Red Slate Mountain

The region between Rock Creek and Mammoth Lakes hasn’t drawn my attention in the past. I’ve always thought the peaks in this sector of the High Sierra are loose choss piles (at least that’s how they look from Hwy 395), devoid of the granite ruggedness found in other parts of the range. While Red Slate Mountain is arguably a choss pile, I was pleasantly surprised on my first visit to this region finding gorgeous scenery and many options for future trips. The geology of this area is especially fascinating with a palette of rock colors ranging from blazing red to pale white. Along the way we even spotted purple and green rocks. The interesting geology of the region is reflected in the series of photos below. In fact, Red Slate Mountain’s neighbor is aptly name Red & White Mountain with red and white striations throughout its face. Just to the west is the Silver Divide with quintessential gray and white granite I am accustomed to in the High Sierra. While Red Slate Mountain is not an interesting climb via the class 2 route from McGee Pass, the view from the summit is outstanding. My favorite vantage was looking down at Lake Dorothy, Constance Lake, and the many other lakes of the Convict Creek basin. The other highlight of the trip was passing by a triumvirate of lakes leading up to McGee Pass, each becoming progressively smaller and more desolate as one ascends toward the pass. Big McGee Lake is by far the largest and most scenic with clumps of alpine trees surrounding its shores and Mount Crocker’s north face in the background. Gorgeous wildflower meadows above Big McGee Lake lead to Little McGee Lake tucked in beneath the cliffs of Red & White Mountain. “Mini” McGee is the final tarn below McGee Pass, a desolate place with virtually no vegetation to speak of. This 20 mile roundtrip route would make for an excellent high altitude run as a “one-up” with 6,200+ foot gain, but all downhill on the way back. ┬áStrava route here.

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3 thoughts on “Red Slate Mountain

  1. Beautiful photos, especially like the one with your girlfriend/wife(?) walking by the green meadow with the stream running through it and the reddish mountains in the background. I want your hiking life. :) Is Dorothy Lake the same one that is at the northern most point of Yosemite? If so, is this lake easily reachable for a day hike?

    • Janet, this Dorothy Lake is different than the one along the PCT in northern Yosemite. Both are reachable as a day hike, although Dorothy Lake in Northern Yosemite is quite a bit further and more of a backpack for most people. Glad you enjoy the photos with my girlfriend!

  2. Pingback: 2013 Adventure Recap | Leor Pantilat's Adventures

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