Friday, July 29, 2016

Overnight Hike To Mott Lake From Edison Lake CA

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Hike Route

 Edison Lake Ferry 

 Devil's Bathtub Is In The Arena Formed By The Mountains
 Mono Creek

 Creek Crossing The Trail

 My Tent Location

 Waterfall on East Side Of Mott Lake
Snow Still Evident
 Heading Back To The VVR On The Ferry
Morning Photograph Of Mott Lake

Mott Lake details: elevation 10,072’. The distance is about 15 miles round trip from the boat landing at the east end of Edison Lake. The elevation gain is about 2,650’ overall with nearly all the gain outbound. My hike time was about 6 hours outbound and 6 hours inbound the following day. I paid $25.00 for the round trip ferry and overnight parking. The money is well spent. It would have been an additional 10 miles of hiking if I had begun and ended at the Mono Creek Trailhead instead of taking the ferry.

My friend Mike Phillips recommended the hike and I opted to do it instead of an overnight at 4th recess lake on the Mono Creek Trail. It was a good decision. The other hike would have been too ambitious for me.

Riding the 9am ferry is a ½ hour social event where you chat with folks who are returning to the JMT/PCT from their stopover at Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). Others are just out for a day hike and will return on the 5:30pm return run to the VVR. Special trips can be arranged for extra money. We were dropped off at the east end of the lake and followed Cairns through a campground to the Mono Creek Trail. The drop-off point changes as the water level drops throughout the summer.

After about a mile and a half, there is a junction with the JMT. Heading northbound toward Silver Pass both trails run together until the Mono Creek trail heads east toward Mono Pass. Continuing north on the JMT there will be a sign for Mott Lake at the Junction. The Mott Lake trail heads northeast. On the Tom Harrison map the trail is indicated by dots instead of dashes. It is a trail that is rarely, if ever maintained and it is discouraging to see such a steep trail heading up and away from the JMT. Don’t be discouraged; the worst of the climb is the initial part.

The first part of the climb is dry, with the creek far below the trail. You have to pay attention as you step over deadfalls and cross open granite slabs. There are helpful stones and Cairns placed for guidance. When you finally reach Mott Lake, there are a few established campsites above on the west side of the lake. There is a nice waterfall that can be seen and heard on the far side of the lake. Because of fatigue and time limitations, I set up my tent, stayed the night and headed back the following morning after taking more photographs. I used a Sony A7R2, a Zeiss 18mm 2.8 and 85mm 1.8 for the photographs.

My recommendation would be to spend at least two nights at Mott Lake and do day hikes to Rosy Finch Lake, Bighorn Lake and or Blue Jay Lakes if you are good at off trail navigation and a fit climber. Just remember to be back at the ferry landing by about 5 pm for the ferry pickup unless you want to add another 5 miles of hiking.

I got to the landing about 3pm and others gradually showed up. The clouds began to gather and we heard distant thunder. The ferry was “storm delayed” until 7:30pm. Of the 15 or so folks, none decided to hike the additional 5 miles to VVR on the Mono Creek Trail on the north side of the lake. We went from being prospective passengers to being a support group. Not everyone was prepared to spend the night there. When we finally saw the ferry approaching we all gave a cheer as if we were being rescued not picked up.

A video slideshow with additional graphics is available on YouTube.  


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