Sunday, September 30, 2012

Graveyard Peak

Graveyard Peak is an infrequently climbed peak in the Sierra Nevada wilderness above Lake Edison (in the eastern end of Fresno County, California). I'm not quite sure what prompted me to climb it, other than a request from my son Michael to climb a mountain this year before the cold weather set in. Graveyard Peak caught my attention as I glanced over several maps looking for possibilities. I'm very glad we climbed it. Not that it was easy - in fact it was quite difficult. But the view along the way, and especially at the top, was indescribable.

Michael, Jon and I left Fresno at 5:00 yesterday morning and drove to Shaver Lake to pick up my friend Chad. We then drove another couple of hours along winding mountain roads to the Devil's Bathtub (an alpine lake) trailhead. It is at a parking area on the west side of the Lake Edison dam. The walk to Devil's Bathtub lake took us a couple of hours and was quite pleasant. It is 4 and a half miles from the trailhead and only climbs about 1,400 feet - not that bad of an ascent. As far as nice alpine Lake go, Devil's Bathtub is something to experience. It is much larger than I expected and has several nice camping areas. And the view is beautiful. You can see the lake with Graveyard peak in the background (upper right corner) in the group picture (below). 

The hike from the lake up to Graveyard Peak (visible above the lake) is quite a different story. It goes up at a steep angle and there is no trail. You have to climb over 2,000 feet through stones and dwarf manzanitas. The last 1,000 feet is all boulders with a few sandy areas between. It isn't easy. There is a trail up to Graveyard Lakes that takes you closer to the peak than the scramble above Devil's Bathtub. But the climb from Graveyard Lakes to the peak is much too steep and dangerous to try unless you're an experience climber.

We didn't risk climbing the last 100 feet to the precarious summit from the ridge. We stopped at the point where I took the picture (above). But the view from ridge was beyond description. We counted over a dozen visible alpine lakes and the long chain of the Sierra backbone along with countless other ridges and forests. We didn't want to come down. 



Jon Quist said...

Nice pictures, Sam. I wish I could be on top again, only, without the workout!

Sam Wells said...

Thanks Jon. You were indeed impressive on the hike.