Initially when I moved to California I was skeptical the mountains would compare to the Cascades where I grew up. After many great experiences in the Sierras, I can say that I have been blown away by the beauty and ruggedness of these mountains. They are different than the Cascades, but special in their own way. The more adventures I complete in the Sierras, the more ideas I have for future runs. Here are some ideas for the High Sierra for the upcoming summer and beyond:
- Dusy Basin and North Palisade: A trip over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin provides an awe-inspiring view of the West side of the Palisades group of extremely rugged peaks with a climb of North Palisade, the highest point in the Palisades at 14,248 ft.
- Rae Lakes Loop: I completed this amazing loop last year in early winter conditions in 12h31m. I’d like to return when the route is snow-free and I am better acclimated to improve my time by a couple hours or more.
- The Whaleback and Big Wet Meadow: One of the most remote spots in the entire range, it takes 18 miles just to reach Big Wet Meadow in order to get a glimpse of The Whaleback, but I hear the views of the sheer granite cliffs and meadows are magical. A trip here would be a good opportunity to climb peaks on the Great Western Divide, including Table, Milestone, and Midway.
- Triple Divide Peak via High Sierra Trail: It’s 72 miles from Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park to Whitney Portal, but the chance of somebody waiting to transport me back to the start is slim and I’m not about to do a 140 mile out-and-back. Thus, I came up with Triple Divide Peak as a destination while passing through the highlight area of the High Sierra Trail, namely the Valhallas cirque and Hamilton Lakes up to Kaweah Gap. This area has tremendous views and the magnificent amphitheater of rock walls has been likened to a little Yosemite Valley. The only difference is that this place is 16 miles from the nearest trailhead. Triple Divide Peak has significance as the divide between the Kern, Kaweah, and Kings Rivers.
- Arrow Peak via Bench Lake: The view of Arrow Peak from Bench Lake is one of the classic views in the Sierra. It’s quite a slog to get back there via Taboose Pass, but it’s worth it!
- Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: A point-to-point 33 mile trail run through a spectacular and wild canyon in Yosemite National Park from Tuolumne Meadows to White Wolf. Alternatively, a 45 mile loop out of White Wolf is possible to avoid car shuttle issues. Numerous waterfalls and granite everywhere!
- Great Western Divide Traverse: One of the most remote and rugged areas in the High Sierra. These peaks form a spectacular skyline from the Sierra Crest. There are many options and routes up various peaks.
- Brewer- North Guard-South Guard: A link-up of these three summits in a single day via Sphinx Canyon and Road’s End in Kings Canyon National Park.
- Russell-Whitney-Muir: Fun scrambling up Russell and the north face of Whitney on this very aesthetic loop of the Whitney region.
- Mount Langley: Another great trail run up the southermost fourteener in the Sierras and one of the highest trailheads at over 10,000 feet.
- John Muir Trail: 222 miles from Whitney Portal to Yosemite Valley, the JMT is one of the most famous trails in the world. At the very least, I’d like to cover significant portions of this trail that I have not already seen to prepare for a future speed attempt.