Trip Report
High Sierra- old school style
Wednesday July 3, 2013 9:34pm
Ok, it is finished now!
Dudeman inspired me to share with his Lone Pine TR.

Vital Statistics:
Objective- Mt.Brewer (13,570')
Total # of Days- 5
Total Mileage- ~45 mi.
Total Elevation Gain- ~11,000'
Total Pack Weight- 42lbs.(Including water, a bear canister, and 5 days food)
Total # of rest days- 0
Total # of People encountered beyond Bubbs Creek- 0

At the end of the school year I was ready for a High Sierra fix. So I headed for the Great Western Divide in Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP.

Day 1: (June 2, 2013)
Got a late start this morning while I waited for my new camera to charge up. Hit the trail at 10:30 AM. Saw 2 big rattle snakes on the trail before I made the first 4 miles to Bubbs Creek footbridge. It was fricking hot out.
Looking down Bubbs Creek towards Roads End
Looking down Bubbs Creek towards Roads End
Credit: Reeotch
Next was about 3 miles of switchbacks and stairs in the blazing sun.
Credit: Reeotch
Credit: Reeotch
North Guard looming
North Guard looming
Credit: Reeotch
At Sphinx Creek the trail continues to Avalanch Pass. I continued, off trail following Sphinx Creek. This is where the hiking really gets burly- steeper, talus, bushwhacking, route finding. I made it about 1 - 2 miles up Sphinx Creek before I found a bivy spot above 9,000'.
~8 miles, ~4000' elevation gain.

Day 2:
Early start today. I was anxious to get up into the alpine. More steep convoluted hiking, but beautiful. I lost count of all the lakes I passed. They are infested with trout, too!
Skirted around the toe of the west ridge coming off North Guard, and then up to a col (~12,000') which gave entry to the cirque that lies between North Guard and Brewer. Found a nice bivy spot on the edge of a marsh. The mosquitos weren't too bad yet at 11,800.
This day wasn't that long, but it was all off trail with a lot of talus and some 3rd class. Plus, I was still aclimatizing.
~6 mi., ~3,000' elevation gain, all XC.

One of the Sphinx lakes
One of the Sphinx lakes
Credit: Reeotch
Approaching the 12,000' col
Approaching the 12,000' col
Credit: Reeotch
Looking south from the col. Weather moving in, time to go down!
Looking south from the col. Weather moving in, time to go down!
Credit: Reeotch
Mt. Brewer, looking surly
Mt. Brewer, looking surly
Credit: Reeotch
The digs
The digs
Credit: Reeotch

Day 3:
Up the west ridge of Brewer, a 3rd class enduro-fest. The summit block looks intimidating from some angles but is not bad at all. I spent over an hour on the summit just soaking it all up.
~5 mi., ~1,700' Elevation Gain.

Looking back at the col I crossed on day 2.
Looking back at the col I crossed on day 2.
Credit: Reeotch
Lake at the toe of the W.Ridge, at ~12,000' (photo taken 6/4/13)
Lake at the toe of the W.Ridge, at ~12,000' (photo taken 6/4/13)
Credit: Reeotch
Credit: Reeotch
Summit block (yikes!)
Summit block (yikes!)
Credit: Reeotch
Credit: Reeotch
Mt. Whitney from the summit of Brewer
Mt. Whitney from the summit of Brewer
Credit: Reeotch

Day4:
This was the real crux of the trip. Instead of going back the way I came, I decided to bust it down Brewer Creek to Cloud Canyon and the Roaring River Ranger Station. That section involved about 7 miles, most XC, and about 4,000' drop in elevation. From Roaring River I had 8.5 miles to Sphinx crossing, up and over Avalanch Pass gaining 2,500' in the 6 miles from Roaring River to the Pass. Got to Sphinx crossing at dusk after a 12 hour hike.
15 mi., 2.500' elevation gain, ~5,000' elevation loss.

Big Brewer lake is full of phat phishes <br/>
&#40;nice 800' wall in the b...
Big Brewer lake is full of phat phishes
(nice 800' wall in the background)
Credit: Reeotch
The nice 800' wall
The nice 800' wall
Credit: Reeotch
Oh sh!t, I didn't think it was THAT far!
Oh sh!t, I didn't think it was THAT far!
Credit: Reeotch

Day 5:
Well, the marathon on day 4 payed off. All I had now was a leisurely stroll back down the switchbacks, stairs and rattle snakes back to Roads End. I got back to the trailhead at 10:30 AM and treated myself to a dip and a beer. Then I did the tourist thing on the way out of the park.
~9mi., ~3,000' elevation loss.

Swimming anyone?
Swimming anyone?
Credit: Reeotch
Hope you enjoyed my TR. Please leave a comment.
Hope you enjoyed my TR. Please leave a comment.
Credit: Reeotch






  Trip Report Views: 3,407
Reeotch
About the Author
Rich Ludwig is a climber, biker and adventurer currently residing in Kayenta AZ on the Navajo Nation where he teaches high school biology.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2013 - 12:35am PT
Fixed it!
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 3, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Figure out the kinks, I want more!!!
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
  Jul 3, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
looks like a great trip so far! happy to see the rest


Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2013 - 12:50am PT
BBST

The W. Ridge of Brewer starts alllll the way on the right hand side.
The W. Ridge of Brewer starts alllll the way on the right hand side.
Credit: Reeotch
2 l l

Sport climber
Rancho Verga, CA
  Jul 4, 2013 - 02:09am PT
Much respect.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jul 4, 2013 - 03:05am PT
That was a beauty of a walk. Ya know how to talk the walk, too.

"Reeotchly rewarding & trippingly reported & a fine gallery."
jstn

Trad climber
monrovia, ca
  Jul 4, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Bitchin, Man! I like your style!
JOEY.F

Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
  Jul 4, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
Comment?
Stout and Burly come to mind. Congrats and thanks for some high stoke!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Jul 4, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
GORGEOUS!!!
Thanks for going to all the trouble of posting. I loved it.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 4, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
Freakin' sweet!
MisterE

climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 4, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
Sounds like a great trip, Rich! Great pictures and nice write-up.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jul 4, 2013 - 06:23pm PT
Nice! luv your style.....
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
  Jul 4, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
Soooper Sweet!

Just like the old days, eh, Rich?
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 4, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
Awesome trip! I've been wanting to get to sphinx lakes and now I do even more. Head back to the pool in the picture at the end at dusk and the brown trout bite like crazy!

Thanks for taking us along into one of the most remote areas in the state!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 4, 2013 - 06:54pm PT
Keep on rock in' in the free world!
Swifter

Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
  Jul 4, 2013 - 07:01pm PT
Beautiful account of a beautiful trip. Photos (especially of the High Sierra lakes) made me homesick (for the hills.)

Kayenta? Teacher? If you ever run into Esther Peaches or Jim Crittenden say HI!

Bob
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Jul 4, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
Remote part of the park for sure! Nice report and pics! Thanks!
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
Oh yeah Bob, I know both Jim and Esther. Jim retired last year and moved back to Wisconsin, or somplace like that.
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
  Jul 5, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
Very nice. I could use a trip like that, but it's good to live vicariously.

mhay

climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 5, 2013 - 06:34pm PT
Right on! Walking and 3rd-classing in the Sierra is a sweet time. Will you be working for OB Cal this summer while you're in the area?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 6, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Thanks!

Great ramble thru seldom-seen country, so it's a real treat to follow along, feel your footsteps on steps and slabs, spy on all the phat trout and be daunted by that -- will it topple? -- summit block.

Much appreciation,
Doug
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Jul 6, 2013 - 06:01pm PT
Excellent outing and thanks for the TR
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  Jul 6, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
glide like Clyde -- nice
Hendo1

Trad climber
Toronto
  Jul 6, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
Great trip. I'm jealous.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 6, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
"Running Talus" for sure. Way to go and get lost man. Thanks for the great photos. That summit block looks sporty! Excellent advenure. Looks like a trout derby back there too. See you out there sometime.

Scott
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 6, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Great report, makes me want to get out to Brewer and both Guards even more now.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
  Jul 6, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
Dude, that's the way to do it. Going solo and with a tarp, nice and light, I love it.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Jul 6, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
Rich is the king of light.

well done and thanks for the stoke bro!

what new camera did you get?


Big Brewer lake is full of phat phishes

so we should have a SushiFest up there?
QITNL

climber
  Jul 7, 2013 - 01:51am PT
Thanks, that's my kinda climbing. Solo, figuring it out as you go, and a beer at the end of the road. Looks awesome, I want to get out there.

Interesting history, too.

First ascent: July 2, 1864 by William H. Brewer and Charles F. Hoffmann

"Saturday, July 2, we were up at dawn, and Hoffmann and I climbed this cone, which I had believed to be the highest of this part of the Sierra. We had a rough time, made two unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit, climbing up terribly steep rocks, and at last, after eight hours of very hard climbing, reached the top. The view was yet wilder than we have ever seen before. We were not on the highest peak, although we were a thousand feet higher than we anticipated any peaks were. We had not supposed there were any over 12,000 or 12,500 feet, while we were actually up over 13,600, and there were a dozen peaks in sight beyond as high or higher!

Such a landscape! A hundred peaks in sight over thirteen thousand feet—many very sharp—deep canyons, cliffs in every direction almost rivaling Yosemite, sharp ridges almost inccessible to man, on which human foot has never trod—all combined to produce a view the sublimity of which is rarely equaled, one which few are privileged to behold."

from Up and Down California in 1860-1864;
The Journal of William H. Brewer
http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/up_and_down_california/

MOUNT BREWER From a sketch by Charles F. Hoffmann:
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
  Jul 7, 2013 - 02:41am PT
This TR brings back great memories and past aspirations to see more of this part of the Sierra. The Great Western Divide, of which Mt. Brewer is the "Head Honcho," I think, is the largest sub-range not connected to the crest in the Sierra Nevada. I used to venture up there when I lived in Fresno and found it to be as praiseworthy and rugged as any area of the range, including Middle Fork of the Kings.

In 1973 or 74, I got cajoled into leading a Tehipite Chapter Climbing Section trip to Mt Brewer over an ordinary weekend, leaving Friday night, returning Sunday. That trip remains at the top of my list of the hardest, most grueling weekend accents I can remember. I distinctly recall the huge boulder field below the pass on the way to the final summit accent where the boulders were each the size of a train car. It took forever to go half a mile. Great TR! I wish I had the time for such a fine solo.

Here's the Brewer summit from my trip:
Credit: Pat King
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jul 7, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Total Mileage- ~45 mi.

Crap, maybe that's why I never did an approach from the west. You are a monster.

My favorite pic is "Approaching the 12,000' col." I love that terrain.
Bascuela

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
  Jul 7, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
So much awesomeness going on out of Road’s end!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Jul 7, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
Ain't the Sierra a beautiful mountain range? I spent way too much time in the Palisades and only visited Whitney once.

So I love seeing all of the photos in TR's like this one. The sunny summer of the Sierras are incredible.

Thanks for brightening my morning.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 7, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
Sweetness. The wife and I made it to Avy Pass two years ago but realized that three days weren't enough for people of our decrepitude. That haul up Sphinx Crk was a grind in 90 degrees.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Jul 7, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
TFPU
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jul 7, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
Fantastic, the southern Sierra is incredible.....TFPU
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Jul 8, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
bump
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 8, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Awesome TR, thanks, looks like a fun trip.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 8, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Sweet! I didn't think anyone hiked anymore.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 8, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
madness hiking up out of the heat at Road's End.

Burl factor 5
stumpyelle

Trad climber
southern CA
  Jul 9, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Great TR! Thanks
climbrunride

Sport climber
Golf Wall, CO
  Jul 10, 2013 - 12:16am PT
Great TR Rich. Looks like a great trip.
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
Great job!
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