FREEL PEAK (10,881') 12X, JOBS SISTER (10,823') 7X, JOBS PEAK (10,633') 7X July 22, 2009
Gaining a travel op, I quickly made some plans for trying to re-instill some confidence in my own peak climbing. I haven't been doing very well at altitude, recently, so I'd try these local high peaks. I felt also that my waking up early was helped by being on the road. So, I'd stay overnight before my triple climb, and hopefully get some acclimation, too.
I'd done these peaks all together a few times previously, but never before solo. I surmised that my peaks guide needed some checking, and I'd make some discoveries. I have long heard that there was a trail to the top of Freel Peak, now, and since I have to personally check it, I could make no updates to my peaks guide till now.
So, I left home Tuesday afternoon to motor east on Interstate 80. I'd see what was new in Reno, NV, and perhaps buy some new items at my favorite enviro outdoor clothing store. Getting there by about 4:45 p.m., I got a new organic cotton T-shirt. It was cool enough to do the short hike to the top of the nearby hill, so I did that. Then, I sought to do some fine dining at my favorite three casino complex, but the lines discouraged that.
Motoring south along U.S. 395, I noticed the new highway bridge being built along the Sierra canyons. It was huge, and a sight to see! Then, I took the freeway that now goes east about Carson City, NV, and ends at U.S. 50. I motored back west to the town's former main road, and checked into my motel. At least, I'd get to see what I usually knew well when I traveled into Nevada.
Instead of great food, I got a burger, then later, a roast beef sandwich. A milk shake soothed my frayed nerves, not feeling too well this evening. I went to sleep early, and had to get up to drink water. To conserve power, I had shut off the room a/c, then turned it on again. I was uncomfortable.
Surprisingly, I got up at 6 a.m. I went straight for my breakfast sandwich and a large diet cola drink. Then, it was south along U.S. 395, again, and then to NV 88. This turns into CA 88, and climbs into the Sierra. I stopped for more drink, then took the dirt road 051 off CA 89 into the approach canyon. The dirt road was very rough at first, and I thought to cancel. I knew that it became better, so continued. I motored ever so slowly, trying not to hit rocks or scrape my finish. Wide bodied vehicles may incur some swipes by the overgrown brush. It took awhile, but I got to my parking area next to the side road that leads to the trail.
Some mosquitoes made me rush, but I started hiking at 8:15 a.m. It was already warm, and I didn't need anything clothing-wise but my hat, T shirt, and shorts, all day. I had three liters of water and a can of diet soda.
Shortly coming to the junction with the
Tahoe Rim Trail, I took a short rest, drinking some water. Hiking
up the TRT trail to the east, I snapped several close-ups
of the wildflowers. This was nothing especially new, but I like
doing short stops to enjoy the floral beauty. After about two
hours, I came to the high saddle and saw the sign for the new
Freel Peak Trail. This made for a rest. If the thin air got me,
I'd head back this way. Many people get affected by being above
The new peak trail had rock steps and switchbacks. It closely followed the route of the former use trail, and a nice surprise was a rock knife edge of sorts above some cliffs. I snapped many more close-ups of the wildflowers, and savored being here, doing this. One other hiker had come down, with more hiking into town for him. This was the only other person that I saw all day up here. Then, in some 3:10 from the start, I topped out.
All of the peaks today had registers. I looked through all of them, to see who has climbed these peaks. Mostly locals. I did my usual vista captures, and worried a bit about running out of water. It was pretty warm, and I had no need for additional clothing. I had my heavy day pack, although pretty used to it, now. Drinking my can of cold soda, that perked me up a bit.
Setting out for the next peak, Jobs Sister, I took a use trail that followed a pipeline down the hill. I recalled that there was a better trail down, but I was now committed to this steeper trail straight down.
The use trails are all quite visible, and I quickly traversed eastward to climb the 400' gain to the top of Jobs Sister. I was wondering if I was hearing voices, but I saw no one else. After taking pictures and looking at the register, which was bent up, so hard to photograph, I saw a scree trail down the side of Jobs Sister, headed to Jobs Peak. This was sandy and steep, and was the most dangerous part of the route today. I had to be cautious, not wishing a freak accident, like a slip on sand over smooth rocks. I found then that I was really totalling my old lightweight boots, with a large part of each of my soles worn out. The highly traveled use trail down was easy to follow, though, and soon I was at the low saddle between the two latter peaks.
Another scree trail led up, on the eastern side of the main ridge, then it petered out. I climbed upward and found another scree trail, higher. So, pretty much, you can stay on a trail or use trail all of the way in bagging these three peaks.
Atop Jobs Peak, the view of the Carson Valley below was clear, and I shot many photos. You don't see so much of Lake Tahoe, from here, but thunderheads were developing over the High Sierra, further south. Dramatic, for me.
I looked about the class 2 summit crags, but found no register there. As I was going over lower for a better view to Genoa, NV, I saw an ammo box hidden in a rockpile, near where the use trail leads and ends. So, I spent time looking through the book. I didn't want to start down so early in the afternoon, as I knew it would be hot below. But the mountain winds helped with the cooling, so I started down.
I found a pretty good, moderately used,
use trail that seemed to be worth exploring.
It led south, then straight down the hill. Maybe two decades ago,
I surmised they were building a trail, with plastic tape marking
a way. So now, it is done. It empties out on a side road that
connects with the main road up this canyon. I kept notes for my
peaks guide, with now an easier way to bag Jobs Peak.
I came down to the dirt roads, noting the junctions, and then spoke with a camper and his dogs. Snapping more photos as record, I shortly then came back to my car at 5:21 p.m. Three peaks, again! Many other hikers do this traverse, by the register entries, but probably none as aged and crazy as I am!
Motoring out slowly and carefully, I was back to the paved highway, then back in Meyers, CA, getting some drink. I liked my car zooming down U.S. 50, seeing Horsetail Falls was still going good. I got a footlong pastrami sub with more drink, then admired the nice red clouds during the sunset.
Home by about 9 p.m., I carried my gear in, and got to the downloading. I captured some 540 images, and hiked a total of maybe 12 miles with 4,000' gain. I drove 325 miles, and spent about 76 dollars total, not including gas.
So now I have the proof that I am reasonably fit, and more adjusted to altitude. If someone comes forward, I may be game for a High Sierra peak bag. Though now, I hope to occupy my summer bagging easier peaks, then repeat my Utah fall colors road trip, doing now digital photography.
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