Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kaiser Peak Hike 2016

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Hike Route
The parking area for this hike is below the pack station and there are no potties. The hike is from the trailhead above the D&F Pack Station on Deer Creek Road out of the Lakeshore area of Huntington Lake. It begins about 7,200’ and ends on top of Kaiser Peak at 10,320’. The hike is longer than most reports indicate. My Garmin Map 64 lists the length at 12 miles. It is three miles to the halfway point outbound at College Rock. (The Tom Harrison Map has the distance at 11.4 miles.)

 China Peak Above Huntington Lake

 Mountains Emerging At College Rock

 Trail Leading To First Of Two False Summits
 Banner Peak
 Huntington Lake

 Edison Lake
 Mammoth Mountain

 Mount Goddard

 Mammoth Pool (Note All The Dead Evergreens) 

 Granite Dome


 Grouse On Large Limb Near Trunk

Trail Runner Ally Far Below Me Headed Back

By the time you have reached College Rock, you will be about 9,000’. This is a strenuous and dry climb, which requires the hiker to bring all the water needed. I used about 2.5 liters (The seasonal steams are drying up quickly.)

I am old and slow. My return time was about the same as my outbound time with an overall time of about 8 hours. Ally the trail runner from Fresno, that I met at the top went by me in a flash inbound. Get an early start even though it may be a bit chilly. During the week, there is not much traffic and I only encountered four people during the time I was out. The route is well defined and the Sierra National Forest folks have cleared the winter deadfalls from the trail. There are mosquitoes so bring insect spray if you plan on resting at all along the trail. I recommend a nice Huntington Lake overlook about 2.4 miles up the trail as a rest stop.

If all else fails one could turn around here and head back. College Rock is also listed as a hike destination. By the time you get there, you can see the Sierra Nevada Mountains beginning to emerge on the horizon. The next three miles to Kaiser Peak is as difficult.

When you reach the top, there are several small lakes below including Jewell and College Lakes to the east and Bobby and Bonnie Lakes to the North. You can also see Mammoth Pool Reservoir (3,330’ elevation) to the east-northeast. You can see Edison Lake to the east.

It used to be 3 hours up and 2 hours down. This year’s time may indicate that this is one of my final day trips to Kaiser Peak. White bark is a great alternative with a similar view.

My photographs were taken with the Sony A7R2, The Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 and the adapted Canon Tamron 150-600mm lens. The Tamron lens is not what I would call a backpacking lens at 5.5 lbs. including case. The Tamron shots were 150mm, 300mm and 600mm. The focus is partly the problem of bad air with some shots covering 20-25 miles. I really like the Zeiss 85mm lens since it seems to reproduce the views as I remember them. Since Kaiser Peak is set apart from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it provides quite a panorama but anything less than 85mm makes the mountains seem too small.


1 comment:

  1. My friends Fred and Judy made this hike last week. The higher meadow is full of snow and much of the trail from that point is snow covered. Fred said the snow is hard packed and they used running shoes for the hike. It is snow free up to College Rock (9,000'). If you are not familiar with the trail route, make sure you have a GPS or map and compass. I would also consider at least carrying micro spikes.