Mount Givens, Kaiser Peak, Pyramid Peak, Tioga Peak


By: Pete Yamagata

With the absence of SPS trips early this season, I took the opportunity to explore these non-listed, lesser Central Sierra peaks. On none of these ascents were ice axes, crampons, or any other climbing equipment necessary, making these "allowable" ascents for conditioning or just plain enjoyment, although there were occasional patches of snow.

Owen Maloy and I started from Coldwater campground at the end of the Lake Mary Road, and began on the signed "Mammoth Consolidated Mine" trail to head for Heart Lake. We left the trail shortly to head for a saddle on the NW ridge leading to the summit. Deer trails led us up nicely, but the ridge was tediously slow due to talus, and scrubby trees. The peak is the first high-point reached, not Pk. 11,728' which entails a deep, C1.3-4? Notch to traverse. Pyramid has a register placed 9-13-87 by the "Mammoth Lakes Group, Sierra Club," obviously before the Range of Light group was formed. It is also the high-point of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

The next day, I soloed Tioga, having to park by the Saddleback Lakes Road gate being locked. I walked on the road for about a mile and took the Gardisky Lake trail, which is marked by a "trail" sign, and its own parking. The maps are wrong, as the trail begins on the south side of the creek, and crosses the creek after about 1/4 mile. Once the trail levels off at the lake basin, one merely heads up the WNW ridge, following a scree trail mostly on the left side of the ridge. One register book dates back to 9-12-64, and I placed a book and cans. My round trip time was under 4 hours.

About a week later, Rose Certini and I were hiking up the Kaiser Peak trail above Huntington Lake, when Rose began to feel queasy. I dashed up the last mile and placed a new can and book; my prior 10-90 placement consisted of my rusted can and lid with no book.

The next day, we drove to Kaiser Pass, and walked up to the White Bark vista point (road was gated) and enjoyed the nice views. We continued SE, following a jeep road, and past the bumps 10,061' and 10,170'·on the south (right) side, using a use trail where the jeep road drops to the right at one point. At the summit of Givens was a survey scope with the names of peaks visible (Clark Range to the Great Western Divide) inscribed in a metal ring corresponding to the respective alignment of the scope. Also, a solar powered generator coupled with an "outhouse for the vertically deprived" was located on the top. I left a film can register and we hiked back to the car.

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