LEAVITT PEAK (11,569'), STANISLAUS PEAK (11,233'), AND BLACKHAWK MOUNTAIN (10,348') September 9-11, 2000
Meeting at Sonora Pass at 8 a.m. Saturday, I joined this weeklong SPS trip to the Northern Sierra. Enroute, I had shot a picture of snowy Round Top, then the largest Sierra wave formation I have seen. Also, some of the other peaks had gotten some new snow a few days ago.
We started at 8:50 a.m. to take the Pacific Crest Trail south to the east slopes of Leavitt Peak. I topped out at 12:23 p.m. The views were good, with Lyell, Banner, and Ritter visible to the south. We ten signed in the register, then headed back the same way.
Some red color showed itself in the cliffs below the peak.
Also, a still icy lake was spotted below to the east of the crest.
We found a primitive car campsite a mile or two east along Highway 108. We had a campfire, and relaxed. This night was a bit chilly for me.
Going back west along Highway 108 the next day to the St. Mary's Pass Trailhead, we started at 8:30 a.m. to climb to the pass, and then contour on a use trail to Stanislaus Peak. We encountered three other peak climbers from the south Bay Area. Trying to induce others to see the vertical granite chutes and snowfield, below, to the east, I climbed up there to advise the group on the route up the final 700' climb. I summited at 11:33 a.m.
After a short stay, we downclimbed the short class 2 south cliff, and then declined to bag nearby Sonora Peak.
Motoring west down Highway 108 to Kennedy Meadows, we secured a campsite. The others dined well, I hear, in the resort restaurant.
Only three of us started at 7:13 a.m., Monday, for our long, one day climb of Blackhawk Mountain. I remembered very little from a backpack in 1982. The trail first ascends through a spectacular gorge, with a high bridge. I unknowingly got ahead of the others, so we wondered for a bit where we all were. I waited at a trail junction, then the other two came by. We made good time up the trail, on which I had gone the other way in 1972, while doing the complete Tahoe-Yosemite Trail, 186 miles long.
Coming to Lunch Meadow, we headed cross-country to a granite ridge that leads southwest to the top. We became separated again, but all regrouped on the summit at 1:43 p.m. The views were clear and gorgeous. I took a lot of pictures. The registers were interesting. Only real Sierra Club peak baggers would go all this way to do this peak.
We left the top at 2:09 p.m. to try a more direct route back. Going north, connecting up with a few lake chains, Blackhawk and Lewis Lakes, we regained the trail about two or two and a half miles down from where we initially left it on our ascent.
The sandy trail went quickly for us, and we took brief breaks together to enjoy the late afternoon. I was back to my car at 7:35 p.m., about dark. This was a 22 mile, 4,800' gain round trip. Badly needing a shower and food, I left the group to drive west to Sonora (60 miles) and then home. My plan was to rejoin the group later in the week.
My total stats were some 40 miles hiked, with 9,400' gain.
I considered doing Blackhawk Mountain, taking notes, a coup for my peaks guide. This was the last SPS listed peak whose route description wasn't, till now, officially addressed in a guidebook.
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