MT. JUDAH (8,243') and DONNER PEAK (8,019') June 24, 2007

Receiving an e-mail from a promising young peak bagger, we had set a climb of Pyramid Peak the weekend before. He overslept, so I didn't get any peak, but did more walking back in town. Me trying to be a nice guy, we set another climb, of Snow Mountain (8,014'), which I wanted for my 4X.

Meeting in town at 7 a.m. Sunday, I drove us up Interstate 80. We made a couple stops, and then found that the USFS ranger station was open. Asking about the hike route, I was told that the private landowner didn't like trespassers, but it was possible to obtain permission. A sign at the property boundary presumably gave a contact number, but we didn't have the time to do this. We had agreed to do Donner and Judah, two small peaks up by Old Donner Pass, as an alternate.

My companion had stated a need to get back home for some business that night, so we headed only a bit further east along I-80. A find was a new parking area for the PCT south. The Mt. Judah Loop, using part of this national trail, is only 4.3 miles, with a smaller amount of gain.

Starting at 9:15 a.m., we sped up the trail, and I pointed out the features and peaks. There was a display of wildflowers, with paintbrush, lupine, mule ears, and other typical blooms. We had no snow to cross this whole half day. A short side trip to Emigrant (or "Roller") Pass, where the pioneers winched their wagons over the Sierra Crest, offered some views.

Topping Mt. Judah in 1:24, we endured the chilly wind and thusly fairly clear vistas. I started to snap away. There is still snow on the PCT, and the north sides of the peaks, to the south. Another hiker enjoyed the summit with us, then it was time to bag the secondary bump.

Then, taking the loop trail down to a saddle, we clambered up Donner Peak, with some class 2 scrambling. I liked being on granite again, and some rock climbers were busy bouldering. One was making a locally famous traverse, by him. I had noticed two shiny new bolts with hangers, apparently placed to anchor a rappel route or climbing route, down the vertical east side.

The register was still there, but the placement I had made years ago was mostly gone, and a plastic bag and a cookie tin made for the containers. We signed in some loose-leafed books, and I saw many pages needed to be used before one spiral bound notebook filled.

I snapped more photos, and wondered about hiking Andesite Peak (8,219') across the freeway. I don't count that as a peak, but that would use up an hour or two. Castle Peak (9,103', photo right) was also an option, but I had done it 13x, fairly recently, and would feel better, for a beginner, with a rope.

So, we decided to head for home. Other options discussed were a lunch in Truckee, or a quick visit to Reno, NV, but that would take time, and contribute more to global warming!

More hikers were about on the trails, but we had enough. My partner complained about a tweak in his knee, so it was better that we did such an easy set of peaks, and not a harder one like Pyramid. Our total round trip time was 4:05.

We stopped for burgers in Colfax, then shortly came back into town. I partook of some shopping while out where I haven't been for years, then came home by 4:30 p.m.

Our hike stats were 4.7 miles with 1,500' gain. I shot over 100 images, and spent for food and a soda drink, with my passenger taking the modest bill for the lunch. The drive was under 200 miles, and I used about a half tank of fuel.

Due to failure to observe or think, my companion had caused a slight spill of sticky fluid into my car's carpet, upsetting me greatly. This reminded me of the local enviro group's members' damage to my property, decades ago. If inflicting loss, and irritation, was their bent, they did as well as their code of minor attack dictated. Nothing to imply anything but an accident, and thusly immune to legal action or substantial cause for complaint or reimbursement, by them. I can only ascribe such events to moronics, fitting well the mentality of such persons.

Due to the breeze, I saw no mosquitoes, or ticks, of course. Neither did I notice any small animals. A couple dozen hikers were seen, with one dog. An extra, light layer helped on the summits, and I wore long pants, others wearing shorts.

It was nice to hike this gorgeous day, but I never would have made the effort, seeing how all turned out for this trip!