Finger Peak, Mount Reinstein, Tunemah Peak
21-Aug-92 (A private death march)
By: Larry Tidball
When I do a Death March I don't want anyone around to share in the gore. This trip's stats total 64 miles and 16,000' of elevation gain. It's bad enough to do it to yourself, let alone leading some unsuspecting folks along. So with time available this summer, I decided to climb these distant peaks alone.
After driving up to Shaver Lake Thursday night I got my permit at the Ranger Station when it opened at 8:00 AM. After driving into the Wishon Reservoir "Woodchuck" Trailhead, I got a nice early 10:00AM start. Logging along the highway had the road closed intermittently in several areas. This day I backpacked up over Crown Pass and down to the trail junction at 9100' on the North Fork of the Kings river arriving at 7:00 PM (18mi./3700'gain).
Day' 2: I moved camp up to Portal Lake. grabbed my daypack and headed for Reinstein using the good trail that goes as far as the lake between Division and Battalion Lakes. From there, easy slopes lead up to the peak. Heading back towards camp, I intersected another use trail leading from the south shore of Pearl Lake. past Chapel Lk. and on to Midway Lk. From here it is cross-country to Finger Peak. I continued South from Midway Lake about 1/4 mile. and then turned sharply Left to avoid dropping into a valley. I climbed up the side wall of this valley, staying high (just below a band of cliffs) until I reached the talus at the head of the valley. From here I crossed to a chute at the right side of the valley, and soon reached the Kettle Ridge divide at 11,360' (just at the "R" in "Ridge" on the 15' Mt. Goddard topo.) From here it is across the slopes and up the talus blocks on the west ridge of Finger Peak. By the time I got back to camp it was another 9 hour day (14mi./5600'gain). You can save 2100' of gain on day 2 by doing Finger on day 3 on the way back from Tunemah. But you add 1000' of gain to the already long day 3.
Day 3: From Portal Lake I ascended the use trail just left of the creek to reach Midway Lake. and retraced my route up to the Kettle Ridge divide. From here it is a 900' drop down into Blue Canyon and past the 2 lakes at 10,400'. then it's up to the 11,400' pass over the divide into Alpine Creek. After dropping down to the creek it is only 1400' of gain to the summit of Tunemah Peak via the SW slopes. The register of this seldom visited peak is a Who's Who of SPS list finishers (and almost no one else).After retracing my route back to camp back over the 2 divides. and arriving there at 3:30, I packed up and moved camp back to my first campsite along the N. Fork of the Kings River. (14mi./5400'gain) 12 hours.
Day 4: I backpacked out to Wishon Reservoir, (18mi./1300'gain) grabbed a quick 25 cent shower at the Wishon Village RV Park and headed out to Shaver Lake for a late lunch.
These peaks are a lot of work the trails are very dusty from all of the horse traffic, but the Blackcap Basin Blue Canyon and Alpine Creek are beautiful areas.
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