MT. FLORENCE (12,561'), FOERSTER PEAK (12,057'), ELECTRA PEAK (12,442') July 2-6, 1991

Signing up for this ambitious SPS climb, I left home a bit early. I stopped to shoot the sunset at Mono Lake's Navy Beach. The incredible sand tufa made for great photos, and I even captured the setting sun through a hole inside one of the formations.

At Tuolumne Meadows, where the leader had lawn-chaired his wait for the permit office to open, I met the small group to bag four or five Yosemite High Country peaks. Taking the John Muir Trail south, we backpacked to bag Vogelsang Peak (11,516') first. I had already climbed this minor peak, as a day hike, even. Two of us went ahead, over Vogelsang Pass, using good trail to find a nice camp to position ourselves for Florence Peak.

A fair spot next to a meadow along Lewis Creek proved fine, and I settled in for a good, relaxing evening. The three guys who bagged Vogelsang shortly arrived, and we had a nice camp evening.

Then, the next morning saw three of us headed up the west ridge of Florence Peak. It was arduous class 2 boulder-hopping, and we just bore with it. Upon reaching the top, I began shooting pictures of all the peaks about us. I read the register, and was surprised to see the names of some hikers from Northern California in there.

We came back to our packs, stashed about where we left the trail, and hiked onward to camp about the Lyell Fork of the Merced River for our double bag the next day. This is about as far as you can get, from highways or roads, in the Yosemite wilderness.

We started hiking at a good morning hour, with lots of climbing ahead of us. Foerster Peak went easily, with only some rocks and snow to cross. The view was about the same as for all the peaks, this long weekend. Descending to a swollen creek, we had a slight obstacle crossing it. Lots of runoff, this year!

Electra had a bit more scrambling, and it soon fell to our speedy group. I did a glissade headed down, and soon we were hiking westward, at the bottom of the lake basin or canyon, headed back to camp.

The others were to take a relaxing campout, or another peak day, but I opted to sign-off and pack out the 19 miles or so. I took pictures of one flowing cascade, and then I was passing Vogelsang High Camp. The menu was tempting, but I could soon get back to my car and have whatever I wished as I returned to the Central Valley.

I drove on home after getting back to our start. Nothing much comes to mind except another fine set of peaks right close to home. All of the peaks were class 2 or less. Plenty of mosquitoes and other insects. I didn't see any bears or even deer. There was lots of water this year. Plenty of unnamed and unmapped falls and cascades along the way. My usual gist, then, was to eat in Oakdale, CA, and then get home to ponder over what more peaks that I would do this summer.

A shameful point of note was revealed upon my inquiry to a hiker about her register entry. It led to a confession, that much of the group had turned back. Three of them went on to bag the peak, but it was held that all of them had summited.

I am aware that many hikers are risking SAR people and others if an incident occurred. We really do not need less than capable hikers to attempt any such difficult and risky climbing, all presumably for the badges or pins that some chapters award for peak achievements. But why such a deception would be necessary for an honor, not even worth anything, is well beyond me! Then, we have top local Club officers and their "experts." All way back then!