By: Owen Maloy
On September 14, 1997 Dolores Holladay and I climbed Freel Peak by the Armstrong Pass route. This is probably the fastest on-trail way up the peak. It took us three hours. Faster(I won't say "younger") hikers could probably do it in two. Estimated distance, 3 mi one-way; gain, 2600', including a small loss on the north side of the pass. We left Lee Vining just before 9 AM, started climbing just after noon, had an excellent and inexpensive dinner at the Alpine Hotel in Markleeville at 7PM, and were back in Lee Vining by 10PM. We had some trouble identifying the trailhead, hence the following instructions.
This route starts from USFS road 051, which runs east from CA 89 0.8 mi S of Luther Pass. Drive east on this 3.5 miles until you cross the second bridge. Immediately turn left on a road that immediately crosses another bridge. Go uphill 0.5 mi to a dead-end with ample parking. This is the Armstrong Pass trailhead. It is only a short distance up to the pass, maybe 0.2 mi and 200' of gain. Then turn northeast on the Tahoe Rim Trail and go almost to the saddle where the trail drops over towards Job's Peak. There are a number of use trails to the right (southeast) up the mountain here. You will do yourself a favor if you pass up the first few, but get as close to the ridge as you can, to avoid most boulders and fallen logs. It is steep for a short distance, and then one enters the bowl below the summit. We had extremely high winds. The jet stream was blowing north right over our heads. The register was placed by Pete Yamagata on June 1, 1997, and is now more than half full. Popular peak!
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