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Welcome to this edition of

California Mountain Adventures!!

In this adventure I head up into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and spend a couple days at...

Summit Lake!!

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After waiting out the rainstorm at the hot springs in the Long Valley Caldera I headed south on route 395 for my next adventure. I left the 395 in Big Pine and drove up Glacier Lodge rd. to one of my favorite areas in the eastern Sierra Nevada. The Big Pine Lakes basin!! From the trailhead at Glacier Lodge I headed up the North fork of Big Pine Creek. I hiked up passed First falls, Second Falls, and the Lon Chaney cabin. Through the golden Aspens in Cienega Mirth to the junction with the Black Lake trail. I took the trail up to Black lake and then I stopped for a break there to try some trout fishing in the lake.

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Looking up the South fork just before turning up into the North fork

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Hiking through Golden Aspens in Cienega Mirth

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Views from the Black Lake trail

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Black lake

From Black lake I continued up the trail to Fourth lake and tried a few more casts there. Then I headed around the north side of Fourth lake to the junction with the Summit lake trail and then up to Summit lake. I found a nice spot to setup camp at Summit lake and then spent the rest of the afternoon fishing there.

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Fourth lake

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Fourth lake

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Summit lake

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My camp at Summit lake


Summit Lake timelapse


Summit Lake timelapse

The next day my goal was to climb to the summit of Sky Haven(12,840')! From Summit lake I headed up one of the many chutes on it's south face. It was steep and really loose and sandy which made for some fun "two steps up and one step back" kinda climbing. But the increasingly amazing views as I made my way up to the summit made it all well worth it. From the summit, the views of the Big Pine lakes basin and the entire Palisade range was absolutely incredible!! From Split mountain at the south end of the range to Mt. Agassiz at the north end, I had all the Palisades laid out before me.

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Morning glow at Summit lake

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Climbing one of the chutes on the south face of Sky Haven

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View of the Palisades from the summit of Sky Haven

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View looking east from the summit of Sky Haven

I spent lots of time on the summit enjoying the views, but it was still really early in the day so I decided to go bag a couple more peaks before heading back to camp. I headed down the west ridge of Sky Haven (which turned out to be a little more technical than I expected) to the saddle above Seventh lake and then up to the saddle between Cloudripper and Vagabond peak. First I climbed up to the summit of Cloudripper(13,525') which had quite a bit of fresh snow on it from the recent storm. Then I headed back down through the saddle and up to Vagabond peak(13,356')(aka Thunder and Lightning peak) my final summit of the trip. I spent quite awhile on the peak, contemplating all the amazing places all over the Sierra that I've gotten to see and all the incredible experiences that I've had on my adventures.

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Vagabond peak and Thunder and Lightning lake from the west ridge of Sky Haven

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Climbing Cloudripper

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The summit of Cloudripper

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Views from the summit of Cloudripper

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Me on Cloudripper

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Views from Vagabond peak

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Selfie on Vagabond peak

After thoroughly enjoying the views I headed down from the peak. I dropped down to Seventh lake, and caught the trail there and following it back over to my camp at Summit lake for one last night in the basin. It ended up snowing on me that night, but not much. The next morning was a beautiful clear morning. I packed up my camp and then made a shortcut directly from Summit lake down to Black lake where I caught the trail and then headed back down to the trailhead at Glacier lodge.

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Looking back up at Cloudripper from Seventh lake

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Looking back up at Sky Haven from the Seventh lake trail


Summit lake evening timelapse

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A beautiful morning at Summit lake

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Overlooking Black lake

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Back at Black lake

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Map (click to enlarge)

And that's going to be it for this


California Mountain Adventure!

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all photos by @derekrichardson


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