South Guard (13,231'), Mt. Genevra (13,054'), and Mt. Ericsson (13,583') July 1-4, 1988
This trip started with some interest by a few hangers-on from the old local peak sections. I enlisted them to assist my working on my SPS Senior Emblem, for which I needed only a few more peaks to climb. I wanted two peaks in the Kings-Kern Divide, and then later, my final Emblem peak, Mt. Clarence King.
I allowed another person to get the wilderness permit. We met at the Road's End trailhead, our route being the Bubbs Creek Trail. We suffered a delay, then got a late start. Thus, we didn't get to base camp, 15 miles up the trail, at beautiful Lake Reflection. One hiker wasn't feeling well, too, so we stopped at the lower Junction Meadow.
The next morning, I sounded my wake-up call. They didn't hardly move. I readied, and then the stated time to hike rolled about. Not wishing to miss my peak for the day, I told them to go to Lake Reflection, meet me there, and make our new base camp.
Hiking up the trail, I passed a view of the East Ridge of Mt. Brewer. Hiking the left shore of Lake Reflection, I had to do some "underwater class 3 climbing" to get about a cliffed lakeshore. Then it was up, with a view back to Lake Reflection, and then to a nice alpine lake basin. It is mostly cross-country toward Longley Pass. I avoided some snow by climbing to the right, on some class 3 rocks.
Making the summit of my first peak, South Guard, just fine, I snapped a few photos. Then, it was back to Lake Reflection. There, the others stated to have gone after me, but lost their way. They just didn't believe in an early start. One later complained about them being "forced" to do the peaks that I wanted. I'll gladly help them climb any peak, so long as I can carpool, but they're not the dedicated peak climber type that I am.
The next day was a big day--two peaks. We hiked up a use trail to Milly's Footpath, and found it to be loose rock, but easy climbing. One hiker injured herself by taking a bad route. Some hikers will try to gain elevation gradually, by doing a steady, upward angling traverse. That wasn't so smart.
We reached the pass, then scrambled to the top of Genevra. One hiker stayed below to do just the passes. I snapped many photos of the view, being such a remote peak. Some of my companions say that I'm wasting my film and money. I think it's all fantastic.
We climbed down to the flatter area, south of the divide, with a few small lakes. We were in the upper Kern River basin, and on our way to Mt. Ericsson. It looked dubious, so I went ahead to scout. I signaled to come along, and I had to wait, quite the time. Daylight was running out, and I really needed this peak.
They refused then to climb it, having a hard enough time on the previous pass and peak. We all had to descend Lucy's Footpath, which didn't look too good, by them. I told them to head back for camp, a major risk, since they had gotten lost the day before.
Summiting Ericsson solo at 5 p.m., I enjoyed the late afternoon vista. Trying to shoot a few panoramas, I also read the register. I was almost resigned to whatever happened. I stayed awhile, then headed down. No rescue possible, that day, for me, so I used great caution. I made it down from the footpath, to a snowfield through some talus. That gave me a nice snow walk instead of rock hopping. The sun's rays streamed over a mountain lake. Finding a use trail, I made it back to camp, by 8 p.m. The others were there, a bit angry. Not being very good navigators, they did have to think for themselves.
That was it for me. They all were too beat to hike out with me, so they'd go out on their own. Some assertion of being abandoned. I knew they could make it out, with good, downhill, trail all the way, and then, one of them was even going to solo Brewer. I had to get back to work. My last look at Lake Reflection was for me, memorable.
My 15 mile hike out went fine in eight hours, and soon I was motoring through Fresno, and then back home.
I had done some 40 miles, with 13,000' gain. I shot eight rolls of Kodachrome. No bears, or large animals.
The next month, I was to join a SPS trip to do my final peak requirement, and celebrated my safe, glorious achievement. Much later, I had hoped to obtain the new SPS Master Emblem, but with no partners, I may never reach that peak goal. A week's climbing would do it, for me, but now, after a decade of seeking, I may have to forget it. Feeling to be somewhat of a pariah due to my continued, safe, successes, and despite the thrill of slight personal endangerment, by some, I began doing other things besides bagging High Sierra peaks.
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