RAYMOND PEAK (10,014') CLASS 2
Location: 4 miles N of Ebbetts Pass
Drive: Take Highway 88 to Blue Lakes Road, which is 2.5 miles west from Picketts Junction (west junction of Highway 88 and Highway 89) or 6.3 miles east from Carson Pass. Drive 10.8 miles south on the Blue Lakes Road to a major junction. Go left, following the signs, "Tamarack Lake 1 Wet Meadows Trailhead 4" and sign "097." Basically follow the main road eastward. Pass the PCT trailhead parking, and after 0.4 mile more, ignore a side spur marked "096." After another 0.7 mile, go straight at a junction where a left fork stops shortly at a lake. Stay on the main road, ignoring spurs. Come to a sign, "El Dorado National Forest Boundary." In another 0.6 mile, a sign states, "Entering Travel Restriction Area." Continue on good dirt road, and in another 0.4 mile, come to a T-junction. Signs here state, "Sunset Lakes 1/4 Wet Meadows Trailhead 1", and posts "097 (right)" and "204 (left)." Take the road left and after 0.1 mile come to the PCT crossing with the PCT logo on both directions. Park off the road at any nearby wide spot.
Climb: Take the signed PCT right (southbound). In a short fraction of a mile, come to a dirt road. The trail picks up across this road. Then come to a signboard, and self-serve permit station. The Mokelumne Wilderness boundary sign is placed just past here. Back a few feet before the signboard, a post marks a junction, the right trail going back to "Wet Meadows." Note this for your return. After about a mile or so from the trailhead, come to a saddle. Take the unsigned, indistinct jeep trail that heads right (southeast) to the base of the west slopes of Raymond Peak. Climb up steep, loose, class 2 slopes to cross over to the northeast side almost at the top. Some scrambling and short down-climbing may be necessary. The highpoint is the northernmost crag overlooking Raymond Lake.
ROUTE A ALTERNATE
Drive: Same as Route A.
Climb: From the saddle and the unsigned, indistinct, jeep road junction on Route A, continue on the PCT high trail about 2 miles. A post marks the junction with a trail that goes right (south) to Raymond Lake. Take this trail right, leaving the PCT. This lake, about a mile further, is a great base camp for backpackers. Work to the southeast of the lake, and ascend cross-country up the steep, northeast slopes of the peak, joining Route A near the top. You'll want to go to the left (south) of the highest summit crag.
Drive: Take Highway 4 to the PCT South trailhead, which is 0.4 miles east from Ebbetts Pass and 10.8 miles east from Bear Valley, or 4.9 miles west from Silver Creek Campground, and park.
Climb: Take the PCT North trail 0.4 mile west along Highway 4 from the PCT South parking lot. This can also be reached by starting on the PCT South trail and taking the right fork at a junction shortly. Take the PCT North trail a few miles to signed Pennsylvania Creek. Leave the trail and head cross-country up the steep, loose slopes on the southsoutheast side of the peak. Lots of hardpan and loose rubble will be encountered on this steep slope.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: A long ski approach will be necessary, as Highway 4 is not plowed. Ebbetts Pass is about 11-12 miles from the gate at the junction of Highway 4 and Highway 89. The Blue Lakes Road is not plowed either, so an approach from the north would be at least 13 miles one way. The road from Bear Valley can be used, along with a probable overnight stay. A shorter approach via Pleasant Valley from Markleeville may be feasible. Snowmobiles use Highway 4 quite heavily.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,100 feet gain, 3 miles one way; Route A Alternate, 2,400 feet gain with an additional 600 feet gain on the return, 6 miles one way; Route B, 2,200 feet gain with an additional 1,000 feet gain on the return, 6-7 miles one way; winter ski ascent, 4,500 feet gain, 9 miles one way from Markleeville.
Notes: Raymond and Reynolds can be a good double climb, with a drop between them on their east side of about 1,600 feet.