Climbing Alta Peak, Sequoia NP

10:20 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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I have lived in Visalia for twelve years, and for those twelve years I have looked at Alta Peak in Sequoia NP (visible from my house) thinking that I need to get on top.  For one reason or another, those plans always got pushed back by other hikes.  At the end of the summer I finally got around to it.  But instead of doing the way most people do it (trail to the summit on the southern slopes) I decided to take the scenic route, so I convinced a friend to do a more challenging approach.

We started at Wolverton on the Lakes trail, heading toward Pear Lake.  On the way we got good views at the Watchtower



Eventually the trail took us to Pear Lake



And here is where the fun began.  From Pear Lake we headed cross country up the basin, encountering a lot of fun boulder scrambling on the way.  First, looking back down at Pear Lake from above


Rocks and more rocks


My friend on the rocks.  He loves boulder scrambles, and he got plenty of it that day.

See if you can spot my friend, he is dead center in this picture


Eventually we could see a couple chutes in the headwall; which one to take?


When we got closer we decided on the one on the right.  It was a bit tricky, but we got up it without any incidents.


At the top of the chute we could see that the summit was just a short distance to the west


10:27 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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A short traverse, and we were on top.  Looking east from the top toward the Great Western Divide and the Kaweahs.  The high broad saddle in the middle of the Kaweahs (highest group on the left) is where I went over Pyra-Queen col on the way out of Kaweah Basin earlier this year.


Looking southeast down the Great Western Divide and toward Mineral King.


Looking west toward the San Joaquin Valley and home


From the summit we took the main trail down, passing a lot of nice foxtail pines on the way (one of my favorite trees)


And finally, some views along the trail on the way back to the car





We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, it was well worth the effort.  The long boulder scramble wore my friend out, his wife said that when he got home he went straight to bed.

1:32 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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When we lived in SoCal, Pear Lake was a favorite backcountry ski tour destination. I think the ski hut there is now under National Park Jurisdiction, but way back, it was a Sierra Club hut.

4:18 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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More beautiful images and story, Thanks for sharing!

7:45 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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Nice report! I enjoyed the pictures! You are so lucky to live out there!

11:44 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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Nice report!  I hiked/climbed Alta Peak some years ago and shared my lunch spot on the summit with a marmot.  :-)

7:18 a.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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Beautiful pics, thanks for sharing.

12:36 p.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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It is good to see the clear air during your trip.  Sequoia is an under-rated park.  You have to like rocks to be on top.  As a forester, it is more interesting to me at lower elevations.

8:03 p.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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My goodness would you look at that......

Great Stuff!

10:29 p.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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Bill - The hut at Pear Lake is now run by the park service, and it is still a popular ski destination.

Jim - It's pretty hard to escape the marmots on summits around here.  They are especially crafty at locations near Mineral King.

PPine - My two loves in life are geology and dendrology, so I love the middle elevation forests and the high elevation rock equally.

Patman - Come out here and I'll take you to places like this.  The trailhead for this hike is right next to Giant Forest, so you could take a walk among the big trees after doing the summit.  And the trailhead for the hike I did a week ago to visit the President is from the same parking lot as where I went  on my big trip this year.

2:29 a.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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Beautiful report! I've done similar loops from up out of Emerald Lake, the lake before Pear Lake. Near the top there was a use trail ascending a sandy ridge.

I used the Pear Lake Hut a couple winters ago on a ski trip. Reservations are a must, the place gets booked solid in winter.

10:33 a.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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What a well done report. Ty. I spent around 40 days in yosemite this year. I think I'd better spend some time in Sequoya next summer. Tim

10:02 p.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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Realbuff - having spent a good amount of time in the back country of both Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon, for me SEKI is the hands down winner.  Higher peaks, deeper canyons, grand views.  Hard to beat.

Even if you like the main attraction in Yosemite - Yosemite Valley - you can visit a canyon with the same size granite walls in Kings Canyon.  Tehipite Canyon is just as deep as Yosemite Valley.  The big difference?  No people.  You will have it to yourself.


Look at my trip reports for my longer week-long trips in SEKI to see what is there.  I've barely scratched the surface.  The only thing that Yosemite has better than SEKI is big waterfalls.

10:50 p.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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Marmots rock! No pun ;-P

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