Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day Hike To Alta Peak

Alta Peak
 (Elevation 11,208’)

Dale Matson

Hike Route From Wolverton To Alta Peak

A recent hike to Pear Lake reminded me of a day hike to Alta Peak a few years ago with a couple of Fresno friends Jim and Chris. It was late September and the annual storms had not replenished the mountain snow yet. As I reviewed the photographs, it reminded me of how, once above tree line, the stark granite dominates all that the eyes behold. The morning air was typical for Sequoia Park with a brownish layer of haze and pollution hanging over the horizon. The best opportunities for photographs were in the afternoon.

 The Ubiquitous Pack Trains Along The Trails

 Morning Haze Along The Great Divide

 Jim Leading Chris Up The Trail

The hike to Alta Peak begins from the same Wolverton trailhead (elevation 7,300’) south of Lodgepole on the General’s Highway as the Pear Lake Hike. Wolverton is about 2 hours ESE of Fresno taking highway 180 east and the General’s Highway south to Wolverton. The overall hike is about 14 miles round trip with about 4,000’ of elevation gain. In addition to the summit views, one can see the great divide along the route. Unlike the hike to Pear Lake, do not depend on water resupply sources along the way to Alta Peak. I recorded the hike time as 4 hours up, 1 hour on top and 3 hours down. While this is not as much altitude gain as the Half Dome hike or as much distance, it was not much less strenuous because Alta Peak is over 2,000’ higher than Half Dome. The “walk up” near the top is not what a friend told me. There is a considerable amount of bouldering near the end which reminds me of the exposed feeling one gets on Mt. Hoffman in Yosemite.

 Me In One Of My Favorite Shirts

 Pear Lake

 Pear And Emerald Lakes
 Chris Dwarfed By Tharp Rock
 On Top Of Alta Peak

When we did this hike, I didn't have a telephoto lens on my camera but the ranger cabin can be seen from Alta peak in addition to Pear Lake and Emerald Lake. Tharp Rock is an obvious landmark along the way. Those who have a fear of edges may be uncomfortable along portions of the trail near Panther Gap.

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