here.

After a brief debate we decided to wear snow boots vs light hikers since there was a good six inches on the ground where we parked.

While others had driven up the road recently it was icy enough when we were there we had to walk off to the side a good chunk of the time.

At 11,000 or so you reach a large plateau and can see the summit.

More old roads went off in different directions.  I could see Wheeler off in the distance which I'd hoped to maybe do but there was no way at this point.

The summit itself is pretty non-descript with a simple pole driven into the ground and a few rocks.  We didn't see a register.

The weather was cold and I wouldn't have been surprised to see more snow,

This is looking down at the canyon we'd attempted yesterday

Happy to have gotten at least one of our peaks we backtracked to the car.

At least we got a little use out of our snow boots
Not the most exciting peak but with the navigation screwups on my end it did make for an adventure.

On the way down we were stuck behind a group of trucks hauling firewood down the mountain.  this not only slowed us down but made it impossible to use my new lights which was a bummer.

So in the end the drive wasn't a waste.  Moral of the story, look at the approach maps *before* you're sitting there on the side of the road.

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