MOKELUMNE PEAK (9,332') CLASS 2
Location: 9 miles S of Silver Lake, CA
Drive: Take Highway 88 to signed "Bear River Reservoir" Road, which is 7.5 miles west from the junction with the Mormon-Emigrant Road, or 6.4 miles east from Hams Station. Signs indicate "8N03" and "8." Drive south on new blacktop (2001), and in 1.9 miles, pass the side road left to the resort. Go straight, following signs to "South Shore Campground 1 Cole Creek 8." Cross the dams. The road is dangerously potholed from here, but far worse in the past, so watch your speed! Pass two campgrounds, and then, at a junction 1.8 miles past the far (south) end of the dams, go left and up, following the sign to "Cole Creek 5 1/2." After another 2.5 miles more, go straight at a junction following a sign, "Tanglefoot Trailhead 7." In 0.9 mile more, go right at a junction following a sign, "Tanglefoot Trailhead 6." In 2.4 miles more, go left at another junction following a sign, "Shriner Lake Trailhead 3 1/2 and "8N14." A sign here also advises, "dead-end road." In 0.2 mile, cross two one-lane concrete bridges where pavement ends and the road gets rough. Low clearance passengers vehicles are not recommended past this point, although with very careful driving, one could continue to the end of this route. The upper parts of this road were very overgrown in 2001, so if you have a new finish on your car, you may wish not to drive this route! After 0.3 mile past the bridges, go straight through a four-way junction, ignoring the spur roads signed "8N12" and "8N13." Ignore the two spur roads in the next 0.8 mile, after which one ignores the side road signed "8N14A." At a sign, "Tanglefoot Trailhead 2," some 9.2 miles from the dams, go left. Ignore the side road left, in another 1.6 miles, signed "8N24." In 0.3 mile more, ignore the curving, uphill, side road left. In another 0.4 mile, come to the signed "8N14E." Take a left on this narrow, overgrown road, driving 0.3 mile to the primitive parking area with a sign "Tanglefoot Trailhead Wilderness Boundary 1/4 Shriner Lake 1 1/2 Munson Meadow 9" and "Attention Wilderness Users Permit Required."
Climb: Take the trail past the signs. Shortly pass a Mokelumne Wilderness sign, and after about 1 mile, ignore the posted trail going left to Shriner Lake. Drop the 400-500 feet into Tanglefoot Canyon, following the trail. Cross the creek, and continue on the trail uphill. You will come to Moraine Lake, 4 miles from the start. A good campsite is located here. Continue along the trail, and after about 2 miles more, head cross-country east around the right (south) side of Pk. 8,628', or 8,651' (15' map), along a broad canyon. Do not climb too high, at first, and traverse low around the bump, avoiding the higher, brush-covered, south-facing slopes. There is a good, walkable, forested bench roughly 300 feet below the ridge. If you do this right, no heavy brush is encountered. Once past the bump 8,628', gain the peak's west ridge quickly, and follow it right (east) with fairly easy walking to the rocky, class 2 summit mass, which is taken directly up to the highpoint.
Drive: Take Highway 88 to the 4WD road south from Tragedy Springs, which is 2.8 miles west from Silver Lake or 4.8 miles east from the Mormon-Emigrant Trail junction. Take the 4WD road to Plasse Trading Post (you will need an USFS off-road vehicle map) and then to the signed Wilderness Boundary and trailhead.
Climb: Take the trail south and straight ahead. Navigate your way, using a good map, basically south, with a few junctions. Good trails can be taken to the north ridge of the peak. Leave the trail at its highpoint here, and climb cross-country over easy terrain along the north ridge to the obvious top.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: Route A is closed during the winter, so Route B is the likely choice. Roads can be followed past Mud Lake, or more directly, up and down over three major ridges to the north base of the summit mass. This apparently has been day-toured, but this is probably best done as an overnight tour. The heavily forested terrain will provide plenty of fuel for that snowcamp fire to stay up during the long winter night.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 3,200 feet gain with an additional 500 feet gain on the return, 7-8 miles one way; Route B, 2,000 feet gain, with an additional 1,000 feet gain on the return, 6-7 miles one way; winter ski ascent, very roughly, 2,500 feet gain with an additional 1,500 feet gain on the return, 10+ miles one way.
Notes: This peak is a major highpoint of the Mokelumne Wilderness, and is visible from a few points on the drive to the trailhead, as well as on the hike, seen as the prominent and distinct peak. It can also be seen from many points along Highway 88.