California Mountain Adventures - Cottonwood, Cirque, Miter, and Langley

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Welcome to this edition of

California Mountain Adventures!!

In this adventure @doverland and I explored Cottonwood Lakes basin, climbed Cirque peak, explored Soldier lakes and Miter basin, and climbed to over 14,000' elevation on the summit of Mt. Langley!!

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@doverland and I drove up Route 395 to Lone Pine, got our permits at the ranger station, and then headed up into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains to the trailhead at Horseshoe Meadows. We got our packs all put together and then headed up Cottonwood creek. The trail climbed up fairly gradually into the Cottonwood lakes basin. We hiked passed lake #1 and #2 and then continued up to Long lake where we made our first camp. After setting up camp I had some fun catching some Brook trout in the lake before making dinner and heading into the tent for the first night.

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The trailhead at Horseshoe Meadows

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Cottonwood Lakes basin

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Arriving at Long lake

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Cirque peak from Long lake

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Dusk at Long lake

The next morning we continued up the trail passed High lake and up to New Army pass. We left our gear at the pass and made the side trip up to the summit of Cirque peak(12,900')! The approach was kinda long but fairly easy. And the views from the summit were really awesome! Overlooking almost all of the Cottonwood lakes. After enjoying the summit we headed back to the pass, picked up our gear, and then dropped down the northwest side of the pass to the Soldier lakes. We made our second camp at the lowest Soldier lake and then I had some fun catching more fish!

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Passing High lake

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Me on Cirque peak

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Dropping down the backside of New Army pass

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Arriving at lower Soldier lake

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Our camp at lower Soldier lake

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Trout fishing

The next day we left our camp setup and went to explore the Miter basin. We climbed over the Major General's southwest ridge and into the basin. We crossed the basin and then climbed up to Iridescent lake. We had some lunch there and then crossed the east face of the Miter and over to Sky Blue lake. After another short break there we headed back across the basin and back over to our camp at the lower Soldier lake. When we got back we decided to pack up our camp and climb up to the uppermost Soldier lake and re-setup our camp there so we could get a little head start on our big climb up Mt. Langley the next day.

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Overlooking lower Soldier lake from the southwest ridge of Major General

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Crossing into Miter basin

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Miter basin

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Iridescent lake

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Comb ridge towering over Iridescent lake

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@doverland in front of the Miter

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Dropping down to Sky Blue lake

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Sky Blue lake

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@doverland hiking back across Miter basin

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Miter basin

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Miter basin

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Miter basin

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Arriving back at lower Soldier lake

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The upper Soldier lake

The next morning we got started early. We climbed up the really steep and sandy trail from the upper Soldier lake to meet with the main route up the mountain. We dropped our gear there and then climbed up and up and up. Following the big rock cairns all the way to the 14,027' summit of Mt. Langley!!! It was a big tough climb, but it wasn't anything technically difficult. We took pictures of the views, signed the peak register, and enjoyed some lunch on the summit. Then we headed back down, picked up our gear, and hiked over to Old Army pass. We descended the east side of Old Army to lake #4 and then headed over to lake #5 where we made our final camp for the trip.

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Early morning glow at upper Soldier lake

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Approaching the climb to Mt. Langley

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@doverland climbing up Mt. Langley

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Me on the summit of Mt. Langley

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Views looking southeast from the summit

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@doverland and I on the summit

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@doverland hiking to Old Army pass

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Arriving at Old Army pass

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Overlooking Cottonwood lakes #4 and #5 from Olds Army pass

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Cottonwood lake #5

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Cottonwood lake #5

On our final morning we packed up camp and hiked across Cottonwood lakes basin passed lake #3 and #1 and over to the South fork creek trail which we took back down to the trailhead at Horseshoe Meadows.

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Approaching Cottonwood lake #3

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Crossing Cottonwood lakes basin

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Looking down the South fork

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A big Meadow along the South fork

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The remains of an old cabin along the South fork

And that's going to be it for this


California Mountain Adventure!

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*all photos by @derekrichardson


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