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Cloudripper + Vagabond

June 2022

I originally intended to spend this weekend climbing Polemonium Peak, my last California Fourteener. But some lingering snow and bad weather forced me to postpone this trip. Instead, I opted for a mellow day trip up to Cloudripper and Vagabond Peak. Both of these peaks are in the same area and offer great views of the Palisade cluster. 


I set off around 7 a.m. from South Lake  walked along a water pipe for a mile or so. I was told that this approach would save me some miles and up and down on the official trail. I cut right to the main trail and tramped up to the lakes at the foot of Vagabond peak. The sky was gray all day, but the cool temperature made for pleasant walking. I left the trail and started scrambling up the Northern slopes of Vagabond. Eventually, the summit came into view and before long I was on top of it. There were a few interesting class three moves around the summit block that I probably could have avoided. From there, I dropped down a few hundred feet to the saddle between Vagabond and Cloudripper. In another thirty minutes or so, I found myself on Cloudripper’s summit, which offered striking views of the Palisades. Dense clouds were swirling around most of the summits in view, and the weather started looking a little more menacing.


Looking back on the broad slope up to Vagabond


From the summit of Vagabond Peak

I hoofed it back to Vagabond, and began my descent. It started to rain a bit, but not too terribly hard. As I navigated the gentle slopes back to the trail, I badly twisted my ankle on a pesky loose rock. After a few minutes sitting down and inspecting the damage, I cracked on, hardly able to feel my right foot. Eventually I made it to the car, with an ankle swollen to the size of a small grapefruit. I had a pretty dense schedule of peaks planned for the week, but instead headed to Pine Creek for some holistic Eastern (Sierra) Medicine — resting the ankle and soaking it in the creek. It is more or less operable at the time of writing.


The Palisades from the summit of Cloudripper

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