With bad weather in most parts of the range, I was forced to retreat to the Southern Sierra for one of my last trips of the season. I was heading to my friend’s ranch out this way anyways, so I figured I’d bag a peak while down there. I camped at Walker Pass Campground, meeting a very late season PCT hiker named Fenway that night. In the morning, I rose early for a summit attempt of Owens Peak. The approach was quite long, about eleven miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. I ran most of this section, save for a few steep sections of climbing. Eventually, I found myself at the base of the ridge leading up to the peak. I took a short break, and soaked in the beautiful morning light that drenched the valleys below. The vast desert landscapes of the Southern Sierra were a novel sight to me after months in the granite-laden high country of the range.
Owens Peak, and the prominent ridge I would ascend
I slowly slogged my way up the deceptively long ridge up to the peak. There were an impressive amount of cairns and ducks along the ridge, and I took the liberty of knocking a few down here and there in the spirit of adventure for the next climbers. My navigation up the ridge turned out to be suboptimal, and I had to negotiate a couple class two and three moves near the summit. I think dropping down to the right off the ridge proper would have resulted in easier terrain. Eventually, I found myself on the peak. It offered great views of Owens Valley and Ridgecrest to the east, and vast, undeveloped landscapes to the west. Before long, I was hoofing it back down to the PCT. Once on trail, I picked up a jog that continued all the way back to camp. I ran into Fenway on the way back, who seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly, despite the relentlessly increasing temperatures. Once back at the car, I scarfed down some trail mix, gulped down some water, and drove off to meet up with some old friends. This outing proved to be a wonderful way to spend a morning.
Summit views to the east
Summit views to the west