Mount Goode, Giraud Peak


By: Ret Moore

Eight climbers met at the Bishop Pass trailhead parking lot about 7 AM Saturday morning. The participants were Brent Crookham, John Dorsey, Steve Eckert (co-leader), Jim Edmondson, Vishal Jaiswal, Elmer Martin, Ret Moore (leader) and Linda Roman. Brent and I had been climbing some peaks in the Tioga Pass and Red's Meadow areas, so we arrived Friday evening after a dinner in Bishop. I was relieved to find plenty of parking spots in the lot. My experience in the past has been that if you arrive too early or too late you must park on the roadside a considerable distance down the road and hike up to the parking lot. But I guess after Labor Day, the crowds thin out.

After the usual introductions we were on our way up the trail past South Lake and arrived at Bishop Lakes in plenty of time to set up camp and have lunch before setting out for our first objective - Mt. Goode (13,085). Elmer had carried a very large pack up to camp and was feeling the altitude, so he decided to stay in camp. Jim had already climbed the peak and also stayed back. The climb is moderate with no route finding problems from Bishop Lakes and we were on top early enough in the afternoon that we spent nearly an hour talking and spotting peaks before we started back down the mountain, arriving back in camp in time for an early Happy Hour before dinner. We soon learned one of the reasons the Elmer carried such a large pack he had a wide assortment of delectables, including a bottle of fine wine.

During and after dinner we had a lively discussion on terrorism and other geopolitical subjects. As the temperature dropped quickly after the sun disappeared behind Mt. Goode, I retired to my nearby sleeping bag to continue the discussion. Alas - the warmth of the bag coaxed me to sleep and I'm afraid I missed some of the most profound theories that were laid out for analysis.

Sunday we expected a long day on our quest for Giraud Peak (12,608) and were up before full light and were on the trail toward Bishop's Pass by 7 A.M. Elmer was still having trouble with the altitude and he decided to sign out before we left. Also John said he had a chest cold and figured he would not do the peak either. I talked him into hiking up to Bishop's Pass to see how he felt after he stretched his legs. He must have felt better, because he stayed with us all day and finished the climb in fine style.

We followed the trail down into Dusy Basin to the point where it takes a permanent westerly direction and climbed the ridge between Dusy Branch lakes and Rainbow lakes. This ridge was followed up to an obvious steepening where we contoured around to the right and worked our way up to the saddle between Giraud and peak 12266 (this is the route described by Secor). To avoid fourth class climbing, you must drop down over the saddle. By following the base of the steep slope, and keeping on second class rock, you will drop down 350 to 400 feet before you arrive at the entrance to a broad second class chute heading directly toward the peak and reaching almost to the summit. We did not go all the way to the beginning of the chute, but went up the rock to the north of it, avoiding about 50 of the drop. Although there is some third class rock by this route it is well worth it just to avoid the sand in the chute. We dropped into the chute at the upper end and scrambled up the last 100 or so feet to the summit.

We stayed a while on top enjoying some breath taking views of the back side of the Palisades in one direction and Devil's Crags in the other. On the return we decided to take a different route, following the northwest ridge down to a little saddle where you first encounter black rock. Here there is a steep narrow chute harboring a multitude of loose rocks. Not good for a larger party, unless you are climbing early in the season when there is snow in it. We went one at a time, waiting until those below reached a sheltered position before moving above. Still, it was dicey and slow going. So even though this route is shorter and avoids regaining three to four hundred of lost elevation, we did not save any significant time, but certainly saved some effort. Over the ridge between Rainbow lakes drainage and Dusy Branch and we were soon on the seemingly long gentle trail to Bishop Pass, I think we all reflected on a satisfying day as the sun dropped behind the western peaks.

To quote from Steve Eckert's earlier web report, "most of us rolled back into camp around 6:30 PM, after almost 4500' of gain, but Vishal came in an hour later with bad knees. John's chest cold had been getting worse all day, so he hiked out as it got dark rather than risk waking up to worse. More people participated in this night's political debate, and we stayed up later knowing we were in no rush the next day. Jim signed out at dawn the next morning, the rest of us started late for the 1.5-hour stroll to the cars. Breakfast in Bishop and an afternoon of passing cars in Yosemite" (or being passed on 395 for some of us) "capped off a fine trip. Colors and frost indicate summer is over in the high sierra!"

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