Chocolate Peak, The Hunchback, Esmeralda Peak, Hurd Peak, Notre Dame


By: Pete Yamagata


While buddy Steve Thaw and company were busy scrambling up Goode, Johnson, and Cloudripper, I took this early fall opportunity to climb a number of unlisted peaks in the South Lake area.

First to be climbed was easy Chocolate Peak (11,658'), a class 1-2 saunter from the saddle on the southeast. I didn't see the Ruwau Lake trail, so I passes it and headed from the south side of Ruwau Lake and then around to the undistinguished summit. There was a register as well as a nice view of the imposing west side of Cloudripper. I completed a loop by descending the trail through Chocolate Lakes.

Next came Hurd Peak (12,219'). Roper's guide doesn't mention the loose, steep, class 2-3 gully that I took up the east side of the peak, starting from Long Lake, but seems to be easier than the "class 3" route mentioned from Treasure Lakes. The famous Norman Clyde register was gone, reported missing in 1984 by a person revisiting the summit from 1978. There was a book going back to 1966, but it was full, so I placed a new book. Time up was 3 hours, down in 2.

Finally, I climbed "Notre Dame," christened in a register left by a SPS group led by Gordon McLeod (Peak 12,307'). This was easy cl. 1-2, gained from the Green Lake trail. I checked the ridge's three major bumps, looking for "Esmeralda (?) Peak," but found no other registers. I had to place a book and can on the Hunchback, where it appears that the glass jar had been destroyed. Time back was 2 hours.

Thanks go to Larry Tidball and group for their excellent support in providing the happy hour and food for Saturday night, including plenty of chips, fresh salsa, butter sauteed cheese quesadillas, guacamole, crab with tomato sauce and cream cheese, avocado dip, chicken salad, pot stickers, spicy refried beans, Pollo Loco chicken, and various cookies along with drink.

SPS Trip Report Index | Sierra Peaks Section