"We did have an enjoyable hike though, and learned a lot about the route. We had to park right at about 7000’ elevation, and hike all the way up to 11,900’ to get on the Paute plateau. We left at 9 am and by 3 pm were just below the plateau…on snow and ice about 40% of the way and all snow above 9000’. After deciding to turn back, it took about 3.5 hours to make the trip down to the car.
"If I try this again, I’d plan a couple of more hours to get up on to the plateau. Once there, I don’t know how long it would take to traverse over to Barcroft – it is about 4 miles. Coming down from Barcroft last year on snowshoes, the traverse took about 3 hours. To be safe, and accounting for fatigue, I’d want to leave about 5 hours for the traverse. This means planning on about 13 hours to get all the way up. This time of year, that means hiking in the dark, or spending the night. I think for peace of mind I’d bring a tent next time so that if I got too tired or it got dark, that I could sleep out on the plateau."
Notes from John Smiley, WMRS Associate Director
Pano of Sierra and clouds over valley, on the way up. (this is the only big photo - all the others are smaller)
The snow was pretty continuous above 9000' elevation.
We stopped for lunch at about 10,000' on the South end of a rocky ridge.
Terry Smiley puts on his skis.
We could see Mt. Barcroft off away to the north. Barcroft Station is located on the east flank of the mountain. Looks so close!
We turned around at 3 pm and headed down. This was a real test for Terry as he has never skied on icy snow with a backpack.
A turn was a workout with the backpack on.
But he made it down in one piece.
There are lots of rocky outcrops on the route, though you can mostly go around them to the side.
In the background are Mt. Sill, North Palisade and Mt Agassiz, with the gulf of the Owens Valley below.
There were dramatic clouds that day.
All in all a beautiful trip
But in winter, perhaps an overnighter even to get to Barcroft.