Arnot Peak, Boulder Mountain, Disaster Peak, Whitecliff Peak

30-Aug-91 (SPS Introductory Trip)

By: Gordon MacLeod, Neko Colevins


The Carson-Iceberg Wilderness Area was established in 1984 by the California Wilderness Act. Consisting of over 160,000 acres, it was named after the (Kit) Carson River and "The Iceberg", a granite Formation on the southern boundary. Much of this scenic area is dominated by volcanic ridges and peaks; there are numerous summits over 10,000', including 3 on the SPS list (Sonora, Highland and Disaster). Many of its streams flow through deep granitic canyons; the East Fork of the Carson River is the longest Sierran canyon east of the crest.

This Wilderness is located between Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass road) and Hwy 4, an appropriate area for an SPS joint trip with the Backpacking Section of the SF Bay Chapter, led by SPSer Tom McNicholas. Five participants From each group met Fri morning at Iceberg Meadows for a 4-day loop trip. After a 6-mile, 2400' backpack up the Clark Fork Trail, packs were dropped at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, from whence Boulder Mtn (9,381') was climbed by all participants. The PCT was then followed for 3 up-and-down miles to a camp on the East Fork of the Carson River.

Sat, after an easy river crossing, we backpacked 5.5 miles downstream to their next camp. En route, an interesting 3100' climb of Whitecliff Pk (11,233') was made.

Sun., after a wet (for some, at least) river crossing, the group backpacked 2'400' up Golden Canyon to a 9'400' pass, from where 7 climbed Disaster Pk (l0,047'), about a mile away. After backpacking down through Paradise Valley (so named BEFORE cows took it over), camp was made at the junction with the main fork of Disaster Creek. The next morning, most elected to backpack directly out; Gordon MacLeod, Barbara Lilley and Jerry Fuxa climbed Arnot Pk (l0,054') and then backpacked out the remaining 3 miles to the trailhead.

The weather was beautiful throughout the trip--dry, warm and clear--especially appreciated by Gordon and Barbara who were on their way back From an exceptionally rainy summer (200% of normal) of peak climbing in Colorado! However, the first in a week-long series of thunderstorms was in progress over Sonora Pass by late Monday afternoon.

Other participants were Kathleen Walsh (SF), Kristen Rutledge (SF), Mike Udkow (SF), Skip Ferry (SF) and Roy Magnuson (SPS) Although all newcomers except Jerry were from SF, most seemed to have gotten "peak-bagging" fever and expressed interest in climbing more SPS listed peaks.

Much of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness sees relatively few visitors. Although permits are required for overnight camping (self-service at some trail-heads), there are no quotas or campfire restrictions. There ARE cows, but not everywhere. With few bridges, some river crossings could he a problem in early season. A worthwhile hook, published by Wilderness Press, is "Carson-Iceberg Wilderness" by J. Schaffer.

SPS Trip Report Index | Sierra Peaks Section