Emerson Peak, Mount Cole, Eagle Peak, Dusenbery Peak, Warren Peak, Squaw Peak
By: Barbara Lilley
The volcanic Warner Mountains are located in the NE comer of California and are an isolated spur of the Cascade Range. The southern portion is designated as the South Warner Wilderness, which contains seven 8000'-9000' peaks. The terrain at higher elevations is Sierra like, with streams, lakes, meadows, wildflowers, glaciated cirques and, of course, peaks. The east side is much steeper than the west and provides a spectacular view from the highway south of Cedarville. There is an excellent system of trails, and the peaks can be climbed as day hikes or with short backpacks. However, taking advantage of the availability of two vehicles, Gordon MacLeod, Barbara Lilley and the late Bill Sanders set up a car shuttle and, in early August 1998, hiked the 27 mile Summit Trail, climbing all seven peaks en route.
Starting from the southern trailhead at Patterson Meadow (7 100'), we stashed packs to climb Emerson Pk. (8999') and then, concerned about a possible shortage of water in the area, carried our packs crosscountry up to a beautiful campsite by a large snowbank (spotted from Emerson Pk.), where snow was melted for water. From this camp, first Mt. Cole (897 1') and then Eagle Pk. (9872') were climbed the next day; we stayed there a second night.
The following day was a 9-mile backpack with lots of ups and downs and stream crossings to a camp at Mill Creek. From here, Dusenbery Pk. (9097') was climbed by going over the top of Pk. 9121' and descending to the notch between the two. We then backpacked to Patterson Lake, climbing Warren Pk. (97 10') en route. The northern trailhead at Pepperdine was reached the next day, after dropping packs and climbing Squaw Pk. (8046') on the way. The car shuttle was undone in time for a nice dinner in Cedarville that evening. Our visit to these scenic mountains was felt to be well worthwhile.
Although it rained the day before starting, the weather was beautiful all five days of the trip. The peaks were all Class 2. No Wilderness Permits are required, but a California National Forest Fire Permit is needed even for stoves. At this time of year mosquitoes were not a real problem, but there were enough flies on Eagle Pk. to justify use of a headnet. The topo maps are Emerson Pk., Eagle Pk., and Warren Pk. (all 7.5'). There is also a Wilderness Map available. For more information, see Modoc National Forest
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