Cone Above the Clouds, 2018 Edition

I have written about Cone Peak many times on this blog, a mountain that I call the “King of Big Sur.”  Cone Peak rises 5,155 ft above the Pacific Ocean in less than three miles as the crow flies, making it one of the steepest gradients from ocean to summit in the contiguous United States….

Uncovered Route: The Window & Kandlbinder via Cabezo Prieto

Kandlbinder Peak and the Window are two of the more remote spots in the Ventana Wilderness.  For extensive background on these spectacular locations see a prior post here.  Prior to the Soberanes Fire the standard route to both Kandlbinder and the Window was via the Pico Scout Camp up the Little Sur River and then…

Black Cone Loop

The Black Cone Trail bisects one of the most remote regions of the Ventana Wilderness from Pine Ridge to Strawberry Valley with outstanding views of the seldom-seen North Fork Big Sur River drainage and Ventana Double Cone.  The trail has a reputation for being rugged and difficult with sloping tread, brush and lack of reliable…

Return to Ventana Double Cone

With the unreasonably long closure post-Soberanes Fire finally over, it was time to return to Ventana Double Cone.  If Cone Peak is the King of the Big Sur Coast, Ventana Double Cone is the Queen of the Ventana Wilderness. Rising 4,853 ft above sea level, no other peak in the Ventana Wilderness possesses such a rugged face…

Granite Dome & Lakes 2017

This was my third time visiting the exceptionally scenic region beneath Granite Dome. In both 2012 and 2014 visits were in early June and most of the lakes were melted out. This time a full month later in early July the lakes were mostly frozen; a testament to the unprecedented High Sierra snowpack received in…

Tableland & Winter Alta Snowshoe

The Tableland is a broad granite plateau in Sequoia National Park along the Kings-Kaweah Divide. While not flat like a table, the topography is relatively gradual and the terrain is almost entirely granite slabs so the name is fitting. Access is from the west side at the Wolverton trailhead and the Lakes Trail. Wolverton is a…

Clouds Rest Winter

This is the third a series of posts on winter adventure in Yosemite. The first post was about Mount Watkins and the second about Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome. I have been to Clouds Rest in all seasons except winter and took the opportunity this past March to visit the mountain in genuine winter conditions…

Robinson Slide Loop

Robinson Creek canyon is a prominent U-shaped glacier carved valley spilling into Twin Lakes outside of Bridgeport. Sawtooth Ridge towers above the canyon, and despite being relatively lower in elevation than peaks to the south, it’s one of the most rugged segments of the High Sierra. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I also…

Sierra High Route

Note: All photos from iPhone SE – complete photo album here. [Updated August 22, 2016 to add Special Note on Inaccurate Free Maps] The Idea: The Sierra High Route has intrigued me ever since I heard of the fabled 195 mile trek almost a decade ago. The SHR  parallels the John Muir Trail but about…

2016 High Sierra Adventure Ideas

I had a great winter and spring compiling 116 waterfalls (as of May 28th) in the Big Sur Waterfall Project visiting as many nooks and crannies in the northern Santa Lucia Mountains as I could find. There will always be more waterfalls to chase in the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness, but as the calendar flips to…

Ventana Cone & Lion Rock

I enjoyed last year’s Ventana (single) Cone Adventure so much that I came back to explore a new ascent route up Ventana Cone and a new descent route from Lion Rock. I climbed both peaks on the Ventana Triple Crown route last year, but in my opinion climbing Ventana Cone and Lion Rock from the…

Vicente Falls & Limekiln Falls

While the average annual number of rainy days on the central coast is not particularly notable, the terrain on Big Sur is capable of immense orographic enhancement and staggering rainfall totals when Pacific moisture and jet stream energy align with the terrain. Rises steeply from the ocean to its 5,164 ft summit, Cone Peak is…