Duck Lake Peak & Pika Lake Loop WTC Experience Trip Costs Us a Vehicle

August 26th & 27th, 2017
Duck Lake Peak (12,051')
Day 1: 5.3 miles, 2,000' gain
Day 2: 11.2 miles, 3,000' gain
[Pics] [Caltopo] [Map]

Duck Lake Peak isn't on the Sierra Peaks List (or any other lists that than I'm aware of) but it's a moderately accessible named peak in a spectacularly beautiful area of the Eastern Sierra that lends itself to a two day overnight backpack with the option to camp beside a lake.  So pretty much exactly what I look for in a WTC Experience Trip except for the fact it's too high for campfires.

I was also particularly excited for this trip because we planned to hiked between trailheads of Lake Mary and Lake George in Mammoth Lakes.  I've been going to that area for fishing trips with my dad since long before I started climbing mountains and I was looking forward to finally getting a good look at the terrain I'd been staring up at for all of those years.

This was also the trip that resulted in Jen Blackie having to sell her trusty Toyota Scion after mechanical issues stranded us on the way back home.  Because you can't have things going too smoothly.

Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle - August 2017

August 25th, 2017
[Pics] [Map]

Once a month a group of us get together and paddle Newport Harbor after work. We launch from the beach next to the Newport Aquatic Center and paddle over to Pizza Nova in the main harbor in a combination of kayaks and SUPs. There we dock our boats, partake in feast of pizza and beer, and then paddling back to the cars. We do this all year round and in pretty much all conditions. Light, dark, rain, and the dead of SoCal winter where you're tempted to put a sweater on with your flip flops.
You can find writeups of other pizza paddles here. For notifications on when we're doing the next one see our facebook group Pizza Paddle Associates. (Send me a message so I know you're not a spam bot!)

It's getting towards the end of summer but we're still launching in daylight for a bit longer.  And of course I'm in the Sierra most weekends so it gets hard to schedule these!

Hengst & White Chief Mineral King WTC Experience Trip

August 18th to 20th, 2017
Hengst Peak (11,146')
White Chief Peak (11,159')
Miners Ridge (10,823')
Miners Nose (9,423')
Day 1: 6.4 miles, 2,100'
Day 2: 7.7 miles, 2,400'
Day 3: 6.4 miles, 700'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

I'd been back in town for three whole days following last weekend's trip to Red Slate so of course I was chomping at the bit when Thursday night came around and it was time to head for Mineral King!

This was a repeat of a trip I'd led back in 2011 which I'd really enjoyed despite suffering through legions of mosquitoes.  In addition to including my namesake peak it's just a really pleasant three day trip on the easier end and the Mosquito Lakes area seems to be a little less trodden than a lot of the other areas where we run comparable experience trips.  And of course it's Mineral King so the views are always spectacular.

Bivy Spots: Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree Bivy Spots
[Caltopo Map]

Camping in the desert is usually really easy.  Drive to the desert, find a spot that isn't a road or private property, and throw out your sleeping bag!  However certain areas like Joshua Tree can offer some challenges since it's a National Park surrounded by housing and the campgrounds all have a bad habit of filling up early.

The following are a few locations near Joshua Tree that I've used in the past.

Red Slate Mountain WTC Experience Trip

August 12th to 14th, 2017
Red Slate Mountain (13,123')
Day1: 12.5 miles, 4,200'
Day 2: 7 miles, 3,000'
Day 3: 12 miles, 1,500'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Red Slate is another one of those peaks that I've had on my radar for a number of years there was always some reason it didn't happen.  There's also the rather rad looking technical snow route from the north that was always damn tempting to attempt vs the walkup route from McGee Pass or Lee & Cecil Lakes.

But this year I was on a roll and looking for non repeat trips that would work as Wilderness Travel Course Experience trips.  Red Slate makes for an almost ideal 3 day that gets you over the Sierra crest and has the added advantage of taking you up McGee Creek which is one of the more spectacular trails on the east side.

So when Ross Doering showed interest we threw together a trip and a few short -ish months later we were off!  We'd planned it for August figuring the snow on the pass wouldn't be an issue but the winter of 2017 turned out to be a very high snow year with snow lingering until the end of summer.

Goat Mountain WTC Experience Trip

August 5th & 6th, 2017
Goat Mountain (12,207')
Day 1: 9.4 miles, 5,600'
Day 2: 12.5 miles, 1,800'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

After last weeks car stranding adventure in Mineral King I was looking forward to a nice straightforward buttkicker.

Enter GOOOOOOOOOOOAT!  Two days!  One peak!  5k up the first day followed by 2k up and 7k down the second!  Most of which was to be done with full packs.

Despite some initial skepticism potential participants were eventually won over by my constant wandering around yelling GOOOOOOOOOAT! at them and we ended up with 11 people meeting us at the trailhead at the end of the 180.