Vogelsang, Florence, Simmons, Parsons, and Amelia Earhart Peaks Rafferty Creek To Lyell Fork Loop

September 30th to October 4th, 2017
Vogelsang Peak (11,493')
Mount Florence (12,561')
Simmons Peak (12,497')
Parsons Peak (12,147')
Amelia Earhart Peak (11,974')
Day 1: 12.5 miles, 3,300'
Day 2: 10.4 miles, 4,300'
Day 3: 8.7 miles, 3,500'
Day 4: 13 miles, 1,600'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

This trip was at the tail end of the Sierra summer climbing season slipped in right before the 3.5 week Advanced Mountaineering Program kicked off and kept me around town until well after the Sierra is usually choked with snow.  (Which of course means it's then time for desert adventures!)

The previous weekends trip to Mount Starr King was amazing but somewhat more of an organizational challenge vs a physical one so this was planned as one last good hard trip to finish off the season with a bang.  And damn did it deliver!

Mount Starr King Yosemite WTC Experience Trip

September 22nd to 24th, 2017
Mount Starr King (9,092')
Day 1: 10 miles, 1,800'
Day 2: 3.3 miles, 2,000'
Day 3: 8.2 miles, 1,700'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Mount Starr King is a granite dome located near Half Dome and is one of the 247-ish peaks on the Sierra Club Sierra Peak Section list.  It's higher than Half Dome though it lacks the massive cliff overlooking Yosemite Valley which makes the other so iconic.

Also unlike Half Dome there are no cables or other mechanisms to get to the summit of Starr King except for doing a bit of 5th class climbing.  This means it's visited a lot less often than it's neighbor.

This would be the 4th time on the summit for Jack Kieffer and I.  We've been leading it biannually for a number of years now and have settled on a relaxed 3 day schedule camping well off the trail.  The nature of the climbing lends itself to being able to safely bring along a decently large group of varying experience levels which makes it ideal for an exciting Wilderness Travel Course Experience Trip.

This time around we had along a group of 16 people with an additional 30+ more who had requested to join but we didn't have room for them on the permit.  And this time it got interesting right off the bat when our trailhead ended up being closed due to to both being technically on fire while also covered in snow...

Koip & Kuna via Bloody Canyon Mono Pass WTC Experience Trip

September 16th & 17th, 2017
Koip Peak (12,962')
Kuna Peak (13,002')
Day 1: 8.4 miles, 3,300'
Day 2: 16.3 miles, 3,700'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

This trip came about as an attempt at finding something WTC Experience Trip friendly using a less heavily utilized trailhead without repeating a peak I'd done before.

Koip Peak is on the Sierra Peak Section list while Kuna is the 3rd highest peak in Yosemite behind Lyell and Dana.  Since the peaks are only about 500 ft apart they're easily done together once you get all the way up to 13k.  As an added bonus there's a plane wreck to explore on the saddle between them and some mining ruins at Mono Pass.

Mount Baldwin via Convict Canyon To Bright Dot Lake WTC Experience Trip

Red Slate from Mildred
September 9th & 10th, 2017
Mount Baldwin (12,598')
Day 1: 6.35 miles, 3,100' gain
Day 2: 10.93 miles, 2,500' gain
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Baldwin has been on my radar for a number of years.  It's most commonly done from the top of Convict Canyon which is an area I looked up at for years while fishing with my father at Convict Lake.  I finally got to go up there in 2010 when I led a trip to climb Laurel and Bloody.  The area was spectacular but the creek crossing on the way had caused us a bit of trouble.

Jeff Atijera and I had tried to do Mount Baldwin a few years later only to be told by the permit office that the stream crossing was too difficult and they wouldn't issue us a permit.

Kristen and I decided to try again this year scheduling it in September when theoretically the stream crossing would be at its most manageable.  And as an added plus we got a nice view of the peak from the top of Red Slate a few weekends before.

Looking at Mount Baldwin from Red Slate Mountain

Sierra Bivy Spots: Sherwin Summit

Inline image 2
Sherwin Summit 395 Bivy Spot
[Google Maps] [Sierra Bivy CalTopo]

Since I often have to leave after work to drive up to the east side for trips it's useful to have places suitable for throwing a sleeping bag out for a few hours for those really long haul drives.

This is one of my most heavily used spots for anything north of Bishop.  It's low enough to generally be free of snow and quieter than a lot of alternatives (as anyone who has slept in the Crowley Lake BM Campground and listened to cars drone by all night can attest).

Rodgers & Electra From Isberg Pass And Twin Island Lakes

September 1st to 5th, 2017
Electra Peak (12,442')
Rodgers Peak (12,978')
Day 1: 16.1 miles, 4,400'
Day 2: 7.3 miles, 3,100'
Day 3: 7.1 miles, 3,600'
Day 4: 15.4 miles, 2,100'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Labor Day happen later enough in the summer that we're all usually in fairly good backpacking / climbing shape. After a particularly memorable outing to Seven Gables and Gemini a few years back a few of us made a minor tradition of going out and doing something fairly significant with the weekend.

Last year's Labor Day trip had been a rough one after we froze our butts off on Royce and Merriam and ended up coming out a day early. This time we were hoping for something a bit more pleasant.

Jeff hit on the idea of approaching the SPS peaks Rogers and Electra from the south via the Isberg Pass Trailhead. This had the advantage of being a less heavily used area (we barely saw anyone) and getting us a fair amount of new trail.

He did happen to slightly underestimate the mileage to Twin Island Lakes but hey, what's a few bonus miles between friends...