Alta Peak Pear Lake Loop Sequoia National Park

10:59 p.m. on June 23, 2014 (EDT)
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I rang in the Summer Solstice this past weekend with a trip to Alta Peak with a loop down to Pear Lake thrown in.  I was accompanied by two of my friends and we headed out to Sequoia National Park this past Friday.  The start of our trailhead was Wolverton at approximately 7000 ft.  We took the Alta Trail via Panther Gap to base camp the first night at Mehrten Meadow.  Mehrten Meadow is just under 9000 ft.  When we arrived at Panther Gap, the views were spectacular:


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Once we arrived at Mehrten Meadow, we were able to set up camp.  We were very lucky that a couple were packing up from the best campsite in the area, which allowed us to set up camp in the same spot right along the meadow.  We were also allowed to make a fire at the campsite (we checked with the ranger at Lodgepole), which was a real treat.  Most areas we've been in elevation do not allow campfires, so we all throughly appreciated the privilege:


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We stayed up quite late that night enjoying the stars.  The views from Mehrten were incredible.  Here was my tent view in the morning:


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The next day, after sleeping in and getting a late start, we made our way up to the summit of Alta Peak, which stands at approximately 11,200 ft.  Once again, we were treated to some amazing views:


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(Note the spectrum amongst the clouds):
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After climbing approximately 2000 ft to Alta, we signed the summit register:


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But we had to share the summit with this guy who decided to hog up all the space near the peak marker:


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After spending a moment on the peak, we needed to figure out a route down to Pear Lake.  I had previously researched the Class 2 scramble/cross country route down to Pear Lake from Alta Peak, as there is no trail connecting the two areas.  It would be a 2000 ft descent down to Pear Lake.  My buddy, Ryan, helped point out where to go:


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Pear Lake, to the right of the picture, was our destination:


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We began our descent down towards Pear Lake:


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And witnessed the snow gradually melt away on the first day of Summer:


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As we made our descent, Pear Lake gradually got closer!  But, there was still some more scrambling and route finding left to do (note my buddy, Dustin, near the bottom of the picture towards the left):


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(Ryan and Dustin near the center of the frame):
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After our descent, we finally made it around Pear Lake and met up with the Lakes Trail.  Looking back towards Alta Peak from Pear Lake, we couldn't believe what we just came down from!  I think we were all speechless to think that just moments before, we were at the top!


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After some water filtration duties at Pear Lake, we continued on the Lakes Trail, towards the Watchtower Trail, as we made our way back to camp in Mehrten Meadow via Panther Gap.  Once again, the payoffs of this hike were unbelievable, with multiple alpine lakes and stunning panoramas.  The views were absolutely breathtaking:


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Here was the view of Heather Lake:


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Just when we thought the views couldn't get better, we connected to the Watchtower Trail and were completely blown away:


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We made it back to Mehrten Meadow after connecting back towards Panther Gap to complete the loop.  The next day, we woke up and did a quick jaunt through the Giant Forest since we were right there.  We were even able to catch the U.S. v. Portugal game at Montecito Lodge!  But, that probably was the most disappointing part of the trip.  I can't believe Bradley had given up the ball so cheaply in midfield which allowed Ronaldo to find Varela.  But, I'm not going to dwell on the negatives.  It was another wonderful trip with wonderful friends.  Let's just hope the U.S. can pull out a result against the almighty Germany.

2:12 a.m. on June 24, 2014 (EDT)
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Awesome trip! Great photos too! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

11:15 a.m. on June 24, 2014 (EDT)
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Sweet trip; hiking, peak bagging, scrambling, you had it all!

12:23 p.m. on June 24, 2014 (EDT)
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Great trip thanks for sharing; love that picture of the clouds.  Is the one picture a Marmot?  Noble Marmot atop the peak, master of all he surveys.  ;)

8:11 p.m. on June 24, 2014 (EDT)
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Ya! That's a marmot. There were a bunch of them up near the peak.

6:35 a.m. on June 25, 2014 (EDT)
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So much sky in those pics.  Made me realize it has been a while since I got above tree line.  Waiting out a front before taking another shot at Grafton this weekend, but these pics are definitely inspirational.  Thanks for posting!

9:53 a.m. on June 25, 2014 (EDT)
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Beatiful pictures Danny. As always....

1:19 p.m. on June 25, 2014 (EDT)
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Great pictures, Danny! Thanks for sharing. I love SNP!

4:46 a.m. on June 28, 2014 (EDT)
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That is a nice loop. 

About a mile and half XC due east of Pear Lake is Moose Lake.  Head to peak 10824, then descend from the promontory above the north shore of the Moose Lake.  It is an austere location, but has two outstanding assets: The look out onto Buck Creek Canyon is impressive; and Moose Lake has great fishing for a high lake, much better than any of the other lakes in the area.

Ed

12:00 a.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Nice trip - another awesome area! :)

October 31, 2014
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